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.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Healers in the operating room

Dr. Oz started it, with Reiki Master Julie Motz, who was allowed to perform Reiki in his operating room while he did open heart surgery. Dr. Sheldon Feldman, chief of breast surgery at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, followed suit. In Dr. Feldman's program patients could choose to work with a Reiki pracitioner before, during, and after breast surgery, and Dr. Feldman has said that "the positive impact [of Reiki] on healing after surgery can be potentially huge." In this article, posted by, patients spoke of their experience in very positive terms. One patient commented that without the help of her Reiki healer she would have been overwhelmed and unaware that she could direct her own healing process. Another patient called her Reiki healer her "surgical doula" and said that her presence made procedures not only tolerable, but a healing experience.

A more recent article describes the experience of a patient in Dr. Feldman's program who healed from stage-4 breast cancer after being given two months to live. It also quotes Dr. Feldman's explanation of the usefulness of Reiki to cancer patients. "It’s not just about curing people of cancer and keeping them alive," he says, "but having less trauma in going through these difficult medical experiences is a big deal."

Reiki healer Pamela Miles (who demonstrated Reiki on the Dr. Oz show) has logged many hours treating surgical patients. Time and again she has seen patients who had been treated with Reiki turn down pain medication because they didn't need it. She has also seen them heal faster than anyone expected. She explains:
When the surgeon is finished, it’s up to the patient’s body to heal. That’s where the balancing effects of Reiki practice make such a difference. Reiki treatment soothes the shock and optimizes the body’s innate ability to heal. And when you are practicing on someone hooked up to monitors, the benefits of Reiki are often measurable: improved heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation. If patients improve faster and need less pain medication, they are able to get out of bed sooner, which helps prevent post-surgical complications. Patients receiving Reiki treatment recover bowel function faster, which means they often can go home sooner.
In short, Reiki helps.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Reiki in hospitals - is it in yours?

According to a UCLA study, more than 60 hospitals in the U.S. now offer Reiki as part of their services. Many hospitals also offer Reiki instruction for nurses.

Here is a partial list of hospitals and medical centres that offer Reiki for cancer patients:

Sloan Kettering (they also offer medical Qigong)

Yale-New Haven

Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Institute

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Columbia University

Johns Hopkins Hospital

University of Maryland

University of Pennsylvania Health System

University of Maryland Medical Center

The Cleveland Clinic

New York University Medical Center

And here is a PDF listing some others.

There are a number of major hospitals and medical centres on this list. Good news for patients and care givers, I should think. See why it's good news in my earlier post, Study Finds Reiki is Helpful to Cancer Patients.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Michael D'Alton in Toronto, Part 2 (Context)

Michael D'Alton was in Toronto to give Level 1 of his workshop May 3rd and 4th. People paid anywhere from approximately $500 to $1500 to attend, depending on when and where they purchased their tickets. Regardless of how much they paid, they all learned the same material and they were all likely invited to Vancouver to take more advanced levels of the method.

A friend of mine attended Mr. D'Alton's free preliminary evening and was impressed by his polished presentation. He spoke a lot about chakras and also about mind/body interaction. She read some of her notes out loud, and much of it reminded me of Louise Hay and The Secret. Some examples: if you have problems with your eyes, there is something you don't want to see; if you have problems with your ears, there is something you don't want to hear; if you have lower back problems, you feel unsupported; if you believe something, so it is. All solid New Age wisdom you can get free from your library or Youtube, and I honestly don't know anyone in my circle who doesn't already know it, but then that tells you more about who I hang around with than what the general population is aware of. I am sure the workshop itself goes into it in greater depth, and that I would find information in there that I didn't already know, but, really, $1500?

My friend and I started discussing the possibility of doing the training in Ireland with the Plexus Bioenergy folks who trained Michael D'Alton, on the grounds that a trip to Ireland would be more exotic and less expensive than a trip to Vancouver. Neither one of us has been to Ireland before, and Michael O'Doherty of Plexus Bioenergy only charges 350 euros for his Level 1, which is about US$485 or CDN$535. But then I found a webpage entitled "Plexus Bio-Energy Institute (The Domancic System) - Diploma Course Outline". The magic words here are "The Domancic System". I have already learned the Domancic Method (Level 1, US$600; Level 2, US$800) from Zdenko Domancic's authorized North American representative, Zoran Hochstatter, in Toronto and Sarasota. I imagine that the Plexus Bioenergy course is the Domancic Method plus what Michael O'Doherty added to it, and Michael D'Alton's course is the Plexus Bioenergy course plus what Michael D'Alton added to it. Since the Domancic Method is probably the most effective free-standing healing system I have encountered in all my studies (and since all healing methods are strongest at the source), I see no reason for anyone to add anything to it. So I guess there is no need for that trip to Ireland after all, unless I want to go as a tourist.

I am still puzzled about why Michael D'Alton charges 2 to 5 times more for his workshops than his peers and competitors, including the very people who taught him. Is it pure capitalism (what the market will bear)? Is it chutzpah? Or does he sincerely believe that what he offers is that much better? And if so, what are his reasons?

