Flower essences are the vibrational imprint of the lifeforce of a
plant or flower that has been transferred and stabilized in water. They contain no
scent, perfume or chemical components of the plant. Flower essences differ from
essential oils used in Aromatherapy. An essential oil is an extraction taken from
using large numbers of plants or flowers. The scent plays an important role in the
promotion of healing through aromatherapy. Flower essences are often taken
internally in a tincture form, but can also be used topically in a bath, on the skin or on
Dr. Edward Bach pioneered the use of flower essences in the
1920’s. His intuition led him to the beautiful English countryside, and to the
flowers which he knew had healing properties. He initially chose thirty eight
flowering plants and trees which he processed by various methods. This produced a
concentrated essence, which he then mixed with water and a small amount of alcohol as a
Dr. Bach believed that negative emotions were at the core of many
illnesses. He said, “Disease of the body, as we know it, is a result, an end
product of something much deeper. Disease originates above the physical plane,
nearer to the mental. It is a result of a conflict between our spiritual and mental
selves. So long as these two are in harmony, we are in health; but when there is
discord, there follows what we know as disease.”
In a 1983 article in the New York Times titled, “Emotions Found
to Influence Nearly Every Human Ailment,” stated that health problems, such as high
blood pressure, asthma, allergies, heart disease, headaches and ulcers are linked to
stress. Dr. Bach pioneered this thinking and was ahead of his time, as many
physicians now accept this thinking to be true.
How do Flower Essences work, and what are they used for?
Dr. Bach said, “The action of these remedies is to raise our
vibrations, and open our channels for the reception of our spiritual self; to flood our
natures with the particular virtue we need, and wash out from us the fault which is
Flower essences are excellent for eliminating negative or limiting
patterns of behavior or thinking. They help us to better cope with stress and
trauma, helping to create clarity and balance.
By selecting flower essences that remedy particular emotions, the
healing properties act as an antidote. They never repress emotional imbalances, they
are catalysts for their release.
They are not to be used as a replacement for medical or
psychological treatment when indicated, but can be used in combination with other types of
treatment with excellent results. They are non-toxic and can be used with
They are also safe for pets and children. More and more
parents and animal owners are using flower essence remedies as a drugless alternative to
emotional and behavioral problems.
What are the results of using flower essences?
Some of the results of using flower essences are a reduction of
stress, greater clarity about life direction, improved relationships with others and ease
of coping with trauma and challenging life situations. A study done at the
California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco in 1979, showed that the beliefs
of the user did not affect the working of the essences.
How do I begin using them?
Individual flower essences are available in many health and herb
stores. Custom designed essences must be obtained from a flower essence
Acupuncture is a unique method of holistic healing that is a least
5,000 years old, making it the oldest known form of medicine. There are a great
number of schools of acupuncture scattered across the countries of East Asia, Europe and
North America, and there are as many styles or traditions of this healing art.
There are three fundamental points which, when taken together,
distinguish acupuncture as a healing modality:
- Acupuncturists manipulate, move and nourish the vital force, or qi,
of a person by the use of ultrafine needles, herbs and life-style changes. The
quality and quantity of qi is evaluated by a complex and subtle reading of the twelve
major pulses and secondary ones, as well as by a person’s energetic presentation of color,
sound, odor and emotion.
- Although a person can be wonderfully treated with acupuncture
symptomatically, i.e., by specifically targeting local areas or a single organ, the
greatest healing occurs when the body’s own natural healing abilities are activated. By
this method, not only is the body-mind considered, but the state of one’s spirit is
assessed, this will result in much more profound and long-lasting healing. This is
acupuncture’s greatest strength; for while a Western physician is limited to treating the
body, and in some ways the mind, when the spirit is healed, the body-mind spontaneously
release their symptoms.
- Acupuncturists treat a person living in an environment, rather than a
person separate from the world around them. Western science has made great advances in its
reductionist logic, however, this reasoning has spilled over into the very fabric of our
lives. I recall an asthma study at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in which
acupuncturists were invited to participate to determine the effectiveness of treatment.
The researchers wanted to study asthma artificially induced by drugs. Th
acupuncturists’ treatment was simply to stop taking the drugs, resulting in 100%
The practice of acupuncture, then, is about living rightly upon the
earth, so that one does not create suffering in others or oneself by one’s decisions,
thoughts and actions. This is achieved by nourishing the spirit, whether this be
accomplished by changing one’s life or by thoughtful treatment.
To select a practitioner it is, above all else, necessary to find someone who is a good
fit, someone you respect and like being with. Look for a practitioner who will be your
partner in supporting your life and spirit. Ask friends and family, anyone you know whom
your trust , if they know of a good practitioner. These people will be your best sources.
