The Lost Art of Healing
I am a healer. This is a bit taboo in our modern society, especially among my licensed mental health provider community. But I am a healer in the same way the wise women before me were healers. Midwives, herbalists, and witches all had knowledge of healing--from obstetrics to psychology--passed down from mothers, sisters, and neighbors. These women did not have formal training as we know it today, but were the healers sought after by their communities. These healers, whether they used Ayurveda and its sister science of Yoga, herbal medicine, energy healing, or even practices that resemble modern day surgery and obstetrics, commonly served the most disaffected and oppressed in their communities. For this crime many were deemed criminals, and many others murdered. The fact remains, however, that their healing worked. Much of modern pharmacology comes from herbal traditions and most of what we know as modern medicine was developed by witches and wise women. Indeed, anatomy, pharmacology, and much of psychotherapy as we know it today came from these women. Even the early physicians cited the midwives and witches as the origin of much of their knowledge. However, modern medicine, including psychology, seems to see these healing modalities as superstitions at best or harmful pseudoscience at worst.
Despite their reputation, it is important for modern day healers to not shun the knowledge of our ancestors. Ayurveda has been practiced for thousands of years and has some recent research backing it up. Yoga, a sister science to Ayurveda, has a robust research base for mental health treatment, especially stress and trauma treatment. And Reiki, an energy healing modality, has been shown to be effective at treating pain, stress, and chronic health conditions. These are not the only ancient healing modalities that have recent research showing efficacy, but they are the most familiar to me.
It is important to note here that stress is a huge factor in both mental and physical health. There are whole textbooks dedicated to the study of stress and its effects on the body, brain, and mind. Thus, any healing modality that is effective in treating stress can be effective in healing and preventing a myriad of other mental and physical health conditions.
So, I am a healer. I have advanced degrees in counseling and psychology, but I also have training--some more advanced than others--in Yoga, Reiki, Ayurveda, and psychedelic integration. I will not shun the latter because I also adhere to the former.
I am a healer, and that means I embrace the forms of healing that work for me and for those I serve regardless of the broader medical zeitgeist. This does not make me a pseudoscientist or an unethical practitioner, but a devoted healer who values knowledge and healing practices that work, no matter where they come from. Holistic healing is becoming more and more recognized as evidence based, so why not embrace it?
All information that is not my own comes from the following, in no particular order: