How Healing Happens

Conditions Under Which Disease Thrives Change

How Healing and Growth Happens ( 10 minute read )

In simple terms we generally understand good health and well-being as a state of being peaceful and balanced – the absence of disease and illness. To be healed is often thought of as becoming whole or a movement towards wholeness. Both healing and growth are active changes in state, from one set of conditions to another set of conditions that we experience. One condition we all seem to share is being in pain or otherwise suffering.

One way to understand how healing and growth happens is to evaluate extreme situations.  For example if there are documented cases where people were expected to die from serious diseases and instead they healed and fully recovered – could we find some consistent pattern to understand how healing and growth happens?

Another approach is to see how traditional medicine uses “interventions” that do not include medical procedures, medical devices or pharmaceutical drugs to help people heal and grow.

Following are summaries of two extremely well researched and documented studies that draw from a wide range of people, diseases and natural non-invasive healing modalities.

Spontaneous Remission of Cancer

One of the most extreme conditions is an advanced stage of some form of cancer.  In some cases a person’s condition of having cancer transforms into being cancer free. This outcome is called “spontaneous remission” defined as “the disappearance, complete or incomplete, of a disease or cancer without medical treatment or treatment that is considered inadequate to produce the resulting disappearance of disease symptoms or tumor.“ So the cancer disappeared without medical intervention. What happened?

There are many sources of information to answer this question which in many ways is a mystery by definition beyond the boundaries of modern mainstream medical science. The following discussion is based on information from a 2010 PhD thesis by Kelly Ann Turner; Spontaneous Remission of Cancer: Theories from Healers, Physicians and Cancer Survivors. Ms. Turner wrote Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds“>Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds based on her research.

Situation, Background and Outcome.

Ms. Turner documented 20 cases from a pool of 70 people researched and interviewed who had various forms of cancer where spontaneous remission occurred. The transformation from having cancer to being cancer free started on average at age 50 and happened over 2+ years. There were 10 men and 10 women, half had never had traditional or allopathic treatment and the other half failed to remediate the cancer with formal treatment.

Shared Beliefs

Here is what these people all came to believe is true.

1) A body-mind-spirit integration exists and that energy permeates all three of these levels.

There’s a lot to consider there. Everyone likely agrees we have a body and mind. Most people believe in some kind of spirit. Energy is understood in many different ways. In this context of spontaneous remission of cancer these people came to believe energy permeates and ties every other thing including mind, body and spirit together.

Energy certainly relates to the idea that everything is constantly changing if everything consists of energy. And both energy and spirit go to the question of who you are – in addition to the thoughts and feelings you experience in your mind and body.

2) Illness represents a blockage or slowness somewhere in the body-mind-spirit system whereas health occurs when there is a state of unhindered movement or flow

These people who experienced the transformation of having cancer into being cancer free report the main “problem” as a block in the flow of energy through their body-mind-spirit system. Their cancer-free state is experienced as an unhindered free movement and flow of energy. So there is an integrated body-mind-spirit system where energy becomes blocked or knotted leading to illness and disease.

3) Change the conditions under which cancer thrives

These people believe they changed the conditions under which their cancer thrived until it died.

One thing that stands out reading the statements from these 20 people is how focused they became on each individual cancerous cell in their bodies. That each cell itself is born and dies and is connected somehow to every other cell in this integrated body-mind-spirit system permeated with a constantly changing flow of energy. When something inside you is killing you – you obviously try to figure out what are the conditions under which this disease has come to thrive and if there’s anything you can do to change those conditions.  They all came to believe three things; 1) there’s an energy that permeates an integrated body-mind-spirit system, 2) disease is a blockage of energy in that system while health is a free flow of energy and 3) they changed their conditions from ones where the disease thrived to conditions under which the disease died and dissappeared.

Practices in Common

One mystery of being human is how we’re all the same – yet each one of us unique at the same time. Like ocean waves no two of which are alike – being born, playing out and dissolving the same way in one ocean. There are many ways or practices proven to change human conditions yet one combination likely works best for each individual one of us.

These practices are the ones found in common across the 20 people who experienced spontaneous remission of cancer. In our search for how healing happens the practices that work to change the conditions that underline cancer – we expect work with all kinds of imbalance, illness and dis-ease.