If no one you can help you find a good practitioner look in the phone book or call a
Once you contact a practitioner there are a few questions which may
help you decide it this one is for you:
—What training has this person had?
Many M.D.’s and chiropractors can legally practice acupuncture in some jurisdictions with
little training. A fully trained acupuncturist will have at least a
master’s degree in acupuncture, an M.Ac. or an O.M.D., doctorate of Oriental medicine,
available only overseas. While practitioners without these training’s may be superb, it is
wisest to choose someone who is fully trained in acupuncture and oriental medicine, rather
than someone who is trained in Western medicine with a few weekend courses in acupuncture.
–Will my insurance cover acupuncture?
Some policies do and others don’t. You need to talk with your
insurance company about coverage. Even if your company does not pay it is up to you to get
the care that you need. A major part of healing is to take charge of one’s own
health, including who you go to and for what reasons. Compassionate healers will work with
you to make your healing affordable and workable.
–Will the needles hurt?
The mildness or severity of sensation varies greatly from person to
person and from one point on the body to another. The needles themselves are solid,
slender instruments, and any pain is not the result of contact with a nerve, but rather
with one’s own qi which is caught, waiting to be freed by the needle. It is this sudden
movement of energy which is felt, sometimes as pain, often as a mild sensation. Most
people feel some sensation of one kind or another.
Acupuncture and Eastern medicine are remarkable means of healing,
which create subtle and profound changes in a person’s health and well being.
By David D. Vandenberg, Ph.D., M.Ac
The Center for Classical Acupuncture
of David’s Practice)
Shamanism is an ancient tradition of knowledge of the unseen that is
cross-cultural. It is thought to predate all known religions and philosophies.
While shamans do not have a fixed dogma or religion, they do believe in the web of
power that sustains all life. According to shamanism, all things in the environment
are alive and inter-connected with the human world.
Dr. Roger N. Walsh in his book The Spirit of Shamanism
this definition: “Shamanism can be defined as a family of traditions whose
practitioners focus on voluntarily entering altered states of consciousness in which they
experience themselves or their spirits, traveling to other realms at will, and interacting
with other entities in order to serve their community.” The shamanic
journey is the most common of the shamanic practices. It is usually induced
by a rhythmic sound of a drum or rattle, and is often used to contact the
practitioners’ guides in spirit. The shamanic journey is used for physical and
emotional healing, personal guidance and spiritual expansion. It brings the
practitioner in touch with what Carlos Castaneda called “non-ordinary
According to Jose and Lena Steven’s book Secrets of
Shamanism, shamanic practitioners have the following knowledge and characteristics:
· They know about energy, how it works in many forms. They
have an intense relationship with the spirit body and can communicate with it.
· They have the ability to journey for knowledge, insight, awareness, messages and
· They know how to work with and interpret symbols, and can bring symbols alive through
· They know how to heal others. They have excellent insight into others’
personalities and character.
· They are disciplined and persistent in their attempts to gain power and apply it for
the good of all concerned.
One of the symbols that arises during the journey process is Totem
or Power Animals. They have been a part of many traditions throughout
history including the North American Indians. They often appear during a
journey to assist and guide the practitioner. Each animal possesses its own
spiritual qualities or “medicine”. For example, a eagle represents
spiritual vision, enlightenment and freedom. A shamanic practitioner can journey to
retrieve the totem animal for another person and to bring home the qualities that animal
brings into daily life. We have totem animals that come to us at different stages in
our lives to assist with whatever lessons we are dealing with at that time. The animals
that are encountered on the journey can have profound meaning and are helpful to discern
the inner qualities of the practitioner or the person or people he/she is journeying for.
The gifts they bring are power and healing.
Soul Retrieval is another service provided by a
shamanic practitioner. Soul Retrieval is necessary when a person has experienced
what is called soul loss, in which an individual loses a part of his or
her spiritual energy. The causes of soul loss are many with most people experiencing
some degree of soul loss in their lifetime. Children are particularly vulnerable to
soul loss at the hands of adults. Soul loss is often associated with physical or
sexual abuse, death of a loved one or severe or chronic illness. Repressed,
forgotten and gaps in memory could also be an effect of soul loss. This concept is
becoming more prevalent with contemporary health professionals such as Carolyn Myss, PhD,
who recommends “calling your spirit back.” Today many of us are realizing that
we are not completely whole. We may not feel “all together” or “all
here.” A shamanic practitioner can assist a person with soul loss by journeying
on their behalf to uncover how and when the separation occurred and to return the missing
soul part or energy to the person.
Below is a list of symptoms of soul loss:
· Fear of trusting others.
