Hello Nicole – December 2000

Dear Nicole, I have a friend who is really into alternative medicines, she wants me to try some spiritual energy […]

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Dear Nicole,

I have a friend who is really into alternative medicines, she wants me to try some spiritual energy healing and thinks that it can help my disability. I have long ago accepted my disability the way it is. I hesitate to get involved with something like this — it just reminds me of all the “faith healer” people who want to cure me and send me walking across a stage! But I admit, part of me is interested and I am just curious if you have any thoughts about this. Also, the price for a healing session is really out of my comfort range (I live on SSI), are there any low-cost healers?


Is this Crazy?

Dear Crazy?,

Alternative healing can be very effective and is definitely worth looking into if you have the interest. Societies throughout human history have relied on healing or spiritual energies to ease pain and help emotional and physical ailments. This type of healing cannot be explained rationally or scientifically and it can never be proven without a doubt, but a lot of people find some very real benefit in these older styles of healing.

There is a stereotype of healers as being strange or extremely religious like some you may see on television. But most energy healing is not so far out of the ordinary. There are times when the results of healing can be miraculous, but most healing results are on the par with the benefit you may see from physical therapy, massage, exercise or an improved diet. There is very little chance (if any) that a healer will be able to cure you of a fundamental body problem such as a spinal cord injury, birth defect, genetic disease, etc. however, healers can often help resolve acute ailments and/or help physical or emotional problems be less troublesome.

I don’t think seeking this type of healing means you aren’t accepting your disability — there is nothing wrong with desiring help. But it is smart to be careful about who you choose work with. Just as in any profession, there are all types of healing practitioners and not all of them will be right for you. When interviewing healers you may want to ask their views on disability. Make sure you are not only comfortable with the healer her/himself, but with the healing techniques used and the process of healing they foresee for you. There are many styles of healing and many different beliefs about where the “energy” is coming from, so don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions.

For myself, one important quality I watch for in a healer is the willingness to go through the process of healing patiently, and not promise a definite outcome or miracle cure. Healing it is best approached with an open mind. No matter how good the healer is, no one can (or should) predict or control the outcome of healing. The world works in mysterious ways and sometimes the healing we think we want is not the most beneficial. For example, as many of us with disabilities know, our difficulties are often our best teachers. Why should we get rid of our teachers? If we can ease some of the pain, or open our minds a little more to the difficult lessons in life — we may just find the best healing we would have never asked for! On the other hand, there are times when an ailment can be simply be healed — it may seem miraculous, but I think it is all just part of a natural process.

Unfortunately, healing services are usually expensive. There is a place in Minneapolis called Pathways (612-822-9061) that provides free and safe access to many practitioners of healing. They offer a variety of one-on-one appointments, classes and small group meetings at no cost. Pathways’ main focus is on providing opportunities to people with life-threatening illness but they are also dedicated to serving people with disabilities or chronic conditions. It’s important to remember that while some people are more attune to using this healing energy than others, we all have the ability to help ourselves and others in this way. By simply asking and giving permission to “God”, “Spirit” or “The Life-force” to help us, any of us can tap into this vast reservoir of energy and open to the possibility of healing to enter our lives and the lives of our friends.

I think it’s great that you are considering looking into alternative medicines for your disability. Certainly in our hectic, superficial and materialistic society, taking a quiet moment for this type of rejuvenation can in itself be beneficial.

— Nicole

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Mental Wellness