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Love in Healing and Medicine

by Dr. Mark Sircus, Ac., OMD, DM (P)
Director International Medical Veritas Association
Doctor of Oriental and Pastoral Medicine

"Love is the most cost-effective medical insurance policy and the cheapest medicine there is." ~ Dr. Brenda Schaeffer

Detoxification, chelation and medicine in general recognize certain principles important for health and healing. Proper nutrition, exercise, supplementation with vitamins and minerals, cleaning and healing of the GI tract, detoxification through the skin, appropriate usage of drugs or herbs, and a host of treatment like acupuncture, spinal manipulations, colonics, massage, and many other modalities, too numerous to mention, fill up the pallet of most primary health care practitioners. But there is an ingredient to health and healing that largely has been overlooked. This factor is love and it is very important in immune system function.[i][i] Dr. Norman Shealy believes that love of others and being loved are key factors in improving the immune system, adding to life expectancy and creating overall happiness. What does love have to do with stress free living? "Everything!" says psychologist Dr. Brenda Schaeffer.

Unconditional love is your immune system's most powerful stimulant.
Dr. Bernie Siegel

Dr. Clancy D. McKenzie of Capital University says, "Even though most of us do not see this love energy readily, this does not mean it does not exist or does not have great impact. Take for example a person who eats nothing but junk food, smokes, doesn't exercise, drinks beer and sports a potbelly. Let him fall in love, and suddenly he has as much energy as a person who lives on energy food and exercises daily. Suddenly he can work day and night. What is the mechanism for this enormous flow of energy and where does it come from? How can we harness it and use it at will? These questions are especially important in the health fields, because this energy might also be the healing energy, or the life force itself." Thus Mckenzie goes on to say, "Enhancing the love energy of the patient is an effective way to increase the healing process. This holds true for both psychological and physical healing: Enhancement of love energy should be a part of every physical remedy, because it is a vital ingredient to healing."

Why is it there is always some lucky soul who doesn't get sick when the flu is going around the office? Or why, when chicken pox is sending all the kids home from school, are there a few who remain untouched?
Dr. Carrie Angus

Love surely is one of the best reasons for living we have but if the quality of our love is poor our lives will not be happy or harmonious. But what is love? We need to know that before we can think on its quality. It has commonly been thought that love is beyond definition, that it cannot be described in words. Some people see love as a decision, the kind that has the power to carry us through all the difficulties and mistakes. For sure love is represented by our emotions, feelings and passions but is love only this? We do know that it is a feeling that shapes the most important decisions and actions in our lives. Love is that feeling of just wanting to do something, anything for the one we love. To love is to care and to care is to give. Love and will are intimately connected for what we love to do we have basically unlimited will for.

I wrote these words almost a decade ago for my first book The Marriage of Souls. Below you will find more words that I used to define love in that volume, which is about love on a social interpersonal level.

Love is the heavenly force that binds all as one, two as one, three as one and so on.
Human loves are absolutely necessary as steps toward the divine.
Love is the power that closes the circuit between beings.
There is nothing more beautiful than true love,
nothing more needed, nothing more hoped for.

Love is something we feel when we are close and feeling one with another being. M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, defined love as the willingness to go out on a limb, to truly involve oneself and struggle at an emotional level with another in a relationship for the purpose of shared growth. The Marriage of Souls incorporates all of these definitions of love but goes on to clearly state that:

Communication is love. Listening is love.
Perfect love is perfect communication.
Without perfect communication there is no perfect love.
Pure love is the principle quality
of relationships between beings.
That pure love makes our relationships perfect,
even if we, as individuals, are not.

These two most practical definitions of love combine to form a context in which love can be understood, measured, learned and practiced.[ii][ii] Love is more than acts, deeds, words, or feelings. To love someone, is to give part of our heart to them. And how do we do this? It is through our willingness and openness to communicate and listen to someone that we most readily can demonstrate the truth of our love. It is impossible to have much love, compassion and understanding for another unless we are in touch with their world. When we love another it shows some kind of appreciation for their existence and world of experience. The more we love another the more we share worlds with them through strong and open bonds of communication. True listening is love in action for it demonstrates our willingness to pay attention to, respond in accordance with, and change ourselves in response to the inner worlds and needs of others.

The best nutrition for the immune system is love and attention.

If love is such a potent force in health and healing the question remains how can we apply love in a practical way to make a difference in our patients and our children's lives. Obviously there are many ways that we have to apply love; just the attention we give is love. But we are looking for a practical deliberate and effective healing and medical technique whose very basis is love.