· Low Self-Esteem.
· Shame. Generalized and in reaction to specific behaviors.
· Feelings of powerlessness.
· Inability to make decisions. Inability to think for oneself.
· Difficulty in relationships. Fear of intimacy.
· A history of any kind of abuse as victim and/or perpetrator.
· Addiction, co-dependence, obsessive/compulsive personality.
· Chronic pain, depression, anxiety.
Soul Retrieval is an excellent adjunct therapy to traditional
psychotherapy and a growing number of therapists are consulting shamanic practitioners to
assist their clients. The gifts of Soul Retrieval are increased personal power,
clarity of purpose and life direction, healing of physical injury and illness and a shift
to a positive state of consciousness.
With the pressures in our changing world environment and with the
increasing interest in personal growth and healing, shamanic work is timely and powerful.
Irma Kaye Sawyer resides in Huntington Beach,
California. She is a shamanic practitioner, Reiki master, writer and is a member of
the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. (Listing
for Irma’s Practice)
She can be reached at (714) 271-0052
“HEALTH MAGNETS” Science’s newest wonder for many
No home should be without them. Scientists explain that magnetic fields attract and
repel charged particles in the blood, creating movement and heat. This process is believed
to cause the blood vessels to dilate, encouraging better blood circulation and pain
The healing power of magnets to relieve pain has been the subject of numerous news
reports the past few years. Testimonials from professional athletes have fueled renewed
interest in this ancient form of healing. Today many professional athletes in tennis,
golf, football, and baseball, recognize and are utilizing magnetic therapy for lower back
pain, arthritic joints, muscle atrophy and other sports related pains. It is estimated 20
golfers on the PGA senior tour would not be playing were it not for their use of magnets.
As recently as April 1998 Readers Digest reported a study of Magnets in the relief of
pain. Twenty-two out of 29 patients reported improvement in 45 minutes. NBC TV and ABC TV
have shown many programs on the use of magnets to heal pains. In December 1997, the New
York Times reported successful results of a clinical study using low intensity magnets for
pain reduction with patients suffering from post polio discomfort.
The ancient Greeks were the first to use the word magnet, after a Greek shepherd named
Magnes noticed the nails in his sandals became attracted to a magnetic rock. In 200 BC
Greek physician Galen’s ninth book of writings entitled “De Simplicium
Medicamentorum” mention is made of a magnet’s energies being used in purgative
arrests and openings … far older than the recorded science of acupuncture. Dr. Hau To,
born in China between AD 140 and 150, was the developer of acupuncture. Healers in ancient
China, India and Egypt used natural magnets to treat a wide variety of ailments. Aristotle
wrote about the therapeutic value of magnets, & Cleopatra supposedly wore a lodestone
on her forehead to prevent aging!!
Paracelsus promoted the use of magnets in Europe in the 1500’s. Franz Mesmer popularized
the use of magnets for healing in the 1700’s. Interest in magnets in the U.S. was
popularized by Benjamin Franklin’s experiments with electricity. After the Civil War, the
Sears Roebuck catalog advertised a wide variety of magnetic jewelry and clothing. In the
late 1800’s, Daniel Palmer, founder of the Palmer method of chiropractic, emphasized the
use of magnets for healing, along with massage and manipulation.
As can be seen, throughout history man has believed magnets are beneficial for the relief
of various ailments, including muscle pains, irritated joints, headaches, bad circulation
and other common maladies. Magnetism is one of the primary forces in the Universe,
impacting all life on earth. Electricity and magnetism are intimately related. Every life
form contains a magnetic field within it. Every living cell contains electromagnetic
For more information on magnets or how to buy or
sell them contact Cindy Napolitan at (800) 358-1900 or Email her at email@example.com
Feng Shui is the ancient
Chinese system of environmental placement, based on the understanding that the world is
completely alive – all things have chi, the universal life energy – with everything,
including buildings, streets and property, interconnected in a dynamic relationship that
affects everything we experience.
In a Feng Shui consultation, a certified Feng Shui practitioner visits
your home (or office), taking into account the location of the structure in the
neighborhood, the lot on which it sits, the inside of the structure and each room. Using
spiritual techniques learned in training, and understanding the Ba-Gua, the practitioner
addresses those areas of your life that you would like to have impacted in a positive way.
Making often simple Feng Shui adjustments in our environments allows for the most
beneficial flow of chi, creating greater health, harmony and
abundance. The growing popularity of Feng Shui is the direct result of its extraordinary effects on the
people it touches. These include improved health, more rewarding relationships, and an
increase in happiness and prosperity. Whether you want to transform your home into a
personal paradise or your workplace into a powerhouse, Feng Shui can make the difference.
