Healing and Healers - some questions answered

by Keith Beasley

With the growing interest in 'Reiki Healing' and a wide range of 'healers' of various sorts now advertising their services, choosing the one for you can be tricky. Having spoken to a number of local healers and teachers we hope to present some answers to the sort of questions that people  often ask.

What exactly is healing?

Health, by definition, is (Chambers English Dictionary) 'soundness: a condition of wholesomeness'. Healing is thus about becoming whole, becoming sound in mind, body and soul. It is thus far more than receiving a treatment, or even a series of treatments. Whilst treatments, from healers, therapists or conventional medics, may be part of the healing process it is becoming clear that a conscious commitment to ones own healing is essential.

But what about miraculous healings?

Sometimes a sick person can receive a treatment or healing that does 'cure' them. To answer this question we need to look at what we mean by 'cure'. Ideally, from the patient's perspective, a cure is when all the physical, emotional and other causes of disease have been eliminated. Whilst, very occasionally, a healing may achieve this, it is rare. What often happens is that the initial symptoms will be cleared but that many more healing sessions will be needed to deal with the deeper related conditions - often including changes to attitude and life-style.

But didn't Jesus heal completely?

Quite likely. But despite the number and quality of healers in the county we don't yet quite have anybody of his calibre!

So some healers are 'better' than others?

Yes, in the same way that some doctors are 'better' than others.

How do we tell the difference?

As with any choice of product or service, the best way is to talk to other patients/students of possible healers and the healers themselves to 'see' if they feel right for you. Feeling comfortable with them is often far more important than the letters after their name or number of certificates on the wall.

So what's the use of certificates then?

The certificates held by any professional indicate that a certain course has been completed. We then need to ask how relevant that is to our needs . . . which comes back to talking to possible healers: does their training give us confidence in their healing abilities? Formal training of the facts may not be enough. Are they able to apply the theory? Do they also have the necessary intuitive ability? True healing is an art as well as a science.

So what does makes a good healer?

Somebody who has already put a lot of time and effort into healing themselves. Would you take you car to a mechanics who's own car kept breaking down! Good healers will have been through the healing process. They'll be able to guide you through the changes you're likely to experience. There may be no such thing as a 'good healer' as such . .only a good healer for you. Thus if you're suffering from a major disease (ME, MS, cancer, etc..), then you'll probably best be helped by a healer who has had first hand experience of these conditions. If you're looking for a more general healing - to help you feel more relaxed and contented in life, then look for someone who lives that state of peace and contentment.

This is sounding more like a guru than a doctor

Exactly! The role of a healer is often more that of a teacher, helping you to see the truth about your condition/situation and how to move on from it. All good therapists spend a good proportion of their time listening and helping patients to see things more realistically.

Can anybody be a healer?

Probably, although few have the other necessary qualities to take it up as a profession. What's more useful, is to emphasise that we can all heal ourselves. Yes, we're likely to need the help of therapists, teachers and a support group, but since it is us we want to make whole, we also (at some level) know what needs to be changed. We all have some inherent healing ability - do not our cuts and scratches heal themselves? Do we not get over losses in our lives? Healing is about tuning into and developing this ability.

Who, or what, can best help me do that?

It will be different for all of us. Often some relaxation or meditation technique will help us to connect with the calm, peaceful, inner self which is the healer within us. Others might benefit more from counselling or NLP.  

But aren't there natural, born, healers?

Yes. Although we all have some healing ability, some have more than others . .. just as some of us are more athletically or musically inclined than others. What often happens however is that we suppress such an ability because it scares us. To have a healing ability and not to use it, is a disease in itself . .like Mozart refusing to play the piano.

How else can I develop my own healing abilities . .and become 'whole' myself?

To see that these two things are one and the same is the first step. The next is to look for a course, teacher or support group that can help you. Half the battle is to find others going through a similar process with whom you can share you experiences.

But isn't it about accepting responsibility for my own health?

Yes, very much . . but we all need support from time to time.

Where does Reiki fit in?

As more comes to light of the origins of Reiki and experience is gained of teaching it, it is becoming clear that to call Reiki a therapy is to do it a disservice. With significant Buddhist influences, Reiki is far more of a spiritual path, a method for helping ourselves to 'become one' . . .i.e. healthy in the fullest sense of the word.

So we have to become monks and hermits?

Not at all! Time has moved on. Becoming whole now means being our true self within the 'normal' world. The basics of Reiki can be learnt in a 2 or 3 day course. After that you can practice on yourself and work on your own self healing . . which will include deciding which aspects of 'normal' life are still appropriate for you. We may find we are happy with more time and space to reflect quietly . .but that's not a pre-condition.

What about faith healing and spiritual healing?

Whatever label we give to healing, it is all about connecting to God's healing energy . .there is only one source of love, of light! True healing requires no specific faith or belief - children, plants and animals also benefit. Some Healers will have received specific training, as indicated by the initials NFSH (National Federation of Spiritual Healers) or COH (College of Healing) for example.

What does these initials signify?

The College of Healing at West Malvern started as a registered charity in 1983 by a groups of well-known doctors and healers. It aims to provide a comprehensive education in healing, particularly as a complement to those in the caring and therapeutic profession.

The NFSH teaches about the channelling of healing energy. Members have had their healing abilities tested and must abide by a Code of Ethics. The motives in healing and the need to work with conventional medicine is emphasised.

Does that make them a good healer?

That depends what sort of healer you need! When choosing between types of healing and an individual therapist/teacher you need to decide the extent to which you want to 'do it yourself'. If you want to lay back and be pampered (and why shouldn't you!) then look for healers who describe themselves as therapists. If you want to take control of your own life, look for a healer who is a teacher.

What about other therapists?

You may find that many therapists who offer massage, Reflexology or other treatments also have a gift of healing . .. which may be why you're drawn to them! However, specific techniques use different means of bringing our bodies back into balance: Bach Flower Remedies, Aromatherapy and Homeopathy use the subtle energies of plants and other materials; Shiatsu & Acupuncture work directly on energy meridians. Other techniques focus on muscles, bones, some other physical aspect of our being, or indeed our emotional or mental self (NLP, Hypnotherapy, etc..). All such treatments rely on the skill of the practitioner in diagnosing the conditions and knowing which treatment is most appropriate. Practical experience in that therapy is often complemented by a well developed intuition and deep appreciation of holistic principles. Some people prefer a specific targeted therapy because it is more tangible than natural healing on its own. Increasingly the similarities and overlap between healing and various therapies is being acknowledged. We are all one. We are all healers.

So where do I go now?

Look through your local What's On and Ads of holistic events and practitioners and see who and what you're drawn to. Give two or three folks a call. Sleep on it then book up for a treatment or course. Don't be afraid to try a number of different things. Remember, we're talking about wholeness. Every therapist, healer, teacher has something to offer somebody at sometime. What all the established and respected ones have in common, however, is a desire to serve and an ability to bring love and light into our lives. They live with a balance of mind, body and soul and will do their best to help you do the same.

This article was first published in 'Sailing with Spirit', the holistic magazine for Northamptonshire, England. 

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