Their Healing Hands
Nurses' coalition rediscovers the restorative arts
"Healing Touch" is a therapy that works with the energy fields of the body. It stands in apparent opposition to the mechanical, impersonal nature of most modern Western medical treatments. Yet doctors converted by conspicuous results are increasingly embracing the novel treatment. They do so in part because it comes from one of their own, Janet Mentgen, age 60, a registered nurse. She's developed an army of like-minded health practitioners--many of them nurses, and most of them women--with the avowed aim to regain the innate human ability to heal through thought and feeling. Hinduism Today interviewed Janet during her recent visit to Kauai in preparation for a major Healing Touch conference on our Hawaiian island in January. She begins by explaining the basics of her system, one which closely parallels the Hindu yoga view of health and healing, based on energy and balance.
We teach people how to use their hands to help or to heal someone who is in pain, suffering, upset, anxious, stressed, etc. We teach about working with the energy fields, about bringing balance and release of congestion of the fields so the body can heal itself. We're nurses and we believe this a part of our ancient art and tradition.
Bringing comfort to the patient
Doctors, hospital systems and nurses are all in the business of bringing comfort. But we're realizing more and more that we just don't have the tools. We can give the patient a pill to swallow, but does it work? Nursing was always the handmaid to the physician's treatment and involved the whole concept of nurturing and mothering. But over time we nurses became Westernized and got into the medical model. We were losing that aspect of having time in the hospital setting to bring comfort, healing, relaxation. As a profession, we were feeling very frustrated. We weren't being allowed to practice the way we felt we needed to practice. So now we're going back to our original purpose, and by adding these concepts of healing and energy, we're back doing what we can do best.
Reception by doctors
They're interested and they're getting more interested. They've seen the outcome of a healing process and gotten curious. They're saying, "I don't understand it, but I need to know more." So instead of blocking us or thinking we are just playing around with this method, they are now inviting us to come and are wanting to learn. They are healers also, and frustrated with circumstances that they're having to deal with. They're pretty amazed, actually, when they have a patient recovers better than the norm after therapy.
Hospitals adopt the system
We've barely started, but we have ten hospital systems that want to add this as a service for patients. A group in Texas with 17 hospitals wants to train the hospital staffs plus those in their volunteer system--more than a hundred thousand people. We have about 10 instructors in the Houston area that will help provide this. We just had the Nevada State Board of Nursing come out with an advisory opinion that Healing Touch is now considered "standard nursing care." It's nice to have that in writing by some authority.
Some examples of Healing Touch
A simple one would be an "unruffling technique," where we just brush away the energy disturbance. Somebody says, "I hurt here," and points to a part of their body. By using a waving motion of our hands over the body, we can help brush that disturbance away. The energy fills back in without obstruction and the pain disappears. It's the "Mommy will kiss it and make it better" phenomenon that kids know about.
Why does it work?
Well, if I think about it in a vibrational concept, I would say the molecules in our cells which emanate out in our field vibrate at a certain tone or frequency. When you brush that away and take a block out, it changes or resets the frequency because the body has its natural wisdom to know how to restore itself. We help facilitate that natural restoration. You can do that in a peaceful environment, in a quiet setting, in a comfortable space. We work from a centered state, meaning that our inner self is in a peaceful place. We create that peace and then pass it on to somebody else. I've studied quite a bit of Alice Bailey [American mystic, 1880-1949, who founded an offshoot of Theosophy, itself based in Hinduism and Buddhism, popular with many modern healers] and Dora Kuntz [1904-1999, co-founder of "Therapeutic Touch" in the early 1970s and a follower of Theosophy].
On healing and God
We can work with the source beyond the individual self, whatever that source happens to be. I don't limit it to being Christian or even to being God. I believe it's a higher source coming through. I can couple it with principles of energy and my understanding of the physical body, etheric body, astral body, soul body. I don't have to have a particular belief system in order for it to work; nor does my patient have to believe anything for it to work. It works regardless of the belief system. Personally, I was brought up Protestant, and I am currently Episcopal. I like their ritual and tradition, a section of my life that I have been missing. It gives me a kind of stability. I also believe in reincarnation.
The origins of Healing Touch
I studied Therapeutic Touch starting in 1979. After ten years of experience in the practice, I realized that my group had gone beyond the concepts of Therapeutic Touch, so we broadened our concept and developed "Healing Touch." I say it's an ancient art of healing founded in 1989--because it uses the ancient concepts. Therapeutic Touch is a five-step process: centering, assessing, either unruffling or directly laying on of hands and knowing when to stop. Healing Touch includes this and an additional twenty techniques. We also focused on the certification of practitioners, so that we have a two-year course of study and a program of certification. It is not a program only for nurses, but for anyone who qualifies. Now we have about 1,150 certified practitioners. We know that we have taught probably at this point over sixty thousand people.
My favorite story
A client called me on the phone and quizzed me for a good 45 minutes because his wife insisted he come for treatment. He had chronic pain for about 17 years. He had a hip replacement, and needed a second hip replacement, plus bilateral knee replacements and he had already had bypass surgery. He was considered not a good candidate for any more surgery. The man was miserable. His medication made him feel bad, and I think he was really depressed. He was a retired master sergeant in the Army, tough and intimidating, kind of a bully, you might say. And this pain was just destroying him. So I finally said, "Joe, I can't help you unless you come and see me. He did come, and it took 45 minutes for him to let me even just unruffle lightly his face. I think he was afraid that I would hurt him more, because doctors sometimes poke around people and only hurt them more. To my surprise, he came back the next week. I did a basic technique to lighten the blocked energy field around him. Still there was no improvement. I really didn't expect him back again. But he showed up and said, "Well, Deary"--he called me "Deary"--"I don't hurt." The following week I taught the technique to his wife. She told me for the first time in years he was able to roll over in bed at night without pain. They took off in a motor home for a six-week trip, and I have not seen them since. Joe taught me that if somebody comes, serve them and don't make up your mind or tell them, "I don't think I can help you."
What about side effects?
We haven't been able to document any. Because the body basically restores itself back to its normal state or its internal wisdom. So it's like you can't take the body to a state where it will hurt itself by this method. We're simply restoring it back to balance. There is no documentation of it being harmful. The practitioners become an open channel in their centered state, so as the energy flows through them they get affected by it as well in a positive way. There isn't any way it can hurt you.
On corporal punishment of children
I disapprove. I just don't believe that you need to hit a child for any reason. Energetically, I think it shatters the field. It hits the field first before it even hits the child. So even just the gesture to hit, just swinging at them, hits the field.
My long range goal is for every household in the world to be skilled with healing hands, able to help somebody. It should be as common as CPR training.
COLORADO CENTER FOR HEALING TOUCH: 12477 WEST CEDAR DRIVE, SUITE 204, LAKEWOOD, COLORADO 80228 USA. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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