By Karen Post, North Jersey Feng
In the Marketplace
By Asa Huggett
I stood for a moment looking at the small stone in my hand. I noticed it had a tiny
hole in it. I smiled, nodded to the Indio woman who had just handed it to me and said
“Muchas gracias”. Something important had just happened, but I couldn’t quite
grasp it. My western mind was still entangled in it’s old ways.
I had been wandering through the Indio market which fills the plazas and squares of
Cusco in the evenings. Everywhere you looked there was another plaza filled with
Peruvians, blankets spread, shop doors open, tables and carts piled high with their goods.
The mall of the Andes. It was wonderful.
I was in the market that night searching for a particular type of stone, a meteorite, a
stone from the stars. Earlier in the day our expedition guide, Gato, had taken us to a
shop where he knew they might be available and, indeed the proprietor had several, but
Gato said the price of 120 soles (about $40) was outrageous and would not let us purchase
them. Gato advised us to go to the marketplace that evening and search out our meteorites
So, I wandered the marketplace that night with two friends, taking in the sights and
sounds, buying gifts for family and friends. This was our first and last opportunity to
shop as most of our time had been spent high up in the mountains and sacred ruins. We were
here with our teacher Alberto Villoldo, to meet with his teachers and friends, the elders
and medicine people of the Q’ero nation. The Q’ero are said to be the descendents of the
Inka who have lived in isolated villages at 16,000 – 17,000 feet in the heights of the
Andes. This was where they had fled 500 years ago when their lands were engulfed by the
Conquistadors and where they had kept their prophesies and traditions clear and alive.
Then in the 1950’s they were discovered and their lives were opened to the modem world
that had passed them by.
The Inka prophesies had foretold the coming together of the eagle of North America and
the condor of South America, that the two would some day fly together again. So, when
Alberto Villodo, a North American anthropologist came to the Q’ero over twenty years ago,
he was taken into their world, and trained as a master shaman in the traditions of not
only the Q’ero, but absorbing the teachings of the coastal and jungle shamans as well. He
became a piece of the bridge between the worlds. Now he, with the assistance of Cusco born
shaman Jose Luis Herrera, bring Alberto’s students to the mountains, to visit sacred
sites, to do ceremony with the elders and undergo their rites of passage with the medicine
It was an intense trip. One of the gifts of this journey was to have the opportunity to
observe and engage with the cosmology or operating principle through which the indigenous
people live their lives. The primary force of their Universe is based in reciprocity, or
ayni (eye-nee) which honors the interconnectedness and interdependency of all things – or
in “New Age” language, what goes around comes around. But to these people this
is not something to be talked about or put on a bumper sticker, it is a belief to be
lived, and they live it every day.
Their world is alive, animated, all things have spirit, have energy that must be
acknowledged and honored. They have a profound relationship with the natural world, still
living in the Garden that we as Judeo-Christians were expelled from long ago. The Mother
Earth, Pachamama, still holds them sweetly and they are very aware of all that she and her
elements provide. They honor this gift of life on earth through ceremony and by gifting
back to the earth symbolic offerings in a ceremony called a despacho.
There are many forms of despacho ceremony, but we were particularly honored to
participate in an ayni (reciprocity) despacho ceremony with Don Manuel Quispe in the
sacred ruins of Machu Picchu. This offering of gratitude to Pachamama, Mother Earth, takes
the form of a beautiful mandala created with natural ingredients of coca leaves, flower
petals, nuts, grains, shells, wine, candies and many, many prayers. Watching Don Manuel
create the despacho, filling it with beauty and sweetness was like wrapping my own heart
around it, filling it to overflowing with love and gratitude for life on this earth path.
It was an incredibly sweet and humbling experience, one that brought me to a place of
ayni, a place of commitment to service, balance and harmony, the shaman’s path.