George Washington University Hospital is one of an increasing number of hospitals who think they have found the answer. Patients about to undergo cardiac catheterization, in which a thin tube is threaded through a vein and up to the heart for a final diagnostic test prior to surgery, were invited to first have a session of the Japanese energy therapy known as Reiki to see if it lessened their anxiety. The director of the hospital's Center for Integrative Medicine, Dr. John Pan, said alternative therapies aren't necessarily an odd match with mainstream medicine. To treat a patient, he said, technical expertise is not enough. "We are realizing we need to pay attention to the patient, to the patient's emotional response." A relaxed patient, he said, is an easier patient to treat. A number of respected medical institutions including the Cleveland Clinic, the University of Michigan Health System and the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, are experimenting with Reiki. Dr. Steve Bolling, a cardiologist, predicted that Reiki will catch on in more hospitals said, "Many patients are looking for a kinder, gentler medicine."

Touch can be a communication of love and is a most powerful way to convey empathy, compassion and deep caring. The most beautiful forms of touch possible are actually healing techniques. A well known association to touch is healing and the bible often makes reference to the "laying on of hands" to cure the sick.

Study after study demonstrates that for all mammals, receiving touch that is pleasurable, safe and appropriate reduces sickness, depression and aggressive behaviors.
Dr. Ben Benjamin ano

We are here on earth to touch each other physically, as well as spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Our hands can literally act as extensions of our heart. With our heart and hands working together we can reach directly into another person's being through the surface of their skin. We can touch someone very deeply and when we do we are touched equally, the laws of giving and receiving work perfectly in the world of touch. The quality of our awareness makes all the difference and touching with good intent raises our consciousness for it is a sweet gift to give to another. Healing with the hands brings us to the most beautiful aspect of touch.

Touch is associated with enhanced learning, improved IQ, language acquisition, reading achievement, memory, general neonate development, preterm infant development, reduced self-mutilating behavior in the severely mentally retarded, expanded external awareness in autistic patients, improved geriatric health, decreased childhood clinginess and fears of exploring the environment, elimination of inappropriate self-stimulation and public masturbation behavior in children, and improved visual-spatial problem solving. Hospitalized patients recover more rapidly from injury and physical or psychiatric illness when attention is paid to their need for touch.

If we define touch as love we can easily see why love is wonderfully healing. When we touch with love and the highest inner intention positive healing energy is transmitted. Something is passed on through the hands and what happens is often very beautiful. Scientifically we know that infrared is radiated out through the hands and this has its physiological effects. Babies and young children benefit greatly from regular touch. Stress, as measured by chemicals in the blood, is reduced. This results in babies crying less, sleeping more and being generally easier to soothe.

The International Detoxification and Chelation Clinic (IDCC) is offering an online course called Therapeutic Healing Touch that integrates all the dynamics involved in healing touch into an integrated system. For those interested in reading more on these subjects see The Psychology of Touch and Therapeutic Healing Touch. Without doubt human touch is absolutely essential to life, especially for babies and young children. All of us thrive and live healthier happier existences when our needs for touch are met. It is now time for medicine to discover the value of touch and love and apply it in sufficient quantities to adults and children alike who are struggling to recover from illness. If love is a vital ingredient to healing and we do not give this factor the attention it deserves, we diminish the chances that treatments will be affective. Therapeutic Healing Touch is an extremely valuable tool that parents can apply at home without having to pay anyone for each treatment. It is an ideal way for us to channel our love into healing energies that can only help our children recover.

Dr. David C. McClelland did an experiment at Harvard University that showed the relationship between positive feelings associated with love and how that affects immunity. A group of student volunteers was asked to view a 50-minute film of Mother Teresa's loving service to the sick and dying in Calcutta's worst slums, a video specially designed to induce a positive, caring emotional state. Another group was asked to view a documentary about World War II designed to elicit negative emotions such as anger. On average, those students who watched the movie of Mother Teresa had a significant increase in salivary immunoglobulin A, a protective antibody against viruses. The group that watched the documentary about World War II did not show any appreciable changes. Being caring and compassionate has a positive impact on the immune system of the giver.

In Love and Survival by Dr. Dean Ornish, in Non-Violent Communication by Marshal Rosenberg, and in Creative Conflict by Christopher Hills we find that love can be most directly cultivated with those close to us by expressing our feelings rather than evaluations. All of these authors recommend using "I feel" statements, examples being "I feel afraid that you'll think I'm not good enough if I don't make enough money", and "I feel hurt by what you just said". These sorts of feelings cannot be argued about, because they are true to the person saying them.

If we express our true feelings to those who are committed to loving and supporting us, then through increased vulnerability and compassion, we can increase our understanding of and love for each other. Of course, being vulnerable enough to share true feelings in this manner requires great courage and a feeling of safety and trust that each person involved must strive to foster. "I feel" statements are distinctly different from our evaluations, which tend to make others feel judged, decreasing feelings of love and connectedness.

Examples of evaluations include "You're always on my back", and "Why can't you do that differently?" It is important to be careful not to disguise evaluations in the form of "I feel" statements, as these statements are really judgments in disguise. An example of this is, "I feel that you're a jerk". The extent to which communicating our true feelings can increase love and intimacy in our lives is largely dependent on the willingness of those involved to listen with compassion and to strive to deeply understand the other person's feelings and perspective. Empathic listening of this nature requires tremendous patience and a commitment to putting love first.


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