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Religion & Culture | The dangers of spiritual healing - Healer and patient, beware!

Published:Sunday | July 28, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Laying of hands to heal others is based on the premise that we emit energy through these definitive points or centers in the body
Glenville Ashby

Not surprisingly, New Age Thought has gone mainstream. Thanks to social media, spiritual movements once considered fringe and heterodoxical are attracting a growing number of people disillusioned by the failings of priests and pastors. Religion has given way to spirituality and the quest for personal empowerment.

Young and old are emboldened to undertake metaphysical studies that offer mastery in healing.

Reiki is one of many practices that promote energy healing. A weekend course leads to certification as a level-one practitioner. A few more weekends and the designation ‘Reiki Master’ is likely.

The same holds true for other energy-based healing modalities. While it is true that we are energy beings capable of transmitting energy to others, it is simplistic and even dangerous to believe that we are capable of restoring another’s health by attending a weekend course. Of this, I will later elaborate.

Admittedly, Western science is now embracing energy healing. Eastern traditions have long promoted this thesis. Indian philosophy teaches that seven ‘wheels’ of energy called chakras exist in the human body. The Chinese cite even more points of energy – from the soles of the feet (Yong-quan) to the palms of the hand (Lao-gong), and the crown of the head (Bai-hui).

Laying of hands to heal others is based on the premise that we emit energy through these definitive points or centres in the body. Healing is as much about faith as it is about the flow of energy from healer to the sick.

Because this magnetic field of energy extends several inches from the human body, it stands to reason that an ill person coming into the auric field of a natural healer can be healed.

The Bible sheds light on this natural law in Mark 5:25-33:

“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

For she said, ‘If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole’.

And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’

And his disciples said unto him, ‘Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?’

And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.”

Note the lines, “And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’”

This means that healing energy left him and went into the woman.

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, the distinguished biochemist and Nobel Prize winner, stated that “in every culture and in every medical tradition before ours, healing was accomplished by moving energy”.

Regrettably, modern-day healers with little understanding of how energetic law operates endanger themselves and others.

The infirm person seeking alleviation might find himself in murkier waters.

Here is why.

The healer uses his or her energetic field (within and outside the body) to effect changes in the body of the patient. The problem is, none among us is comparable to the likes of Jesus, Ramakrishna or Vivekananda. Corrupted or corruptible, modern-day healers are the purveyors of sullied energies that put patients in a far graver situation than imagined.

Does it mean that we should avoid Reiki or other forms of energy healing? No. What the healer and his patient need to understand is the laws behind the energetic exchange.


A weekend, month, or even a yearlong course cannot give one the tools needed to master spiritual healing. Yes, some are natural born healers, but possessing the Master Key demands much more.

A genuine healer is a rare find. It takes many years of study, meditation and ‘prayer’. Even Jesus prayed, fasted and meditated. His energies were purified by these measures.

Every patient must trust that the healer is not only experienced, but is physiologically and psychologically healthy or risk being contaminated by tainted energy.

The healer, on the other hand, risks absorbing the negative energy removed from the patient. After a healing session, the healer could also be depleted by loss of energetic fluids. The healer must also know how to cleanse his or her energy centres after each exchange.

Native American healers use sage. Others have used lemon and salt in their baths. Learning the many methods of cleansing one’s energy centres is paramount.

In matters of spirituality and metaphysics, I defer to few, none more so than Helena Blavatsky, author of the classics, Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine.

Fittingly, from her Collected Writings, Volume 4, p 380-386 [‘The Theosophist’], I share her counsel on spiritual healing:

“To project from himself the healing aura,” she writes, “the healer must concentrate all his thought for the moment upon his patient, and will with iron determination that the disease shall depart and a healthy nervous circulation be re-established in the sufferer’s system. It matters nothing what may be his religious belief, nor whether he invoke the name of Jesus, Rama, Mohammed, or Buddha; he must believe in his own power and science, and the invocation of the name of the founder of his particular sect only helps to give him the confidence requisite to ensure success.”

She concludes, “Those who may feel a call to heal the sick should bear in mind that all the curative magnetism that is forced by their will into the bodies of their patients, comes out of their own systems. What they have, they can give, and no more. And as the maintenance of one’s own health is a prime duty, they should never attempt healing unless they have a surplus of vitality to spare, over and above what may be needed to carry themselves through their round of duties and keep their systems well up to tone.”

To healer and patient, truer words were never spoken.

Dr Glenville Ashby is the award-winning author of the audiobook, Anam Cara: Your Soul Friend and Bridge to Enlightenment and Creativity. Email feedback to and, or tweet @glenvilleashby