Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Healing Touch Therapy

Here's a chapter from my Skeptic's Book.  It's about my experience with a technique called Healing Touch Therapy from a healer (and cellist!) colleague of mine, Sarah Fiene.  

My father was a professor for computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, for thirty years, and so I was pretty much steeped in the brain stew of scientific thinking from early on, even if it doesn't make for the most warm-and-fuzzy environment for children.  I remember amusing myself for hours as a child by folding those manila-colored punch cards into fantastical shapes.  And I would take my crayons and draw on those ubiquitous cards, always slightly frustrated that my artwork was dotted by the Iowa Test-shaped slots that were punched in meticulous rows.  I went on to earn degrees myself, and for all the nay-sayers in this economy who claim that an expensive college education isn't worth the life-sentence of student debt, I give my two cents by saying that I will be forever grateful for the rigors of critical thinking which higher education offers.  So, to be succinct, I'm nerd-blooded.  And I am a skeptic.

Enough about me.  Now, returning to San Francisco, I was introduced to Sarah Fiene by a mutual acquaintance who knew that we were both cellists and healers ("Why don't you two talk about, you know, cello-healing stuff?").  With the volume of people I have met in my life, I'm not usually optimistic about such introductions.  But I do my best to remain open.  

It turns out that Sarah practices something called Healing Touch.  For you gamers out there, it is not the "Restorative Spell" that you can acquire on World of Warcraft.  But I have to admit that the name didn't say much to me, either, so I decided the best way to find out was to experience it myself.

I invited Sarah to my office for a Healing Touch session.  I had a concrete issue that I wanted to have addressed:  stiff neck from the move and from sleeping in a different bed.  Otherwise, I had no expectation whatsoever.  She instructed me to lie on my back on the massage table, fully dressed, and under a blanket.  I closed my eyes to focus more on the subtle sensations as she took her pendulum and swung it several inches above my body around my chakra centers.  Beginning then, it was clear that whatever Sarah was doing was undeniably palpable.  The pendulum at that distance felt like a marble being rolled in circles directly on my skin.  Then, she proceeded to "balance" my chakras.  Much of the time, her hands were moving several feet above me.  Yet it literally felt like she was pushing and pulling sheets of water of varying temperatures around me like a blanket, as if her hands were powerful magnets that could manipulate energy like some Divine Aura Etch-a-Sketch.  

The second thing that stood out to me during the session was how structured it was.  The session seemed to be divided into three sections, which I can only describe as an evaluation, a re-balancing, and a grounding/opening.  I will have to ask her more later.  And within these sections, there was a distinct feeling that she knew exactly what work had to be done, at which level, and on which sides.  I remember thinking to myself that I could almost hear the parts of this session, like the sixteen measure segments of a Mozart quartet!  There was a feeling when a certain part was "done," like a sports massage therapist (or Rolfer for that matter) who works until a knot is released.  But here we were talking energy.

When the session was completed, I sat up and observed what I was feeling.  Restored, yes.  Rested, yes.  Neck pain gone?  Yes!  She did not even work directly on my neck.  I also noticed that my head was clearer, that unbeknownst to me, through the past months, my mind had become a veritable landfill of stress and loose scraps of fear and worry. 

We sat down and talked for a short while afterwards, which I like to do sometimes after a session to help me return to Earth.   I was put at ease by Sarah's maturity, humility and honesty.  She is clearly talented and disciplined, and I sensed that her healing practice is not about her, but about a talent that she makes available to clients.  

A very interesting aside:  Sarah originally came to the Healing Touch technique through her own experience.  She suffered for years from a debilitating disc abnormality which defied all treatment, including surgery.  It was "healed" exclusively with the work of a Healing Touch practitioner within four weeks.

For more information, you can contact Sarah Fiene through her website