It wasn’t until the long night flight from Lima to Miami that I again thought of the
woman in the marketplace. What had happened there? As I dozed, uncomfortable from long
hours in the plane, it came to me. When I had asked her the price of the meteorite she had
replied 3 0 soles, or the equivalent of about $ 10. I was thrilled. I had found just what
I had been looking for and at a great price. I had said “Ah, bueno” and
immediately dug 30 soles out of my money pouch and handed it to her. She had taken the
bills and then paused. I wonder now how she had considered my gringo ignorance. Did she
look at me with sorrow or only with mild amusement? I had not bartered with her over the
price of the meteorite. She had named a price and I had immediately agreed. I was supposed
to bargain with her, to go back and forth so that we might come into agreement about the
value of this stone. I had blown it, had apparently paid more than she felt it was worth,
and in doing so had thrown both of us out of balance, out of ayni with the Universe. We
were now both in disharmony. And so she, with her ancient knowledge and gracious wisdom,
had handed me another stone with a tiny hole, saying, “Senorita, for you” and
so, gently shifted the energies of the Universe, once again bringing the two of us back
into balance, into ayni. Muchas gracias, Senora.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered from back pain. Although I
have experienced some relief using heat, cold, massage, chiropractic and
acupuncture, invariably the pain has always returned. Until one day I
visited a friend who had similar back problems. She told me she had some
body work done called Bowen. Her back and hip pain were gone after just one
I was definitely intrigued. I couldn’t wait to find out more. When I
arrived back home I got on the internet and learned that the Bowen Technique
involves a series of very gentle rolling moves on the body using thumbs and
fingers. It was developed in Australia in the 1950’s by Thomas Bowen, a
gifted healer who devised a simple but powerful method for releasing pain.
Hoping to find a Bowen practitioner near me, I emailed close to 40
practitioners and asked if they could refer me to someone. After 39 “no’s”
I got one “yes!” I arranged to have three Bowen sessions. After the third
session, my back pain and sciatica were “history!” I got so excited I
decided to train to become a Bowen practitioner.
Tom Bowen was a gifted natural healer from Australia. Late in life he
discovered he had an unusual gift that allowed him to intuitively know what
was ailing people and how to help them relieve their pain. His healing
technique is unique in that it was developed without him having had any
previous medical or healthcare training.
He claimed he could feel tiny vibrations in people’s muscles that helped him
find the exact location to work on. He spoke of his skill with great
humility and frequently stated that his work was “simply a gift from God.”
Tom had the capacity to quickly assess what was wrong with someone and where
they were out of balance. He could look into a room full of people, glance
at them for about 20 seconds, and know what their problems were. Although
he never advertised, it was estimated that he treated over 13,000 people in
the course of one year, and he claimed a success rate of about 88%!
Like Palmer (Chiropractic), Rolf®, (Rolfing®), Feldenkrais (Feldenkrais
Technique) and Usui (Reiki), Tom Bowen had a unique talent. He dedicated
his life to turning his gift into a practical application that has proven to
be of great benefit to thousands of people all over the world.
A Unique Technique
The Bowen Technique is quite unique. There are several features that set it
apart from other modalities
It is so gentle that you hardly notice you’re being touched. People usually
become very relaxed right away, and often fall asleep during a session.
Rapid pain relief is common. Most pain and injury will respond within two
or three sessions.
People often experience a deep and long-lasting relief. Two to three
sessions spaced one week apart are usually enough to achieve lasting relief,
even from long-standing pain or injury.
There is no one who cannot be treated safely with Bowen. It is so gentle,
it can be used on babies, pregnant women, the elderly and the disabled. It
is not dangerous to those suffering from chronic illness and it is ideal for
treating children because it is non-invasive and non-threatening.
Two Minute Pauses
It is a unique feature of the Bowen Technique that there are two minute
breaks in which the practitioner actually leaves the room. These pauses are
crucial as they allow the body time to absorb the “messages” presented by
There is no cracking, no force and no needles. There is little discomfort
or pain involved because there is no heavy pressure or hard probing into
sensitive muscles or joints.
Less Is More
The practitioner does the minimum needed to bring about a healing response
in the body. The more acute the pain, the less they do. The less they do,
the more profound the effect on the body.
Great First Aid Tool
When you apply the Bowen Technique right after a fall, injury or accident,
the release of tension acts in a preventive way to help correct any
imbalance before it can adversely affect the body.
Easy To Learn
The technique is easy to learn. There is only one basic move.
How Does Bowen Work?
The gentle yet powerful Bowen moves send neurological impulses to the brain
resulting in immediate responses of muscle relaxation and pain reduction.
The moves create energy surges which are concentrated in specific areas of
the body using “blockers” or “stoppers.” These are released when you stand
The Bowen Technique helps the body remember how to heal itself. Electrical
impulses sent to the nervous system remind the body to regain normal
movement in joints, muscles and tendons. This helps relieve muscle spasms
and increase blood and lymph flow. Several of the moves are located along
acupuncture meridians or on specific acupuncture points which are known to
stimulate and balance the body’s energy.
A Bowen Session
A Bowen treatment lasts about 30-45 minutes. No oils are used. Treatment
can be done through clothing or directly on the skin. The practitioner
“rolls” over the muscles with her fingers, which causes the muscles to
relax. The moves are done in groups. Between sets, the practitioner leaves
the room for at least two minutes to allow the body to relax and make its
The moves send out signals which:
* stimulate energy flow;
* facilitate lymphatic drainage of toxins and waste;
* promote good circulation;
* release tension;
* increase mobility;
* encourage the body to relax, realign and heal itself.
