Healing is based on the principle that there is a universal energy – or ‘Chi’ - which exists all around, is available to everybody, and which can be used for the purpose of restoring harmony, balance and health.
Traditionally, healers conducted their treatment in the name of a god or spirit and today many practitioners still believe in a spiritual presence behind their work. However, the patient is not required to have any specific set of beliefs: even the most sceptical person can benefit from energy healing.
Rather than possessing Chi themselves, healers believe that they are simply the channel through which the energy passes. During a healing session, the practitioner draws in the Chi that is around them and directs it towards the person they are treating. By doing this, healers are able to trigger changes in the patient’s own energy field, resulting feelings of relaxation, wellbeing and rejuvenation. Some consider this channelling of energy a gift exclusive to only a few people, but others argue anyone can do it with practice.
There are many different forms of healing:
- Spiritual healers believe that they are channels for a healing force which can pass through them and into the energy field of the person they are treating.
- Absent healers work by visualising and transferring a healing energy from a universal energy source to someone who is physically removed from them.
- Aura healers say that they can see ‘aura’ - or bands of changing colours which represent an aura - around the person being treated which reflects their state of health. They believe that they can influence these aura by placing their hands on or near the person’s head and visualising healing colours.
- Spiritualist healers claim that whilst they are in a trance, a force from the spirit world performs healing by taking over their body and using it as a medium.
- Faith healers believe that the patient’s faith in their ability to heal is essential. Without this faith, there can be no cure.
Many people are convinced of the benefits of healing, but there is much debate as to how it actually works, with no sound explanation. Many medical practitioners are sceptical, with a significant number of doctors attributing any positive effects of healing to the ‘placebo effect’ or ‘autosuggestion’. But recently healing has become more widely accepted, and healers can now be found in some clinics and hospitals – although the popularity of healing still varies from country to country.
How can it help in Parkinson's?
Healing is not regulated in many countries. It is therefore a good idea to ask your doctor or other healthcare professional for recommendations. Friends, family, other people with Parkinson’s or your national Parkinson’s association may also be able to advise based on personal experience.
It is advisable to see a healer who has experience of Parkinson’s healing so do ask about their experience of the condition.
Although there is little scientific evidence to support the benefits of healing generally and particularly in Parkinson’s, those who have tried this treatment say that it triggers feelings of wellbeing and calm - which can be beneficial to family and carers too. In a survey conducted by the Parkinson’s Disease Society (UK) in 1998, 80% of people who tried healing said that it had helped them, although the benefits tended to be psychological rather than physical.
Whilst the benefits of healing are unclear, it can provide a positive energy that may help to combat feelings of negativity. The sense of calm and soothing that healing can bring may also help allay feelings of depression. Some practitioners claim healing is also successful for relieving pain, skin problems, stress management and insomnia.
What should I expect at an appointment?
As healing is not regulated in many countries, it is a good idea to ask your doctor or other healthcare professional for recommendations. Friends, family, other people with Parkinson’s or your national Parkinson’s association may also be able to advise based on personal experience.
It is advisable to see a therapist who has experience of Parkinson’s so do ask about their experience of the condition as well as their qualifications.
Depending on the school of healing your practitioner belongs to, you may meet in a clinic, your home, the healer’s home or a place of worship. You will generally be asked some questions about your condition, medical history and lifestyle, and the healer will spend a little time ‘centring’ themselves, or attuning themselves to you. You may be asked to sit or lie down – fully clothed - and the healer will probably stand or sit next to you.
The healer will lightly place their hands on you, or hold them two to three inches above your body in order that the healing energy flows through them. He or she will then make sweeping movements in order to conduct the energy, direct it to where it’s needed, and detect any imbalances or blockages in your own energy field. Candles, crystals and soft music may be used.
When receiving healing, you may experience sensations of tingling, heat or coolness. This won’t be painful and will soon pass. Some people have found the treatment so relaxing they have had to go home afterwards to rest.
A healing session can be very short, just a few minutes of actual healing, or as long as an hour. Generally a course of up to 10 sessions will be required as instant cures are extremely rare.