Up Ears

An alternative treatment clinic in Ullal, Mangalore has come up with a new therapeutic technique that involves blowing smoke up peoples ears.

The Trinity clinic, located in a hidden away road near Tokattu is run by a Mangalore Christian man popularly known as ‘Dr. Brother’ by his many clients. The area is filled with small lower middle houses and is located near the Ullal beach. This therapy was launched in June this year, right after the first monsoons.

According to Dr. Brother’s many clients, the therapy can only be offered during the week after the first monsoon rain. A patient, who did not wish to be named, said “When the rains first start, the human body becomes weak. The end of the summer and the shift from hot to cold temperature in the city is the reason this happens. That’s why we can only do this at this time.”

The treatment involves a simple apparatus that consists of a vessel, an iron pipe and a mud pot with a hole in it. No one except Dr. Brother and his staff know how the apparatus works.  The therapy is supposed to be Ayurvedic but none of his clients, many of whom were very familiar with alternative medicine, had heard or seen anything like this before.

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Image Credits: Rijul Ballal

The clinic is a house that has been converted into a hospital of sorts. It is surrounded by shrubbery and large trees. There is little indication of its existence and because there are no sign boards or signs that it isn’t an ordinary house it would be impossible to find if you did not know where it was. There is a large grove dedicated to Nagas in front of the clinic and a few small temples nearby.

Walking into the house one would notice the many beds laid out and the many mosquito nets hung up. The clinic was filled with many bed ridden patients who were unusually quiet. The clients who were there for the Smoke-up-ear therapy were noticeably more audible.

Dr. Brother’s assistant, Anil, placed a vessel filled with boiled water on a table right in front of a door near what was presumably once a dining room. A mud pot was later placed on top of it. The pot had two pipes coming from it. One pipe went into the hole at the base of the pot. This is where the smoke came from. It is unclear whether there was fire or ash within the pot. A dark green paste that looked a little like mint chutney was brought in on a dining plate and put inside the pot after it was stirred. It was said to be an Ayurvedic paste. Like everything else about the technique, Dr. Brother revealed nothing about what the paste was and a few told me the paste was the most important secret about the whole process.

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Image Credits: Rijul Ballal

Rather than manually blowing the smoke up the pipe, they had placed a dusty green portable fan with squeaky wheels to do the job for them. The other pipe took the smoke up to the client’s ear. The clients were told to hold it on top of their ears. They were also told to make sure that they only did it for a few seconds at a time and switched between ears frequently.

The benefits of the therapy were vague, nevertheless there were many enthusiasts. Some claimed it helped with hearing. Another pointed to a politician who claimed that the therapy had given his blind daughter some degree of sight. Users claimed that it made them giddy. One man who had tried it three times compared it to the high that smoking gave him.

The therapy is offered for only a few weeks and is only available in Trinity clinic and must be repeated several times for a week to be effective. Diraj Pinto, client and real estate agent said “It is great for dealing with stress and keeping fit. I had many tablets to take for the rest of my life according to the doctors I went to for blood pressure. But this has helped me a lot.”

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Rijul Ballal

Reader, writer, blogger, and workaholic. Student of English, journalism and psychology at St. Joseph's college. Can be found over at rijulballal.wordpress.com.

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Rijul Ballal

Reader, writer, blogger, and workaholic. Student of English, journalism and psychology at St. Joseph's college. Can be found over at rijulballal.wordpress.com.

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