CENTRE FOR ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES
“It is faith that gets things done and even makes the impossible possible.”
- Sri Aurobindo
This Centre was started in 2003 by sadhaks of the Integral Yoga, Mr. M.S. Sundararajan and Miss Akhilandeshwari. Akhila’s father, who was a professor in English, was also an expert in asanas. He was a naturopath and gave homoeopathy to people who needed it. Along with these skills, he helped people around him through counselling to a happier life. “Thus,” says Akhila, “I wanted to become a healer since childhood.”
They were initiated into Reiki by a grandmaster named Shanti, from Switzerland. Then the courses in Pranic Healing came, brought by Mr. Krishnan Veerappan. “My real healing capacities really opened however after a head accident,” says Sundararajan. “My mother, who had been a guiding force in my life had passed away. While driving to hospital in a two-wheeler in Bangalore, I sustained a head injury that changed me. Hannah, a craniosacral therapist, realigned my spine and also taught me how to do the same for others. I then discovered that I could help other people to heal”. Somebody told us about a method called Neurotherapy which could make the lame walk and the blind see. We were very interested but did not want to leave Puducherry to learn it. So I told my friend, ‘If the Mother wants me to learn Neurotherapy, a teacher will come here.’ And sure enough, Mr. Ramachandran came. Later, Akhila and I went to learn it from the master, Dr. Lajpat Rai Mehra (ND). Dr. Mehra is a remarkable man. He is a natural healer. He has developed this way of pressing certain areas of the body in a particular way to generate life-saving substances that regenerate, replenish and rebalance the body, bringing back health. Through this way he has managed to relieve symptoms and sufferings in cancer patients, cases of Parkinson’s disease, rehabilitate stroke victims and treat certain genetic abnormalities etc. Since then he has visited our Centre in Puducherry many times, to heal people and teach others. We are also working with, ozone, crystals, colours, visualisation and hypnotherapy.
The people who first came to us were those who had not found relief anywhere. Since then, hundreds of cases have passed through the Centre. They have come from Puducherry, other parts of India and abroad. Many return, not for healing any more but to learn and express their gratitude.
Mr. M.S. Sundararajan
Miss. R. Akhilandeshwari
Dr. Rabindranath, MBBS, FRCP (Glasgow) as our advisor
AN INTERESTING CASE
In the year 1998, a lady aged 35 years came to us with severe rheumatoid arthritis. She had severe, incapacitating pain in all her joints including the back. She had no appetite and poor sleep. She could neither work nor write. Her life had come to a standstill.
In this state she met me. I gave craniosacral therapy with counselling. Slowly and steadily, her symptoms started changing. After five sittings in 10 days, her swelling and pain reduced. She started sleeping better. We continued with 5 sessions a month at a time for 4 to 5 months. After six months the patient became completely symptom-free! She is now holding an executive post and travelling all over the world without any difficulty.
For me, the interesting thing was that I could feel all the sad memories locked in her tissues (specially the thymus area). As they started releasing themselves, she started becoming free from the physical disease. This case also taught me the importance of the thymus area in holding childhood memories.
HOW DO WE WORK?
We have a way to select cases. Some people we take as they come. Others we give an appointment and wait to see if they come back. Those who come only out of curiosity are not taken since we are only 2 healers. Most of the people who come to us have usually gone through all other treatments. We check to see if the person really wants to be cured. Then the case is taken for treatment.
Most cases are treated for 5 sessions, over 5 to 10days. In case there is a breakthrough and more is required, we continue further.
AIM OF THE CENTRE
The aim of this Centre is growth for all of us. With each case we learn and grow ourselves. We are not here to cure, because only the creator (of the disease), who is the person him/herself, can cure. We are only catalysts for their healing.
An interview with Sundarajan by Monica
As I move into the depths of my being, guided by the healer to let go of conscious control and let myself descend into the hidden subconscient, I am only aware of the utter sincerity in the voice that guides me. Feeling a 100% trust, I let myself be and soon another sense of being engulfs me.
I look at myself in the mirror later and find myself different. A day passes…something has changed. I am not the same person.
What is it that creates this change?
Is it the healer?
Is it him/her who is so strong?
Or is it the trust and resolve with which I walk into the Centre?
There is certain certitude in me that if there is to be a solution for body and its ailments, it is here, in alternative therapies. But they are not magicians. There is not magic pill the healer can pop in and I will be healed. It is a process of healing that takes into account who I am in as complete a way as possible. It runs parallel to what I want to be…it is ‘holistic’ for it involves the whole of me. My instincts and more than anything else, my need for growth into a healthier being is all an intrinsic part of the process.
The healer and I work together.
This is an interview with one such healer, to try and understand the science of healing. Being an intellectual, I wanted to understand what was happening.
M: Tell us how the Centre evolved…
S: This Centre was started in 2003 by Akhilandeshwari and myself. Akhila’s father, who was a professor in English, was also an expert in asanas. He was a naturopath and gave homoeopathic medicines to people who needed it. Along with these skills, he helped people around him through counselling to a happier life. So Akhila had wanted to become a healer since childhood.
We were initiated into Reiki by a grandmaster named Shanti, from Switzerland. Then the courses in Pranic Healing were introduced by Mr. Krishnan Veerappan. However, my full healing capacities unfolded after a head accident. My mother, who had been a guiding force in my life, had passed away. While driving to the hospital in a two-wheeler in Bangalore, I sustained a head injury that changed me. Hannah, a craniosacral therapist, realigned my spine and also taught me how to do the same for others. I then discovered that I could help other people to heal. Somebody told us about a method called Neurotherapy that could make the lame walk and the blind see. We were very interested but did not want to leave Puducherry to learn it. So I told my friend, ‘If the Mother wants me to learn Neurotherapy, a teacher will come here.’ And sure enough, Mr. Ramachandran came. Later, Akhila and I went to learn it from the master himself, Dr. Lajpat Rai Mehra (ND). Dr. Mehra is a remarkable man. He is a natural healer. He has developed a method of pressing certain areas of the body in a particular way to generate life-saving substances that regenerate, replenish and rebalance the body, bringing back health. Through this method, he has managed to relieve symptoms and sufferings in cancer patients, Parkinson’s disease, stroke victims and treat certain genetic abnormalities, etc. He has, since we met, visited our Centre in Puducherry many times, to heal people and teach others. We are also working with ozone, crystals, colours, visualisation and hypnotherapy.
