The healing arts began when humans did, when the hunter-gatherers started nibbling on plants to see if they were edible or not. They found out what made them feel sick or feel better by consuming minute amounts of vegetation; roots, leaves, fungi, bark, berries and water plants.
Those prehistoric beings didn't have a handy clinic or ER to run to when trampled by a musk ox or laid out with food poisoning or snake bite, and were in much closer touch with nature and with the unseen than we are as a society today. I would bet that they had a pretty good working knowledge of the power of hands-on healing, and plant medicine. Those that grasped that power and used it, became the shamans and earth mothers that the tribe went to when sick or injured.
All of this has bloomed into an enormous field of healing possibilities. We all know about Western Medicine, which certainly has its place. My blood pressure is thankful for it. If I sail off a cliff, or have a car accident I'm all for a competent ER.
"Alternative medicine" is a wide offering of energetic, spiritual, and nutritional healing modalities that approach disease and injury from other perspectives.
Ayurveda Traditional Chinese Medicine
Yoga Tai Chi
Meditation Qi Gong
Salt rooms Chiropractic
Shiatsu Crystal therapy
The list is long.
Chinese Calligraphy as a meditation and healing modality is ancient, and gaining traction again. In fact Chinese Medicine, with it's emphasis on clearing energetic blockages, is probably a lot closer to understanding the root cause of disease than western disciplines will ever be. I watch with fascination the renewed interest in treating mental disorders with LSD and other psychedelics. The effectiveness of a lot of alternative healing is often less immediately visible, and requires some practice and legwork on the part of the recipient.
Belief is right at the base of all types of healing arts, whether it be Western Medicine or otherwise.
My own journey as a healer began with being raised in Christian Science, a mind healing based religion founded by Mary Baker Eddy back in the late 1800s. It was a no-nonsense, spartan sort of spiritual discipline that gave me a firm foundation and faith in the great power of the mind to heal.
I have studied numerous great metaphysicians of the 20th century, and have found a common thread of the power of the mind, of Love, and of the Divine as the way to true wholeness.
"Healing takes time. Despite great advances in medicine, the biggest part of your recovery is attributable to the enormous healing power inside you."
My teen years were turbulent, but some of those experiences were the springboard to my spiritual journey, and I am thankful for them.
I found myself casting about for a way to serve through healing, and happened upon Reiki, a Japanese energetic healing technique discovered by Dr. Mikao Usui. I became a Reiki Master and teacher.
There has been a lot of speculation about where Reiki came from, but there has been little confirmation of most of these theories. Some say that Reiki originated from Buddhism or that it contains Buddhist concepts or techniques. I spoke with a Japanese Reiki master who is also a Buddhist and has done a lot of his own historical research into Reiki in Japan. He said that he could see no connection between Reiki and Buddhism and that he felt that Reiki is religiously neutral. Dr. Usui was originally a Japanese Buddhist monk who became a physician, and discovered Reiki in the late 1800's.
Dr. Usui had experienced life traumas and disappointments, and went on a retreat to Mt. Kurama in Japan to find relief. There he performed a meditation practice under a waterfall, with the water pouring onto his head, which was intended to open the third eye. He had a profound enlightenment experience in which he perceived the water as energy pouring through him, healing him. He understood that he could channel this energy himself to heal others, and called it Reiki, or Divine Energy. The spiritual healing art of Reiki works by channeling positive energy into the body, with Reiki masters and practitioners typically placing their hands on the affected areas of the body that need a boost, offering this energy and your body takes in the energy where most needed. The healing is facilitated with the use of sacred symbols traced onto the palms of the hands.
I loved the warmth and intimacy of offering energy healing to another being, the feeling of the energy flowing through me and to my clients. I experienced good solid results with Reiki, which means God energy in Japanese, and found it effective for humans and animals alike. I now follow a Chinese master through whom I have gained further skills.
"The unification of science and spirituality is urgently needed. It will help save humanity from more suffering. It will take both science and spirituality to new heights. Our dream is that science and spirituality can join as one to enrich each other and uplift each other."
Master Rulin Xiu from the book, Tao Science
The root meaning of the word "science" means, knowing, knowledge. It has come to bear a little different weight, and to refer to a body of people known as scientists who figure out if a thing is true or not by doing experiments and the evidence of their eyes. Alternative and holistic practices by their nature take the whole person into consideration, not bits and parts, making results more difficult to define and predict.
The discussion of "Science vs Alternative healing" is so wide and deep. The science side still harbors deep skepticism and dismissiveness. The Alternative conversation is often defensive or ignores science altogether.
science and spirituality may be compelled to become allies, as the world shifts in unpredictable and sometimes negative ways.
As healers, we must go ever deeper within, to access the great power of our true selfhood. Accept and embrace the authentic power of our gifts. Start healing businesses that thrive and provide a living. We must also speak out our voice into the world to help people know that we healers are readily available, happy to serve, teach, and offer what we have. But also that THEY can do what we do, to bring wholeness and balance to themselves and their families, to the animals in their care, to their neighborhoods and towns and cities and countries.
As my teacher tells us,
"I have the power to heal myself. You have the power to heal yourself. Together we have the power to heal the world."
Tao Hands, Tao Calligraphy practitioner, Guan Yin Lineage holder, Reiki Master