Postscript: Just for fun, here is Level 2 Domancic therapist Alex doing psychokinesis. He would look a lot more impressive if he weren't chewing gum, but maybe he is saying "look, I can do psychokinesis and chew gum at the same time".

Psychokinesis is one of the first things taught in the Domancic Method. Its chief purpose seems to be the wow factor it introduces, giving the client incontrovertible proof that the therapist can affect his or her energy field. It's an interesting question what it adds to healing, as many modalities manage without it.

Here is Michael D'Alton doing his version, with a cool light effect and the wow factor in full evidence. He seems to be adding a second technique we were taught called "take-out" that is also part of Pranic Healing:

And for further reference, here is psychokinesis in Zagreb:

And since I'm on a roll, I can't leave out this gem I just found, a 1986 video of Zdenko Domancic himself doing psychokinesis. Start watching at 24:18.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Michael D'Alton in Toronto

Vancouver's Michael D'Alton is coming to Toronto to teach Level 1 (Bio-inspired) of his bioenergy healing method on May 3rd and 4th. If you are considering taking the workshop to become a practitioner, you may want to ask whether you will also need to take the significantly more expensive Level 2 before being allowed to set up a paying practice. According to information I received from someone who trained in the method, Level 2 can cost anywhere from $3500 to $6000 ($3500 is the early-bird discount). I discussed Mr. D'Alton's pricing in the context of energy healing courses in general in an earlier blogpost, "How to be a wise consumer of bioenergy healing workshops".

Sunday, April 6, 2014

An energy healer speaks out

There is a wonderful internet resource for cancer patients called CancerCompass. It provides a wide variety of forums for cancer sufferers, and among a large selection of topics on conventional treatments it also offers a section for alternative approaches. It was in this section that some years ago I first encountered the name of an energy healer who specializes in treating cancer, Kurt Peterson.

According to his website, Cancertouch, Kurt Peterson has been treating cancer exclusively since 2008 with his own signature energy healing method. He keeps meticulous records and says that between January 1st, 2009, and December 31st, 2012, he has seen a 71% success rate. Almost 3 out 4 people he treats go into remission even though the cancers he treats tend to be advanced.

There was a discussion about him on CancerCompass beginning in 2008 when someone on the forum asked whether anyone has heard of him and whether he was any good. There were some positive comments and some comments that indicated that he could not help everyone. Then suddenly he came on the board to participate in the discussion. Here is part of what he said:
I'm going to make a really bold statement here: If every major cancer hospital in the world were to use energy healers for cancer, using the DNA Signature Destruction Method, percentages of remissions would double and even triple. This is not my opinion. This is a fact. Being a healer, I've been the target of many critics over the years. I've heard every hostile name that one can throw my way and been a punching bag for the E/H industry. I'd like to see the cancer hospitals all over the world at least try to implement it. While you may not be able to charge $250,000 for it, like you can for chemo and radiation, it can still be made available as a paid service. I know that there will be critics to my message here, but that's okay. I believe that within one decade, energy healing will be a part of every single cancer patient's treatment. When a person suffering from this horrible disease witnesses another beating it with E/H then they will step up and demand it as well. This is exactly what all patients or consumers should do ... All cancer patients have huge choices to make when seeking treatment. Energy healing should be, and is, a viable adjunct treatment method for this disease.
The bottom line is that for cancer patients any kind of energy healing is a net positive, especially if they have no other options. And yet, no matter what their options are, energy healing is the one option they are being denied, in most hospitals. This is in part due to ignorance, and in part to general hostility to an idea most doctors don't understand. But shouldn't compassion, humanity and the recognition that the patient's needs come first prevail over fear and ignorance?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hot off the presses: Kelly Turner's "Radical Remissions"

Dr. Kelly Turner, who did a PhD dissertation on spontaneous remissions of cancer around the world, just published her book Radical Remissions. In this book she describes the nine factors that the cancer survivors in her research believed to be instrumental to their recovery. Her goal is to empower cancer patients on their healing journey.

Here is an interview:

A new Youtube video on the Domancic Method

This video about the Domancic Method was recently posted on Youtube. I am quite impressed by it. It makes several important points: that bioenergy is not a magic bullet that miraculously cures every disease in a single treatment, but that lasting improvement is the result of an ongoing treatment programme; that bioenergy can work integratively with other medical treatments to the patient's benefit; and that disease is a wake-up call to change one's lifestyle that one must heed to become, and then stay, healthy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Why nothing applies 100 per cent"

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a blog post by Lynne McTaggart on the subject of the variability of results in alternative medicine. Lynne McTaggart points out that, in essence, nothing works 100 per cent. Things that work for some people do not make one whit of difference for others, and the big mystery is why. She comes to the heart of the issue in describing some relevant research on energy healing carried out by University of Arizona psychologist Gary Schwartz and colleagues involving a double-blind study of distant Johrei healing on cardiac patients:
After three days, the patients were asked if they had believed that they had received Johrei healing. In both the treatment and control groups, certain patients strongly believed that they had received the treatment and others had a strong feeling they’d been excluded.