The people who came to us initially were those who had not found relief anywhere. Since then, hundreds of cases have passed through the Centre. They have come from Puducherry, other parts of India and abroad. Many return, not for healing any more, but to learn and express their gratitude.
M: What is your understanding of the body in the light of alternative therapies?
S: The body is an expression of our inner reality and corresponding emotions. Also, it reflects our inner balance in outer life.
M: What do you mean by ‘inner’?
S: ‘Inner’ is whatever we think and feel and which creates chemical changes in the body, affecting its balance and functioning.
M: Please explain what you mean by ‘affecting the balance’!
S: Our thinking is reactionary. We either react positively or negatively to impacts from our surroundings. Anger, jealousy, domination, revenge… these are classified as negative for they create negative emotions which lead to a hole in the aura (etheric sheath surrounding the physical body) of the person. Love, generosity, selflessness, compassion…are positive for they enhance the energy level of the aura and therefore the body.
M: How do you view ‘disease’?
S: The word itself means dis-ease…not at ease. Not in balance. It means when there is a hole in the aura, the etheric sheath, so there is a gap in the defence mechanism of the body allowing negative formations to enter and that creates a disease in the respective organ. Therefore disease is basically a manifestation of negative formations of energy. For example anger or a continuous irritation in the system can create a hole in the aura, especially in the hara line (around the stomach)…a major entry point for any energy.
Have you ever experienced a draining of energy from the stomach? That is energy draining from the haaraa. When this happens constantly and continuously, erosion takes place in the stomach walls and its capacity reduces. This leads to acidity and indigestion.
A healer goes to the inner cause and works on it. This helps the patient to recover. Healers are only facilitators. They make you aware of the cause and help the patient to work it out. But it is important for the patient to work on him or herself and change the pattern of thinking. There has to be a ‘will to change’ in the patient. Then the effect of healing is stronger and long-lasting.
M: How does the Centre for Alternative Therapies deal with the diseases that people come with?
S: When a person walks into the clinic with a complaint:
- We probe to discover the intention of the patient – just how serious is the person to get cured? Curiosity is not encouraged.
- We engage in dialogue with this person. During the conversation we quietly do a pranic diagnosis and explore the aura of the person. This tells us more about the patient. Through this we are able to judge whether there is a possibility of healing through us.
- Once we accept a patient, we decide on the modality of treatment after a conversation with the person. (Hence you can see that the person is always deeply involved in his/her own healing).
M: What are the various therapies that are offered at the Centre for Alternative Therapies?
S: We are trained in Craniosacral therapy, Neurotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Reiki, Pranic healing, Breathing techniques, Visualisation, Quantum touch. Any one or a combination is used for a person. (see Appendix)
Finally, I would like to say that with any system the most important part of the healing process is the will and intention of the healer. If the will and intention is clear, then the healing takes place spontaneously and for that the rapport and trust with the patient are important. The intention is relief for the patient.
Relief also comes through channelling right or positive energies into the patient. This leads them to making correct decisions and to be ready for the healing. It also results in meeting the right doctors for treatment. In essence the mindset of the patient changes and that attracts the right opportunity for healing.
Craniosacral therapy (also called CST, cranial osteopathy, Craniosacral bodywork) is a method of complementary or alternative medicine used by physical therapists, massage therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors and osteopaths. A craniosacral therapy session involves the therapist placing their hands on the patient, which they believe allows them to tune into what they call the craniosacral system (1). By gently working with the spine, the skull and its cranial sutures, diaphragms and fascia, the restrictions of the nerve passages are eased and the movement of CSF through the spinal cord is optimised. Through this process, it is held that misaligned bones can be restored to their proper position. Craniosacral therapists use this therapy to treat mental stress, neck and back pain, migraines, TMJ Syndrome and chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia (2, 3, 4).
Cranial Osteopathy was originated by a physician, William Sutherland, D.O. (1873-1954), who studied under the founder of osteopathy, Andrew Taylor Still, at the first American School of Osteopathy (now A. T. Still University) in 1898-1900. While examining a disarticulated skull, Sutherland was struck by the idea that the cranial sutures of the temporal bones where they meet the parietal bones were “beveled, like the gills of a fish, indicating articular mobility for a respiratory mechanism (5).” The idea that the bones of the skull could move was contrary to contemporary anatomical belief.
Sutherland stated that the dural membranes act as ‘guy-wires’ for the movement of the cranial bones, holding tension for the opposite motion. He used the term reciprocal tension membrane system (RTM) to describe the three Cartesian axes held in reciprocal tension, or tensegrity, creating a cyclic movement of inhalation and exhalation of the cranium. He called this breathing movement the primary respiratory mechanism, and later described its origin as the ‘Breath of Life’ (6), from the Book of Genesis (2:7). This was an acknowledgement of the vital force as a fundamental aspect of osteopathic philosophy.
The RTM as described by Sutherland includes the spinal dura, with an attachment to the sacrum. After his observation of the cranial mechanism, Sutherland stated that the sacrum moves synchronously with the cranial bones. Sutherland began to teach this work to other osteopaths from about the 1930s, and tirelessly continued to do so until his death. His work was at first largely rejected by the mainstream osteopathic profession as it challenged some of the closely held beliefs amongst practitioners of the time.