Some people feel shifts in their bodies during and after a Bowen session.
While many experience immediate pain relief, improvement is just as likely
to unfold over the next few days to a week. Two or three treatments are
usually enough to achieve long-lasting relief. Even long-term conditions
may respond very quickly.
The ideal situation is to give the Bowen Technique a try for 3 sessions,
once per week, without having any other kind of bodywork in between.
Surprising and Unexpected Recoveries
People with chronic disabilities such as chronic fatigue syndrome, MS,
fibromyalgia, cerebal palsy, muscular dystrophy and arthritis have been
known to show a gradual improvement in the condition and quality of life.
If someone has not responded to other forms of treatment, it is always worth
trying the Bowen Technique because in many cases it has been known to
trigger sometimes surprising and unexpected recoveries when nothing else has
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue – One Woman’s Story
Exhaustion had become a stable part of her life, as had the pain. During a
visit to a new doctor, a brief mention of the Bowen Technique was made and
she was referred to a practitioner. She had no idea what to expect and she
was very nervous during her first visit. The therapy was explained in a
very reassuring way, even though she didn’t really understand the part about
“energy flow” and she found the whole thing a little weird. But she had
come this far, so she thought she might as well give it a try.
The treatment itself was very relaxing. In fact, she almost fell asleep
several times. Since she was accustomed to a life of conventional drug
therapy, she tried to rationalize how Bowen could possibly help, especially
after nothing else had worked. The week after her first session she
remained skeptical, and so it was to her surprise that within a few days she
began to feel different. Her pain was still there, but she felt
different. Like she could do more. She decided it was probably a
Over the next few weeks she began to take regular walks and without even
noticing it, she slowly developed less reliance on pain killers. Gradually
the time between Bowen treatments grew longer. It is now months since her
last treatment and she still doesn’t understand the whole process, but what
does that matter? When did she ever understand how conventional medicine
worked? All she knows is that without the aid of prescription drugs, she
is slowly regaining much of the life she had lost for so long.
The main difference between Bowen and other modalities is how fast it works,
how gentle it feels and how long the pain relief lasts. Anyone can learn
how to do the Bowen Technique: there is only one basic move.
The technique has been successful in treating back pain, sciatica,
headaches, migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries and much
more. For me, the miracle lies in the fact that doing so little produces
such long-lasting relief.
* * * * * * * * *
Gerri Shapiro, MS Ed, is a leading health educator and Bowen practitioner
who has worked with the World Health Organization, Asian Development Bank,
USAID and Management Sciences for Health in the areas of alternative and
traditional medicine. She is a member of the American Massage Therapy and
American Holistic Health Associations. She is the editor of two Bowen
information and resource sites:
A tiny infant lies in a neonatal ward. The heat of an
incubator replaces the warmth of her mother’s arms; tubes filled with
nutrients replace her mother’s milk. Every breath is a struggle. Her
underdeveloped heart beats erratically. All around her are other infants in
distress – the monitors attached to them bleep in time with their struggle
to live. Fear is on the faces of anxious parents hovering as close as
possible. Nurses scurry to and fro, dealing with crises every moment.
The peace and tranquility of their mothers’ wombs is replaced with the
whoosh and hiss of respirators, bleeping monitors, parents crying, nurses
giving and receiving instructions. Even though these infants are not fully
conscious of their surroundings, these sounds affect their ability to relax
and sleep. And sleep is essential to helping them gain strength and
In the midst of this, a harpist enters the ward. She begins to softly play
an ancient lullaby. After a few moments, the monitors steady. Nearly all of
the infants breathe more easily; their heart rates steady, and they rest.
Many of them fall into deep sleep – the first they have had since the
harpist last was here. The nurses relax, and smiles of relief grace
the faces of the parents when they see the tiny souls absorbing the healing
power of this beautiful music.
A group of Alzheimer’s patients are gathered in the assembly room of a
nursing home. One tiny, frail woman sits off to the side in her wheelchair.
Her eyes are vacant – her mind somewhere far from her body and the room in
which it rests.
The activities director introduces a young couple. He carries a guitar, and
walks with his wife to the piano. The young woman sits down, and plays a few
notes. Most of the residents have not even looked up – they don’t hear most
of what anyone says – or if they do, they cannot, or will not, respond. But
the two volunteers are unconcerned; they smile at each other and the
seniors, and they begin to play and sing.
