We had just returned from our day-hike on the Camí de Sant Jaume when Elyn suddenly developed a cough. It was not totally unexpected. After all, our friends Carita and Anna are both down with the same or a similar illness. I’ve been full-time support staff for about a week now. Elyn’s cough has deepened into a sometimes severe hacking affair that saps her energy. I suggested that she might see a doctor, but that was firmly rejected at first. I admit to having similar opinions about allopathic medicine. About the only thing that doctors know how to do with non-life-threatening illnesses is prescribe pills. More serious illnesses call for more invasive treatments. I think they are best at repair of injury or catastrophic health events. If I had a car accident I would place myself in their hands without a doubt.
After several attacks of nearly uncontrollable coughing, we did go to our local (national) health clinic and saw a doctor. He prescribed a Ventolin inhaler for the wheezing that he detected. We have been more or less following his recommendations, and the cough has gradually improved. Elyn hates using the inhaler but is persevering.
When I began to get some symptoms of allergy (eyes itching, congestion) we thought of checking the air quality in the apartment. We called in a maintenance man who cleaned the filthy air filter in the heating system, and we have noticed a great improvement in symptoms. We have also borrowed a portable air filter from our friend Carita, and that has made a difference as well.
Anyway, we have multiple nonstandard modalities that we find useful, and I’ve been doing what I can. As I’ve gone about my health-care support duties, it has become apparent to me that all these alternative methods that we practice have been discovered by Elyn and passed on to me. This post is a confession of how far we go down the road of alternative (you may think, crazy) methods of healing and keeping ourselves healthy.
First, we do Reiki. Elyn learned about Reiki in Denver in the mid 90’s while she was a student at Iliff School of Theology. Her friend, Sharifa, practiced Reiki and she brought (the late) Linda Kaiser Mardis to Denver to train a group in Reiki. Elyn asked if I wanted to join and I did. I found that I had natural abilities in the area of energy healing. We studied Reiki I and Reiki II with Linda and have practiced it sporadically ever since. A few years ago, Elyn made friends with Rosa Puerto, a Reiki master in Barcelona, and Rosa gave us a brush-up course. Now that Elyn is ill, I’ve been giving her Reiki nearly every day. It seems to relieve the symptoms more than anything else we have tried. Her cough seems to go away during the Reiki session, and she ends up sleeping for awhile afterward and wakes up much refreshed. We have a massage table, which makes doing Reiki very comfortable for both parties. I find the hour I’m doing Reiki is an hour of deep meditation. I finish the treatment revived and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do it.
Secondly, we use essential oils. Elyn first learned about essential oils in Denver when we were working with Linda Smith, a Healing Touch practitioner who was writing a book about healing with essential oils. We began to use the oils to take care of simple complaints and have used them ever since. When we came to Europe in 2002 to walk the Chemin de St Jacques from Le Puy-En-Velay in Southwest France (http://amzn.to/1nW8rNa), Elyn made contact with Dr. Daniel Penoel, the foremost expert on the oils in France (http://www.ecolepenoel.com/en/) to learn what he would suggest to support her long-term recovery from cancer. We spent several days with him and learned techniques for applying his blends. We have since made contact with a number of people who use and create essential oil blends, including Christa Obuchowski in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who is the owner of Aromabotanica and is an expert distiller of oils. Recently, we became friends with Anna Sper, who is very knowledgeable about using essential oils. She suggested Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa) for Elyn’s cough and gave us some, and it seems to be helping. Again, all these people come to us by way of Elyn’s ever-widening circle of friends and associates.
Thirdly, we use crystals (yes, those mineral things). We wanted to learn ways to keep healthy when exposed to powerful energies at sacred sites. One of Elyn’s friends recommended Collette Stubbs, who runs the Lightworkers Academy (http://collettestubbs.com/index.html). We both did her first-level training (via Skype) and have acquired a good-sized collection of crystals that we use to reduce energetic connections that we pick up at various sites or, sometimes, from negative human encounters. We also find the left-over energy in hotel rooms is often quite toxic, and we use crystals to clear those spaces. I use a technique Collette recommended called E. F. T. (Emotional Freedom Technique) or Tapping. I find that tapping on various acupuncture points on my face, hands, and upper body is quite helpful in clearing symptoms. There is a set protocol that is recommended on the Tapping Solution online that I use (http://www.thetappingsolution.com/).
We also use homeopathic and herbal remedies regularly to keep ourselves fit and healthy. And periodically we contact my daughter, Stephanie Crystaal, who is a gifted Pranic Healer (email@example.com). She does diagnosis and treatment at a distance. So far, I have remained healthy and been able to get out to do the shopping and take care of Elyn.
So there you have it—a more or less complete list of our alternative healing methods. Allopathic medicine labels all of these methods “quack cures” that work because of the so-called “placebo effect,” but I say there is nothing wrong with "placebos"—if they work! Given the very real side effects of most Big Pharma drugs, I prefer to use techniques that are less invasive whenever I can. So, gratitude to my dear wife and partner, Elyn, who introduced me to all these alternative therapies.