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, October 4, 2010

Are healing groups the way of the future?

In my previous post I commented on how much I enjoyed leading and participating in a healing practice group. The group had purpose, heart, and cohesion, and many of the wonderful women who were a part of it I am now honoured to call friends.

The feeling in the group when we were doing healing together was warm, meditative, and deeply satisfying. We positioned our chairs in a circle, and the person who was to receive the healing sat in the middle. When we were doing a distance healing, we placed the photograph of the intended recipient in the centre, sometimes by itself, and sometimes in the hands of the person who had requested the healing.

As the group consisted mostly of healers rather than "healees", the people who sat in the middle largely experienced enhanced well-being. But I recall two remarkable successes from our distance healing efforts, one in the group, and one in a group healing in a workshop. Both were of children. One is described here, in a post entitled Love, bioenergy, and miracles. The other was a little boy who had burned himself rather badly and was expected to be in hospital for weeks and weeks until his burn healed sufficiently for it to be safe for him to go home: he was released the day after we treated him because overnight his wound had unexpectedly scabbed over.

In her futuristic novel Oryx and Crake, author Margaret Atwood describes the genetically engineered people of the future, the Crakers, healing each other in just such a circle through the group purring at the afflicted individual. The purring was Atwoodian whimsy, but the healing was not. In Atwood's fictional dystopia the Crakers are genetically designed for group healing; but in James Oschman's Energy Healing: The Scientific Basis the genetic design is not fictional: he believes we are all designed to perform and receive such healing. We are just not aware of it yet.

Many energy healing modalities use healing groups. Zdenko Domancic, for instance, has an energy healing clinic in Slovenia that has been in operation for over 25 years. The clinic is a big open space where a multitude of clients sit and wait their turn while several therapists treat people. A treatment may last maybe 20 minutes, but clients are encouraged to stay in the energy as long as they can. It is recognized that the group setting amplifies the energy and that the people who wait are benefiting just by being present.

How are healing groups different from prayer groups?

I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that healing groups are different from prayer groups, and more effective. I have a friend who is very sensitive to energy and cannot abide being prayed for. She described to me how a group once prayed for her and she could "hear" every single person and wished some of them wouldn't. She felt that while many of the people were really praying for her, others were inserting themselves into the prayer by trying to do good because they felt that they should.

A prayer through its very structure requires an "I". When I pray, "I" am beseeching God to do something. As the "beseecher" that makes me very much part of the equation. But the removal of the "I" from the equation is a crucial part of effective energy healing. The more effectively a healer is absent from the healing, the more effective the healing is.

So in my opinion a healing group engaged in a homogeneous healing practice such as the Bengston method or the Domancic method is likely to be more effective than a prayer group. With the removal of the "I" the group becomes cohesive and egoless.

How does group healing work?

Bill Bengston may have stumbled on the mechanism for group healing in his mouse experiments. When he found that not only the treatment groups but also the control groups of mice in his experiments recovered to full life-span cures from fatal injections of cancer, he set about trying to discover what might have happened. He hypothesized that the groups somehow became bonded, and that treatment then given to one group also applied to the other; he then showed in an experiment that this did indeed happen and published a paper about it entitled "Resonance, Type 2 Errors and Placebo Effects". He named the phenomenon "resonant bonding" and hypothesized that it not only affected the mice but also their healers.

I believe that the warm, meditative, harmonious feeling of oneness that we achieved in the practice group was in fact "resonant bonding". It had a distinct energy buzz and felt quite wonderful.

Distance group healing

I am going to go out even further on that limb and say that all the members of a healing group don't even need to be in the same room for the effect to occur. On several occasions we did group distance healings where members of the group sat in the comfort of their own living rooms and joined the group energetically at a mutually agreed upon time. The feeling of "resonant bonding" occurred each time, and I have felt it strengthen as more and more of the group came "online". We used this kind of group healing several times in the case of the girl described in Love, bioenergy and miracles.

Anecdotally I can tell you that when the method used is not homogeneous, but each person is asked to do their own thing, such as Reiki, or prayer, or shamanic work, the feeling of warmth and unity does not seem to occur and the healing is less effective. Homogeneity in the method used seems to create its own "resonant bond".

Groups and morphic fields: going one step further

Richard Bartlett, the creator of Matrix Energetics, says that he is reluctant to treat cancer, because taking it on means going up against the morphic field of cancer, which includes all the fear, doom and gloom, hopelessness, and expectation of pain and suffering associated with that disease, as well as the accumulated longterm failure of the medical establishment to find an effective treatment to eradicate it.

Morphic fields were the brainchild of Rupert Sheldrake, a Cambridge biologist and author, who believed that these fields were templates for all biologic forms and determined their development. Bartlett extends the meaning of morphic fields to also embrace beliefs and ideas. In this regard morphic fields can be related to C. G. Jung's archetypes.

Groups engaging in a homogeneous activity such as practicing a particular healing modality (or adopting a particular belief or political idea) can create their own morphic fields. The larger the group is that adopts a certain modality or idea, the stronger that field becomes. Healing groups engaging in resonant bonding can create a morphic field which will then make it easier for other healing groups to form. The more of us there are, the more of us there will be, and even more importantly, the more effective we will become.

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