A rousing rendition of ‘Oh, Susannah’ has several of the residents looking
up – flickers of recognition cross their faces. A few choruses of ‘How Great
Thou Art’ inspires many of them to stand and walk or wheel their chairs
toward the piano. Soon several are singing along to ‘Amazing Grace’. A few
country and western tunes bring several more residents into the present, and
‘In the Mood’ has nearly everyone dancing along. Everyone, that is,
except the frail, tiny woman in the wheelchair in the corner.
The guitarist is concerned, and calls over a nurse who tells him that the
little woman is German, and doesn’t know most American songs. She has also
reverted back to speaking German – unable to converse any longer in English,
for she cannot remember the words.
The young man smiles and signals to his wife. The next tune is the ‘Blue
Danube’. He watches closely, and sees that the frail old woman’s eyes begin
to focus. She watches as several of the residents begin to waltz together –
wheelchairs and all. When ‘The Beer Barrel Polka’ starts, this tiny woman,
who hasn’t smiled or connected in any way with anyone for months, wheels her
chair toward the piano. Singing all the way. The other residents clap, and
sing along with her, all of them excited to recognize her and each other.
The party continues for an hour, when the young couple must go to their day
When the music stops, it isn’t long before most of the residents retreat
back into their Selves. But the frail little lady continues to hum – she’s
remembered a tune on her own now, and hums the melody to ‘Liebestraum’ until
she, too, fades back into her own world. It was only for a short while, but
the music gave these lonely patients a few moments of connection, happiness,
Everyone from tiny infants to octogenarians experience little miracles like
this every day. Some are healed, some are given a few moments of relief from
pain, still others are comforted in their passage to the beyond. It is the
power of music which makes these little miracles possible.
Unfortunately, much of the western medical establishment refuses to
acknowledge the incredible benefits of music. It is not employed regularly
in most hospitals and medical practices, and is not covered by insurance.
Despite the overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence that music heals, the
medical establishment will argue that there is no ‘proof’ of the efficacy of
music – nothing which meets the rigorous requirements of the scientific
But healing isn’t about science. Healing is about people. And real people
are experiencing very real results from the healing power of music, often
through the efforts of volunteers, in hospices, senior centers, and in
cancer and children’s wards.
Stress is the number one indicator of the likelihood of having a heart
attack or stroke. More than diet, more than family history, more than
weight. Stress kills. Music offers us relief from stress in many ways. It
helps us to open ourselves emotionally and let loose with feelings that may
be causing disease. It inspires us to examine ourselves, our lives and our
relationships. Through our mind and emotion, music can reduce stress.
Music also has measurable physical effects on the body. Certain kinds of
music actually lower blood pressure and heart rate, regulate breathing and
lower cholesterol. For individuals with hypertension and related conditions,
music can be much more powerful (and safer) than many prescription drugs.
Our immune systems are being challenged every moment. Stress, pollution in
the air, our water, our food; new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria;
they all take a toll on our body’s ability to fight disease. Despite the
millions of dollars being spent on research, cancer is rampant today.
Tuberculosis is actually becoming a problem again, and countless viruses are
attacking from all directions. What can we do to reverse the ravages of a
weakened immune system? Listen to and make music. Research has shown that
alkaline music (such as soothing classical, East Indian, harp music and
chant) actually increases the body’s ability to ward off disease.
People undergoing surgery require less anesthesia, awaken from anesthesia
more quickly and with less side effects, and heal more rapidly when healing
music is played before, during and after the surgical procedure. Patients
recovering from heart attacks and strokes respond much more quickly to
treatment when soothing music is played in their rooms.
Many studies have shown the incredible effects that music has on chronic
pain. People suffering from back pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue
syndrome, and pain from injuries; all benefit from using music. Physical
therapy is much more effective when combined with music. And burn victims
experience much less pain when music they choose and enjoy is employed
Individuals suffering from depression need less medication and have more
success in psychotherapy when music is added to their course of treatment.
Grief, loneliness, even anger; are all managed much better when appropriate
music is added to therapy.
Autistic children and children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder all
react positively to music therapy. Kids with learning disabilities show
remarkable improvement in mathematics, reading and reasoning skills when
they are exposed to appropriate music. The results are magnified many times
when these same children have an opportunity to make music.
That’s true of anyone suffering from nearly any malady. Making music – the
act of creating melodious sound – is an incredibly powerful healing tool.
Physical, mental and emotional challenges are met so much more easily when
one can make music! It doesn’t have to be performance quality – it just has
to be from the heart. Singing, humming, toning, whistling, beating a drum,
playing a flute or harp or guitar or piano – anything. When music is made
out of love, incredible healing occurs.