1) Changed Diet; to primarily whole vegetables, fruits, grains and beans while eliminating meat, sugar, diary and refined grains. Diet is a very fundamental and powerful “intervention” to change the conditions that underlie disease.

2) Felt internal sensation of divine, loving energy. Here’s a big idea! That the energy permeating the mind-body-spirit system can be sensed as divine and loving.

3) Increased love and happiness. Another big idea! Love and happiness can be “practiced”.

4) Released held emotions; such as fear, anger and grief. These strong negative emotions were part of the conditions under which the cancer thrived. Letting go of fear, anger and grief became an important part of their intentions and practice.

5) Took various supplements

6) Used intuition to make treatment decisions. They came to trust a sense of internal “knowing” for the most important decisions. Intuition is often associated with the heart and a connection with spirit.

The Institute of Noetic Sciences Spontaneous Remission Bibliography Project is an excellent resource for additional information about spontaneous remission of cancer.

Safe2Heal is built on the assumption that these sames practices will help any and all of us heal and grow.

Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Gastrointestinal Disorders, Anxiety & Depression and Sleep Disorders Successfully Treated

These challenges addressed in this second well documented study are not immediately life threatening and fall more into the “chronic disease” category.  The Bravewell Collaborative published a study Integrative Medicine In America How Integrative Medicine Is Being Practiced in Clinical Centers Across the United States.  Bravewell’s definition of integrative medicine:

“Integrative medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental influences that affect a person’s health. Employing a personalized strategy that considers the patient’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances, it uses the most appropriate interventions from an array of scientific disciplines to heal illness and disease and help people regain and maintain optimum health.”

This was a very formal and structured study where 29 Clinical Centers affiliated with a hospital, a healthcare system, and/or a medical or nursing school provided detailed information based on interactions with thousands of patients.

These centers are staffed with physicians, massage therapists, meditation instructors, and acupuncturists. From a traditional medical perspective these programs are called “preventative” with labels like “wellness” and “lifestyle”.

The study documents outstanding results addressing a wide range of disease and illness with alternative modalities including yoga, meditation and traditional Chinese medicine. These “therapies” are divided into four categories; mind-body, dietary/biological, movement/energy, and manual interventions. Then there are 34 practices – what formal medicine calls “interventions” – like nutrition, massage, yoga and meditation related to 20 “clinical conditions”. The centers reported the top 5 clinical conditions that were most impacted by the available interventions.

The most common conditions successfully treated by number of clinical centers reporting were Chronic Pain (22), Gastrointestinal Disorders (17), Depression & Anxiety (16), Cancer Pain (15), Sleep Disorders (14) and Fibromyalgia (12).

This report is more about correlation than causality. In other words its great news that clinical centers operating inside of the modern medicine ecosystem report that “alternative” therapies successfully treat very widespread chronic disease. But there is nothing in the report that tries to understand what causes people to move from being in pain to being pain free. The word “energy” is only used with “movement” as one of four therapy categories. Yet if everything is constantly changing what is that change made up of? Energy of some sort? The view of the world from the other side of spontaneous remission of cancer is that energy permeates and underlies everything.

Healing & Growth Is Your Creative Process

One of the beautiful things about this view of mind, body, spirit and energy is you can get the benefit – even if you don’t believe in or care about why healing happens. One thing you can say for sure about the thousands of people who were successfully treated in these clinical centers is they made changes in their behavior and practiced in new and different ways. What matters is making the effort!

The spark in all these cases – the “big idea” – is that we all have the ability to heal ourselves. All of the modalities and interventions documented in these cases offer directions that you can take into your everyday life. A common theme emerges that suffering becomes the raw material for transformation. People recognize that they themselves – you – have the inherent ability and talent to uncover your creative genius by developing skills and adopting practices proven to generate successful outcomes. The field of creation is your everyday life! Your great creative work is your transformed self!

In summary healing and growth happen because:

People adopt new beliefs about themselves and the world they experience.

People make changes and practice in new and different ways to embrace the free flow of loving energy in their integrated mind-body-spirit system.

The conditions under which the disease thrives change until they are free of pain.

One great analogy is that we’re all planting and watering the seeds of ourselves all the time. Derek Walcott suggests we can learn to feast on our own lives!

Love After Love – Poem by Derek Walcott

The time will come

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott