In my first post about music I wrote about how I made edited playlists for my healing sessions. Planet Yoga by Karuna Music/Triloka Records is one of those music recommendations in which I have taken out one song from a CD and created an amazing playlist. I have been using this music in my healing practice for years.
Planet Yoga is a 2 CD set. The second CD is the one I use for healing sessions and has 4 songs: Home by Drala, Meditation of the Night and Zenith by Benjy Wertheimer, and the beautiful song I edited out, Morning Meditation by Ali Akbar Khan. I repeated the first three songs for a playlist about 70 minutes long.
Meditation in the Night 11:36
Meditation in the Night 11:36
The first CD is a collection of chants that I have played endlessly for everything except healing work. I’m not an expert on chanting, but I think this collection is absolutely brilliant. The YouTube link above features one of these chants by Wah! called Jai Ma. It also includes Krishna Das, Deva Premal, David Stringer, Jai Uttal, Rasa, Bhagavan Das, and Diana Rogers.
Energy work is easier for me when my physical body is in balance: flexible, strong and energized. Exercise is a crucial factor in bringing my body to this balance, and key to my self care routine.
At this point in my life exercise is even more important to my wellness than meditation. There is a stereotype that healers don’t care about the physical world including their body, but that is not the case for me and many of my healer colleagues. Almost all my Clarity Breathwork and Healing Touch colleagues are very conscious of diet, exercise and taking care of themselves physically.
By writing about how important exercise is in my healing practice, I hope you might realize how beneficial exercise may be for you energetically, whether you have a healing practice or not.
Since half of my healing practice is massage I find my muscles feel better if I work out at least three times a week. My workout generally consists of at least 20 minutes of sweaty aerobics followed by stretching. I used to take yoga, but a morning class of downward dogs and arm balancing poses was just too much for my shoulders before a long day of massage. For a long time, Bikram yoga worked well for me because it worked up a good sweat, and there aren’t any arm balancing poses in the sequence.
I’m now in an early morning gym phase, where I can choose what exercise to do based on how my body feels that day. The Elliptical Fitness Cross-trainer is my current favorite. After 20 minutes my whole body feels warmed up and so much looser. Sometimes I swim with fins, using just my legs. I don’t need to work out my arms. I picked my current gym because of the excellent hot tub and sauna and I use both after every work out. I consider the hot tub and sauna an integral part of my exercise routine.
I have been doing essentially the same job for the last 15 years and periodically I just get restless and need a change of workout routine. So, I switch my workouts about every 6 months or so when my exercise feels dull. As I mentioned, I went through a Bikram Yoga period, changed my gym several times, walked around Lake Merritt for a few months, even bought a hula hoop.
Interestingly, I thought I would need less exercise when I started doing more healings and less massages in my practice, but I found the opposite is true. Exercise really clears my head, relaxes me and opens my chakras. I feel I need to exercise now more than ever. I realize now that the more healing work I do, the more I need the physical exercise.
In addition to exercise, getting a consistent amount of rest is really important to my wellness. I personally need to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
Janet Mentgen, the founder of Healing Touch, was a very busy and productive woman who taught Healing Touch all over the world. She found her physical body required 8 hours of horizontal rest on a daily basis. She did not have to be asleep during these 8 hours, but lying down, which included healing sessions since Healing Touch is frequently done on a massage table. She was very disciplined about getting her horizontal rest and if she missed a few hours one day she made them up the next.
To find out more about Janet Mentgen’s self care advice check out an excerpt from Janet’s keynote address given at the Australian Holistic Nursing Conference in 1995 Path of Healership: The Importance of Self Care for the Healer. Click here and look under “General” to download the pdf. In it you will find also find Janet Mentgen’s 7 Principles of Self Care for Healers.
Janet’s quote below sums up the importance of self care for me:
“We cannot be a spark in someone else’s life if our spark has gone out”
Janet Mentgen RN, BSN, CHTP/I, HNC, Healing Touch Founder
Taking good care of myself is the most important thing I can do to keep my healings effective and my sessions energized.
It’s so crucial for me to not over work. I enjoy my work so much it does not feel like I’m working, so it is important that I tune into my needs regularly.
To do this, I ask myself two basic questions every work day that let me know if I am taking care of myself (and therefore my clients).
