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Krishna in a winnowing basket, shortly after his birth. Note the placenta, lying in the basket, still attached to the baby. Even today, in parts of Uttar Pradesh, the newborn is ritually placed in a winnowing basket honouring the analogy of the fertility of the female body with that of the earth. �If the baby does not cry then I heat up the placenta and slap baby�s legs, blow in baby�s ears and slap the back of the baby.� - Jamna, Rajasthan

�If the baby is not active or does not cry then the Dai rubs the cord, placing a coin or rice grain underneath it. By rubbing, heat passes to the baby. The baby often revives. We also resuscitate by rubbing the navel and heating the placenta on a fire.� (Bihar)

�After birth, if the baby does not cry or is hardly breathing, or even seems stillborn, the placenta is used to revive it. I place the placenta on a heated surface, a pan or burning cow dung cakes. Jee flows towards the baby in most cases. It is only after this that the cord is cut.� (Delhi)

The placenta is viewed as the baby�s life source and the site of jee. Dais use the word �jee� to describe the palpable pulsations which they are able to track in the human body. During the third or fourth week after conception, skilled practitioners feel the splitting off of this life force energy to support the emerging life of the embryo, allowing them to detect a woman�s pregnancy. Biomedicine has no equivalent to the notion of jee. Chi or ki in Chinese and Japanese medicine; vital force in homeopathy; prana in Ayurveda, all signify life energy.

Jee is energy and not simply matter. Even after the cord stops pulsating with blood, jee can pass to the baby from the placenta. As seen in the quotes above, life force is associated with, and stimulated by heat. Free flow of jee through the body maintains health. Obstructions or imbalances cause problems. Removing blockages in the nasae, channels for jee, is one of the functions of Indian forms of massage. Western massage therapies use strokes promoting venous return (up the arms and legs, towards the heart), but Indian massage techniques involve moving negative energies or blocks down the limbs and out of the body. Restoring balance of the panch mahabhuta (five elements), earth, air, fire, water and space, is also part of the therapeutic work of promoting jee.
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