On the other hand, music that is negative, or filled with hate or fear, can
be emotionally and physically damaging. It inspires more fear, and from fear
comes imbalance and disease. And just as the sound of a jackhammer sets up
painful vibrations in our ears, music with discordant frequencies or hateful
lyrics sets up dissonant vibrations in our bodies and souls. We must be
conscious of the negative effects of raucous sounds and negative music, and
counteract them with positive music created out of love.
The health of the physical body is inextricably tied to our emotional,
mental and spiritual health. Music is a powerful catalyst for healing
because it touches the very core of humanity… our souls. With music, we
can remember our connection to the Creator and the powerful Healer within.
We can take control of our health and our lives as we enjoy The Healing
Sound of Music.
About the author: Click
here to link to Kate and Richard’s listing.
Kate Mucci – healing music practitioner, harpist, and author. She and her
husband, Richard, who plays twelve string guitar, conduct healing music
workshops and perform as the duo Crosswynd, (www.crosswynd.com).
Together, they have written the book, and recorded the CD…The Healing
Sound of Music… You may contact Kate by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Except you become as little children,
you cannot enter the Kingdom of God”
Remember that one?
Did you ever see little children playing in a sandbox or on the beach?
They create wonderful castles, great monuments, roads and aqueducts
between cities in their sandbox. They create their own worlds of sand.
But then with glee
and hand-clapping, they kick their castles to dust, destroy their roads,
eliminate their aqueducts and start all over again with nothing but a
blank pile of sand, happily creating another universe.
Can you imagine a
child stressing out because the sand palace starts to erode as the waves
come to chip away at it? Well, maybe a little. But how long does she hold
onto it? Does she start building a wave blocker? When the rain comes, does
she design a roof to protect her creation? Does a child imagine he’s
safe if a building stands, but becomes fearful for his own existence if
the building starts falling?
don’t try to hold on to anything. They let whatever happens happen. Yes,
they are the creators of their play universe, but they’re the
maintainers and also the destroyers of their creation, all in great fun,
pleasure and enjoyment.
What is the
difference between the outlook of a child and that of an adult?
As adults, we’ve
been taught just how important and significant it is to hold on to our
creations and never let them deteriorate. It’s great to build a house or
an organization, but it’s not great when it starts to change (and it’s
especially bad when there’s a threat of dissolution.) The more we can
hold onto “exactly the way things should be,” then we’re sure
we’re safe and secure. And very happy, right?
Well, not exactly.
What we actually see and experience is that the more we hold on, the more
we try to keep things exactly as they are, as they’ve always been, the
more we suffer. Because it is the nature of the universe (and everything
in it) to be created, maintained for a while, and then destroyed.
Everything! But this does not have to be a source of suffering. Not at
The truth is –
you create your world around you. And you maintain it. And you destroy it.
Consider the body you reside in. You imagine that you have to keep it safe
at all times, to prevent it from being injured or destroyed at
all costs. The keyword here is “imagine.” We imagine that we
know the truth. We imagine that we know what’s going on all around us
when the real truth is something different than we imagine.
In truth, we create
our body, we maintain it for awhile, and then we choose to leave it,
exactly at the perfect moment according to a choice we made long ago. And
this is precisely what is happening to everything else in our universe.
When you let go,
and experience the world as a child experiences the sandbox, then you are
open to the Truth: what is real never ends. The reality is that you are
eternally the master of creation — and
destruction. You create, you enjoy your creation for awhile and then you
dissolve it, so that you can do it all over again. Forever.
Why? Does nothing
matter? Isn’t anything
Look at what was on
the earth 10,000 years ago. Look at what’s here now. Imagine what will
be here 10,000 years from now. All totally different, all totally changed.
What does that mean about all the things we hold dear, all that has such
importance to us? Do we just give up in frustration because the world is
meaningless and nothing matters?
No. Of course not.
We once again become as little children and see the joy, the beauty, the
fun in what we’ve created right
now. And then we let it all go, in glee, like the child who destroys
his sand castle with a bucket of water. Because we know we can create
again, always fresh, always new, with a burst of excitement and enjoyment.
What it all comes
down to is: what do you choose? Do you choose to hold on tightly to
everything exactly as it always has been, experiencing stress, sorrow and
frustration when everything begins to change, as
it must? Or do you choose to live life from a place of joy and
laughter, happily accepting everything as it unfolds in front of you,
whether it looks like creation or destruction?
It really is just a
simple choice, and everyone is making the choice, in every moment. What do
Ishaya is a teacher of the Ishayas’ Ascension (the Art of Inner
Exploration.) Awakening Path
When was the last time you felt as free and innocent as a child? Deep
within you is the source of all perfection,and you can touch that source
once again. At last, you can realize the incredible nature of who you