Supporting Clients Going Through Chemotherapy: Notes From a Healing Touch Practice
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Healing Touch makes a huge difference in the lives of people who are going through chemotherapy. In the last 16 years as a Healing Touch Certified Practitioner, I have had people walk into my office suffering from the side effects of chemotherapy—pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, neuropathy—and walk out feeling so much better physically and emotionally. As I saw Healing Touch make such a big difference in the quality of life of these clients, I chose to make supporting these clients the focus of my healing practice.
My intention in writing this article is to share what has worked so well in my practice and inspire other Healing Touch Practitioners to reach out and support friends, family and clients who decide to go through chemotherapy.
In speaking with other Healing Touch Practitioners at conferences, lunches and meetings over the years, I discovered that we all use the same general strategy. In sharing this information, I hope to give new Healing Touch Practitioners a solid foundation so they can feel confident when working with their clients who are receiving chemotherapy. This is the beautiful thing about our Healing Touch community—the support, knowledge and inspiration we give and receive. I have found our community to be a powerful resource.
When I started my Healing Touch practice, I already had a full-time massage practice. I remember how apprehensive (really terrified) I was when I first started offering Healing Touch to friends and clients receiving chemotherapy. People with a cancer diagnosis, and their families, are going through one of the most difficult times in their lives. Would Healing Touch really help? How often do they need a session? Which techniques should I use?
To gain experience and confidence, I worked with many clients for free or at a very reduced rate. I hope that by reading this article, new practitioners will feel confident enough to work with clients right away.
Frequency of Sessions In the beginning, the hardest question my clients asked me was, “How often should I come for a healing session when I start my chemotherapy treatments?”
Right after being certified in Healing Touch, I thought that before and after every infusion would be best. The more healings, the better, and this is still an excellent protocol when working with friends, family and people with whom you live or see often. However, I found that in my healing practice this was not practical.
The first issue I discovered was that clients with a cancer diagnosis are very busy people. Most of them are still taking care of families and some are still working, as well as adding hospital visits and doctors appointments to their schedules. People receiving chemotherapy are also tired. The fewer appointments they have, the more rest they can get.
I think that if my clients come for a healing session as soon as possible after receiving chemotherapy, that is enough for the healing sessions to greatly benefit them. If clients get chemotherapy once a week, I see them once a week. If their treatments are every 21 days, then I see them every three weeks. Many clients with longer intervals between treatments ask to come every week and that is wonderful. When chemotherapy is given daily, we work out our treatment schedule based on length of treatment, desires of the client and financial considerations.
The second issue was the cost. I charge $130.00 per session in the Bay Area. This can add up quickly and increase the financial strain of long-term illness. I have frank conversations about money with my clients, as with all the other issues that arise when facing a long-term recovery. If they cannot afford the sessions and I cannot afford to discount them, I send them to Healing Touch Clinics such as the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, the Haelen Center (www.HillcrestUCC. org/ministries/healing-touch/) or to other Healing Touch practitioners I know who use a sliding fee scale. Stanford Health Care also provides free Healing Touch sessions to people diagnosed with cancer in the Bay Area: www.StanfordHealthCare.org/events/cscphealing-partners. I work to connect clients to healers and programs so they can get Healing Touch when it would be beneficial to them. In my practice I usually serve at least one client, who is receiving chemotherapy treatments, for free or at a very reduced rate. I do what I can afford to do.
One client, whom I supported energetically through her entire chemotherapy treatment, received chemotherapy in the morning, went home from the hospital to feed her children and get them ready for bed, then came for her Healing Touch session in the evening. That worked out well. She missed one session because I had a cold and that was the only week of all her rounds of chemotherapy that she felt numbness in her hands and feet.
I want to note that I have worked with people in all stages of cancer and have found that even one Healing Touch session can be profoundly beneficial anytime during their healing journey. Even though I am advocating client support through a series of energetic treatments, never underestimate the power of one Healing Touch session.
It is also important to be flexible with appointments when working with clients healing from cancer. Clients with significant medical issues change their schedules more often as their condition and doctors appointments change.
The Sessions: Use Magnetic Clearing
The sessions I do for people going through chemotherapy are as long as most other sessions, about 50 minutes, with time after to integrate the session. Some people jump right off the table as soon as I am finished; others take a while to sit up, especially when they are feeling sick. I book all clients two hours apart, but I will schedule an extra half hour if I know my client cannot be rushed.
I start with Magnetic Clearing and often the whole session is solely this fabulous Healing Touch Level 1 technique. In my opinion, Magnetic Clearing is one of Healing Touch’s greatest gifts to the universe. Usually about 20 or 30 minutes into the session, I will do a short 15 minute Chakra Connection— and then return to Magnetic Clearing.
