Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

PAIN AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

Reprinted from PainPathways Magazine

           For the last 11 years,  I have been a spiritual/energy/faith healer. Earlier in my life, I was a trial attorney in North Carolina, from a family filed with lawyers and medical doctors. My twin brother is a retired medical director of the Guilford County  (NC) Health Department. My background and training would normally dismiss energy or spiritual healing as stuff of wishful thinking or downright quackery. I have discovered that alternative medical techniques are effective and complementary to medical science. This article examines how and why alternative medicine works.

          Most spiritual healers believe that illness, injury or dis-ease is caused by emotional and mental suffering that in turn is caused by the ignorance or misunderstanding of the patient. The suffering causes stress on the body that leads to illness, disease or injury. By helping the patient/client with alternative medical techniques the patient/client can heal their underlying stress and oftentimes “spontaneous remission” occurs.

          The primary difference between the philosophy of medical science and the philosophy of alternative medicine is that medical science seeks an outside cure through drugs, therapy or change of lifestyle while alternative medicine believes that the patient/client heals him/herself. The client believes that the alternative medicine techniques will help them heal, and subconsciously the body does just that.

         Alternative healers seek to put the responsibility of the healing upon the patient/client, not on the healer. Ethics would require the healer to inform the patient/client that the patient/client or a higher power will be doing the healing, not the healer. I always tell my clients that if they heal, thank God, not me. If they don’t heal, blame God, not me.

        I have seen clients instantly heal themselves of all sorts of serious disease, including cancer, hepatitis-C, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, nerve disorders and herpes; as well as broken bones and other serious injuries.  I take no credit for healing, I simply helped the client heal themselves.

         I am certified in at least a dozen alternative healing methodologies, including Reiki, Rising Star, Divine Intervention, H’onoponopono, Singular Cell, Theta Healing, Akashic Record Healing, EFT, and others, some more metaphysical than others. Boiled down to their common denominators, three elements must be present in any healing (whether traditional medicine or spiritual healing). These elements are similar to the physics of electricity, which requires a positive pole, a negative pole and a ground for the energy to flow. Similarly, healing requires a doctor/healer (the positive pole), the patient/client (the negative pole), and the participation of a higher source, whether it is called Source, God, prayer, whatever. I realize that there are a few atheists out there who are physicians or healers, which isn’t relevant to whether the divinity or grounding element exists. I love the line, “I am an atheist, Thank God!”

         When all three of these elements are brought together, healing usually occurs. For the diehard rebels to the notion of a divine element at play, consider the medical arts as the divine spark in the triad. Whether it is skillful surgery or diagnosis, these arts are inspired and therefore divine. Most healers make a declaration or prayer before the session to connect with this divine energy or inspiration. It helps set the tone of the healing and gets the energy (juices?) flowing.

          Oftentimes a client will not heal simply because they subconsciously do not want to heal. They get attention or sympathy from their condition, or they can avoid work or responsibility by being ill. It also is a subconscious way of controlling their environment, family or friends. It is difficult to help these people, they would rather be sick than healthy. I am not saying that the disease is entirely psychosomatic, there may be biomedical causes for the symptoms. However, the patient/client will not recover as long as they perceive an advantage (consciously or unconsciously) to being sick.

         One of the most profound examples of how the mind affects treatment and recovery is the effect of hypnosis. Hypnosis can be a substitute for anesthesia without the side effects of anesthesia. There are many reported cases where hypnotized patients underwent anesthesia free surgery and healed rapidly without complications. M. Marcuse,  The Use of Hypnosis in Pain Management—A Review of the Current State of Knowledge, www.psychwww.com (June, 1993); Hilgard, Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain, (Brunner/Mazel, Inc. 1994).

         Hypnosis as a tool for pain management is much more widespread in Europe. Dr. Jack Stanley Gibson was an Irish surgeon who performed over 4000 surgeries using hypnosis without anesthesia. These included amputations, open-heart surgery and eye surgeries. Gibson claimed to have healed himself of basal cell cancer and varicose veins with hypnosis. Gibson, Memoirs of an Irish Surgeon—An Enchanted Life ( 1999. )

        Alternative medicine healers understand that how a person thinks and the types of thoughts experienced by the patient/client has everything to do with the length and severity of illness. This is based upon ancient spiritual texts such as the Yoga Sutras and the Mahabharata.  These were written over two thousand years ago and examine the true source of suffering, i.e. the mind. The Yoga Sutra focuses on the different kinds of thoughts and behavior that creates suffering (pain).  Basically, thought focused on negative circumstances and influences will create pain, while thought focused on positive circumstances and influences reduces or eliminates pain. Thoughts of lack, victim-hood, guilt, shame, blame, gossip, resentment or lack creates or enhances pain. Thoughts of gratitude, acceptance, praise, forgiveness and abundance reduce or eliminate pain.

