Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My favourite healing story

My favourite kind of healing is what I "guerilla" healing: this is when you find some poor injured soul in need, and you pounce upon them, and offer them what you can do. If they agree to be treated on the spot, amazing things can happen.

One day I was riding on the subway when I spotted an old woman who was pulling on the fingers of her right hand, one by one, with her left. I struck up a conversation with her and found out that many months before she had broken her hand after falling on it. The break had mended, but the hand didn't heal fully. She could close her fingers but could not open them. She was on her way to one of the downtown hospitals for on-going physiotherapy. The purpose of the exercise she was doing was to "teach" the hand to move properly again.

I treated her for exactly three subway stops before she had to get off. There seemed to have been an energetic "break" in her palm, which I worked on, and when the subway slowly pulled away after she got off, I last saw her standing on the platform opening and closing her hand and staring at in wonder.

Friday, September 10, 2010

How I came to energy healing

Back in 1998 I was 5 years into my martial arts training and finally prepping for my first degree black belt. There were many hurdles to pass, including reading up and writing an exam on the history of karate. In my copious reading I ran across an interesting piece of information: that in olden days martial arts masters were also expected to be healers. Given the distinct dearth of ERs and physiotherapy clinics in medieval Okinawa and Japan, if an injury occurred in the dojo, the sensei had to take care of it. So martial arts teachers developed a good understanding of herbology and acupuncture out of dire necessity.

The attitude to injuries in the dojo I attended was quite cavalier. If you sustained an injury, you were helped from the training floor and you sat in the office, holding a bag of frozen peas on whatever body part you happened to have injured, until someone could attend to you. The frozen peas were one approach to injuries; the other was electrical tape. You had a choice of colours: black or red. The mantra was "if you can stand on it, it isn't broken". I remember one of my senseis telling me that if I had the presence of mind to ask for her permission to faint from pain before fainting, I wouldn't need to faint. I even saw the wisdom in this piece of advice.

Karate dojo first aid

As time passed and the dojo crowd aged and became more injury-prone, the attitude changed. The young turks who instructed us began to attend university and were now increasingly encouraged to study physiotherapy or kinesiology so they could help us with our injuries. One by one they graduated from frozen peas to icepacks and from dispensing electrical tape to giving diagnoses and advice on injury care and management. It was in this environment that my interest in energy healing took root.

I had spent five years learning to break people, I reasoned, and it was now time to learn how to fix them.

But where was there to go to learn to something as esoteric as energy healing? My first stop was qi gong at a place called Emerge Internal Arts. I trained for about six months before I figured out that what I was interested in learning, Medical Qi Gong, would take years of study and an investment of thousands upon thousands of dollars. Since I was already investing the years of study and the thousands upon thousands of dollars in martial arts training, I was a bit stymied.

Then came reiki. I found an ad for a one-day reiki course in a health magazine. What could I lose? It cost one hundred dollars, it would take a day of my life, and I was willing to be open-minded and curious, while at the same time cultivating a healthy dose of scepticism. So off I went, along with four other seekers, to a west-end apartment in the city, where all five of us were initiated into the mysteries of reiki.

And now here comes the strange part: that halfway through the day, after the first initiation, something indeed happened. There was a distinct sensation of having gone from one place to another, from a place of not knowing to a place of knowing, as if I had stepped through a door. And that afternoon, as we were practicing, and I was treating a man who was lying on a massage table, that massage table started to move noticeably in rhythm to an invisible heart beat. And when I pointed this out to my reiki teacher, she in turn pointed out to me that the leaves of the ficus benjamina behind me were also shaking. My reiki teacher attributed the movement of both the massage table and the leaves to the invisible energy flow.

A stationary ficus benjamina

A strange experience indeed, but more was to follow. One day I was treating a woman from the karate school who had sprained her ankle. The ankle was quite swollen and tender. I was explaining to her that swelling and pain were caused by "stuck energy". Suddenly a bump appeared on her ankle just under the skin, about the size of a strawberry. The bump then ran up her leg, and dissipated. Shortly thereafter the swelling went down.

The oddest thing was that I had no control over the energy. Whenever I was partnered with someone in karate class and we were practicing holds that could potentially cause hurt or pain, the energy would suddenly turn on, and I would be healing them without intending to do any such thing at the same time. One time during weapons practice the energy "jumped" into my weapon and it started to vibrate so strongly that I almost dropped it. That was spooky. I also had a hard time sleeping at night because anytime my hand touched my body, it would feel like fire and wake me up. This was nothing like the "little bit of warmth" that many other reiki students spoke of feeling.

Once I got spooked enough, it calmed down, but the trade-off was that it became less effective. I then had to learn other things to bring the effectiveness back.

In 2003 I learned Quantum Touch, which was said to "turbo-charge" reiki. It did.

In 2007 I met Dr. William Bengston, who had used energy healing to cure mice of cancer. Over the year and a half he mentored me we held six workshops in his method in the Toronto area.

In 2009 and 2010 I learned Matrix Energetics with Richard Bartlett and the Domancic Method with Zoran Hochstatter.

The most recent method I added to my toolkit is "Russian New Knowledge".

I now use all these methods singly and in combination to facilitate healing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why bioenergy?

I would like to begin by introducing you the work of James Oschmann, PhD, a biologist whose book Energy Healing: The Scientific Basis changed the way I looked at the "woo woo" stuff I was doing to people when I was treating them.

Dr. Oschman spent about twenty years poring over cell cultures through a microscope and in the process thoroughly wrecked his back. He was healed by a bioenergy practitioner and his experience prompted him to ask "what is this, how does it work, and why have I not heard of it before?" He then applied his scientific training to studying the problem and published his findings in a book.

He found quite a bit of research on the application of electromagnetic frequencies to injured tissue for the purpose of jump-starting healing. Here is a quote from an interview he did with William Rand:

The important frequencies for stimulating tissue repair are all in the biologically important extremely low frequency (ELF) range. Two cycles per second (Hz) is effective for nerve regeneration, seven Hz is optimal for bone growth, ten Hz is used for ligaments,and somewhat higher frequencies work for skin and capillaries.

What is important about all of this is evidence that practitioners of various hands-on and hands-off [bioenergy healing] therapies ... can emit ELF signals from their hands.

This was discovered in a valuable study by Dr. John Zimmerman ... [who] found that this pulsing field is produced by the hands of practitioners ..., but [that] non-practitioners do not produce such signals.

Zimmerman found that the pulsing field produced by the hands of practitioners is not steady in frequency, but varies from moment to moment. The frequency sweeps up and down through the very same range of frequencies in the ELF band that medical researchers have identified as being effective for jump starting the healing process in the various tissues they have investigated

Energy healing is real. It's as real as any of the machines your physiotherapist or kinesiologist hooks you up to for the purpose of speeding up the healing of your injury. The advantage of having a bioenergy therapist treat you instead of a machine is that the treatment you receive from the energy healer will be customized to the needs of your body.