Remote Healing: Miraculous Alternative or Mystical Nonsense?

By Claire Crighton – The McGill Daily

Put down this newspaper. Hold your hands five centimetres apart from each other, with the palms facing in. Try to visualize your hands pushing toward each other – but don’t actually move them. You’ll feel a resistance, like repelling magnets. Change the distance between your palms and continue to sense the resistance. See how far you can move your hands apart while still being able to feel your energy.

Your capacity to become conscious of the energy flowing through your body is what – bear with me here – a 19-year-old pre-med student thinks can change the face of healing in the western world.

His name is Adam

Adam, who has chosen not to publicly disclose his surname, was a regular middle-class kid growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver. Adam had an ordinary childhood – joining sports teams and doing well in school. But he gradually began to realize that he was different from his playmates.

“As a kid, hide – n’ seek was not a game that I enjoyed . . .. I just couldn’t figure out the point of the game. Someone might be hiding behind an object such as a tree, but they would still be visible to me. Their aura would show beyond the tree’s outline. It was as ludicrous as a large man trying to hide behind a broomstick,” writes Adam in his first book, Dreamhealer, which he published at 16.

In high school, Adam discovered that he had the ability to heal others’ ailments through visualization. By picturing himself inside the body of another person, Adam claims he can remove the energy blockages that prevent the individual’s body from functioning properly.

For example, when Adam is trying to heal someone with a heart problem, he projects himself inside this person’s heart, amid the blood, veins and arteries. Once inside the patient, Adam takes a visual tour of the ailing organ. By manipulating what he sees, Adam leads the person’s body on the path back to health.

As Adam experimented with his healing ability, he found that he could heal from a distance. By simply looking at someone’s photograph, he is capable of connecting with what he refers to as the person’s “energy system” as easily as if the person were sitting in front of him.

While it may all sound pretty implausible, I couldn’t help but begin to suspend my disbelief as Adam matter-of-factly explained his method of healing to me over the phone.

“I look at someone’s picture. Exactly what happens, I really don’t know – I think it’s just something I was born with. All of a sudden, I totally disconnect from everything around me in the room, and I see these images of the person in front of me. And then, from there, I can see what’s wrong with the person. When I change around these images in front of me, it influences the person’s health,” he explained.

Though Adam’s straightforward tone made his healing method sound simple, he insisted that his work has a complex scientific basis. Invoking principles of quantum physics, Adam explained that he heals by perceiving and controlling the field of quantum information, in which all of the universe’s particles are connected to one another.

In Dreamhealer, Adam writes that “during a treatment, I project holographic images, or holograms, in front of me . . . . Every physical object emits its own quantum hologram, which contains all information about it. From this field of quantum information, I can focus or zoom in using specific information or views, which I project as a hologram.

“Once this hologram appears, I can manipulate the energy so that the person can find their way back to a healthy state,” he said.

Now in the second year of a pre-med program, Adam told me that what he has learned while studying molecular biology and biochemistry also helps to account for his ability to heal.

“Every time a chemical bond forms, light gets trapped, and every time a chemical bond breaks, light gets emitted. That’s been known for a long time. When you consider all the chemical reactions that are happening throughout your body, there’s light constantly being absorbed and emitted. And this light that gets absorbed and emitted plays a role in catalyzing or inhibiting various reactions throughout your body.

“When you think a thought, neurons are going off, and when neurons are going off, they’re emitting vast amounts of light. So every time you’re thinking a thought, you’re emitting this light that’s permeating throughout your entire body, and it’s influencing your health. By you thinking thoughts about helping someone else, you’re actually releasing this light by biophoton emissions, and it’s influencing that other person’s health, too,” he explained.

But, Adam’s scientific reasoning may not be as sound as it appears. Professor Paul Wiseman, of McGill’s physics and chemistry departments, disputes the accuracy of Adam’s suppositions.

“It is a fact that certain organisms, usually found in the oceans, can give off their own light through various chemical mechanisms . . .. However, there is absolutely no evidence of humans giving off light or – bio emission,’” argued Wiseman.

Exciting alternative…

Whether you buy into Adam’s science or not, scores of people claim that this unassuming teenager has helped to improve their health, either by reducing the physical suffering brought on by medical ailments or by curing them altogether. Adam has treated a variety of conditions, ranging from chronic asthma to syringomyelia, a degenerative spinal condition. His books and website are filled with glowing testimonials from individuals who had previously given up hope of ever feeling healthy again.

Adam and his abilities gained widespread media attention in 2002, when he allegedly cured the terminal pancreatic cancer of rock legend Ronnie Hawkins – without ever having met him.

Reading in his local paper that Hawkins had been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer and had been given three to six months to live, Adam asked Hawkins’ manager for a photograph of the musician. He conducted a series of treatments on Hawkins, working to reduce the size of his tumour by accessing his hologram. As Adam continued to treat Hawkins, the musician gradually began to look and feel healthier.

In April 2003, eight months after Hawkins’ cancer had been diagnosed as terminal, doctors ran an MRI. Hawkins was cancer-free, with no evidence of any tumour remaining.

“Adam got in touch with me and helped me to believe in myself again. Pretty soon after his treatments started, he told me the cancer was gone. For whatever it is that Adam does, whatever he did for me, I don’t understand it, and I don’t criticize what I don’t understand. I know Adam can’t help everyone on the planet, but I hope people will believe that there is more to our world than we can see and understand,” wrote Hawkins in a testimonial published in Dreamhealer.

Of course, for every person Adam has allegedly healed, dozens of skeptics exist who quickly dismiss Adam’s healing abilities as mystical nonsense.

In Dreamhealer, Adam explains that his father was once one of those people.