        This can be demonstrated by the subjective perception of pain. If one were to win a multimillion-dollar lottery, the perception of pain would be distracted by the positive thoughts of receiving all of that money. One could actually jab a needle into someone who had received the news of his or her winnings and the pain probably would be hardly noticeable. Conversely, if one were to receive unpleasant news, such as the loss of a loved one, a job, or terminal illness, the pain probably would be perceived much more intensely. Even more interesting are the accounts of patients with multiple personality disorders, where one personality would be perfectly healthy with perfect vision, while other personalities in the same person might be quite ill or demonstrate poor vision.

         Alternative energetic healing techniques are quite controversial, oftentimes having no scientific proof of effectiveness and based solely on anecdotal testimony. Somehow, someway, however, the patient/client who was once ill becomes healthy. Sometimes medical science attempts to explain this phenomenon by questioning the original diagnosis as erroneous with the patient not being sick in the first place. I once had a patient in Hong Kong who had been diagnosed with cancerous tumors in her brain. Immediately after a treatment with me, the tumors disappeared. Her doctors, who had been treating her with chemotherapy, concluded that their original diagnosis had been in error and she had not had the tumors in the first place. Their position was quite risky given the drastic treatments the patient had endured. It would have been far simpler to agree that somehow the patient had healed.

          As previously stated, it is the patients who heal themselves. When I perform a healing, I discuss this with the client, and oftentimes observe “miraculous” results by simply giving the client permission to heal themselves. I find most people have been trained since early childhood that they have to ask for permission before they can have anything. I have always felt that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. When the client understands they have the ability and permission to heal, they heal quite easily.

         Many physicians understand that patients have to take responsibility for their recovery, and to cooperate and participate in their recovery. When a patient engages in their recovery, they begin to believe their part in the healing process. The belief of the patient/client that they will heal is one of the mystical aspects of the healing process. I believe that anyway that the physician healer can access this aspect within the patient/client goes a long way to healing the patient/client. What difference does it make that the healing process involves drugs, hot wax, or shamanistic feathers and dancing? If the patient believes in the process, that belief energizes the healing process.

        Most patients that come to me have serious doubts or reservations about traditional medical doctors and treatment. They perceive that the doctors have misdiagnosed their symptoms or that the recommended treatment is too long, too painful or too expensive. Quite literally they want someone to waive a “magic wand” over their problem and make it go away. The recommended medical treatment is too hard;  or, they want instant results (gratification). They are quite willing to believe that my techniques will heal them while traditional medicine might not.

          It is my position with these clients that they cannot dis-empower themselves to me and they have to believe that they will heal. Many times we will discuss possible mental/emotional causes for their disease. Intuitive diagnostics is a hotly debated topic, and I do not spend a lot of time on that. One of the leading works on this topic is by Louise Hayes, You Can Heal Your Life (1984). It sets forth that all illness is related to specific types of emotional or mental issues that can be determined by the type of illness or where it occurs on the body. When I can get a client to understand that their pain or illness is not some unkind twist of fate, or something more than an unfortunate symptom of disease or injury, they are more inclined to heal.

          I use various techniques to help the client perceive that something is “happening” during the healing. This is more a distraction for their belief processes. From an objective viewpoint, I use techniques that match with the client’s belief systems and thought processes.  I would not use a rattle and incense for the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I would use it for someone with a South American or Native American heritage. These decisions are usually intuitive in nature, oftentimes I can’t give logical explanations for my methods. I only know that they resonate with the beliefs of the client and therefore produce results. Again, it is the connection created between the client, the healer and the divine that produces results.

        It is gratifying that medical science is recognizing the effectiveness of prayer or other spiritual processes on the patient/client. As with all arts, whether it is medical or spiritual, there are different levels of professionalism found in practitioners. Unfortunately, as in the medical profession, there are healers that do harm. It is important for clients to do their research and make responsible decisions about their health care. I am careful to instruct clients to follow their physician’s recommendations and to seek medical help if they are experiencing discomfort or serious symptoms. Pain is subjective to some extent, and can be helped with complementary healing.

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