Simple ways to bring out the inner healer within us…
Within all of us is an inner healer. It is a part of our innate ability. Some of us choose to develop that particular skill or even work in a field that requires it. Whether we choose to develop the inner healer in us or whether we feel it is a lot of ‘stuff and nonsense’ there are circumstances in life where even the rudimentary use of some healing skills can be very useful.
For example, when a family member, child or even a pet is ill. We may do everything we are expected to do. We may take them to see a specialist, administer drugs and yet, it is still up to the sick person, child or pet to overcome the illness and they must bear their symptoms and suffering until the balance towards health is shifted. While we wait for this ‘curative’ treatment to take effect, this person can still be suffering It is at these moments, that something more can help. And that extra thing can be as simple as a healing gesture from a loved one or family member.
This article is about how to utilise this innate healing ability when we have a close one who is sick. It may also be a simple guide for if we are visiting a sick friend or family member in hospital or a hospice. It is also a follow on article from my previous article ‘What is Healing?’.
Forms of healing
A healing gesture does not have to be elaborate. It does not mean wearing a Shaman outfit or making spells or potions. Nor is it about learning Reiki or learning how to work with crystals. Healing can be far more simpler than this. In fact it is deceptively simple, but if you do these small gestures, it will make a huge amount of difference.
It may be that you are visiting someone who is sick in hospital. It can be kind of awkward. A person you know is suffering and maybe you want to help, but you don’t know what to do. Well actually you don’t need to do anything. Just simply being there with a warm, friendly and caring attitude is plenty. This is a simple example of bringing out the inner healer.
Most sick people are just too busy being sick to care about anyone else so don’t feel bad if you feel you’re not doing enough. Sometimes, you can do too much in these situations.
A Definition of Healing
Firstly to define what healing actually is. Here’s a dictionary definition:
1. cause (a wound, injury, or person) to become sound or healthy again
2. To restore (a person) to spiritual wholeness
3. alleviate (a person’s distress or anguish).
If we look at this definition – point 1 is more in the hands of a healthcare professional – a nurse or surgeon. Point 2 may be in the realms of a spiritual healer or perhaps a priest. But for the focus of this article, Lets look at point 3 – to alleviate a person’s distress or anguish. This is something that all of us to a limited degree can do and which makes up an important part of ‘healing’.
So how do we do it? Here are some points to consider:
“We heal with our presence” – Rachel Naomi Remen.
We simply need only to bring our wholeness, our compassion, caring, attention and even love with us. In effect, we are creating and bringing a field of positive energy with us and it is this energy that gets picked up and can help ease a sick person. If we let go of expectations or desires or even past hurts, and just bring compassion, this can be a powerfully healing energy.
For example, when someone is sick in hospital, some people feel a little uncomfortable about visiting. Hospitals cut to close to reality. We don’t want to be reminded that life is fragile and finite. Some people feel unsure about what to talk about to a sick person and may default to talking about work related things or current events.
It is natural to feel awkward about visiting. The important thing is that you are there. Your presence shows you care and being calm and pleasant can make a huge difference.
If you meet someone for the first time and that person smiles at you, you will form a lasting positive impression of that person even if he or she is the kind of person who likes to torture kittens in their spare time. Smiling is a form of acknowledgment of anothers existence. Smiling is the calling card of the inner healer.
We can look so miserable sometimes in the UK. I blame it on the weather. A lot of us walk around with miserable expressions. Perhaps it’s also the food? Smiling is one of the most powerful human-body language skills we can use. Yes it is healing. When someone smiles to you, especially if it an attractive woman or man, you immediately feel good. Feel-good endorphins suddenly swamp your body. That is a form of healing. Smiling is very powerful. There is even scientific research that says its good for your own immune system if you smile. So its a win-win.
Smiling at someone who is unwell can help make them relaxed. It can make them feel that you are pleased to see them. Any kind of feel-good-feeling you create in someone can be considered a form of healing. The smile should be genuine and it is better if it stems from a feeling of compassion.
On a side note, smiling also helps you appear more physically attractive – so if anyone is looking for a partner, it is a good habit to start practicing.
When a child bangs himself and starts crying, the mother instantly picks him up and starts rubbing the hurt part. Touch is calming and is soothing and in a simple way can be considered healing. Think how good it is to be hugged by a loved one. There are some people who are never touched and instead they start to build up a protective shell to dispel the world. They become ratty and grumpy when in fact deep down they are lonely.
