By Sr. Rita Jean DuBrey, CSJ, RN, MSN, HTCP/I
Alcoholism, a life-threatening disease is no respecter of race, sex, religion, professional or financial status. Persons suffering from alcoholism are in need of compassion and caring in their search for self-healing and wholeness in mind, body and spirit.
Â My past experience as a counseling intern in an out-patient treatment center and, presently, in my community based Healing Touch practice confirms the reality that persons suffering from addictions are indeed searching for wholeness. Statements shared by clients post Healing Touch treatment help to validate the reality of their search:
â€śI always feel stress and I need to learn how to relax.â€ť
â€śI feel like a butterfly coming out of a cocoonâ€ť
â€śI only want peace in my life.â€ť
â€śI can see my self back with my family.â€ť
â€śI want to feel better about myself and find out who I am.â€ť
Relative to persons suffering from drug and alcohol addictions, Caroline Myss notes that, â€śthe human experience, except for occasional pockets of enlightenment, is diminished in dignity. People in countless numbers are lost in the very fabric of their lives.â€ť (Shealy N. & Myss, C., 1988). The results of a published research study revealed that HT significantly reduced pain and emotional distress and led to patients feeling happier, more satisfied and less tense. (DuBrey, R., 2006)
Issues Related to Chakras
In my twelve years of experience as a Healing Touch Practitioner, ongoing issues have Â surfaced in this recovering population. This is not, of course, a complete list: a lack of physical well-being with a sense of not belonging (1st chakra); relationship issues (2nd chakra); loss of self-esteem (3rd chakra); grief/loss issues (4th chakra) and lack of a spiritual connection (7th chakra). Numerous health issues resulting from abuse of alcohol and other substances are seen and correlated with associated chakras: cirrhosis, pancreatitis and stomach ulcers (3rd chakra); emphysema (5th chakra); esophageal varicies and circulatory issues (4th chakra) and neurological deficits of the legs and feet (1st chakra), etc.
Â Pre-Energetic Assessment
Recovery is a process. Energy assessment findings depend upon the personâ€™s level of Â recovery. Energy field disturbances and disruptions in energy flow are easily identified. Hand scan in early recovery typically reveals a denseness similar to that felt in a patient following a chemotherapy treatment or one taking steroids. The clientâ€™s field is out of balance from the substances that have been used. I have also experienced the field over the heart chakra as bland or empty which may be associated with the clientâ€™s numerous grief issues such as broken relationships, financial loss, loss of self-esteem, etc. Energy field disturbances (i.e. heat, denseness) may be felt over the liver or any other organ where co-morbidity exists.
Â Pendulum Assessment
In my experience when using the pendulum to assess the energy flow of the chakras, the majority are compromised in early recovery due to the existence of multiple issues.
(Compromised is defined as anything other than a clockwise movement.) As clients move through their journey of recovery, energy flow through the chakras improves. The Alcoholics Anonymous slogan â€śGive time timeâ€ť is appropriate. The process is slow as clients work through life issues and reach ongoing resolution in recovery through counseling in out-patient or in-patient treatment settings, AA, Healing Touch and other complementary therapies.
Â Healing Touch Interventions
We use the Healing Touch Sequence in our practice. The HT interventions chosen are based on the client interview, pretreatment energetic assessment, mutual goals and the practitionerâ€™s judgment and intuition. The interventions which I chose for a randomized, controlled research study of 148 patients in early recovery included Chakra Connection and Magnetic Clearing. The purpose of Chakra Connection is to connect, open and balance the Energy Centers and enhance energy flow throughout the body. Chakra Connection is an excellent intervention for these clients because of significant compromise in energy flow.
Â Magnetic Clearing, a full body technique, cleanses the bodyâ€™s energy field in a systematic way. It is an intervention of choice for persons with a history of prescription or alcohol/recreational drug use. In addition to these two very effective interventions in my present community-based practice, I have often used Chakra Spread, a valuable intervention which helps in the healing of grief/loss issues. Chakra Spread, a gentle and sacred procedure, releases pain and stress on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. It is effective in producing a deep healing. A person in recovery is experiencing a major life transformation saying â€śgood-byeâ€ť to life threatening substances in order to say â€śhelloâ€ť to a whole new life style. In sobriety the person experiences the reality and deepening insight into answering the question â€śWho am I?â€ť Healing Touch can be helpful as the person searches for the real Self.
Â I believe that persons suffering from the disease of alcoholism are the poorest of the poor in mind, body and Spiritâ€¦the Anawim of God. They need compassion and understanding. Healing Touch is an excellent adjunct therapy for persons in early and on-going recovery. It is of equal importance to family members, who are on their own journey of recovery. All are in search of Wholeness.
Â About the author:
Sr. Rita Jean, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is Director of the Center for Complementary Therapies at St. Maryâ€™s Hospital in Amsterdam, NY. She is a Clinical Nursing Specialist, a Credentialed Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Counselor, an accredited Tâ€™ai Chi ChihÂ®Teacher and has been involved in the ministry of wellness for over 25 years.
Â Sr. Rita Jean has authored numerous publications. Her most recent publication is in Â COUNSELOR, December, 2006, â€śThe Role of Healing Touch in the Treatment of Persons in Recovery from Alcoholism.â€ť Sr. Rita Jean, a Healing Touch Certified Practitioner and Instructor, is a charter member of the Healing Touch Professional Association. She maintains an active Healing Touch community-based practice at St. Maryâ€™s Hospital, Amsterdam, NY.
Â DuBrey, R. (2006). The Role of Healing Touch in the Treatment of Persons in Recovery from Alcoholism. Counselor: The Magazine for Addiction Professionals,Vol. 7, 58-64.
Â Shealy, N., Myss, C. (1988) The Creation of Health: The Emotional, Psychological and Spiritual Responses that Promote Health and Healing. New Hampshire: Stillpoint Publishing