It is important to note that if you lose focus while doing Magnetic Clearing, your arms suddenly feel like they weigh 100 pounds or you suddenly feel nothing is happening, do not think it is because you are not experienced enough or not grounded enough. It is probably an indication that the client needs a Chakra Connection or Magnetic Passes: Hands in Motion over an unusually “thick” or “blocked” area. Then when you restart the Magnetic Clearing, you will find it so much easier.
Remember to visualize your etheric fingers extending from your hands during Magnetic Clearing. Since you are clearing the back of the client’s aura/biofield as well as the front with this method, it is not necessary for your client to turn over. However, I stay very aware of the back of the client’s biofield.
I have had clients who were afraid that I would remove all the chemo drugs from their bodies and they would not heal from the cancer when I explained that I was doing a clearing technique. I now always say out loud before the session, “We are setting the intention to clear everything from your energy field that is not necessary for you to rebalance and heal, physically emotionally and mentally.”
Sometimes, depending on the client, I tell them how Magnetic Clearing also works on the mental and emotional level. How they are clearing out old beliefs, old emotional patterns, even anxiety and fear. Weekly Healing Touch sessions heal on so many levels. Clients coming for regular Healing Touch treatments to alleviate the effects of chemotherapy have reported a surprising number of non-cancer breakthroughs in their lives. For each healing, I also internally set the intention that the client heal anything and everything on every level, even though the client is getting the session for chemotherapy.
Healing Touch and Neuropathy
When I first started doing Healing Touch, nausea was the most overwhelming side effect of chemotherapy.
Currently, neuropathy is the most common side effect. (Neuropathy is tingling, pain, numbness or weakness in the hands and/or feet.) Speaking from experience in my healing practice, Healing Touch sessions have significantly reduced and often eliminated neuropathy in my clients. I, of course, do not know if they would have experienced neuropathy if they had not had Healing Touch. I do know that several clients who missed even one healing session during their chemotherapy treatments felt numbness, mostly in their hands and feet, when they did not receive Healing Touch following a round of chemotherapy.
I have also found that preventing neuropathy with HT treatments is much easier than clearing it from the physical body once it sets in. That being said, I have witnessed clients completely heal themselves of neuropathy with Healing Touch months after their chemotherapy ended.
One such client I saw for two Healing Touch sessions at the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic in Oakland, California. (The Charlotte Maxwell Clinic supports underserved women in the Bay Area with complementary integrative cancer care free of charge.) This client had just been told by her doctor that the neuropathy she was experiencing after her chemotherapy would never go away. I did not know this at the time of our session, but I am sure I told her that Healing Touch would be very beneficial for chemotherapy symptoms. It turned out that she released all the numbness in her hands and feet after one Healing Touch session with Magnetic Clearing. I did not learn about this until years later, when she found me on the internet and came to my private practice for an entirely different condition.
I would like to say at this point that it is important, very important, to remember that it is not the Healing Touch practitioner who is doing the healing. We are not responsible for our client’s healing. If the client gets numbness, it is not because you are not a good enough healer. I have seen people in a Level 1 Healing Touch class share incredibly powerful healings right after learning the Chakra Connection technique. We know so little about the healing process and why some people die and some people get well. It is all about trust. Trusting the energy is an important factor in being an effective healer as well as trusting your ability to hold a healing space. It takes an experienced healer to hold space for someone whom you feel is not “healing.” This is trust as a deep knowing. This was the hardest lesson for me to learn. As healers, we do our best and then we let go of the outcome.
If you ever find yourself thinking about a client between visits or find yourself feeling bad that they are not getting “better,” call and talk to another Healing Touch practitioner. Community is a huge resource. Sometimes just talking about boundaries with someone helps and leads to deeper personal insights. Healers are compassionate people and all healers need support at one time or another. If you stay supported, it is so much easier to stay grounded and able to hold space for your client. If there is one takeaway from this article, this is it.
It is also very important that you trust your own intuition. You are the one working with your client. I am writing about all the things that have worked for me to give you the confidence and a practical foundation to support very sick people. If you are guided to do a Pain Drain, change the sequence or frequency of the healing sessions, or lead your client in a meditation, then definitely do what you think will help your client the most. I do highly recommend a lot of Magnetic Clearing somewhere in your session, though.
People often ask, “Don’t you get depressed, working with people going through cancer?” My answer is, “No, I do not.”
I feel so grateful—deeply, profoundly grateful, to be able to provide relief from suffering when there is nothing more Western medicine can do. Healing Touch can make a difference when nothing else can.
Reprint from Energy Magazine Issue: Nov/Dec 2016