No, I’m not only running this obit because it has the word “holistic” in it.
|Arthur Lessac, Holistic Vocal Coach, Dies at 101|
Holistic Recovery from Schizophrenia: A Mother and Son Journey
No, I’m not only running this obit because it has the word “holistic” in it.
|Arthur Lessac, Holistic Vocal Coach, Dies at 101|
The Financial Times copyright policy forbids distribution of this article by e-mail. You can google it using keywords Satori system, Financial Times and David Kaufman.
This privately developed technology is being used by the US military in veterans centers and in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is becoming widely available in US spas and the developers are partnering with Mental Health America to distribute 250,000 MP3 complimentary downloads to U.S. servicemen (emphasis, my own)
The Satori system uses alpha, theta and delta frequencies to induce relaxation by lowering brainwaves, lowering serotonin levels and bringing the body into a REM-like state. Lucid dreaming anyone?
The client winds down in a specially designed chaise longue type chair where vibrational energy is pumped in via headphones and four strategically placed transducers (which I suspect are located under the length of the chair and in contact with the body.)
I have written elsewhere (here, here, here and here) about Chris’s encouraging experiences with the sound shaman, using a different sound therapy approach but having in common the use of vibrational energy and sound to heal. According to the FT article, the Satori system helps disable your innate “fight or flight” response.
All of this is wonderful, but why isn’t Mental Health America making these downloads freely available to people with schizophrenia, their natural constituency? Come on, what’s the difference between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and schizophrenia? Dr. Loren Mosher said shell shock (PSTD) resembles schizophrenia but in PSTD it seems obvious where the stressors came from and in schizophrenia it is not so obvious. Okay, PSTD, like autism, is a hot topic, and schizophrenia, as usual, suffers from a dirth of outside the box thinking.
I will follow up with Mental Health America and see if not distributing the free downloads to their natural clients isn’t just an oversight.
While in Florida Ian and I took an Everglades tour. I learned several odd and interesting things. One is that back in the 1980s one out of three adult males in Everglades City were involved in smuggling drugs from Colombia. Everglades City is tiny, more like a hamlet, but it does have an international airport (read Colombia-USA), as the guide cheerfully pointed out.
I learned that alligators are fresh water creatures, unlike crocodiles, which thrive in salt water. Florida has mainly alligators, but also a small number of crocodiles. According to our guide, an alligator stays under water a good deal of the time, but the soft membranes behind its eyes pick up vibrations through the water from the surrounding environment, enabling the alligator to sense what is on land. I began to wonder if the soft membrane in alligators heads are similar in function to the soft spots (fontanelles) in newborn humans.
Human fontanelles are known to serve two functions, to allow the baby’s head to ease through the birth canal and for rapid brain growth during the first two years of life.
It seems reasonable (to me, at least) that there could also be a third function to human fontanelles, that of sensing the environment, just as alligator soft spots do. The implication would be that babies in utero and in their first two years of life pick up much of the information in their environment due to vibration. Remember that the human ear is fully formed by the fourth month of pregnancy and then of course, there is the umbilical cord shared with the mother which also picks up vibrations from the mother and the environment.
Yesterday evening, Ian and I had our quarterly meeting with Dr. Stern, Chris’s psychiatrist. We hadn’t had a chance to meet since Chris was released from the hospital in May. We spoke about his overall good progress, how Ian and I were pleased to have him home with us and how we are content to let things unfold at the pace Chris was setting. Then Dr. Stern dropped the bombshell. She leaned forward, and in a clearly worried voice, said “what’s this about Chris having an out-of-body experience? Chris’s occupational therapist told me about this and she also told me about a lucid dream.”
It has been my policy all along not to tell Chris’s psychiatrists about what outwardly kooky looking things he is undertaking in the world of holistic healing. I have learned, as this experience shows, that it only worries them and they want to put a stop to it.
Most, if not all, psychiatrists would not want their schizophrenia patients having an OBE, because to them, it is exactly what you don’t want them to have. Dr. Stern said she wanted Chris “in” his body and grounded, not out-of-his body and floating in space looking down at himself. It is exactly the sensible sort of thing a cautious psychiatrist should say, except that what has changed is that energy medicine has opened up a whole other realm of healing possibilities. I tried to handle this as best I could, knowing that Chris and I were headed to the sound shaman the next day for another go at it.
I tried to reassure Dr. Stern that actually, the meditative state that he achieved was a grounding state, not an excitatory state. I told her that an OBE for someone with a history of psychosis was actually a good thing, but it was counter-intuitive, because most people would think an out-of-body experience can lead to the person becoming destabilized and this was not in fact what was happening. Please note that this way of thinking is not only not widely shared, but not widely known. There’s me, and there’s the sound shaman, and beyond the two of us, who else knows about this counter-intuitive way of looking at schizophrenia? There must be a secret society somewhere, or maybe this is well-known in Eastern mysticism, but with Chris’s Western diagnosis of schizophrenia I was treading on very thin ice with Dr. Stern. Come to think of it, Western medical diagnoses are not included in Eastern mysticism texts.
Do you do yoga, Dr. Stern? I enquired brightly. “Keep in mind that yoga is used in many programs for schizophrenia patients.” Dr. Stern was more inclined to feel that yoga was more of a physical workout than a mental one, and that deep meditation is not something recommended for someone like Chris. Dr. Stern is a good psychiatrist and an excellent Family Constellation psychiatrist, but she is not a yoga person, nor all that familiar with energy medicine. Dr. Stern doesn’t “do” energy medicine, and this is where it gets tricky with a psychiatrist. What I am doing with Chris is clearly out of most traditional psychiatrists’ comfort zones. I only later thought about Chris’s former holistic psychiatrist, who taught us about energy medicine and got Chris to practice visualizations. Where is the line drawn between lucid dreaming and say, visualizing you are a shining ball of light in space with giant meteorites bouncing off you?
The out-of-body experience and the lucid dreaming were all news to Ian, who thankfully didn’t jump in and punch the air with “let’s put a stop to all this nonsense now!” I told Dr. Stern that lucid dreaming was something Chris does and it didn’t start recently. I was praying hard that the session would soon be over. I needed more information from the shaman to bolster my weak case in Dr. Stern’s eyes. “I understand your concerns, Dr. Stern, and if I were you I would feel the same way. I will look into this some more and share further information with you.” Inside me, I am really just hoping that all this will not be raised again.
When it was time to leave, I excused myself to make a phone call from Dr. Stern’s inner office. As I entered, I noticed a large jagged quartz crystal on top of the table near the door. Now, what was that there for if she is not a proponent of energy medicine and the healing power of gemstones and vibrations? Is this just a decoration that psychiatrists put in their offices now to show solidarity with the holistic crowd in the same way all companies claim they are eco-friendly? Or, is it just a nice decoration with no other meaning? All of this I ponder.
A reader contacted me. He was clearly alarmed at the direction in which he felt I personally am heading. He referred to my “grasping at straws”, my being “on a crusade”, and urged me to avoid “snake oil”. He expressed his opinion that all of this plus maternal guilt was clouding my ability to think rationally. According to the reader, this means that I am not providing effective support for Chris. Furthermore, by claiming center stage I am placing my needs before Chris’s. My blog, he feels, is a coping mechanism.
Since the reader knows me only through what I have written, his perception is valid. I believe in turn that I have pushed the bounds of his comfort zone.
My blog is about holistic recovery from schizophrenia. It also happens to include many references to my own understanding/healing process that was needed under the circumstances. The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines holistic as “relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts.” My interpretation of holistic has grown to include self-examination as a component of Chris’s and my healing process. I submit that looking at how I may have contributed to Chris’s existential dilemma is a valid way forward. I do not feel “guilty” and neither should anyone in these circumstances. Guilt doesn’t heal people.
Holistic recovery means that we are taking advantage of what healing information is currently out there and available. The information is not from traditional medicine. Going holistic means moving off level one of the healing pyramid. Level one is about treating illnesses, not just mental illnesses, with vitamin therapy, diet, medications and surgery, where necessary.
Once we move off level one we are headed into the realm of energy medicine, energy psychology, psychotherapy in its many branches, acupuncture, homeopathy, yoga, meditation, chakras, shamanism, out of body experiences, the Akashic records, meaningful coincidences, quantum physics, near death experiences. These pick up where Dr. Hoffer and other proponents of orthomolecular medicine left off. (See: Energy psychology and Emotional Freedom Technique – April 21. 2009.) When orthomolecular medicine was introduced it tread on a lot of people’s comfort zones. It still does, to some people.
All of the therapies that I discuss in my blog incorporate the idea in one form or another that human beings are energy masses. We vibrate. Our molecules rub up against other people’s molecules. We have cellular memory. The individual has his own energy field, but the family also has an energy field. I believe that psychotherapy as a discipline implicitly acknowledges our molecular co-dependence but does not usually describe itself using these terms.
Correcting misaligned energy can be done physically and psychically. It can be done by a doctor, a shaman, a psychiatrist, a priest or through your own thought process. This is a new concept that is vying for a place alongside orthomolecular medicine and psychotherapy in treating mental illness. New ideas invariably disturb people’s comfort zones. They take a long time to gain acceptance.
I occupy center stage in my blog because I write it. Writing any blog seems like an inherently narcissistic act. Where I hope my value added lies is precisely because I am the mother and I am willing to share some of myself and Chris with others. Chris and I have undergone many of the therapies together, which means I can report on them with some confidence. Publishing this may leave people with the impression that I am desperately clutching at straws and trying to convince people that if people would only do what Chris and I are doing, all will be well. We know it doesn’t work that way.
A holistic approach has taught me to appreciate that there are no such thing as coincidences. By contacting me when he did, my reader has helped me think about perception. I am sharing Chris’s and my experiences in the higher levels of healing to allow you to cherry pick what you want from the realm of healing possibilities. It is not desperation on my part that drives me to investigate these rather unusual therapies for Chris. These therapies have helped Chris to heal in ways that the medications did not do. They might just do the same for you.
In Japan, Dr. Masaru Emoto photographed the molecular changes in untreated, distilled water crystals when thoughts and words are directed at them. He placed labels on glass jars of water, with phrases such as “Thank you” or “You Fool” and left them overnight. The changes in the water crystals were amazing. Positive words created pretty, healthy-looking crystals. Negative words produced the opposite.
Both spoken and written words convey vibrational energy that is picked up by the water. In fact, everything in existence has a vibration. Dr. Emoto found that intention and prayer can influence the water structure. Distance didn’t seem to matter.
As the adult human body is more than 70 percent water, and the level of water content at birth is 90 percent, the effects of vibrational energy on the human body and mind of both positive and negative thoughts, words, and actions are staggering.
This simple, yet profound discovery has major implications when looking at illness.