The experience of integrating spiritual healing with conventional medicine in England is instructive.

In the mid 1970s British healers formed a healing organization that lobbied the government to allow healers to treat patients in National Health Service hospitals. With one governmental decision, 1,500 hospitals were opened to healers.

In the early 1980s, healers joined in organizations that standardized a code of conduct. The code of conduct was sent to various medical, nursing and midwifery associations for review and was given their approval.

Since 1988, the Doctor-Healer Network has provided a forum for doctors, nurses and other conventional health care professionals to meet with healers, other complementary therapists and clergy to explore how healing can be integrated with conventional medical care.

There are DHN regional groups in England: London; Yorkshire; Lancaster; Bath/Bristol and others. There are General Ppractitioners who have healers working in their offices, and some of the healers are paid under the NHS. Many more doctors are referring patients to healers at the healers' treatment rooms. Some doctors are developing their own healing gifts. Doctors can obtain postgraduate education allowance credits for learning to develop their healing gifts. Two hospital pain centers, three hospital cancer centers, a rheumatology ward and a cardiac rehabilitation center have healers working there regularly. The Doctor-Healer Network Newsletter shares the experiences of healers and doctors between DHN groups and with interested subscribers around the world.

How has this been possible? Clearly, the National Health Service, with its centralized, governmental management facilitated this process. England is also a country where eccentricities are cultivated, so that an interest in healing may be more tolerated than in the States.

Is this transformation possible in the US?

I believe it is.

The research data is crucial to doctors in considering whether they would have anything to do with healing. However, the research alone will not bring about changes. In addition to convincing people at an intellectual level, they must be introduced to healing experientially.

On an individual basis, it is very difficult to change the view of health care professionals. Each individual is afraid of peer censure, that can be brutally vicious. Doctors, nurses and researchers may imperil their professional advancement, research grants and their jobs by advocating something that their employers, supervisors or peers do not accept. (In many ways this is akin to the treatments received by heretics who espoused beliefs that differed from those of their religious compatriots. This has led some to suggest that scientism is the religion of the Western world.)

I do not criticize people who are slow to assimilate new observations and theories. It took me two years after observing Ethel's healing before I was ready to explore the development of my own healing gifts.

Getting doctors and nurses together in groups helps them to deal with these concerns. When one doctor lets on that he's seen a good response in a patient from healing, and a second allows that someone in his own family responded well to healing, the ice is broken. Each empowers the others to speak up. Gradually, with several meetings over a number of months, the process of healers rubbing elbows with health care professionals leads to greater mutual understanding and to cross referrals of patients.

On broader fronts there are further approaches that can be fruitful.

Chiropractors have lobbied successfully to obtain recognition for their treatments, with almost no research evidence to support their claims or explanations for treatments.

I believe the public is learning to appreciate healing much more quickly than the health care professionals. One of my favorite cartoons is of a patient standing before the receptionist's desk, asking: "Does the doctor hug?"

The public, voting with their dollars, are bringing about greater acceptance of complementary therapies. David Eisenberg, M.D. published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine in January, 1993, showing that almost as many dollars were spent in 1990 on complementary therapies as on conventional medical care. It was not long after that numbers of medical schools, including Harvard, introduced courses for medical students on complementary therapies.

In England, money also speaks. A General Practitioner published a study showing that the healer working in his practice saved money by halving the visits of patients with chronic problems and reduced their medication bills.

This has been a popular item in the news media.

The safety of healing is also impressive, with no known serious side effects. Safety can also be measured by malpractice insurance costs. Healers pay under four British pounds annually for roughly the same coverage for which doctors pay over a thousand pounds.

Much of the foregoing related to the material world with which we are familiar. Perhaps even more important is the opening to spirituality that occurs with involvement with healing.

Author's Bio: 

My bio summarizes my ongoing search for ever more ways to peel the onion of life's resistances, to reach the knowing (with the inner knowing of truth which has the feel of rightness) that we are all cells in the body of the Infinite Source.

While my unique area of expertise is spiritual awareness and healing, my principal work is through wholistic healing – addressing spirit, relationships (with other people and the environment), mind, emotions and body. I am using WHEE, a potent self-healing method, with children and adults who are dealing with PTSD and other forms of stress, psychological and physical pain, low self-esteem, cravings and other issues.

Daniel J. Benor, MD, ABIHM, is a wholistic psychiatric psychotherapist who blends in his therapy elements from intuitive and spiritual awareness, spiritual healing (as in Reiki and Therapeutic Touch), WHEE - Wholistic Hybrid derived from Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), transactional analysis, gestalt therapy, hypnotherapy, meditation, imagery and relaxation (psychoneuroimmunology), dream analysis, and other approaches. Dr. Benor has taught this spectrum of methods internationally for 35 years to people involved in wholistic, intuitive, and spiritual approaches to caring, health and personal development.

Dr. Benor founded The Doctor-Healer Network in England and North America. He is the author of Healing Research, Volumes I-III and many articles on wholistic, spiritual healing. He is the editor and publisher of the peer-reviewed International Journal of Healing and Caring - Online and moderator of , a major informational website on spiritual awareness, healing and CAM research.

He appears internationally on radio and TV. He is a Founding Diplomate of the American Board of Holistic Medicine, Founder and Immediate Past Coordinator for the Council for Healing, a non-profit organization that promotes awareness of spiritual healing, and for many years on the advisory boards of the journals, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Subtle Energies (ISSSEEM), Frontier Sciences, the Advisory Council of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychotherapy (ACEP), Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and the Advisory Board of the Research Council for Complementary Medicine (UK), Core reviewer for BioMed Central, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Online.

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