Of course, it may be inappropriate to go up and hug people. In England, we do not have the touching culture as they have in continental Europe. However, one of the less intrusive and yet powerful ways to utilise the power of touch, particularly in a hospital or hospice bed is by holding the hands.
From working in a health care setting, I have observed how simply holding a person’s hand can help to create a connection and can be calming. Place a hand on theirs and keep it there while you talk. If a person withdraws, that’s fine, but if not, don’t feel afraid to keep the contact. When someone is sick, they may be very afraid deep down. Touch can help relax them just the same way a mother helps relax a baby when he or she is hurt or upset.
One therapist I was friends with told me that when she visited a patient she simply held her hands and they prayed together – there was no therapy given.
There is various scientific research to show the benefits of touch. For example, in a 1998 study on the effectiveness of touch for improving functional ability in elders with degenerative arthritis – researchers at the University of Wisconsin discovered that touch improved pain, tension, mood, satisfaction and hand function scores.
Dont forget Hugging
Hugs are especially powerful. For example, Hugging has been found to flood our bodies with oxytocin, a ‘bonding hormone’ that makes people feel more comfortable and secure with each other and reduces stress. Women who get more hugs from their partners have higher levels of oxytocin and lower blood pressure and heart rates, according to research from the University of North Carolina. Also, Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that stress levels could be reduced in people giving a presentation if they were given a hug afterwards. Cuddling a pet also produces positive hormonal changes.
There is this famous Indian guru called Amma, a woman who practices a kind of ‘hugging therapy’ Apparently, when she hugs you, you may feel something powerful come over you. She comes to North London every year, although I have yet to see her. Her events are very popular.
Some considerations regarding touch
There are cultural differences to consider. In some religions, it is forbidden for a member of one sex to touch another such as Judaism or Islam. Although, it depends on how orthodox the person is. Also there are general cultural differences due to national characteristics or age. For example, the British tend to touch far less than the Europeans. The elderly are not as used to touch as relatively younger generations. The Japanese avoid touch. An example is their use of the bow instead of the handshake.
Also be aware that some people have never been touched in a non-sexual way before in their life. In some cases, any kind of touch can be inappropriate even if it putting a hand on a shoulder. Some people find touch intimidating. It is necessary to judge for each person and respect their feelings. If you feel that someone is open, it is fine to ask permission to hold someone’s hand.
4. Last of all – Genuineness
There are some medical professionals with god-like attitudes. They come to a patient and forget that they are there to serve the patient. They can be rude or arrogant. Though, they though may be skilled at ‘curing’ – e.g. prescribing drugs or cutting out tumours, they leave the patient or their family members feeling upset or angry. This is the opposite to healing. Fortunately there are less of these kinds of doctors these days as the Medical Profession has recognised that patient-practioner relationships is an important aspect of the therapeutic relationship and now puts time into developing these skills.
We all have the power to bring out our inner healer by being genuine. When we see a sick person, all we can do is bring ourselves – for better or worse into the space of that person.
We have all had experiences of suffering in life. By being genuine, we bring our hurts, our sufferings, our fears and doubts, our whole life experience into the room with us. and it is these experiences that can help us empathise.
Some people are ashamed of being sick – as though it is a weakness. In our society we are not allowed to show weakness. But by being genuine, we unconsciously provide permission that it is ok to show weakness. It is ok to cry. It is perfectly natural.
Conclusion: Bring out the the Inner Healer
To summarise, touch is healing – When a child is sick, you hold and comfort them or you rub the hurt part, and it feels better. When we are distraught, bills, work stresses, or dealing with great problems – the act of hugging a loved one can make things that much better. When we are unwell and lying on a bed, having someone hold our hand can help calm us down. These simple actions activate the inner healer.
Smiling is free. It relaxes people, it opens barriers. It releases feel-good endorphins in yourself and the person you smile to. This is healing. A hug is comforting. A doctor or nurse will never hug a patient when they are sick. But a friend or family member can. This is healing.
You bring yourself, your wholeness to a person. You allow them space to be themselves and give them permission to show weakness. This is healing. Our very presence affects the energy field. Just being there, even with a short visit, or just sitting quietly with someone can be very comforting. Our very presence has the potential to be healing.
As you can see the steps to activate our inner healer are very simple and is something we can all do. More importantly, I think these actions can help us just as much at the person we spend time with.