My experiences of Bosnia

Why did I go?

I had often wondered about doing some voluntary work. A regular commitment didn’t appeal, but “one off’s” seemed to involve skills I don’t have, so when I received the email that Jane Thurnell Read sent out one September it seemed that here was something that I could do. It would be using my skills, wasn’t too far away, wasn’t too long to be away and last but certainly not least was something that was needed and would be of great benefit to many of the people of Bosnia.
Next step was emailing Karen and within 2 weeks I had the flights booked and had started asking clients and friends for donations to the charity! Fortunately I had just received an insurance pay out which just covered my expenses to go and stay in Bosnia.

I also rang the nutrition companies I work with and heads of kinesiology schools, asking for donations of products/books/anything they thought may be useful:

  • Jane Thurnell Read (Health Kinesiology) sent many sets of test vials and some books
  • Terry Larder (Classical Kinesiology) gave us products from Nature’s Sunshine range
  • Sheridan Stock at Nutriscene donated test vials and supplies of Emofix
  • Diana Mossop of Phytobiophysics donated a set of her Superfit Formulas
  • Ann Parker (Health Kinesiology) sent Australian Bush Essences and Mixed Essences

all of which were used while we were there and have been left there for future use.


As the time drew nearer I got more apprehensive and worried about what I was letting myself in for! Meeting Mary Burdes for the first time at 4am on a cold November morning just off the M62 we felt like conspirators as we travelled to Sarajevo together – never drawing breath as we discovered we both felt similarly – looking forward to our time there but unsure of what we would be dealing with.

Arriving in Sarajevo we were met by Karen and later met with our other flatmates for the 2 weeks – Simon, Meg as well as Elaine who left 2 days later having taught Metamorphic technique to the group of Bosnian students.
The next day we were thrust into a different world – Zovik! A home for physically and mentally disabled which was an eye opener in terms of the basicness of conditions there, contrasting with the general feeling of wellbeing of those who live in this community and the love and commitment they receive from the staff. Visiting there every day, giving massage, reiki, high touch acupressure, hand/foot reflexology and kinesiology (often by surrogate) we saw that they looked forward to us coming, enjoyed the healing and even copied what we were doing with each other and their carers.

  • One young man who rocked back and forth fairly continually and slapped his head near his right ear a lot, liked us working on his hands but pushed us away when working on the right ear reflex. The staff confirmed they thought his right ear hurt him so I tried running his Triple Warmer and Small Intestine meridians which both go around the ear. A day or so later we noticed he had stopped slapping his head!
  • A lady who was very nervy and anxious, shaking when someone went near her, didn’t want us to give her any treatment but she allowed her brother (who also lives in Zovik) to hold acupressure points (17s) on her wrists to help with anxiety. A few days later she seemed much less nervy and enjoyed a massage from Simon?
  • A younger lady who had problems with her legs, has been unable to walk for some years and didn’t even want to sit out of bed now, we noticed that after a few days she was spending much of her day sat up in a chair.
    The second day Mary and I were in the flat with Zlata our interpreter, seeing clients referred to us by Bosnian war veteran associations.

Clients, in the main, understandably didn’t want to discuss their war experiences but the results of these were discovered by the comprehensive case histories we took. We were treating men who had fought in the war and been injured during it, women who had been raped, and injured, both men and women who had lost family and friends. There was lots of anger, depression, guilt and grief about what had happened.
One thing that impressed me and made me feel very humble was how 10 years on the Bosnian people have got on with their much changed lives and are living them now not in the past.
Of course there were tears flowing at times during the treatments but underneath even with the language difference there was a “knowing” that the treatments were helping them and a readiness to embrace them.
We saw the difference in people very quickly – some clients were new and some had previously had treatments with phoenix-aid and so we were getting feedback about how much those sessions had helped. Certainly it helped that they had 2-4 sessions each during the time we were there.

From the people I treated:-

  • I noticed one rape victim became less hyper and more relaxed after her kinesiology and reflexology sessions
  • I gave reflexology to male and female amputees who said they felt more relaxed and better in themselves after the treatments
  • One man who had a lot of anger due to the war felt it had lifted from him (kinesiology and high touch acupressure)
  • Men and women with aches/pain as a result of injuries in the war had much relief from these and noticed more movement and mobility in the affected limbs (reflexology and kinesiology)
  • Senad was one of our most “successful” cases. He arrived having had 2 strokes as a result of the war, leaving him with very limited movement in his left arm, stiffness in his left leg, – needing help up and down the stairs to the flat, not able to work and 3 children to provide for. In his words “I felt I didn’t want to live”

He actually arrived an hour early so although he was booked to see Mary, due to a mix up he saw me instead. I used kinesiology the first time working on many muscles using fix-as-you-go, ESR and other techniques (much of it mainly FK stuff).
2nd time again mainly FK and Classical K, including work on gaits and cross crawl re-patterning and some acupressure, giving him “homework” points to rub (kinesiology) and hold (high touch acupressure) which he did diligently every day.
3rd session he reported more movement in his left arm and that he felt “something had lifted” so that his arm now felt part of him again.
4th treatment again kinesiology and high touch acupressure – we interviewed him afterwards and recorded it on video. Via Zlata he told us that “Now I know I deserve to live, I have hope and am so happy”

These are all immediately noticeable benefits – who knows what other benefits there will be as their bodies/minds carry on processing the changes the treatments have made.

The Teaching

Whilst in Bosnia I taught the self-help High Touch acupressure workshop to a group of Bosnian students who have already been learning reflexology, reiki, metamorphic technique, Quantum Touch and massage from Karen and Elaine.
Teaching through an interpreter wasn’t as difficult as you might think – due to my new Bosnian language skills?! (Speciality – numbers 1 – 26!)

The students were excellent learners and very enthusiastic about the therapies they have learned in the past year. They ranged from housewives, unemployed men and women to doctors and psychologists. We hope that soon as well as visiting Zovik the students will be able to continue working on “our” clients.

Funding phoenix-aid

Many many thanks to all my clients, family, friends, and fellow kinesiologists who contributed a total of £550 to the charity and donated equipment to phoenix-aid’s valuable work.

To contact me Linda Hoyland:
tel 07861 251863

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