In the 1940s the American School of Osteopathy started a postgraduate course called ‘Osteopathy in the Cranial Field’ directed by Sutherland, and was followed by other schools. This new branch of practice became known as ‘Cranial Osteopathy’. As knowledge of this form of treatment began to spread, Sutherland trained more teachers to meet the demand, notably Dr.(s) Viola Frymann, Edna Lay, Howard Lippincott, Anne Wales, Chester Handy and Rollin Becker.
The Cranial Academy was established in the US in 1947 and continues to teach DOs, MDs, and dentists “an expansion of the general principles of osteopathy (7)” including a special understanding of the central nervous system and primary respiration.
Towards the end of his life, Sutherland believed that he began to sense a ‘power’ which generated corrections from inside his clients’ bodies without the influence of external forces applied by him as the therapist. Similar to Qi and Prana, this contact with, what he perceived to be the ‘Breath of Life’ changed his entire treatment focus to one of spiritual reverence and subtle touch (8). This spiritual approach to the work has come to be known as both ‘biodynamic’ craniosacral therapy and ‘biodynamic’ osteopathy, and has had further contributions from practitioners such as Becker and James Jealous (biodynamic osteopathy), and Franklyn Sills (biodynamic craniosacral therapy). The biodynamic approach acknowledges that embryological forces direct the embryonic cells to create the shape of the body and places importance on recognising these formative patterns for maximum therapeutic benefit, as this enhances the ability of the patient to access their health as an expression of the original intention of their existence.
In 1953 Sutherland established the Sutherland Cranial Teaching Foundation as a way of providing continuity for his teaching (9).
From 1975 to 1983, osteopathic physician, John E. Upledger and neurophysiologist and histologist, Ernest W. Retzlaff worked at Michigan State University as clinical researchers and professors. They set up a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists, and bioengineers to investigate the pulse he had observed and further study Sutherland’s theory of cranial bone movement. Upledger and Retzlaff went on to publish their results, which they interpreted as support for both the concept of cranial bone movement and concept of a cranial rhythm (10, 11, 12). Later reviews have concluded that there is insufficient support for the principles of craniosacral therapy.
Upledger developed his own treatment style, and when he started to teach his work to a group of students who were not osteopaths he generated the term ‘Craniosacral therapy’, based on the corresponding movement between the cranium and sacrum. Craniosacral therapists often (although not exclusively) work more directly with the emotional and psychological aspects of the patient than osteopaths working in the cranial field. The Upledger Institute, formed in 1987, has many international affiliates (13), united by Upledger’s International Association of Healthcare Practitioners (14).
The Craniosacral Therapy Association of the UK (CSTA) was established in1989 to promote and regulate craniosacral therapists from various UK colleges (15). Graduates from the College of Craniosacral Therapy who had their own register later became eligible for registration with the CSTA. The Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America was founded in 1998 for the recognition, registration, and as a referral service for certified craniosacral therapists and students (16). The Craniosacral Therapy Association of Australia was established in 2004 (17).
Neurotherapy ( NT ) is a medicine-less, manipulative, alternative therapy.
Its founder Lajpatrai Mehra believes that the body suffers from ailments because the biochemical balance of acids, alkalies, hormones, enzymes, antigens, antibodies is disturbed in the human system. Neurotherapy restores this disturbed biochemical balance by stimulating the various organs to function normally in order to produce the required chemicals in optimum quantities. In Neurotherapy, pressure is applied to stop the flow of blood to a specific region of the body mainly with the feet and occasionally with hands for a particular duration (6 seconds to 40 seconds.) and then released, so that blood flows with a greater force to activate or deactivate the correlated nerves/glands/organs. This may be repeated as per the requirements of the patient, so as to maintain homeostasis of the body’s biochemical forces, which in turn restores health.
The name ‘neurotherapy’ was given to this way of treating diseases only in 1976 after years of healing thousands of people since 1943. In 1999 it was renamed as Dr. Lajpatrai Mehra’s Neurotherapy to honour him.
Neurotherapy is effective in treating asthma, arthritis, colds, injuries, hormonal imbalances, mental disorders, menstrual disorders, sterility, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, skin, digestive disorders, etc.
The diet and lifestyle have also to be looked after.
Hormones secreted from the hypothalamus and pituitary act on a specific target endocrine gland. This gland in turn secretes specific hormones. When hormones in the blood reach their desired levels, the hypothalamus and pituitary stop secretion of the corresponding stimulating hormone to that gland. This is known as a ‘negative feedback’. The pituitary gland can stimulate all the endocrine glands except the thymus, the parathyroids and the medulla part of the adrenal glands. It controls the thyroids, both the adrenal cortices, ovaries, and the testes. Whenever there is a deficiency of a particular hormone, NT can stimulate the pituitary or hypothalamus to secrete a stimulating hormone for that gland in order to correct the deficiency.
An interesting thing is that every chemical in the body is produced at two or more than two places, so that the person does not die because of deficiency of a particular chemical. For example, 85% of erythropoietin (a hormone that stimulates RBC formation) is produced in the kidneys. Low oxygen in the blood stimulates its production. When both the kidneys do not function properly, the liver starts producing this chemical.
Another interesting physiological fact is that our brain has 100 billion neurons and the spinal cord 100 million neurons. 12 main types of chemicals are secreted by them. If these chemicals are not formed properly diseases like Parkinson’s develop. NT then activates the nervous system of the intestines (the enteric nervous system) to compensate the deficiency.
Maintenance of the acid-base balance is a very important factor in good health. The normal ph of the blood is between 7.36 and 7.44. If the digestive system functions normally, the acid-base balance is maintained. In most cases, according to NT, diseases are created by a disturbance of this balance. When it is corrected, the patient gets healed.
Neurotherapy believes that a part of ascending colon is alkaline and the portion from the middle of the transverse colon and the descending colon is acidic. It also believes that the right kidney filters 80% alkali and 20% acid and that the left kidney filters 80% acid and 20% alkali. Similarly, it is also assumed that the right ovary produces progesterone and left ovary produces oestrogen.