When Schwartz tabulated the results, he discovered the best outcomes were among those who had received Johrei and believed they had received it. The wors[t] outcomes were those who had not received Johrei and were convinced they had not had it. The other two groups – those who had received it but did not believe it and those who had not received it but believed they had – fell somewhere in the middle.

This result tended to contradict the idea that a positive outcome is entirely down to a placebo response; those who wrongly believed they received the healing did not do as well as those who rightly believed they had received it.

Schwartz’s studies uncovered something fundamental about the nature of healing: not simply the energy and intention of the healing itself but also the patient’s belief that he or she had received healing and belief in the particular treatment itself promoted the actual healing.
This is the reason why it is so difficult to prove to skeptics that energy healing works. They come to you with their arms crossed and their minds closed, and say, "prove it to me". Then, when their prejudice is confirmed, they say "I told you so. It's all just placebo". Well, Gary Schwartz's research seems to suggest that while it's all not "just" placebo, the recipient's expectations do play a significant part in the outcome.

Many of the modalities I learned, including Reiki, shamanism and the Bengston Method, stress that the energy healer is nothing but a conduit, a kind of telephone line between the client and the Universe. The way shamanism puts it is especially poetic: the shaman is supposed to be a "hollow reed" or a "hollow bone", through which the Universe can act and do what is needed. My experience with healing has been that the more a practitioner is able to get out of the way, the more effective he or she can be. The same is true of the patient. Disbelief, negativity, contempt masquerading as skepticism (but not true skepticism, which is open minded) all just get in the way.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Some interesting research on the placebo effect

Harvard Magazine recently published a mind-provoking article on the placebo effect. The article began with the recounting of a double-blind trial in which all the participants received a placebo, yet nearly a third complained of terrible side effects while another large cohort reported real relief. A strange result, given that the trial pitted placebo against placebo for the treatment of severe arm pain: half the participants received fake pills made of cornstarch, the other half sham acupuncture treatments with retractable needles. No one received a real treatment.

Placebo comes from the Latin "I shall please", and the most basic interpretation of it is that patients get better to please their doctors. The more complex interpretation is that patients get better because they expect to, a demonstration of the power of mind over matter. The opposite of placebo is "nocebo", in which patients are harmed through the same mechanism. Study participants who reported experiencing unpleasant side effects, which they had been told they might have, were victims of the "nocebo" effect.

The researcher who conducted this experiment, Ted Kaptchuk, had previously conducted one in which participants were told that they were receiving a placebo, and yet they still experienced relief from irritable bowel syndrome to the same degree as did participants in another study who received the active drug for the same condition.

The placebo effect is now so powerful that for some drugs such as Prozac it can actually outperform the drug. And, apparently, as we have seen, it is powerful enough to work even when participants in the study are taking their daily pill from a container clearly marked "PLACEBO" on the label. Studies show that the strength of the effect varies with the means of delivery: coloured pills work better than white, capsules work better than pills, and injections work the best. And the more the care and attention the subject receives during the delivery of the placebo, the better the outcome.  

A long time ago Bill Bengston told me that the most interesting area of research in all of medicine was the placebo effect. How did it work? What did it mean that it worked? And why wasn't it being researched more thoroughly? After all, all healing is self-healing. The body can do wonders to heal itself. An external agent such as a doctor or a healer or a pill might help bring about the conditions that allow the body to do the work it needs to do to heal, but the body still needs to do that work itself.

Placebo is an important consideration in energy work. I have been told by many people skeptical about energy healing that all our successes are due to the placebo effect. Consider, then, how powerful the placebo effect might be, when a patient dying from stage-4 pancreatic cancer stops taking morphine after receiving a few sessions of energy healing, sees his jaundice reverse and his blood values return to near normal, is discharged from the hospital and lives ten more weeks, able to walk, to go the mall, to go to the cottage, even to cook dinner. If that is placebo, then we must acknowledge that the mind is powerful beyond belief, and that what medicine should concentrate on, above everything else, is the awakening of this incredible ability of the mind to heal the body.

Yet medicine does the exact opposite. Recently I saw a TVO special about the incredible work being done by brain surgeons and after a while I just had to turn it off. I watched a mother being told that her child had brain cancer, and the surgeon, who I am sure was a kind and compassionate man, explained at great length to the viewers that the mother had to be made to understand the reality of the situation, which was that her child had a kind of cancer that nothing much could be done about and would most likely die. When doctors tell a patient (as I've seen one do) that she had a 10 per cent chance of survival with chemotherapy and 0 per cent without, they believe they are being merely realistic, but in fact what they are doing is activating the nocebo effect. Dr. Larry Dossey wrote an entire book about this entitled Be Careful What You Pray For; it is well worth reading.

I do not know how much the successes we have seen in energy healing have to do with us activating the placebo effect, but I have seen surprising outcomes. A frozen shoulder healed in three treatments in the space of a week. Chronic knee pain vanishing after four treatments. Stage-4 cancer patients outliving their prognoses by months, or even a year or more, able to live actively while they do so. Animals responding to treatment with markedly improved health, sometimes even returning from the brink of death. If the effective ingredient here is energy healing, we should do more to study energy healing; if it is placebo, then hurray for the placebo effect, and shouldn't we start paying more attention?