3. Healing and Wholeness
I would like to explore more fully the idea of ‘tuning in’ to ‘vibrations’, good or bad but in so doing I shall have to enlarge the concept of healing.
The physicists now tell us that we are part of a universe that is not nearly as clearly defined as we perceive it. Fritjof Capra  states:
In classical physics, the mass of an object has always been associated with an indestructible material substance, with some ‘stuff’ of which all things were thought to be made. Relativity theory showed that mass has nothing to do with any stuff, but is a form of energy. Energy, however, is a dynamic quantity associated with activity, or with processes. The fact that the mass of a particle is equivalent to a certain amount of energy means that the particle can no longer be seen as a static object, but has to be conceived as a dynamic pattern, a process involving the energy which manifests itself as the particle’s mass… In modern physics, the universe is thus experienced as a dynamic, inseparable whole which always includes the observer in an essential way.
This gives some weight to the very simple view that I hold that everything we can see, touch or feel is energy vibrating at some rate and that, theoretically, it should be possible to pick up the vibrations of not only obviously living matter, but of everything on the planet, from apparently inert matter upwards. This would include not only humans and animals, but plant life and even the mineral elements of the earth itself.
Obviously, all is not well with our planet and the life on it. Look not only at the numbers crowding our hospitals; look at the erosion of the earth itself. About 30 per cent of all global land is now reckoned to be desert, and this includes more than nine million square miles which were once productive land and are now man-made deserts. These are still growing at the alarming rate of 60,000 square kilometres per year. To put it into perspective, the remaining food-producing land in the world today is about thirteen million square kilometres.  The wonderful corn growing areas of North America are apparently being reduced to desert at the rate of an area greater than the county of Yorkshire every single year.
This regrettable prodigality is emulated in this country which can ill afford to lose a square inch of its valuable agricultural land. Lincolnshire top soil can be seen on a windy day simply blowing into the sea, and certain areas have already been reduced to such an infertile state that they will not be of use for many generations. If we define healing not merely as curing symptoms but as making and becoming more whole, of bringing out the full potential, then we can include all life forms, and even the earth itself in the category of things worthy of our attention.
This is not as strange as it may sound. We all know of those who have a way with animals. We talk of someone having green fingers, and many craftsmen would appear to have a feel for the medium in which they work, be it wood or stone. They are, if you like, peculiarly in tune with the particular forms of life or the materials with which they work.
While working with stone is not my métier and animals may not be yours, we nonetheless all have this capacity to tune in to some extent in some field. More importantly, we are not using anything supernatural or odd. We are merely using our own senses, but at a level which we are not fully aware of and do not properly recognise. Many of the bushmen or tribal peoples who can ‘know’ in advance when strangers are approaching explain their knowledge in terms of smell or sight. Patently they are not using their senses in a way that fits into our conceptual framework, but they are equally obviously using their senses in some way that we do not understand. We dimly recognise these possibilities in the symbols we use in speech. We say, ‘I see’ when someone has explained something to us; we talk of ‘smelling a rat’. In neither of these cases do we see or smell in the normal way but I maintain that we are nonetheless using our basic senses at a different level.
So we can use our physical senses in some way to perceive the non-physical. We can use them to tune in with or become more aware of the world and life around us. But what happens next?
The Healing Energy
To return to humans, it would seem that tuning in can enable a person to become more open to help in any form. But the full picture is more complex. If the expression ‘in tune’ has some reality, how about ‘good vibrations’? If we can tune in, then it should be possible to set up responsive vibrations which resonate beneficially. This is a hypothesis, but resonance is a simple concept in physics, which at its simplest means that by transmitting on the same frequency we can reinforce and increase the strength of the original wave.
To put it a different way, when a healer ‘tunes in’ to a patient, some form of energy seems to be transmitted for the patient’s benefit. Two more problems promptly arise: What sort of energy is this?; and what is meant by the statement ‘for the patient’s benefit’? There are plenty of people who will give you an opinion on the first question. There are those who will refer to Odic force or cosmic energy or ‘chi’ or electromagnetism. There are those who say it comes from God. (But then, arguably, all energy comes from God.)
The energy involved in healing is not fully understood, but then neither are numerous other forms of energy. Electricity is perhaps one of the best known forms and we have observed it and learnt to generate, transform and harness it. We still do not know exactly what it is, however, and events in 1979 in Fishpond, a village in Dorset, showed that it may not be as closely under our control as we thought. Residents of the village became extremely perturbed when after the erection of power cables over the village there was an upsurge of various forms of malaise. The electricity board concerned hotly denied the possibility of a ‘leak’ being responsible, but the fact remains that there is a television film showing a procession of villagers carrying strip lighting bulbs in their hands which lit up as the procession moved through the area, despite the fact that these strips were not connected to any cables.