When T-Memory cells of the thymus gland do not work properly, it produces antibodies against the body’s own proteins/cells. For example, if the proteins of the synovial membrane of the joints enter the blood, the thymus will form antibodies against these proteins. These antibodies then affect the synovial membrane of the joints and cause arthritis. This is called autoimmunity. Allopathic medicine treats this with steroids to suppress the production of antibodies. Neurotherapy acts by stimulating the adrenal cortex to produce the required steroids in the right quantity automatically, and therefore does not have any side-effects.
It is known that 85% of the cholesterol is consumed by the liver for converting it into bile salts for the digestion of fats while 15% of the cholesterol is consumed by the adrenal cortices, ovaries and testes for preparing corticoids, oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. All the other hormones are glycoprotein or simple protein in nature. It is also known that during the digestion of food the intestines produce an amino acid called tyrosine which is used to produce Tri-iodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4) of the thyroid gland, epinephrine and norepinephrine of the adrenal medulla. Health disorders may occur due to improper digestion and absorption because the patient does not assimilate amino acids, minerals and vitamins from the diet. NT is based on setting of the navel in order to digest the food properly. If digestion and absorption are normal, then there will be no shortage of substrates like essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins and the patient will be relieved of most ailments.
Hypnotherapy is therapy that is undertaken with a subject in hypnosis. The word ‘hypnosis’ (from the Greek hypnos, ‘sleep’) is an abbreviation of James Braid’s (1843) term ‘neuro-hypnotism’, meaning ‘sleep of the nervous system’.
A person who is hypnotised displays certain unusual characteristics and propensities, compared with a non-hypnotised subject, most notably hyper-suggestibility, which some authorities have considered a sine qua non of hypnosis. For example, Clark L. Hull, probably the first major empirical researcher in the field, wrote,
“If a subject, after submitting to the hypnotic procedure, shows no genuine increase in susceptibility to any suggestions whatever, there seems no point in calling him hypnotised [...] (C.L. Hull, Hypnosis & Suggestion, 1933: 392)”
Hypnotherapy is often applied in order to modify a subject’s behaviour, emotional content, and attitudes, as well as a wide range of conditions including dysfunctional habits, anxiety, stress-related illness, pain management, and personal development.
Precursors of hypnotherapy have been seen in the sleep temples and mystery religions of ancient Graeco-Roman society, though analogies are often tenuous. Some parallels can be drawn between hypnotism and the trance-inducing rituals common to most pre-literate societies.
In the mid-18th century when Franz Anton Mesmer introduced the concepts and techniques of ‘animal magnetism’, Mesmerism became an influential school of esoteric therapy and important mesmerists like James Esdaile and John Elliotson helped maintain its popularity in medicine until the end of the 19th century when it experienced a kind of resurgence in the work of Jean-Martin Charcot, the father of modern neurology.
In the 1840s, the Scottish physician James Braid, pioneered the concept of hypnotism as an opposing tradition to Mesmerism, based upon basic psychological and physiological mechanisms rather than the occult theories of animal magnetism. Braid’s work had limited influence in the UK but in France his ideas were developed into a more sophisticated psychological treatment. Hippolyte Bernheim began as a sceptic but became converted to the importance of hypnotism by observing the work of the celebrated country doctor Ambroise-Auguste Liébeault who rejected the theory of Mesmer and followed Abbé Faria. Emile Coué, a former clinical assistant to Liébeault, proposed a more collaborative and educational alternative to hypnosis called ‘conscious autosuggestion’ which became very popular as a form of self-help in the 1920s.
In the mid to late 1880s the American medical surgeon-physician, Rufus Osgood Mason supported the idea of the use of hypnosis for ‘Therapeutic Applications’, and wrote articles and authored a book on this as a concept. He was also a supporter of early parapsychology and psychical research.
An important rivalry and debate developed between the Salpêtrière school of Charcot, which focused on physiological phenomena induced by Mesmeric practices, and the Nancy school of Bernheim which placed more emphasis upon psychology and verbal suggestion, following the later writings of Braid. However, Charcot’s ideas on hypnosis were almost entirely discredited and Bernheim’s school effectively won the debate, becoming the most significant precursor of modern psychological hypnotism.
Sigmund Freud was originally a proponent of hypnotherapy. He travelled to France to study hypnosis with the two great teachers of his day: Charcot at the Salpêtrière and Bernheim. Freud wrote several articles on hypnotherapy and translated two of Bernheim’s books on the subject from French into German. He originally employed hypnotherapy with a small number of clients in the 1890s. By about 1905, he had largely abandoned the procedure in favour of his newly-developed ‘free association’ or ‘talking’ technique. However, Freud’s description of the basic rule of free association still bears a striking resemblance to certain modern methods of hypnotic induction. Struggling with the great expense of time required for psychoanalysis to be successful, Freud later suggested that it might be combined with hypnotic suggestion once more in an attempt to hasten the outcome of treatment,
“It is very probable, too, that the application of our therapy to numbers will compel us to alloy the pure gold of analysis plentifully with the copper of direct suggestion. (S. Freud, Lines of Advance in Psychoanalytic Therapy, 1919).”
Evidence for hypnotherapy
In 1892, the British Medical Association (BMA) commissioned a team of doctors to undertake an extensive evaluation of the nature and effects of hypnotherapy. They reported,
“The Committee, having completed such investigation of hypnotism as time permitted, have to report that they have satisfied themselves of the genuineness of the hypnotic state.” (British Medical Journal, 1892). Adding,
“The Committee are of opinion that as a therapeutic agent hypnotism is frequently effective in relieving pain, procuring sleep, and alleviating many functional ailments [i.e., psycho-somatic complaints and anxiety disorders].” (Ibid.)
