The purpose of this blog is purely educational. It does not advise any reader to forgo medical treatment for any condition. It describes methods that have not yet been proven effective through widespread scientific testing. Readers who are concerned about their health are advised to contact their physician.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to be a wise consumer of bioenergy healing workshops

A friend recently had lunch with a young woman from out west who had just taken a 2-day workshop on bioenergy healing which set her back a whopping $1500. After completing the workshop she and her fellow students were told that they would not be allowed to charge for treatments as practitioners until they took the second level workshop, which would cost a further $6000. However, if they acted fast, they could sign up for the second workshop at the (cheap) early-bird rate of $3500.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor I betook myself to my computer, where I googled this workshop provider, a certain Michael D'Alton of Michael D'Alton's School of Bio-Energy Healing. Mr. D'Alton's bio tells us that he learned bioenergy healing at Plexus Bio-Energy in Ireland. If you follow bioenergy healing trends and modalities as I do, you will know that the folks from Plexus Bio-Energy studied the Domancic Bioenergy Healing Method with Zdenko Domancic. They took the Domancic Method back to Ireland and are enthusiastic participants in a movie on Mr. Domancic entitled "Think About It", which can be viewed on YouTube.

Mr. D'Alton offers a series of bio-energy healing courses, for which no price appears on his website. They are, in order of appearance,
  • Level 1 Bio-Inspired
  • Level 2 Bio Body/Mind/Spirit and or Bio-Pro
  • Level 3 Bio-Advanced trainings workshops
  • Level 4a Bio-Teacher L1 training
  • Level 4 Bio-Teacher L2 training
  • Level 5 Bio-Jedi
In my humble opinion, bolstered by 14 years of experience both teaching and learning bioenergy healing, three levels ought to be sufficient to teach any energy healing method. Some enterprising Reiki masters manage to break up the three levels of Reiki into seven, with the price going ever higher with each level, ostensibly to give the student time to absorb and practice the teachings. In my humble opinion, again, that is just not necessary. Bioenergy healing is not that difficult to teach. The student may need time and practice to absorb the teachings, and may need some mentoring, but not to the tune of six or seven levels of the same method, and certainly not to the tune of thousands of dollars.

I perused Mr. D'Alton's website some more. I looked at the testimonials, which were very nice, but not anything terribly special in the world of energy healing, and certainly nothing beyond the capabilities of many talented and diligent Level 1 practitioners of Quantum Touch, the Domancic Method or the Bengston Method. I now have about 20 energy healing workshops of different stripes under my belt and my attitude to anyone who wanted to charge me the kinds of money Mr. D'Alton is charging would be to ask, only half tongue-in-cheek, whether he was proposing to teach me how to raise the dead in his workshops.

Some comparison shopping

There are three types of teachers in the business of energy healing instruction. The first are the founders or "originators", the people to whom the ability to heal came spontaneously and who then developed a system for teaching their method. The second type are their authorized instructors, the people whom they train and appoint to teach their system. The third type are the "aggregators", who learn one or more methods and then proceed to fashion them into something of their own (some of them add "personal development" to the mix as filler, though one could reasonably ask how much personal development one can fit into a weekend dedicated to learning energy healing). I would say that in my experience each method is strongest at the source, so one's best bet is always to learn it from the founder. At this point I wouldn't take a course from an "aggregator" for the very simple reason that by now I may know more than they do. But if you are new to energy healing, and just want to get your feet wet, an "aggregator" could be a perfectly fine choice for you. The question that remains is how much you want to pay.

So with that in mind, let's see what is out there that is comparable to Mr. D'Alton's $1500 two-day workshop.

Level 1 of the Domancic Method, taught in North America by Zoran Hochstatter, now called PureBioenergy, will set you back about $600 for a 3-day workshop. Level 2 will cost you $800.

The Bengston Method, taught by Dr. Bengston (who has healed mice of cancer in laboratory studies), will cost you $300-$350 for a 2-day workshop.

Matrix Energetics, taught by Richard Bartlett, the originator, costs $600 for levels 1 and 2 combined, which is another 3-day workshop.

Quantum Touch, taught by authorized representatives, will cost you $350-$400 for level 1, and $450 for level 2. Or you can learn it on-line with videos of the founder for $67.

Reconnective Healing, levels 1 and 2, taught by founder Eric Pearl and "the Reconnection teaching team", will cost you $657 for a 3-day workshop in the U.S., more in Europe.

And I note that Mr. D'Alton's own teachers in Ireland only charge 350 and 425 euros respectively (approx. $480 and $585) for levels 1 and 2 of their own program. Why is Mr. D'Alton's program so much pricier?