We may not understand the healing energy, but it appears to be available for human use. As a non-scientist, I am not clear about a number of things. The term ‘healing energy’, denoting a special quality of energy may well be misleading. The ability to tune in and resonate suggests that we can operate on a myriad of frequencies, working through existing forms. I suggest that individuals and groups of people can transform and employ energy of various frequencies to bring about physical change in their fellow humans, animals and plant life. Analogies are necessarily inadequate, but it is obvious that the very high voltage available in the national grid system must be modified to suit household equipment, and I maintain that some human beings, so-called healers, bring about some similar result for their patients. It would probably therefore be more appropriate to say ‘the many energy frequencies which healers can transform for their patients’ or some such long-winded phrase; however, as this is cumbersome I shall stick to the shorter if slightly inaccurate label ‘healing energy’.
It would appear that the healer’s state of mind is probably important in enabling him to act as a transformer, but that the energy does have a reality apart from the ‘mental’ link or ‘tuning in’ measured by multi-channel encephalographs. Professor Justa Smith, an enzymologist at Buffalo University, studied the effect of healing upon enzymes by exposing solutions of trypsin to the hands of the Hungarian healer, Oscar Estavani. He found that the solutions’ level of activity could be increased by 100 per cent when held by Estavani for an hour. Even more remarkably, a jar of enzyme solution which had been damaged by previous exposure to ultra-violet light and had lost 30 per cent activity in consequence had its level restored to normal by being held for 20 minutes by the healer.  It should be added that these experiments were carried out during the vacation. When repeated in the bustle of term-time when Estavani was also under emotional stress, nothing happened. This failure does not invalidate the original experiments but it does show that the healer’s state of mind probably affects his ability to act as a transformer.
It would be a help if this healing energy could be satisfactorily measured. Solutions of trypsin could also have their level of activity increased by 100 per cent by exposing them to a strong magnetic field. However, when a magnetometer was used to determine whether Estavani naturally produced a magnetic field between his hands, a nil reading was obtained. This suggests that there must be something more than a magnetic field involved, although this may be part of the mechanism involved.
Great excitement was generated by the discovery of Kirlian photography, which very convincingly claims to ‘photograph’ energy fields around any living matter. These ‘photographs’ are taken without any light source and result from electric discharges between an object and an electrode. The Kirlian process was used to test healers and patients before and after treatment. The patient’s ‘energy field’ was found to be considerably strengthened and photographs of healers’ hands while they were working supposedly showed streams of energy emanating from the finger-tips or palms.  This research started in the USSR,  but it is now being actively pursued both here and in the United States. The process indicates that our energy pattern can be profoundly affected by fatigue, exertion, state of mind and, of course, illness. Most important of all, perhaps, is the contention that imminent disease shows up in the photographed energy pattern before any physical symptoms appear. If this can be confirmed, then Kirlian photography will be an inestimably useful ‘early warning’ system, allowing us to take preventive measures in good time.
Kirlian photography is unfortunately far from being established as yet, however, because the processes involved have given cause for doubts to arise as to whether the Kirlian process is merely an artefact.  The validity of the colours supposedly recorded may be in doubt as they could be merely the result of the Kirlian processes on colour film. It seems, however, that the evidence for the process’ capacity to record some energy field is overwhelming. The scientist’s contention that this energy cannot be ‘psychic’ energy worries me not a whit as I have always been sure that healing energy can manifest physically, even if it is not yet measurable.
Leaving aside the problem of defining and measuring the energies involved, what do we mean by saying they are available for the patient’s benefit? When someone comes to me for help, it may be perfectly obvious that his hands are stiff and swollen with arthritis; or he may tell me that his doctor has diagnosed such and such a complaint. As a healer, to whom most patients only come as a result of failure to respond to orthodox treatment, I assume that some unknown factor is inhibiting the patient’s response. If I can tune in to the patient (as demonstrated by the encephalograph experiments), I can respond to the areas, both physical and non-physical, which are not working in harmony. I may not consciously recognise what I am doing, but energy will be transformed for the patient. The patient in his turn may have no conscious knowledge of what is wrong with him. The pain in his back may be due to an undiagnosed kidney complaint or he may not recognise the psychological factors that contribute to his all-too-real ulcer. Some aspects of the subconscious mind which is responsible for the involuntary organisation of the body will be aware of what is going on, however, and will be able to use the healing energy constructively.