In the morning, I look at my healing and massage sessions booked for the day and I ask myself, “Am I excited about my schedule? Am I looking forward to every session booked?” If not, my schedule needs to be adjusted.
At the end of the day, I ask myself, “How do I feel? Do I feel happy and satisfied or do I feel drained?” After my sessions I expect to still feel inspired. It’s OK to feel tired, but not drained.
If I do feel drained I immediately block out some time for whatever I need to feel restored. This could mean a weekend away, a day off, or a morning for meditation. It could mean scheduling a healing for myself with another practitioner, breakfast with a friend or time in my art studio.
Even though my life can get out of balance fairly quickly, tuning into my needs with these questions keeps me from burning out, losing my enthusiasm or getting sick. I’ve been using these questions for the last 15 years to keep my healing practice grounded, and I plan to keep asking them for the next fifteen years.
In a previous post I wrote about William Bengston’s book The Energy Cure. This book and his 6-CD set Hands-On Healing: A Training Course in the Energy Cure has been the most inspiring material on healing I have come across in a long time.
Bengston writes, “…The world of energy healers is divided between the clinicians who treat on blind faith and are perpetually reinventing the wheel, and researchers isolated in their laboratories who blindly follow the data without regard to its application or the practical discoveries of the clinicians.”
Since I have a healing practice using Healing Touch and other healing modalities, I fall into the clinician category. Yet, I have always felt a researcher lurking inside, that intense desire to understand what is really “happening” in my sessions. I feel very strongly that I am only perceiving the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is possible with subtle energy work. The more I understand healing, the more effective I can be as a healer.
Below are just a few of the many questions Bengston asks in The Energy Cure (pages 207 and 208) that I find extremely interesting.
“How many treatments are necessary to produce remission? Is it better to have many short treatments or a few longer ones?
How do different types of cancer respond to the same treatments?
Do multiple healers add to the positive effects of energy treatment?
Can energy be stored in some materials, then transferred to an organism? If so, what materials work best?
Do some materials block the healing effect?
Can hands-on healing before cancer occurs create immunity?
Can immunity be inherited? Can an organism that has been cured pass on resistance to the next and subsequent generations?
These are significant questions that need to be asked, systematically researched and funded. The Energy Cure has helped me understand how important it is to have more research done on hands-on healing.
I have found out that Bengston’s next workshop will be next March 2012 in Denver and is being offered through the Healing Touch Program. Click here to find out more about it and join me if you can!
The CD “Deeksha” by Angelica was a generous and thoughtful gift from one of my clients. This music is sublimely beautiful and perfect for healing work.
Before writing this post I thought Angelika was a group and when you hear the delicate harmonies in the music you will know why. I discovered Angelika is a woman who is an amazing musician, spiritual seeker, and living foods, enthusiast. She teaches workshops on nutrition and raw foods, and writes, records and performs her own music. She grew up in Germany and now lives off the grid in the Sierras.
Her spiritual path is one of devotion and acceptance of all religions.
Jeri Lawson has a full-time healing practice in the Temescal Area of Oakland, California. She is available for Healing Touch, Reiki, and Clarity Breathwork Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm.
For my clients going through chemotherapy, I am finding that the Healing Touch sessions I do with them is greatly reducing, if not eliminating, neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy is a side effect of chemotherapy and is mostly felt in the hands and feet. Symptoms include: tingling, pain, cramping, loss of the sensation of touch, weakness when picking up objects and sensitivity to temperature. Symptoms are usually most strongly experienced right after a chemotherapy treatment. Then the sensations usually decrease with time.
I first noticed how effective Healing Touch was with neuropathy several years ago while volunteering at the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic in Oakland. My friend and Healing Touch Practitioner colleague Laurie Ratto mentioned that her client at Charlotte Maxwell had greatly reduced numbness in her feet after her Healing Touch session. I realized then that I was also noticing how my clients with pain and cramping in their feet, legs and hands were also commenting how much less intense their symptoms felt after our Healing Touch session together.
In my private practice I recently had a client who had such extreme coldness and numbing sensations in her hands that she wore gloves to her Healing Touch session on a very warm day. She came right after her chemotherapy infusion. After the healing she had no numbness in her hands at all. Zero. It was amazing. She also reported later that she had only very minor neuropathy sensations later that week. She was amazed.