In terms of value, for the amount of money that it costs you to take a 2-day workshop with Michael D'Alton ($1500), you could do two levels of the Domancic Method with Zdenko Domancic's authorized instructor, Zoran Hochstatter; or, you could take level 1 of the Domancic Method and levels 1 and 2 of Matrix Energetics, and throw in a weekend with Dr. Bengston to learn his method; or you could do levels 1 and 2 of Reconnective Healing and Matrix Energetics and still have money left over to do the online course in Quantum Touch.

For the amount of money that it would cost you to take levels 1 and 2 of Michael D'Alton's method, you could probably fly to Slovenia and learn the Domancic Method from the master himself, Zdenko (750 euros for level 1, and 980 euros for level 2), with money left over to do a bit of traveling around Europe.

All these workshops are worthwhile investments, singly or in combination. The different price tags are a reminder that in learning energy healing, as in any other consumer endeavour, it pays to shop around.

Postscript: Recently it was pointed out to me that Mr. D'Alton's method in fact has a lot in common with Pranic Healing, which I hadn't mentioned in this post. Something else to research! For the purposes of this post it is sufficient to note that their healer certification program costs $350, also well short of Mr. D'Alton's $1497.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Some thoughts on Roger Ebert "losing his battle to cancer"

I found this extremely thought-provoking post through Twitter. It was written by Michael A. Wosniak, a cancer researcher, who points out the absurdity of the phrase "lost his battle to cancer". No one is said to lose a battle to heart disease after they die of a heart attack, he points out. When his mother died of respiratory complications from H1N1, no one said she lost her battle to a virus.

I agree one hundred per cent with Dr. Wosniak. This metaphor of cancer as a war that is waged between the disease and the patient has got to go. It does nothing but harm. In a war, there are battlegrounds; in the war against cancer, the battleground is the patient. In a war, anything goes in order to kill the enemy, regardless of collateral damage; in the war against cancer, the collateral damage is to the patient.

We need to find a more useful metaphor, one that gives us new ways of looking at this disease, that will perhaps trigger different, and less harmful, treatments. How about the alternative where we look at the cancer cell as confused? A cell that has lost its connection to the whole that could perhaps be taught to return to normal. A cell that forms in response to environmental stress in an effort to try to ensure the continuity of the organism that could perhaps be taught to die. Any other suggestions?

(BTW I've covered this ground before, in a post called "Is fighting cancer the right strategy?")

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dr. Lissa Rankin interviewed on healing yourself with the power of your mind

TEDx speaker and inspirational doctor Lissa Rankin is interviewed by Lewis Howes about her experience with illness and healing and about the scientific evidence for self-healing.

There is some interesting stuff about the "nocebo" effect starting at 29:30 and how the nocebo and placebo effects work starting at 32:50.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Busting the myth that there are no scientific studies proving that energy healing works

One of my favourite pastimes is to sit at my computer and play with Google. A lot of the time the topics I Google have to do with health and healing, in particular energy healing and cancer. That was how I found Dr. Bill Bengston and his mouse studies way back when in 2007.

My most recent search produced the website of a qigong healer named Brian Brown who has compiled a long list of recent studies on energy healing and cancer, with titles such as
  • Energy Healing for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients With Breast Cancer
  • Energy Healing and Medical Qigong for Cancer
  • Medical Qigong for Cancer: A randomized controlled study of 162 cancer patients
  • Treating Cervical Cancer Patients at the University of Iowa using Energy Healing
  • The Use of Energy Healing in Integrative Oncology at the University of Iowa
  • Energy Healing for Pain and Fatigue in Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy
  • Energy Healing Induces Apoptosis and Inhibits Migration and Invasion of Breast Cancer Cells
  • Energy Healing Exhibits Selective Cytotoxicity Towards Prostate Cancer Cells and Protective Effects on Normal Cells
  • Effects of Energy Healing on Symptoms of Advanced Cancer
  • Effect of Energy Healing on Viability and Proliferation of Cultured Cancer Cells In Vitro
  • Medical Qigong for Cancer Patients
  • Harvard University Medical School Researchers find that Energy Healing is Cytotoxic to Pancreatic Cancer Cells But Not to Normal Cells
  • Energy Healing Induces Cell Death in Lung Cancer Cells
  • Growth Inhibition of Liver Cancer Cells by Energy Healing
  • The Effect of Medical Qigong on Cognitive Function in Cancer Patients
  • Energy Healing for Pediatric Oncology Patients
  • Qigong for Women Undergoing Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer
  • The Acute Effects of Energy Healing on Symptoms of Cancer
  • The Influences of Qigong on Blood Cell Counts in Breast Cancer Patients Treated with Chemotherapy
I recommend visiting Brian's site for the links.