This report was approved by the general council of the BMA, thereby forming BMA policy and rendering hypnotherapy a form of ‘orthodox’, as opposed to complementary or alternative, medicine.
Subsequent research on hypnotherapy has tended to highlight three main areas in which its efficacy as a treatment has been demonstrated,
- Pain management.
- Psychosomatic disorders, i.e., stress-related illness.
Hypnotherapy has many other applications but research into its effectiveness has tended to focus upon these issues. More mixed results have been obtained for its efficacy in relation to the treatment of addictions, an area where high relapse is found common with most treatments.
In 1955 the Psychological Medicine Group of the BMA commissioned a subcommittee, led by Prof. T. Ferguson Rodger, to deliver a second, and more comprehensive, report on hypnosis. The subcommittee consulted several experts on hypnosis from various fields, including the eminent neurologist Prof. W. Russell Brain, and the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion. After two years of study and research, its final report was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), under the title ‘Medical use of Hypnotism’. The terms of reference were:
“To consider the uses of hypnotism, its relation to medical practice in the present day, the advisability of giving encouragement to research into its nature and application, and the lines upon which such research might be organised.” (British Medical Journal, 1955)
This is a much more thorough and extensive report and constitutes one of the most significant documents in the history of hypnotherapy research. With regard to efficacy, it concludes from a systematic review of available research that,
“The Subcommittee is satisfied after consideration of the available evidence that hypnotism is of value and may be the treatment of choice in some cases of so-called psycho-somatic disorder and Psychoneurosis. It may also be of value for revealing unrecognised motives and conflicts in such conditions. As a treatment, in the opinion of the Subcommittee it has proved its ability to remove symptoms and to alter morbid habits of thought and behaviour [...]”
“In addition to the treatment of psychiatric disabilities, there is a place for hypnotism in the production of anaesthesia or analgesia for surgical and dental operations, and in suitable subjects it is an effective method of relieving pain in childbirth without altering the normal course of labour.” (‘Medical use of hypnosis’, British Medical Journal, April, 1955)
Soon afterwards, in 1958, the American Medical Association (AMA) commissioned a similar (though more terse) report which endorses the 1955 BMA report and concludes,
“That the use of hypnosis has a recognized place in the medical armamentarium and is a useful technique in the treatment of certain illnesses when employed by qualified medical and dental personnel.” (‘Medical use of hypnosis’, JAMA, 1958)
Again, the AMA council approved this report rendering hypnotherapy an orthodox treatment,
“The Reference Committee on Hygiene, Public Health, and Industrial Health approved the report and commended the Council on Mental Health for its work. The House of Delegates adopted the Reference Committee report.” [...](AMA Proceedings, JAMA, September 1958: 57)
In 1995 the National Institute for Health (NIH), in the US, established a Technology Assessment Conference that compiled an official statement entitled ‘Integration of Behavioral & Relaxation Approaches into the Treatment of Chronic Pain & Insomnia’. This is an extensive report that includes a statement on the existing research in relation to hypnotherapy for chronic pain. It concludes that:
“The evidence supporting the effectiveness of hypnosis in alleviating chronic pain associated with cancer seems strong. In addition, the panel was presented with other data suggesting the effectiveness of hypnosis in other chronic pain conditions, which include irritable bowel syndrome, oral mucositis [pain and swelling of the mucus membrane], temporomandibular disorders [jaw pain], and tension headaches.” (NIH, 1995)
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, vide its letter no. R.14015/25/96-U&H(R) (Pt.) dated 25 November 2003, has very categorically stated that hypnotherapy is a recognised mode of therapy in India to be practiced by only appropriately trained personnel.
- Age regression – by returning to an earlier ego-state, the patient can regain qualities they once had, but have lost. Remembering an earlier, healthier, ego-state can increase the patients’ strength and confidence.
- Revivification – remembering past experiences can contribute to therapy. For example, the hypnotist may ask “have you ever been in trance?” and then find it easier to revive the previous experience than attempt inducing a new state.
- Guided imagery – a method by which the subject is given a new relaxing and beneficial experience.
- Parts therapy – a method pioneered by Charles Tebbetts to identify conflicting parts that are damaging the wellbeing of clients, then help those parts negotiate with each other through the therapist to bring about a resolution.
- Confusion – a method developed by Milton H. Erickson in which the subject is more likely to be receptive to indirect suggestion due to an altered state of confusion.
- Repetition – the more an idea is repeated the more likely it is to be accepted and acted upon by the patient.
- Direct suggestion – suggesting directly “You feel safe and secure”.
- Indirect suggestion – using an ‘interspersal’ technique and other means to cause effect.
- Mental state – people are more receptive when relaxed, sleeping or in a trance.
- Hypnoanalysis – the client recalls moments from his/her past, confronting them and releasing associated emotions; similar to psychoanalysis.
- Post-hypnotic suggestion – a suggestion is conveyed after the trance has ended. “When you re-awaken you will feel refreshed and happy!”
- Visualisation – being told to imagine or visualise a desired outcome seems to make it more likely to actually occur.
S: Generally our day-to-day activities are governed by past impressions which are recorded in our subconscient memory. To change the patterns of our lives, we have to change our past impressions. We have to reach down to the subconscient and change the mindset. At the Centre for Alternative Therapies, the healer mediates and creates a connection between the higher self and the disturbing patterns in the patient. Where the patient participates is in his ability to face those fears that splurge up as a result. Thereby he allows himself to be healed in the disturbing part.
Mikao Usui originated Reiki in 1922 after a twenty-one day retreat on Mount Kurama, involving meditation, fasting, and prayer (18). Usui said that by mystical revelation he had gained the knowledge and spiritual power to apply and attune others to what is called Reiki.
In April 1922, Usui moved to Tokyo and founded the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (Usui Reiki Healing Society) (19).
