A Holistic Medicine Healing Primer
"Will reflexology (substitute any healing modality here — massage, Polarity, Trager, Feldenkrais, acupuncture, energy healing, chiropractic, homeopathy, prayer, etc.) help me with my condition?"
"Someone recommended you to me. They had what I have. Can you heal me too?"
These are questions healing practitioners are asked every day. The fact is, as healing professionals, we don't know the answers to those questions. We don't know what the path of this person's healing journey shall become. For each individual, the healing journey is a sweet combination of factors including those which one can control along with bits of divine mystery. From within that place of not knowing, the healing practitioner can only respond honestly by encouraging the client towards their own empowerment and healing by questioning: Do you need to become more aware, make lifestyle changes, mental shifts and take responsibility for healing yourself or do you simply need to believe that you can be healed?
Client Heal Thyself
Many of us spent a good part of our life going to the doctor with the expectation that he/she would diagnose what was wrong and give us a pill to fix it. Modern medicine is still looking for the cure for the common cold and the cure for cancer. It frequently asks "What is the pill, treatment or defined protocol that will cure this condition?" As our society transitions to including holistic health therapies into our general healthcare routines, we often bring with us the same attitude, asking, "Is your specialty the cure for my problem?" Essentially we are still saying, "Will you be able to fix me?" We give our power over to another person to be responsible for our health.
Similarly, as the medical system transitions to include complementary therapies into the mainstream, it is attempting to fit bodywork and holistic modalities into the existing "fix me" paradigm of health care. The National Institute for Health (NIH) has begun to establish guidelines on which complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments will cure which diseases. I was recently queried by a physician responsible for making recommendations to Medicare as to which one, two or three CAM therapies showed the most promise for preventing cancer. I could not give him the definitive answer he was looking for because building health and healing are individual processes which cannot be reduced down to one or two magic bullets effective for everyone. On the contrary, holistic health therapies encourage clients to seek out a variety of educational resources for self-understanding, personal growth and to make appropriate changes in their way of life instead of looking for someone to fix their symptoms. This level of responsibility leads to greater health.
I have worked for many years in the practice of Polarity therapy, a hands-on bodywork and energy balancing modality that encourages the conscious participation of the client in the healing process. Polarity therapy views healing as an evolutionary process of the soul. Illness becomes a metaphor for issues in our personal evolution. Accidents and illness may be unconscious statements of issues that are too threatening for the ego to deal with consciously. Because every cell of the body is sentient, the cells contract and energy is blocked when life experience becomes too painful for us to feel. Polarity energy balancing facilitates the release of tension, resistance, and body armoring so it becomes safe for the client to experience feelings in order to clear trauma from the cellular memory of the body. In this evolutionary context, the role of the Polarity practitioner is to help bring these issues to consciousness so that clients have an opportunity to take a higher level of responsibility for their healing processes.
In Anatomy of the Spirit1, Caroline Myss writes: "I am responsible for the creation of my health. I therefore participated, at some level, in the creation of this illness. I can participate in the healing of this illness by healing myself, which means simultaneously healing my emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual being….If the emotional and psychological stresses that were a part of the illness are not alleviated, the illness will probably recur." Illness is an invitation to learn something new about ourselves. When we learn its message, the illness no longer has a purpose and quietly disappears. Keep in mind, however, that responsibility is the ability to respond, not permission to blame oneself. We have responded to life's situations to the best of our abilities which has brought us to this moment. Now we can open ourselves further to learn and intuit the ways we can respond with greater awareness to promote our own healing.
Although the line between a "fix me" attitude and one of taking responsibility in the healing process is quite clear, the line between asking a higher power to "fix me" versus another human being (healing practitioner, physician) to "fix me" is less clear. Healing modalities such as Reiki channel healing energy from a higher source directly into your body where the innate intelligence of such energy automatically draws it to the place in your body where it is most needed. During a Reiki session, the emphasis is usually placed on relaxation and surrender to receive the healing energy rather than on conscious interaction and education. However, the client is still actively involved in the healing simply by allowing the energy to be received into the body in the first place.
So which is the best way to heal?
1. I am willing to hand over the responsibility for my care to another individual and therefore relinquish my power and any control of the healing process.
2. I believe that this treatment will heal me, so it will be. I hand over the responsibility of healing to a higher power and accept whatever is my highest good from this healing.
3. Healing is a conscious process involving empowerment, awareness, spirit, taking responsibility, and learning from my illness.
One may use all three ways of healing at different points along their journey. As a healing practitioner, I encourage clients to increase their awareness and take more responsibility. I also acknowledge the co-creative healing process between client and the higher power. However, I never discount the "fix me" attitude as invalid, but it will probably be another practitioner doing the "fixing." Handing one's power over to another individual may be part of an archetype someone has chosen to experience while here on Earth. The healing journey that an individual traverses in this lifetime will take the form that most suits the needs of their soul in its evolutionary process.
