For Somali women, health program eases the pain of war, exile

The Harborview Medical Center nurse faced a conundrum.

Several doctors had told Bria Chakofsky-Lewy that a group of Somali women patients had aches and pains they could not treat successfully. Chakofsky-Lewy, who supervises a program for immigrants and refugees, reasoned the trouble could be a combination of physical trauma and emotional pain from fleeing war and relocating thousands of miles from their homeland.

One solution could have been a regimen of pills.

Chakofsky-Lewy had another idea: massage therapy.

So, on a Sunday morning in 2009, about a dozen Somali women in loose-fitting Islamic garb arrived at a South Seattle community center. They drank tea. And volunteer massage-therapy students kneaded the knots out of their backs.

The women soon added yoga to the agenda — with a Jane Fonda tape. The program, called Daryel or “wellness” in Somali, was a hit.

For many who attended Daryel, the pains started to lessen. For the full article by Andrew Doughman, click here:

Health | For Somali women, health program eases the pain of war, exile | Seattle Times Newspaper.


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