Usui was an admirer of the literary works of Emperor Meiji, and, in the process of developing his Reiki system, summarised some of the emperor’s works into a set of ethical principles, which later became known as the Reiki Principles — Gokai in Japanese. Many Reiki teachers and practitioners aim to abide by these five principles (20), one translation of which is:
“The secret method of inviting good fortune,
The marvellous medicine for all sickness,
Just for today:
Do not be angry
Do not worry
Work with integrity
Be kind to others.
Every morning and every night, sit in the Gassho position [hands held palm-to-palm] and speak these words out loud in your heart.
For the evolution of body and soul, Usui Reiki Ryoho(21).”
Usui taught over 2,000 students to use Reiki. Sixteen of his students continued their training to reach the Shinpiden level, equivalent to the Western third degree, or master level (22).
Usui died in 1926.
After Usui’s death, Chujiro Hayashi a former student of Usui left the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai and formed his own association. Hayashi simplified the Reiki teachings, stressing physical healing and using a more codified and simpler set of Reiki techniques (23).
Takata stressed the importance of charging money for Reiki treatments and teachings. In 1976, Takata began teaching the Shinpiden stage and introduced the term Reiki master for this level (26). She also fixed a price of $10,000 for the master training.
Reiki teachings claim that there is an inexhaustible, universal ‘life-force’ or ‘spiritual energy’ (30, 31) that can be used to induce a healing effect (32). Believers say that anyone can gain access to this energy (33) by means of an attunement process (34) carried out by a Reiki master (35).
Reiki is described by adherents as a holistic therapy which brings about healing on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels (36). The belief is that the energy will flow through the practitioner’s hands whenever the hands are placed on, or held near a potential recipient, who is clothed (37). Some teachings stress the importance of the practitioner’s intention or presence in this process, while others claim that the energy is drawn by the recipient’s injury to activate or enhance the natural healing processes (38). Going further, there is a belief that the energy is ‘intelligent’ (39), making diagnosis unnecessary.
A second level of training, including another initiation, is said to equip the practitioner to perform Reiki treatments from a distance (40). This method, it is stated, involves the use of special symbols to form a temporary connection between the practitioner and the recipient, regardless of location, and then to send the Reiki energy (41). Techniques are also taught whereby Reiki can be sent to a specific point in time, either in the past or the future (42).
Whole body treatment
In a typical whole-body Reiki treatment (43), the practitioner asks the recipient to lie down, usually on a massage table, and relax. Loose, comfortable clothing is usually worn during the treatment. The practitioner might take a few moments to enter a calm or meditative state of mind and mentally prepare for the treatment (44) that is usually carried out without any unnecessary talking (45).
The treatment proceeds with the practitioner placing his hands on the recipient in various positions. However, practitioners may use a non-touching technique, where the hands are held a few centimetres away from the recipient’s body, for some or all of the positions. The hands are usually kept still for 3 to 5 minutes before moving to the next position. Overall, the hand positions usually give a general coverage of the head, the front and back of the torso, the knees and feet. Between 12 and 20 positions are used, with the whole treatment lasting 45 to 90 minutes (46).
Some practitioners use a fixed set of hand positions. Others use their intuition to guide them as to where treatment is needed (47), sometimes starting the treatment with a ‘scan’ of the recipient to find such areas. The intuitive approach might also lead to individual positions being treated for much shorter or longer periods of time.
It is reported that the recipient often feels warmth or tingling in the area being treated, even when a non-touching approach is being used. A state of deep relaxation, combined with a general feeling of wellbeing, is usually the most noticeable immediate effect of the treatment, although emotional releases can also occur (48). As the Reiki treatment is said to be stimulating natural healing processes, instantaneous ‘cures’ of specific health problems are not usually observed. A series of three or more treatments, typically at intervals of 1 to 7 days, are usually recommended if a chronic condition is being addressed (49). Regular treatments, on an ongoing basis, can be used with the aim of maintaining wellbeing. The interval between such treatments is typically in the range of 1 to 4 weeks, except in the case of self-treatment when daily practice is required (50).
Localised Reiki treatments involve the practitioner’s hands being held on or near a specific part of the body. Recent injuries are usually treated in this way (51), with the site of injury being targeted. There is great variation in the duration of such treatments, though 20 minutes might be typical.
Some practitioners use localised treatments for certain ailments, and some publications have tabulated appropriate hand positions (52). However, other practitioners prefer to use the whole body treatment for all chronic conditions, on the grounds that it has a more holistic effect (53). Another approach is to give a whole body treatment first, followed by localised treatment (54).
The teaching of Reiki outside Japan is commonly divided into three levels, or degrees (55).
The first degree Reiki course (56) teaches the basic theories and procedures. Four ‘attunements’ are given to the student by the teacher (57). Students learn hand placement positions on the recipient’s body that are thought to be most conducive to the process in a whole body treatment (58). Having completed the first degree course, the participant can treat himself and others with Reiki. The course duration is typically two days, although this varies widely (59).
In the second degree Reiki course (60), the student learns the use of three symbols which are said to enhance the strength and distance over which the effect can be exerted (61). Another attunement is given, which is said to further increase the capacity for Reiki to flow through the student, as well as empowering the use of the symbols (62). Having completed the second level, the student can work without being physically present with the recipient (63). The three symbols taught at level 2 are as follows: Cho Ku Rei, a symbol used to increase the power of the healing; Sei He Ki, a symbol generally used for emotional healing; and Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, a symbol used for distance healing. These symbols have other uses, but these are the primary uses taught today.
Third degree or Master training
Through the third degree, or ‘master training’ (64), the student becomes a Reiki Master. (In Reiki terminology, the word ‘master’ does not imply spiritual enlightenment.) One or more attunements are carried out and the student learns a further master-level symbol (65). Having completed the master training, the new Reiki Master can attune other people to Reiki and teach the three degrees of Reiki. The duration of the Master training can be anything from a day to a year or more, depending on the school and philosophy of the Reiki Master giving the training.
