Today, I’ll talk about spiritual healing methods and their application. Spiritual Healing points to any nonphysical means of restoring the well-being of body, heart and mind. It recognizes a higher principle than what typically meets the eye as the decisive agent in returning to a fully functional person.
It is most often used to complement, rather than replace, conventional medicine, which in North America, Europe and Australia, is largely focused on pharmaceuticals and surgical intervention. In the West, you typically don’t go to a medical doctor simply because you want to feel great, but because you want to cure an unwanted or even distressing condition. You are diagnosed with a disease and then given a prescription. If you are in an emergency situation, such as breaking an arm or a leg, you are brought in immediately for acute care and surgery.
This means that chronic conditions, such as obesity, heart-trouble and diabetes, are treated strictly through what Dr. Mimi Guarneri, formerly a heart surgeon at Scripps Institute in San Diego, calls “the Ill to the Pill.” She notes that Western medicine has been extremely effective in situations requiring intervention, but relatively ineffective for everything else.
In contrast, traditional, premodern medical systems and therapies have proven far more effective for everyday maladies. Dr. Guarneri embraces integrative medicine, which uses the most effective modality or treatment for the patient / client’s situation. She includes techniques and systems from all over the world, and frequently goes to India to stay in touch with its vast array of alternative health practices. In a clinical setting, Dr. Guarneri advocates a team approach, which might include a Western Medical Doctor, an Acupuncturist, and a Tai Chi or Yoga Practitioner all working in concert.
We are finding literally hundreds of alternative therapies have emerged in recent decades, including techniques derived from Australian Aborigines. We have selected seven of the leading approaches as representative of all the rest, and have tried to include different orientations, such as hands-on versus hands-off, with versus without a separate healer.
Every one of these approaches recognizes the importance of energy and consciousness in healing, viewing people as something more than just complex machinery. In most of these approaches, a conscious attempt is made to integrate body, mind, emotions and spirit, to see the whole person, even, from some perspectives, the Divine Being within You.
Anyone who has sincerely given prayer a chance can attest to its powers. It is of interest that many medical doctors actually pray for their patients. “Prayer” is an English word that simply means a request, usually of someone in a higher position who might grant your wish. Thus, prayer is usually directed to Higher Power, Infinite Intelligence, or the Supreme Being.
The majority of Americans, when polled, actually believes in some notion of God, and have prayed at one time or another. What we might call “miracles” are highly improbable, favorable outcomes that cannot readily be explained by current scientific and empirical knowledge. We have experienced prayers answered in minutes and seconds during critical situations. In dealing with medical complications, by seeking prayer support, many unwanted conditions can disappear literally overnight.
The prayer of faith presupposes a state of communion with Who and What we call “God,” Which can also be construed as our only true and ultimate Self. If one accepts the New Testament premise that God is Love, then it entirely consistent that God can and will intervene upon request. Documented miracles in the millions from all faith traditions attest to the solid evidence of this. One only need look to the pilgrimage spot of Lourdes in Southern France to see a powerful example.
In the 19th Century, a whole new approach developed through Christian Science and the New Thought Movement, as found in such churches as Religious Science and Unity. In communion with our Source, we affirm that we are whole, complete and perfect, and that the love of God is healing our bodies at the cellular level. If one studies the life of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, one is stunned with her track record, which would seem greater than that of such renowned charismatics as Oral Roberts. Christian Science sees it as all a matter of declaring health as the truth, and a diseased body as error. This flies in the face of common sense. However, if you have personally worked within this system, you might be amazed at the results.
Homeopathy was developed in 19th Century Germany by Dr. Samuel Christian Hahnemann, based on the theory that like cures like, that minute doses of what might be considered poison actually has a healing effect. Whereas, allopathic medicine, which has characterized 20th Century Western Medicine to a high degree, is seen to be preoccupied primarily with symptomatic relief, rather than getting at the root cause.
It is intriguing that homeopathic treatment might consist of doses so small that the original molecules are gone, that all that is left might be mere traces of the original compound. Here is a more detailed overview (and some ‘real science’):
This type of medicine is still practiced all over the world. Today, in Germany, forty percent of the population rely on it.
