The purpose of this blog is purely educational. It does not advise any reader to forgo medical treatment for any condition. It describes methods that have not yet been proven effective through widespread scientific testing. Readers who are concerned about their health are advised to contact their physician.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Energy healing and the Catholic church -- or "the Pope butts his nose in"

Recently we were treating a patient with stage 4 cancer. We were recommended to him for our ability to control pain and improve quality of life. We treated him three times, and each time he signalled that he had obtained significant pain relief.The day after the third treatment he was stronger and far more alert than he had been since the first time we had seen him. Then suddenly a wall went up and we were told our services were no longer needed. No explanation was given. The turnabout was so sudden and unexpected that we wondered whether there had been some kind of intervention. We were aware that the patient had received bad news and we assume that the bad news was that he was terminal. We now take a leap of imagination and go on to wonder whether he then spoke to a priest and was then told that what we were doing to him was unchristian. This is a leap of imagination; we don't actually know that this is what happened. I just can't for the life of me understand why someone with terminal cancer would turn down the opportunity to feel better without a strong philosophical reason. And of course we have to respect patients' choices, whatever they may be. As a friend of mine said, we can't negotiate dying, but we can negotiate how we die, or rather how we live until the moment of dying.

It seems that the Catholic establishment has a wee bit of a problem with energy healing. It summarily ignores Christ saying to his apostles in the Bible "all this ye shall do and more" and questions where the healing comes from, attributing it to suspect or even possibly malevolent forces.

This is from the March 31 2009 issue of the Guardian:

Reiki, an alternative Japanese therapy with a growing band of followers in the west, is "unscientific" and "inappropriate" for use in Catholic institutions, according to America's bishops.

Guidelines issued by the committee on doctrine at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops warn healthcare workers and chaplains that the therapy "lacks scientific credibility" and could expose people to "malevolent forces".

The document also claims that for a Catholic to believe in reiki presents "insurmountable problems".

Reiki means "universal life energy" and was developed by the theology professor Dr Mikao Usui at the turn of the 20th century, from Buddhist beliefs and Sanskrit teachings. The client lies on a couch, clothed and relaxing, while the therapist's hands rest lightly on the body in a special sequence. Clients often report heat and tingling sensations.

The church's guidelines state: "A Catholic who puts his or her trust in reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no man's land that is neither faith nor science. Superstition corrupts one's worship of God by turning one's religious feeling and practice in a false direction."

The document goes on to state that since reiki therapy is incompatible with Christian teaching and scientific evidence, "it would be inappropriate" for Catholic institutions, such as healthcare facilities and retreat centres, or people representing the church, such as chaplains, to promote or provide support for it.

We should note at this point that the church's problem with Reiki is likely not lack of scientific evidence. It took the Vatican only 400 years to accept Galileo's scientific evidence that the Earth revolved around the Sun, so one could not exactly call the church a pillar of empirical scientific inquiry. It is amusing to read that worshippers who dabble in Reiki are engaging in superstition right after the warning that Reiki may expose them to "malevolent forces".

What we do is not specifically Reiki, but all energy therapies tend to be lumped under the heading "Reiki" by people who do not practice them. The problem seems to be that Reiki is "New Age" and "New Age" thinking is inappropriate for Catholics. (Click here for the Reiki response.) At any rate, this is the same church that is happy to let its people live in poverty or suffer from AIDS so long as they don't use condoms, so why should it be more humane about the manner of their dying? As I said to one of my colleagues, who was disappointed about the outcome of our treatment of this patient, we are lucky that the world has changed enough that "they" are not coming to cart us away to throw us on the pyre.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bill's teacher speaks

This is from an article dated January 5, 1973, written by John Pascal and entitled "Cloud-Dissolver, Healer of the Sick". The name of the newspaper in which it appeared is not given on the clipping I have.
... Bennett Mayrick is a psychic healer. He has laid his hands on the suffering and cured or arrested, he says, arthritis, leukemia, lymphosarcoma, chronic back ailments, blindness, emotional disorders, blisters. Dogs bedeviled with respiratory ailments breathe easier. Cats condemned to death by cancer live on. His success rate is formidable -- 90 per cent, he says. "I am not the healer," he says. "The energy heals. I am its channel."

Mayrick is a tall, dark-haired, brooding man of 50 who chooses his words carefully. When he talks of his gift he seldom smiles. His eyes are mournful, reflecting what he genuinely conveys as a deep melancholy that the world is not availing itself more of his powers. The people he treats are friends, or friends of friends, but he would like to function within a formal structure. He has offered himself, he says, to doctors and to hospitals to work in laboratory situations so rigid they leave no room for doubt. "But they, the medical establishment, dismiss me.... And why? If medicine has failed, why not take a chance with me? What can they lose?"

... Mayrick is utterly sincere, utterly convinced of his healing powers, and he produces a shoebox packed with correspondence testifying to his successes. Moreover, a check with others who have witnessed Mayrick at work on one or two occasions affirms that cuts do indeed seem to heal themselves and blisters fade away after Mayrick has placed his hands on them. Is it a case of the mind responding to a powerful suggestion from an intense and charismatic personality? "Possibly," says Mayrick. "But how do you account for the cats and dogs I've healed?"

...Once, on a summer afternoon, Mayrick says, he was sitting by the side of a pool "looking at the sky, and I remembered reading somewhere that people could dissolve clouds. There were four or five low clouds over me, so I tried it and it worked. I'd pick one out, and watch it dissolve. I called my wife over and pointed to a cloud and said watch what happens. It dissolved. She said, 'Did you do that?' And I said, 'I think so.' Now I've done it so many times there's no question about it."

It was about a year ago, Mayrick says, that he began to cure people. Now he has all but given up the house-cleaning service he has operated for years, and devotes most of his time to healing. He charges no fee, but accepts "whatever people want to contribute."

"I'm here," he says. "I'm available. I want to be used more. The energy is all around us. It can't be destroyed. It can't be created. But it can be used by those who have the psychic power, and I'm one of them. Why, I can't say. I don't know. It may, in the end, be unknowable."

Bennett Mayrick died in 2004, aged 82, with his gift still unrecognized.

Also read: More about Bennett Mayrick?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Moving right along ...

Energy healing is exploding all over the map. Just in the past six weeks people I know have taken courses in Quantum Lightweaving, Access Consciousness, and Reconnective Healing. There is a Domancic method training weekend coming to Toronto at the end of this month, and it's already full.There will be another Bengston technique training weekend in Philadelphia in June, followed by a Domancic one in August, put on by the same people. I would love to hear from folks who have taken these modalities to get their opinion on how it all worked for them. My latest foray has been into Quantum Lightweaving and it has delivered what it promised: "transformation beyond healing".

Actually it is inaccurate to lump all these techniques under the term "energy healing". In fact there is energy healing and then there is "informational healing". In the former energy is given that allows the body to heal itself, but in the latter the sick body is provided with information about what's "normal". Quantum Lightweaving seems to be "informational healing". I suspect that most energy healing modalities contain a bit of both, but of the two "informational healing" is the one more likely to produce lightning fast miracle cures.