There is much variation in training methods, speed and costs. There is no accreditation body for Reiki, or any regulation of the practice. Reiki courses can even be taken over the Internet. Some traditionalists maintain that any method that teaches Reiki ‘quickly’ cannot yield as strong an effect, because there is no substitute for experience and patient mastery of the art (66).
The strongest research conducted as of 2008 has failed to demonstrate that Reiki is an effective treatment for any condition. This systematic review assessed this evidence base, finding nine studies which fit their selection criteria (67). A modified Jadad score of methodological quality was used, taking into account the difficulty of blinding practitioners. Non-randomised studies were excluded and, as the potential for intentional or unintentional bias in such studies was large, the results were rendered uninterpretable. Overall, the methodological quality of the evidence base was found wanting, with even high-ranking studies failing fully to control for placebo effects and most studies suffering “methodological flaws such as small sample size, inadequate study design and poor reporting (68).” As trials with such flaws are known to be likely to show exaggerated treatment effects, there is insufficient evidence to indicate that Reiki is effective as sole or adjuvant therapy for any medical condition, or that it has any benefits beyond possible placebo effects (69,70).
• Heals cause and eliminates effect of the imbalance.
• Does not conflict with religious beliefs.
• Is an alternative, natural healing and helping method.
• Can be combined with other healing methods.
• Minimises feelings of helplessness when faced with a crisis situation.
• Releases accumulated daily stress.
• Lasts a lifetime.
• Promotes from within qualities of loving, caring, growing, compassion, trusting, self-actualising, goodwill, peace and serenity.
• Is an intelligent energy which goes to areas of greatest need.
• Reiki starts to flow when you touch something: it’s always on.
Pranic Healing is an ancient science and art that has been adapted and systematised by the founder of modern Pranic Healing, Choa Kok Sui. It has been used to heal countless people. The principle is simple. We know that every living being possesses the inborn ability to heal itself. Pranic Healing simply enhances this healing process by utilising the energy of life. This energy is called ‘Prana’ (life-force) in Sanskrit.
For those who are on a quest for spirituality, Pranic Healing can help too. Pranic Healing goes beyond just mental or physical or even emotional healing. It provides the right training and scope for those who are interested in spiritual practices, and offers a structured platform for achieving illumination through soul-realisation and later, God realisation.
To promote health and the knowledge of Pranic Healing, 17 Pranic Healing Foundations have been set up in 10 states across India along with active Pranic Healers Associations and Pranic Healing centres in many other states. All the Pranic Healing Foundations in India are affiliated to the All India Yoga Vidya Pranic Healing Foundations Trust, which was set up in Bangalore in 1996 by Master Choa Kok Sui.
The All India Yoga Vidya Pranic Healing Foundations Trust is in turn linked to the World Praanic Healing Foundation, Inc. in Manila, Philippines — the organisation that oversees the promotion of Praanic Healing throughout the developing world.
There is a saying that goes, “Life is breath and breath is life”. So long as there is breath in the body there is life.
Our physical health, mental balance and emotional stability are all affected by the manner in which we breathe. When we breathe well our respiratory system works at its best, by using the full capacity of our lungs. There is a remarkable improvement in digestive, circulation and eliminative process. This improves our state of mind and physically we feel better. The quality of breathing also affects the functioning of all the systems of the body and the quality of life.
Improper breathing is the root cause of a number of illnesses. People get habituated to their usual breathing, become droopy and lazy which they consider as normal. Good breathing techniques have many benefits. A good breath is slow, full, deep and rhythmic. It:
- Improves the sleep pattern
- Aids in calming the mind, nerves and emotion.
- Improves all mental processes including concentration and memory.
- Releases tension.
- Supplies more oxygen to the body cells and so blood is purified.
- Helps to overcome tiredness and rejuvenate energy.
When we breathe in or inhale, oxygen is absorbed in. As we breathe out or exhale waste-products are thrown out in the form of carbon dioxide.
Pranayama and clinical breathing exercises are used for different diseases.
Creative visualisation refers to the practice of seeking to affect the outer world via changing one’s thoughts (71). Creative visualisation is the basic technique underlying positive thinking (72) and is frequently used by athletes to enhance their performance (73, 74). The concept originally arose in the US with the nineteenth century New Thought movement. One of the first to practice the technique of creative visualization was Wallace Wattles (1860 – 1911), who wrote The Science of Getting Rich (75).
It is a tool anyone can use to help foster healing. By providing positive pictures (creative imagery) and self-suggestion, visualisation can change emotions that subsequently have a physical effect on the body.
One can create every positive feeling through right visualisation. This may help in providing relief. Sounds simple, but does it work? Can what we think actually have an effect on healing?
Bodies do react to the thoughts you make. Our psychological/emotional state affects the endocrine system. For example, the emotion of fear is related to adrenaline. If no feeling of fear exists, there is no adrenaline and the same applies in reverse – no adrenaline, no fear. They work in relationship to each other. Wherever a thought goes, there is a body chemical reaction.
“Perhaps one of the most important lessons he teaches us is that everyone has the innate ability to help himself and others. It is not the ‘practitioner’ who is the healer, but the person receiving the energy. Only we can heal ourselves, just as only we can digest our own food.”
— Richard Gordon
Everything vibrates. When two things vibrate at different frequencies, there is a tendency for the vibrations to come together. Most often, the slower vibration will rise to match the faster frequency. There are many kinds of examples of entrainment: over time, similarly tuned electric oscillators will match frequencies; disembodied animal hearts when placed near each other and kept alive in a lab will all beat in unison; and when women share a dormitory, over months they will often start menstruating at the same time.
Quantum touch uses resonance and entrainment to facilitate healing. The practitioner learns to raise his or her vibration and create a high level of energy. If that energy-field is placed around an area of pain, stress, inflammation or disease, that part of the body will entrain to the higher frequency and allow one’s own biological intelligence to do whatever healing it deems necessary.