In my practice it seems that Healing Touch has the greatest effect on neuropathy if the client gets a healing session right after each and every chemotherapy treatment. I currently have one client who was warned by her doctor that she might experience neuropathy during her current chemotherapy, but she is over halfway through her treatments and there are only very minimal sensations in her hands and feet. Her blood count has also held steady and her doctors are very pleased. She also comes every week, on the same day as her chemo treatment. Even though our Healing Touch sessions are obviously minimizing the side effects of her chemo, she finds our healing sessions also helps her stay calm and grounded.
I have worked with clients at the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic who still have neuropathy months after their chemo treatments have ended. I have had only minimal success releasing the neuropathy with only one treatment in these cases. I would love to do a series of healings with someone post chemo to see if it would help.
Peripheral neuropathy can be challenging to deal with during chemotherapy and affects your quality of life significantly. Healing Touch has helped my clients have one less physical issue to deal. It’s very, very satisfying to know I am making a difference in my clients’ lives.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer and would like to receive Healing Touch, there are many Certified Healing Touch Practitioners and several no cost options in The San Francisco Bay Area. One is the Haelen Center in Lafayette, California that I wrote about in this post. Another is The Charlotte Maxwell Clinics in Oakland and San Francisco that provides free complementary alternative medical treatments to low-income woman with a cancer diagnoses.
Every person who decides to go through chemotherapy should have access to Healing Touch.
Most people who come for a Healing Touch Session expect to feel relaxed throughout the session. Every so often I have a session where the opposite happens, and a client will experience an energetic opening that can feel invigorating for a few minutes. These are sessions in which an energetic block is released and the body is flooded with energy that was constricted and held back my client’s basic life force.
These unexpected, yet welcomed sessions can have a very positive and lasting effect on my client’s general energy level and overall sense of well being.
While any part of the body can facilitate an energetic release, in my practice I find that the neck is the most common location for more stimulating releases. It’s stimulating because the blocked energy is now flowing into your brain, and you may feel instantly invigorated and full of ideas, thoughts and, well, a lot more energy than you are used to.
If I am holding your head at that moment, I can feel it in my hands. Sometimes it feels like a welling up of water that then slides down the neck. Sometimes it feels like my client’s whole body starts buzzing for a few moments, like there was a slight electrical upgrade. Sometimes all I feel is the physical muscles of the shoulders and neck relax.
Physically tight muscles in the neck restrict blood flow to the brain. When blood can finally flow more easily to the brain the cells get more oxygen and are more energized.
I have several ways of gently supporting my client through these energetic releases. Most of the time clients will relax again after a few minutes and spend most of the session in a very calm, peaceful and rejuvenating state. An energetic opening can feel slightly confusing because you think you should be relaxing during a healing instead of suddenly feeling like you want to jump up and write down the ten best ideas you have ever had. Some clients start talking the moment I feel their neck release. Added bonus: This kind of session can heal writer’s block instantly.
After a session in which energetic blocks are released my clients report experiencing a higher state of energy. They later have let me know they feel less tired throughout the day and more optimistic in general.
I have had several epiphanies in my Breathwork practice over the last five years. Insights that have fundamentally shifted my experience of being in the world.
One epiphany came to me while breathing with Clarity Breathworker and Trainer Andrzej Skwira. Part of the requirements to becoming certified as a Clarity Breathworker is to receive ten breath sessions with a man and ten sessions with a woman. I chose to do my ten “male” sessions with Andrzej.
My work with Andrzej was much more subtle, but just as profound, as the first 17 Breathwork sessions I had done with Maggie Ostara. You can read an article I wrote about my Clarity Breathwork journey here.
When I started breathing with Andrzej I was listening to CDs by Adyashanti and Eckhart Tolle. I had begun to sense a block or some kind of interference to being fully present and in the moment. Becoming more present became the focus of my work with Andrzej.
After each session with Andrzej, I felt a deeper, more tangible awareness. I also became more aware just how not present I was. This resistance felt different at different times, during the Clarity Breathwork sessions and also in everyday life. Sometimes it felt like a fogginess. Other times I felt a tiredness and a sense of being bored. And sometimes I felt like I was just slightly removed from my life. I found these experiences uncomfortable and frustrating and was very motivated to move through them.