Ayurveda refers to the Science of Life as taught through the Vedas in the 5,000 year-old Indian civilizations. To this day, the majority of people living in India practice some form of it. It is becoming increasingly popular through the advocacy of such leading medical doctors as Deepak Chopra, who was heavily influenced by the Maharishi of TMTM fame.
It is a comprehensive health system based on one’s individual constitution, or dosha. Three doshas are identified: Pitta (The fire element), vata (The air element) and kapha (the earth element). Each person has all of these elements, but usually one predominates. The idea is to put these elements in alignment through a personalized combination of nutrition, exercise, personal hygiene and social interaction. The Chopra Center is part of a high-end spa offering world-class treatment in this Eastern science, and their website sells a variety of ayurvedic treatments and potions.
Yoga is the Eastern science of becoming one with God. It has many branches, of which Hatha and Kundalini have become two of the most popular. Clearly, 10% of the American populations either practices or espouses yoga, and India’s new Prime Minister Modi has strongly recommended that all his cabinet enthusiastically embrace it.
Hatha yoga is what most people typically think of as yoga, based upon asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing). B. K. S. Iyengar, who trained a whole generation of American yoga instructors, including the renowned Rodney Yee, has written a book describing a broad range of health conditions with specific asanas as cures.
These postures induce profound relaxation and increase the flow of energy through the body, making it much easier to be present to others. Deep breathing can induce a sense of peace and bliss. The deeper one goes into yoga, the more likely one will embrace profound lifestyle changes, including a vegan or vegetarian diet, regular meditation and a heightened interest in spirituality in all its forms.
Acupuncture became increasingly popular in the U.S. since the early 1970’s when President Nixon toured China with Mao Tze Tung, and observed astonishing cures demonstrated in the hospitals there. With a thaw in the Cold War, increasing numbers of Chinese practitioners came. This developed to the point where even Western MD’s studied acupuncture and got certified.
Very tiny needles are placed in strategic spots in the body, called meridians, seeking to balance the chi, or energetic pathways. Acupressure does much the same thing through pressure-point massage. It has proven effective in curing headaches, back pain, arthritis and other maladies. It is increasingly available in U.S. medical clinics.
Tai Chi Chuan, originally a form of Chinese martial art, consists of gentle, flowing, almost hypnotic movements of the entire body, arms and legs, much like an entrancing dance in slow motion. In China, and increasingly in the U.S., you can see hundreds of people moving their limbs in public parks.
Focus is placed on breathing and mindfulness to open up the chi, the flow of vital healing energy. Qigong is a lighter, more practical version of Tai Chi used in hospitals and even government institutions in China. It has even caught on in the U.S. Qigong is much simpler to learn, and therefore, more widely practiced.
Benefits include help in maintaining bone density, dealing with arthritis and reducing hypertension. Tai Chi and Qigong bring to life the increasingly popular classic, the Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching), which has enjoyed hundreds of translations into English and other languages. This class depicts how all of creation is in continuous flow.
Reiki is a Japanese form of massage, which avoids directly touching the client’s body, but rather massaging the aura, or energy field, around the body. The objective is to stimulate the movement of ki, or vital energy. It is performed in such a way as to give attention to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions all at once. Reiki has been credited with reducing stress and anxiety, overcoming depression and expanding one’s sense of well-being.
While it may seem bizarre that you could actually effect a cure without touching the client, you can easily detect heat from the body (your own, or other people’s) by holding your hands six inches or so from the skin.
When you move your hand farther out, you will immediately notice the change in temperature. Some people claim to actually see this energy field, and to have even captured it using Kirlian photography.
So, now you have to ask yourself … is spiritual healing for you?
Each of these methods of healing has worked to an extraordinary degree for certain people, and you will find literally hundreds of others widely available. They may be used by themselves, or in combination. You will notice that you can choose between direct, hands-on approaches and subtler, indirect ways.
We would recommend that you consider prayer (either faith-based or positive, affirmative thought) whatever your own religious, spiritual or philosophic outlook. We would also suggest that you retain a relationship with your primary medical doctor, preferably one with an open heart and mind who is pragmatic and committed to anything that actually works. Hopefully, he or she is aware of some of the new and alternative approaches and has respect for them.
Most of all, we would urge you to keep your options open, and apart from emergency situations, avoid being rushed into anything. The best doctors realize that your own intuition may be your most accurate guide. In so far as you can find love and community support, your prospects of swift recovery will be much improved.