When the practitioner holds a high vibrational field of life-force energy around an affected area, she or he facilitates healing through the process of resonance and entrainment.
Quantum touch actually provides healing energy for the practitioner as well as for the person seeking healing. Using Quantum touch breathing and body awareness exercises, the practitioner can hold an extraordinarily high vibration, influencing the person in need of healing to match the vibration of the practitioner. The practitioner will not become drained from doing the work. Most often, the practitioner feels emotionally uplifted as a result!
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19. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. “Reiki: An Introduction”, nccam.nih.gov/health/reiki/. Accessed November 13, 2008.
22.^ Hayashi’s teachings: (Lübeck,Petter,Rand 2001 p17,ch19)
23.^ Hayashi trained Takata: (Ellyard 2004 p13)
24. ^ Takata’s Reiki practice and teaching in the US: (Ellyard 2004 p15)
25. ^ Start of Takata’s teaching of Reiki Masters: (Ellyard 2004 p15)
26. ^ Death of Takata: (Ellyard 2004 p16); some sources give the year of death as 1980: (Petter 1997 p21), (Veltheim, Veltheim 1995 p26)
27. ^ Takata trained 22 Reiki Masters: (Ellyard 2004 p14), (Veltheim, Veltheim 1995 p26), (Petter 1997 p20)
28. ^ Significance of Takata in bringing Reiki out of Japan: (Ellyard 2004 p14,16), (Veltheim, Veltheim 1995 p26)
29. ^ Reiki is inexhaustible. McKenzie 1998 p18; Boräng 1997 p9
30. ^ Reiki as universal life force energy: Lübeck,Petter,Rand 2001 p62; McKenzie 1998 p18; Ellyard 2004 p75; (Lübeck 1994 p13); (Boräng 1997 p8)
31. ^ McKenzie 1998 p18; Lübeck,Petter,Rand 2001 p14,68; Veltheim,Veltheim 1995 p30; Ellyard 2004 p27
32. ^ Anyone can be attuned to Reiki: (Lübeck,Petter,Rand 2001 p8); (Veltheim,Veltheim 1995 p35); (Ellyard 2004 p77)
34. ^ Stenger, Victor J. (1999). “The Physics of ‘Alternative Medicine’ Bioenergetic Fields“. Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine 3 (1). doi:10.1126/science.134.3489.1501 (inactive 26 June 2008), http://www.sram.org/0301/bioenergetic-fields.html. Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
35. ^ Recipient may be clothed: (Lübeck 1994 p48); (McKenzie 1998 p81); (Boräng 1997 p10,36)
36. ^ Reiki activates or enhances natural healing: (McKenzie 1998 p18); (Veltheim,Veltheim 1995 p78,93); (Gollagher 1998 p24)
37. ^ Reiki is ‘intelligent’: (Ellyard 2004 p28,29); (Boräng 1997 p10).
40. ^ Second level allows distance healing: (Ellyard 2004 p107); (McKenzie 1998 p56); (Lübeck 1994 p155); (Veltheim,Veltheim 1995 p119)
41. ^ Use of symbols for connection during distant healing: (McKenzie 1998 p39); (Ellyard 2004 p110)
42. ^ Reiki can be sent to past or future: (McKenzie 1998 p39); (Ellyard 2004 p115); (Lübeck 1994 p155)
43. ^ Whole body treatment: (Lübeck 1994 ch4,ch5); (McKenzie 1998 p84); (Ellyard 2004 p45); (Lübeck,Petter,Rand 2001 ch20); (Veltheim,Veltheim 1995 p79); (Petter 1997 p50,55); (Boräng 1997 p36)
44. ^ Mental preparation by practitioner at start of treatment: (Ellyard 2004 p46)
45. ^ Minimum talking during formal treatments: (Ellyard 2004 p45)
46. ^ Duration of whole body treatment: (Ellyard 2004 p41)
47. ^ Use of intuition: (Usui,Petter 2003 p17)
48. ^ Immediate effects of treatment: (Ellyard 2004 p44)
49. ^ Frequency of treatment of others: (Ellyard 2004 p41)
50. ^ Frequency of self-treatment: (Ellyard 2004 p41)
51. ^ Treatment of injuries: (McKenzie 1998 p110); (Ellyard 2004 p70); (Veltheim,Veltheim 1995 p77)
53. ^ Hand positions for specific ailments: (Usui,Petter 2003 p49-67); (Lübeck 1994 p173-184)
54. ^ Localized treatment following on from whole body treatment: (McKenzie 1998 p105)
55. ^ Reiki is taught in 3 levels: (McKenzie 1998 p54); (Veltheim,Veltheim 1995 p117); (Petter 1997 p38)
56. ^ First degree course content: (McKenzie 1998 p54); (Veltheim,Veltheim 1995 p118); (Petter 1997 p38)
57. ^ Effect of 4 attunements in 1st level: (Ellyard 2004 p37)
58. ^ Teaching of hand positions during First degree course: (Baginski, Sharamon 1988 p48), (Petter 1997 p39)
59. ^ Duration of First degree course: (Baginski, Sharamon 1988 p46), (Petter 1997 p38)
60. ^ Second degree course content: (McKenzie 1998 p56); (Veltheim,Veltheim 1995 p119); (Petter 1997 p43)
61. ^ Teaching of symbols in Second Degree: (Ellyard 2004 p81)
62. ^ Effect of 2nd level attunement: (Ellyard 2004 p81)
63. ^ Healing at a distance taught during Second Degree course: (Petter 1997 p43)
64. ^ Master training: (McKenzie 1998 p58); (Veltheim,Veltheim 1995 p120-124); (Petter 1997 p47-49)
65. ^ Content of master training: (Ellyard 2004 ch16,ch17)
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