We Are More Than Just Our Bodies
The introduction of the conscious and the unconscious and of the inter play between physiological and psychological factors may still cause some people, who believe in the purely mechanistic theory of disease, to shift uneasily in their chairs. But we are undoubtedly extremely complex beings. We have a body and brain, a mind and emotions. Thanks to the work of Freud and Jung, it is now recognised that we have a subconscious as well. We possess other non-physical features, but it is difficult to map these out, not least because those who have tried to do so in the past have used different terminology and held to different emotive beliefs. ‘Higher’, ‘lower’ and ‘inner’ selves mean different things to different people, as do the words ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’. I shall avoid these arguments for the moment, and merely state that we are all obviously very much more than just our bodies.
All these aspects of ourselves our mind, our emotions and subconscious, let alone the rest exist and express themselves through our bodies. Disturbance to any one level of our being can easily upset the delicate balance and result in bodily malfunction. Doctors are becoming increasingly aware of this and the term ‘wholistic (or holistic) medicine’ is no mere cliché.
The Psychosomatic Factor
The word psychosomatic admits the link between psyche and body and this link is already recognised as a contributor to a number of ailments. Ulcers are perhaps the best known examples of this, but one can reel off many others from asthma to cancer. What seems to happen is that emotional ‘dis-ease’ (stress or anxiety) results in a malfunctioning in some way of the body’s normal repairing and immunity system, making it prone to illness or break-down. The Simontons who run a highly successful cancer clinic in the U.S.A. are some of the many both in and out of the medical world who are convinced that emotional and mental states play a significant role both in susceptibility to disease, including cancer, and in recovery from the disease.  If the integrated system of mind, body and emotions which constitutes the whole person is not working together towards healthiness, then purely physical interventions may not succeed. Ideally, two things seem to be required. The patient should try to identify and understand the cause of stress. Secondly, the supposedly involuntary processes should somehow or other be encouraged to do their job properly.
Biofeedback research has already shown us that a number of supposedly involuntary processes can be brought under our conscious control. Max Cade’s work has clearly indicated that if people can learn to control and counteract the physiological manifestations of stress, numerous other complaints and illnesses can be alleviated. Sometimes, the reduction of stress is itself enough to remove some physical symptom. In others, it seems to allow the body to respond to treatment which had previously proved inexplicably ineffective.
Cade is not only concerned with teaching control of the physical correlates of stress. He is especially interested in states of awareness. The two go hand in hand as those who have learnt to relax properly whenever necessary also report that they can now cope much better with the situations which had previously caused stress. The incredibly sensitive and close link between our body, emotions, mind and subconscious is central to healing which aims not just at alleviating a physical symptom but at restoring wholeness. The physical symptom which has driven the patient to seek help will of course receive attention, but the healing energy can reach out to any other cause, be it another unknown physiological imbalance or some psychological disturbance which may, unrecognised, be the reason for the persistent resistance of the physical symptom.
1. Capra, Fritjof. The Tao of Physics. Fontana, 1976.
2. Precise figures vary, but for current assessments of the destruction of productive land, see the following:
Eckholm, Eric. Down to Earth. Pluto Press, 1982.
Tolba, Mostafa K. Development Without Destruction. Tycooly, Dublin, 1982.
United Nations Environment Programme’s Report: The Earth Environment, 1972-82.
3. A number of people are studying healers’ effects on enzymes. I have discussed their work with some of them but I do not know of any published material. Professor Justa Smith’s experiment is quoted by Dr Ian Pearce in his article ‘The Healer Priest in Modern Times’ in New Humanity December-January 1981-82 No. 42.
4. Moss, Thelma. Galaxies of Life. Gordon and Breach, 1973.
5. Ostrander, Sheila and Schroeder, Lynn. Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain. Sphere Books, 1976.
see also: Gris, Henry and Dick, William. New Soviet Psychic Discoveries. Sphere Books, 1980.
6. Tiller, William A. New Scientist, 25 April 1974. Boyers, D. C. and Tiller, William A. Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 44 No. 7, July 1973.
7. Simonton, O. Carl, Matthews-Simonton, Stephanie and Creighton, James L. Getting Well Again. Bantam Books, 1980.
A straightforward look into
all aspects of the healing phenomenon
© Bruce MacManaway, 1983. This book may be quoted from and printed out in single copies only for personal use and study, without permission.
For publication on websites or for printing in larger quantities or for commercial gain please e-mail Patrick MacManaway for permission.