Thanks to its mysterious origin, cancer, more than any other disease, inspires a desperate search for cures. So it stands to reason that with cancer, more than any other disease, we must be more sceptical than usual about any purported ‘miracles’. If you meet an energy healer or a practitioner of alternative medicine who claims he can make your tumour disappear, you should fulfil this prophecy by taking yourself far, far away. But if you meet one who will work with you, alongside your doctor, to support your recovery, it might be worth your while to listen.
The experts in this story offer supplementary care that’s meant to work in tandem with modern medicine. Many oncologists too encourage patients to follow supportive treatments as long as they do not discontinue or hinder their allopathic prescription. This may take the form of counselling, diet advice or spiritual guidance. Priyanka Bakhru Talwar, who practises a form of therapy called the Surround Healing System, likens her job to that of a coach, “I am there to wipe the sweat, send you for a massage, goad you to keep going and keep sight of the goal.”
Jalpa Vithalani describes her work as a three-way process between the practitioner, the recipient and the ‘universal intelligence’ or source. “The healings can be fairly instantaneous and generally tend to last a lifetime,” says Vithalani, who runs the Cosmic Heart Gallery and Ishayas Healing Centre in Mumbai with her sister Toral. This ‘technique-less’ method, developed by former chiropractor Dr Eric Pearl, involves putting the subject in a state of relaxation, while a practitioner nearby ‘connects’ them to the source. The process is the same no matter what ails you, and just one session is enough. “The healing happens at all levels: emotional, physical, financial and spiritual. For example, the subject might find that opportunities are opening up in the form of say, a pathway to the right doctor or even just a more positive state of mind that helps them cope.” Reconnective Healing, Vithalani says, “has been shown to correct imbalances at a cellular level. It’s like getting an upgrade!”
Bach flower therapy
Gayatri Wagle has been a Bach Flower therapist in Mumbai for six years and states right up front that the therapy does not address physical issues. “We believe that emotional alignment leads to physical wellness. No chemicals are used in the remedies—it is safe for children and pregnant women. We never ask the client to discontinue the medicine they are taking.” Developed by British bacteriologist and pathologist Dr Edward Bach in the 1930s, this is an intuition-guided, flower-based therapy that claims to alleviate emotional distress naturally. “Cancer is not an easy illness to go through,” explains Wagle. “There is a lot of ‘Why me?’ especially in those leading a ‘blameless’ lifestyle with none of the usual triggers such as smoking. We ask the client ‘And what are you feeling about it? Are you angry? Are you scared?’ We assess what kind of fear it is and if the client agrees with the assessment, we prescribe a remedy.” Sometimes, the therapy needs to embrace the family. Like in the case of one of Wagle’s clients, a man in his mid-40s with stage 4 oral cancer. “He had to undergo surgery that removed a part of his jaw. He also needed chemotherapy and radiation, which was so excruciating that he couldn’t swallow his own spit,” says Wagle. “He felt hopeless, and frightened but recovered much faster and better because of the positivity surrounding him.” Wagle combines therapy with touch Reiki for cancer patients in hospitals. “Sometimes, just being able to sleep deeply when you are physically distressed helps the body recover.”
Core healing therapy
Amit Gaur says this therapy is a way to manage the side-effects of chemotherapy or radiation. It begins with Gaur talking to the patient in his Pune office to understand their condition and frame of mind, before suggesting the way forward. It could be using a ‘Rife Frequency device’ which emits electric, magnetic or sound frequencies that heal at a cellular level. The Rife machine, developed by Dr Royal Raymond Rife in the 1920s, and was based on the belief that micro organisms such as cancer cells, viruses and bacteria respond to unique frequencies and can be destroyed using high-intensity light pulses. We must specify here that this is a controversial form of cancer treatment because the machine has not been vetted by scientific research. Gaur also offers support in the form of long-distance healing. “What modality will fit is decided by the healer depending on what the client channels best. In some cases, the client’s age is so advanced that the focus is on improving quality of life and reducing pain,” he says. “Other times, [the block is] an emotional issue that can be solved with a change in perspective through counselling.”
“What severe illnesses do is halt the fire-fighting of daily life and make you stop and address the real issue,” says Aditi Surti who practises Access Consciousness, a form of therapy that works under the belief that one creates or chooses one’s life experiences in order to learn from them and grow. She’s used to getting resistance from her clients, so she leads to it through a series of questions asked in the spirit of playful exploration. “The first step is to take responsibility and get out of the victim mode. A typical first question might be, ‘What are the five most amazing things that have happened because of cancer?’” Understandably, the subject is usually closed to the idea that they have created suffering for themselves. “So I take them to a hypothetical place, saying, ‘Just humour me. In case you did create this cancer, why do you think you did? What would you want to escape from? What would you like to prove?’ When they start digging, they arrive at the consciousness.” One of her clients was a lady in her mid-40s suffering from thyroid gland cancer. “She had undergone chemo and felt disconnected from her body. She felt a tremendous amount of anger and resentment.” After the sessions with Surti, the lady slowly relaxed into her body and began enjoying the healing process. She felt she had been suppressing her voice and cancer forced her to stop and find a way to express herself. “Eventually, she was grateful for the cancer and accepted it as a part of herself.”
Surround healing system
According to Priyanka Bakhru Talwar, the removal of the metaphysical causes of cancer is important in order to grow from the experience and avoid recurrence. “The cause could have accrued over many lifetimes and is hampering your soul’s journey. If you don’t learn what the universe is trying to teach you, you may have to revisit the lesson,” says the Goa-based Bakhru Talwar, who has a bachelor’s degree in spiritual healing. She uses hypnotherapy, crystal healing, neuro-linguistic programming, Reiki, meditation, colour healing, aromatherapy and age regression to help a person uncover the cause. She finds that breast cancer is common among women who have been forced or conditioned to settle into matrimony and motherhood sooner than they wanted to. “[The cure involves] the severing of the breast. It could be an opportunity for those who have been trying to disassociate themselves from their femininity to recognise that it is an integral part of them.” One of the foundational rituals of this process is the correcting of the flawed beliefs formed in childhood. “We visit these years through hypnotherapy to uncover their emotional charge.” The belief is then routed along a more wholesome and supportive path through affirmations and switch words and phrases.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. ELLE India does not endorse any of the therapies featured here and recommends you consult your physician before starting any alternative treatment.