During one of my later Breathwork sessions with Andrzej, I realized that I was resisting my resistance to being present. Bam! When I stopped resisting my resistance to being present, I instantly felt present and in the moment.
This was a subtle but radical shift with a very physical sensation, like my whole being just “clicked” into place. My senses felt sharper. I feel to this day that from that moment on I experience life differently, so much more clearly.
Weeks after this realization, I also found that just by acknowledging my resistance and my impulse to change whatever I was experiencing, I felt more compassionate and less judgmental towards myself everything and everyone in my life. It was really amazing and yet so, so subtle. It was like opening a door to a new level of being.
I decided to write this post after working with a Breathwork client who had her own life-changing epiphany in our sessions together. It is such a privilege to assist and witness these deep transformations. Breathwork is miraculous.
I had a conversation last week with a Reiki student. She told me about her friend who decided Reiki was really unnecessary. He decided that it would be just as healing to sit and be fully present with someone who was sick as it would be to give them a Reiki treatment.
Her friend is right.
I believe that being truly present with someone who is sick, in physical pain or even dying, is the most profound healing one person can give another.
Yet, Reiki is what makes it possible for me to be fully present. Reiki supports me in holding the highest healing vibration and most grounded space possible. Reiki makes being present attainable, even effortless, in my healing room and in my daily life.
When I am completely awakened and fully present I will not need Reiki anymore.
Community is an essential factor in my success as a self-employed healer. As a Healing Touch Practitioner, I have a local community of active Practitioners to call on for my own self-care and to refer clients to when I am on vacation. I also belong to the Healing Touch Program (HTP), an international association for professional development that supports me in growing my business and provides me with resources for learning to become an even more grounded, present, and effective healer.
Many years ago I realized how important community was as a self-employed business owner when I had a massage client who was a chef in a stressful, high-pressure restaurant. She worked long hours and professional cooking was very hard on her body. Being a chef is a very physical activity.
She finally quit that job and started her own catering company. She did very well right from the start, was always busy and could choose her clients and schedule. Yet in just under two years after she started working for herself she went back to full-time restaurant work. I couldn’t believe it. Why did she give up her successful business?
When I asked her, she told me she found working for herself to be too lonely.
I realized then how important my friends, family, colleagues, and community were to the success of my business and my overall sense of well-being.
So, as a self-employed healer, I belong to several healing communities. The Healing Touch Network of the East Bay/San Francisco is one of them. We meet quarterly on the first Monday of each month in Lafayette, California. Healing Touch Practitioners attend from all over the San Francisco Bay Area to share a potluck dinner and catch up on Healing Touch events in the area. There is also a talk or presentation on a related healing subject. We support each other on all levels: personal and professional.
I am always incredibly inspired by these meetings. I learn what other Healing Touch Practitioners are doing in their practice and which hospitals, clinics, and hospice facilities have Healing Touch available. This is valuable for my clients when they are interested in finding Healing Touch for themselves, friends and family who may be staying in local medical facilities.
As I mentioned above, I also belong to the national Healing Touch Program (HTP). HTP has a worldwide Healing Touch Conference every year that I am planning to attend next year. Every year I attend the Healing Touch regional conferences and this year we will be in Santa Barbara. The Healing Touch Program is a great resource for staying connected with the current healing trends and learning new skills. It’s also really a fun weekend.
HTP also has a free online periodical, Energy Magazine that I think is the most interesting and relevant energy periodicals published.
Another very important benefit to being connected to my healing community is that I am able to refer my clients. When I go away on vacation, or get a cold and can’t work with clients who have a compromised immune system, I can send them to another local Certified Healing Touch Practitioner in the San Francisco Bay Area and I know they will be in good hands. I can’t imagine the responsibility of feeling like I was the only person who could help someone feel better during a long round of chemotherapy.
I’m so grateful for my Healing Touch community. Without my community support, I know being a solitary healer would be stressful and lonely. I wouldn’t be able to truly help my clients in the best possible way.
Community helps me realize I’m not alone. Today there is a whole consciousness shift in the world and people are opening to the potentials of energetic healing that is inherently available to all of us. I’m very excited to be a part of this community and this awakening.