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Massage Today
February, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 02

Healers: Do They Really Heal or are They a Conduit to Healing?

By Marie-Christine Lochot, LMT

Healers are very often associated with mystery and some "magic" skills that, we think, they were born with or have learned through long years of apprenticeship with a Master. Their names are passed by word of mouth, or for some, have reached international fame like John of God in Brazil.

The word "Shaman" triggers images of secrecy and rituals. We have famous and gifted healers near us: Barbara Brennan, Donna Eden and John Barnes to name a few. Their names don't trigger thoughts of unusual ceremonials and treatments, but still, we are in awe of their skills which we often call gifts. As we study with them and see them up close and personal, we are aware of their specialness. It makes us wonder, were they born that way? Are they channeling some godly entity? Then, as we practice our craft to the best of our abilities, we have the satisfaction of helping clients feel better and move towards better health. Does that mean that we are also healers?

To answer that question we need to understand what the concept of a healer is and what is meant by healing.

What is a healer? The dictionary definition is quite simple: person who heals, especially through faith. We could also say that people who are called healers have a high success rate in helping people with diseases and ailments; indeed this is why their names are known within and beyond their communities.

healing - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Cyndi Dale in her book, The Subtle Body, adds another dimension to the definition by stating: "All healers are energy workers, but are all energy workers healers?" The statement might make some think it excludes therapists whose approach and techniques are not energy based. But it does not. Each and every time we are in contact with a client, we enter their energy field and vice versa. What Ms. Dale is saying is that healers interact with energy.

The etymology of the word heal is cure, make whole, sound and well; so healing is not only erasing symptoms but also assuring a state of wholeness. A study titled, "The Meaning of Health" was published by Thomas R Egnew in 2005 in the Annals of Family Medicine. The objective of the study was to determine a definition of healing that explains its mechanism and gives physicians tools to promote holistic healing. The study was based on interviews with seven well known allopathic physicians who published on topics related to healing or were medical educators. The results were that, "Healing was defined in terms of developing a sense of personal wholeness that involves physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of human experience." Knowing now that healing also includes creating positive changes in a person's condition, we can say we can be healers even if we don't cure people.

The next question, probably the most challenging one, becomes this: do healers really heal or do they facilitate healing and act as a conduit? Do they have some "magic" powers that induce healing or are they able to help people to activate their body's own healing mechanisms?

We know from the study of biology that the body always tries to maintain balance and stability among systems; it works diligently to repair damaged tissues, bones and blood vessels. When we are sick, those mechanisms are not working properly. The wholeness has disappeared. It can be said that healers assist us to heal ourselves by helping our body's native intelligence. They do it in different ways depending of their field of expertise and their healing style.

There can be a physical intervention that triggers a physiological self-healing response. A good example is John F. Barnes and his myofascial release treatments. The principle is to sink into the fascia, stretch it and wait for a release allowing the healing of the structure that was being restricted by the fascia. John Barnes has the gift of being able to tune into the tissues and to feel restrictions in an amazing way. Ultimately, though, the healing comes from the body itself which, free of restrictions, is able to go back to a balanced state.

Another healing style is an energetic intervention that helps release blocked energy, balancing energy systems so the body reestablishes harmony between organs. No matter the techniques used, the ultimate healing comes from the body's energetic system as it regains wholeness and returns to a healthy state.

The one gray area is the impact the healer's energy has when it is infused in the energy field of the client/patient. As I studied with Donna Eden, I had the occasion to be near her and felt her incredible energy field. It was warm, buzzing and felt wonderfully good and ... healing! I also experienced some of that with John Barnes; his touch felt therapeutic by itself. Those experiences made me wonder if those healers' energies had a healing value just by themselves.

At the end of the day though, what matters is that people are brought back to health and balance. When Dr. Mehmet Oz was asked about a woman who had progress from a spinal cord injury after some sessions with John of God in Brazil, his answer was, "I don't care what it is, if you really feel better with this kind of tragic injury, we need to research that. Crawfish regrow their nerves right? Maybe there are things that we can harvest in our psyche that allow us to do it as well."

What do you think?

Marie-Christine Lochot is a licensed massage therapist, energy bodyworker and educator. Owner of Massage Montclair in New Jersey, she has been a member of the AMTA since 1994 and is nationally certified by NCBTMB. With specialties in Swedish massage, massage for people affected by cancer and energy healing, Marie-Christine coaches and teaches energy healing to laypeople, massage professionals and in the corporate environment. With a diverse background in management and accounting, Marie-Christine also teaches small business and private practice organization. She can be reached at


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