Whatever one's style of healing, it is most empowering to truly believe in the path you pursue. For example, when cancer patients are faced with choices like chemotherapy and radiation versus organic diet, herbs, and prayer, I no longer see one as better than the other. I have witnessed both of them to work to save a life and both of them to fail to save a life. The one that is best is the one the patient believes in whether it is allopathic, alternative, or a combination of both. This sense of belief flows from a connection deep within that the spirit is guiding us towards the next step we are to take along our life journey.
Does Everyone Heal?
I have known clients who experienced a few healing sessions and the imbalance is gone. I have also known clients to be in the healing process for years, using a progressive sequence of modalities and doing all they can to improve their health via lifestyle changes, psychotherapy, meditation, proper nutrition, etc., yet still the same health problems persist, sometimes for better or sometimes for worse. Why is this?
Some people struggle through life, the victim of everyone and everything. No matter what is offered by healing practitioners they cannot shift out of this archetype. They leave this Earth not "healed" by our standards. In Emmanuel’s Book: A Manual for Living Comfortably in the Cosmos2, a section on guiding the intention of healing practitioners instructs: "‘You must be healed’ is so often the message that is given with the healing. No, they must not be healed. Only if they want to. And you are not the authority on that. Do not inflict your will. Just give love. The soul will take that love and put it where it can best be used." This intention frees the healing practitioner to be neutral in their approach, to become a true helper, lovingly walking alongside the client in their healing journey, without an attachment to the end result.
As a personal example, I struggled for years with anger. I used Polarity, psychotherapy, Reiki, meditation, yoga, and prayer. I took responsibility, promoted loving kindness, and used Bach flower and homeopathic remedies. After many years of small improvements and relapses, my life started to transform and I was free of the affliction that I struggled so hard with for so many years. At last the healing had come. Was it the last therapy that I used? Did I finally "learn the lesson?" Was it my astrology (the end of my difficult mid-life transits) and a somewhat predetermined shift? Did all the different healing modalities used in the journey finally integrate with the last piece or was my process a long-forgotten, yet pre-determined sequence of meetings, events, trials, and tribulations (Joan Borysenko calls these "soul contracts") which were made prior to my arrival on this planet so that my soul would leave this plane with a certain set of experiences and learned lessons?
I have observed that healing (like many other things) happens in divine time, not human time (that's the short time frame in which our egos wish things to occur — usually NOW!). Some of us heal right away, some heal over the years, some don't appear to heal at all. We have to remember not to judge ourselves or others. We must not get caught up in a belief system which says: I am doing something wrong if I am not getting "better." This only destroys our self-esteem. We are all just doing the best we can, healing practitioners and clients alike.
As a healing practitioner, I am there to support and educate those seeking wellness, as well as place my hands on them to balance them using techniques of Polarity therapy. For awhile, I thought this was the "best" way to healing. In more recent years, I learned Reiki and have often found the results just as profound. I trust that each of us is attracted to those who help us heal or give us the next experience appropriate to our life and healing journey. I trust that the client knows what is best for them although they may need some guidance about how to tune into their inner wisdom. I encourage clients to neutrally observe all information pertaining to healing that comes their way and to trust their intuition about which practitioner feels right or what modalities will work best for them. Most of all I encourage them to trust that whatever is happening to them right now is perfect for their soul's journey, whether it be tragic or joyous. It is the process of learning and growing that is the healing, not the end result. If you define healing as cure, then all approaches are unreliable. If you define healing as what you learned along the way, as the process itself, then all approaches are a success.
Qualities Helpful for the Healing Journey
We may not have all these qualities at the beginning of our journey, but they can be learned and experienced as the healing process progresses.
- an honest intention to build health and wholeness
- acknowledgment of the multi-level nature of the healing process — spiritual/mental/emotional/physical
- (re)connection with sense of spirit, higher power, intuition, or listening to one's inner voice
- recognition that healing is a process over time (divine time, not human time)
- acceptance and trust in the process, even when the process leads to an unexpected, undesirable or uncomfortable outcome
- co-creation, in two ways, between client and higher power, between client and healing practitioner
- flexibility that sometimes the process is conscious and sometimes it is not
- developing awareness of the present moment and the courage to feel whatever is present
- belief in the healing modality
- love (not optional)
- Building self esteem or self love
- The practitioner holds a loving space for healing
- Opening awareness to the presence of divine love
Lisa A. Megidesh, M.S., R.P.P., R.Y.T., is a nationally registered Polarity practitioner, a nationally registered yoga teacher, as well as a Reiki and reflexology practitioner. She maintains a private practice in Natick and Wayland, Massachusetts. Visit her website at www.centerforyoga.us or email to email@example.com. Phone: (508)654-0443.
- Myss, Caroline. Anatomy of the Spirit. Three Rivers Press, NY, 1996 and year published.
- Rodegast, Pat. Emmanuel’s Book: A manual for living comfortably in the cosmos. Bantam Books, NY, 1985.