“Initially, [my parents] disbelieved it. Understandably, it was hard for them to accept. It was especially difficult for my father, who would always look for a scientific explanation for everything,” Adam writes, adding that his dad was eventually convinced by the miraculous way in which Adam was able to reduce the pain caused by his mother’s multiple sclerosis.

Adam said he doesn’t waste his energy attempting to sway disbelievers; those who benefit from his treatments and attend his workshops are convinced of the verity of his claims. To Adam, that’s all that matters.

“You know how you get in an argument with someone, and you know you’re right, and you just go in circles? I know what I’m experiencing is real. At the workshops, I do aura readings in front of 500 people there, and anyone who comes to the workshop will see that it’s pretty authentic, what I’m doing,” he said.

But Professor Wiseman thinks that Adam’s method of healing is a questionable money-making scheme that capitalizes on the gullibility of individuals desperately seeking medical help.

“To me, this Adam appears to be one of those charlatans who is trying to make money out of ignorance. Like many in this area, he couches his writing in complex scientific terms that appear to lend credibility to what he is saying. In my opinion, he is trying to make money in a very disingenuous way,” Wiseman maintained.

Though Adam does profit from the books he sells and the workshops he has recently begun to conduct, his healing isn’t exactly a cash-grab. Adam often refrains from charging for treatment, especially if his work proves unsuccessful – which it sometimes does if the patient’s illness is too far developed for him to help.

When the late author and broadcaster Bill Cameron was battling esophageal cancer, he contacted Adam as a last resort.

“Adam scanned my body twice, from thousands of miles away, wrestled with my cancer and failed to evict it, but did not charge me a dime for the effort . . . . That, in alternative medicine, may be the most rigorous test of faith available,” said Cameron in an interview with the Toronto Star.

…or “New Age hooey?”

It’s evident that most members of western society have an automatic aversion to anything that resembles an alternative approach to healing. Invested in a traditional medical system, many immediately reject any idea that includes words like – hologram’ and – aura.’

This closed-mindedness about unconventional approaches to science was blatantly demonstrated following the release of the 2004 film What the #$*! Do We Know!?. Combining a documentary style with a narrative story line, What the #$*! explores the physical universe and human life through theories of quantum physics, among other approaches.

While many reviewers championed the film, the scathing, negative reviews showed an unhealthy level of scepticism that often resorted to outright name-calling. Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave the film zero out of four stars and dismissed it as “two hours of New Age hooey,” while the Washington Post’s Michael O’Sullivan wrote that “it feels like a cross between a PBS special hosted by a series of low-rent Deepak Chopras and an infomercial for self-help audio tapes.”

Adam maintains that this hysterical intolerance is typical of a society that fears the unknown; western culture often clings steadfastly to the status quo while refusing to even entertain the idea that alternative approaches could provide valuable insight into common problems.

“Some people just can’t go there,” he said with a sardonic chuckle.

“It seems every other culture is completely open to this stuff. I don’t exactly know why that is – I think that we just became too focused on things that we can see and touch and feel – material things. I think we’ve just sort of made our minds drift away from what we’re naturally connected to anyway.”

But Wiseman insisted that, though the Western scientific method may seem overly cautious, the system is necessary to ensure that the results produced are valid.

“In science, we have to advance based on skepticism. That is the only way we have been successful in the past few hundred years. We demand proof under experimentally-controlled conditions – not anecdotal evidence,” Wiseman said.

It’s important to note, however, that Adam doesn’t feel that his healing methods can or should supplant western medicine. His website parades the disclaimer that “Adam’s techniques are not meant to replace the advice from your health care professional. Your health care is ultimately your decision.”

Moreover, Adam believes that the established system is excellent at achieving certain things, though in his pre-med classes he’s noticed areas that could use vast improvement.

“I think [western medicine] focuses too strongly just on drugs. There are so many different chemical pathways happening throughout the body; it’s impossible to isolate specific ones all the time for certain illnesses. You influence one thing – you’re not going to do it without influencing everything else, too.

“But that’s just how it is right now,” he added, sighing.

Healing by intention

Over the years, Adam’s work has increasingly emphasized the healing potential of intention. His second book, Dreamhealer 2: Guide to Self-Empowerment, is a manual that urges its readers to tap into their own healing abilities by using Adam’s techniques, such as visualizations.

“What I’m promoting is self-empowerment, the ability of everyone to heal themselves. I think that the power of visualization – the power of intention – is something that’s really overlooked by the medical community. And it’s not the only tool you should use for healing yourself, it’s just one of many tools you can use to influence your own health . . .. There are countless studies out there proving that intentions are influencing health, and this phenomenon is real,” Adam said.

Adam insists that his abilities to heal are not unique; rather, with enough confidence and self-awareness, every human being is able to effect positive changes in their own and others’ health.

Guide to Self-Empowerment contains step-by-step directions on how you can influence your own health. After outlining the role that lifestyle, attitudes and emotions play in self-healing, Adam suggests techniques that can help you become aware of auras and the universal energy field. He then recommends different types of visualizations that may be used to target specific diseases or parts of the body.

Adam said that it’s often difficult to demonstrate the healing power of intention to people his own age, as few university students are faced with debilitating illnesses. Nevertheless, he recognizes that students often suffer from an inordinate amount of stress-related worry and suggests that self-empowered thinking – like that promoted by some psychiatric and Buddhist traditions – is the best way to reduce this anxiety.

“I think meditation does help for stress – just clearing your mind and relaxing helps a lot for midterms or finals or whatever,” he said.

In the end, Adam is just a regular university student trying to balance his extracurricular pursuits with his heavy course load.

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Originally posted 2006-06-15 22:43:10.

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