A Journey of Discovery
In college I majored in physics and worked with computers for about 40 years. I was a left-brained person who believed that any problem could be solved scientifically.
The universe kept trying to tell be that there was more to life than science but I was blind to getting slapped up the side of the head that science is not the only answer. Looking back I can see with a perspective that I did not have when I was much younger. I now understand that wellness is much more than medicine. It is interesting that I started out designing test equipment for computers and eventually teaching people how to adapt their software to the way that people in different cultures thought.
My first awaking occurred in 1964 when I was working on a Peace Corps project in Pernambuco, Brazil. Pernambuco is a state in Northeastern Brazil with a lush strip along the coast getting dryer as you approached the high desert in interior where in some years it does not rain at all. I was going from town to town talking to mayors, doctors etc. to determining the best places to place Peace Corps volunteers for a medical project that primarily focused on improving sanitary conditions to prevent disease.
While visiting one town where the doctor in charge of the hospital had a great reputation because she was not only medically trained but an intuitive healer as well. While I was there she got a call to go out to a local village. We found a woman who had given birth hours before but her placenta was stuck and she was bleeding to death. To my surprise the doctor had me do the massage to free the placenta. She told me how to follow the unbilical cord to the detachment point and how to recognize the lip of the placenta where the detachment would start. It was only years later that I recognized that the doctor saw in me the ability of my fingers to talk to tissue and successfully get the placenta to release.
In the mid to late sixties I got involved in helping people cope with bad LSD trips by guiding them. It was at this time that I took an overdose of LSD and experienced an ego death where perception of space, time, form and even self disappeared. Not an experience that I would recommend to perceive the metaphysical void but one that altered my perception of reality. This experiences led me to go back to college to study psychology. However once there I discovered that they taught you tools but the essence of helping people seemed to be missing so I quit.
Much later my wife discovers an acupuncturist who used a very unusual technique that worked on her shoulder pain. Figuring that she would need lots of help I decided to see if I could learn the techniques. I enrolled in the class not realizing that it was for experienced massage therapists. As it happened my first partner told her girlfriend that she would not let someone with less than 4 years experience work on her yet she picked me for a partner again. The teacher was also impressed and when she found out that I was not a massage therapist told me that I was wasting my talents unless I went to school and got certified. These courses were based on techniques developed by Lauren Berry and taught one joint per course in great detail.
During these courses I discovered a few things that surprised me. It started of with an energy balancing exercise. I felt it but then it could all be in my head. The first real surprise was working on the vastus intermedius muscle which is hidden beneath the other three muscles of the quadriceps. It took a while but then I was able to feel and work muscles under muscles. Now that was starting to unnerve my scientific mind. Later in a different course I was working on the rear compartment of calf muscles specifically on the tibialis posterior and was thinking "how much of this was in my head?" I sensed 4 places where the muscle seemed to be adhered to the surrounding tissue so I released 3 of the adhesions and call my teacher over and she found the one that I deliberately missed exactly where I felt it. Things really go dicey when I was shown how to work a muscle deep in the body by working through the spine. I was thinking "get real" but when I put my hands in place it seemed so natural.
I accepted when my teacher offered to mentor me. I had my Swedish certification and was practicing a mixture of the two disciplines. During that time ( 1 1/2 years) I worked with her on other techniques that involved everything from nerves to boney tissue. Unfortunately she was not allowed to teach me these techniques because the place she learned them forbade her to teach them. The other problem was that the other place taught them procedurally rather than getting do to the underlying understanding of the processes involved.
During this time I also discovered that I was an medical intuitive. I could "feel" things anatomically such as nerves that I had not learned and later go back to the anatomy book and not only find the nerve where I felt it but also see that it enervated the parts of the body that I expected. Realizing that the non-Berry work was developed my a medical intuitive I developed my own style of work. This sort of work depends so much on things beyond my control and understanding I was starting to move away from being a healer to helping people heal themselves. As long as the work did not harm I had results that varied tremendously. For example one man with bone cancer went from bedridden to driving with two treatments but it does not work for everybody. I can remember feeling a sense of almost terror when presented with serious problems. I had to let go and let my intuitive side work. If I did not get results it was probably because I was trying too hard.
It was after doing two advanced Berry classes that I discovered that I was headed in the wrong direction. It was not about learning how to fix people. They are too complex to understand but yet they will guide me in ways that I may not understand to help them. It was then that I dropped the Berry work and started to shift my focus to a holistic model. This also changed the Swedish and deep tissue part of my work as well. Traditional massage like much of complementary medicine is based on the concept of the practitioner actively healing the patient. Today I find that it is an either or choice. Now even if I try I cannot do traditional Swedish massage very well.
So what have I learned? I find that I constantly do thing that cannot be explained by science. How do my fingers "feel" pain? Am I just a good administrator of the placebo effect? If so how do I explain things that are beyond the control of the mind. For example one of my patents had scarring as a result of knee replacement. They tried to remove the scar tissue surgically be that just created more scaring. They could not even get the joint to flex when the put her under anesthesia and tried to bend it beyond its limited range. I worked on her for 10 15 minute sessions because if I worked longer the knee joint would heat up even though I was doing very gentle stretching of tissue fibers. In the end I gave her 24 degrees of additional flexion
Another example of how it cannot be just a placebo effect is where we brought our cat to the vet and she told us to take him home to die because one of his lungs was filled with fluid. She showed us the x-rays. It took him home and this normally skittish cat relaxed into my hands while I did some lung drainage. The next day the cat acted just fine so we call the vet and she could not believe it so she offered to redo the x-ray. We brought him in and the lung was almost clear. The vet still does not believe it because it is medically impossible.
I have come to believe in wellness. If I get sick I take antibiotics and won't take drugs unless reason and science shows me that the benefits out weigh the risks. But people are more than just a set of measurements. We need to marry left and right brained thought, the logical and intuitive. I have seen people who improve because you can make them feel what is is like to be healthier. We need to provide alternatives to help a person using a combination of body, mind and spirit where we address things that go beyond what can be done by either addressing parts of a person or generalizations of people .
We need a combination of healers who work on specific subjects or use specific tools like doctors and we people who work holistically in a different reality. These experiences have altered my sense of reality and I now realize that I can wrap my arms around my perception of reality and shake hands on the other side.