I grew up in a very western medical tradition home within an LDS context. My mother had me in a hospital, cesarean section, in fact. I had eye surgery at the age of 18 months old, I had all of my immunizations until I was 18 (and have had my own children immunized - something that makes me quite an outcast in the new circles I have come to be part of), and went to the doctor whenever I got sick. I do admit however that my father (my parents are divorced) has always been pretty skeptical of doctors in general and has always been more inclined to seek "natural" remedies for healing the body such as herbs, chiropractors, and believes that immunizations are very dangerous and not worth the risk. I knew this information and saw how the different philosophies of my parents both helped heal the sick but also allowed for frustration and sorrow when things didn't resolve as hoped.
As mentioned above, whenever I got really sick it was a combination of medical attention and priesthood blessings that was used to seek healing. When, as a fifteen year old, I had appendicitis I first went to the ER but shortly thereafter received a priesthood blessing before going into surgery. For me and my wife, oils and herbs are always the first place we or our kids start when we feel sick but we are very quick to go to a doctor of western medicine if things seem severe or other remedies don't seem to be working. In almost all situations of which I can remember, if there has been an emergency, the doctor's office or ER is the first place we have ended up - not the office of a naturopathic practitioner.
April to May 2015
With this background it should be easier to see the process that unfolded when, in April of 2015, I became very ill. I had my first migraine as a sophomore in high school. I was taking a final exam and began to go numb in my hand and get blurry vision (I don't remember how I did on that math final but I can't imagine it was very good). My mother was called and we ended up in the doctors office. He prescribed a regiment of sleep, rest, diet, and medicine to combat the pain and basically told us that if it didn't happen a lot, we should just treat it with minimal medical attention.
This recommendation was how I treated all but maybe 3 of the 10 or so migraines I had from the time I was 16 or so till I was 34 years old. I only went to the ER when they were extremely bad. In most cases I could see a correlation to my migraines with poor diet and high stress (something that basically goes hand in hand for me). In almost every situation of a migraine I would receive a priesthood blessing and sleep it off. In all 18 or so years of my migraine life, I never had more than two migraines per year and some years none at all, that is until April of 2015.
In April of 2015 I had a series of about 5 migraines in a week period of time. On April 21st I was at a work retreat and began to have one. I rushed home (something I probably should have allowed someone to take me home instead of driving the 25 minutes through a scenic canyon of winding roads) and asked my wife to take me to a doctor. In this case I worried that I must have a pinched nerve or something as this migraine felt different and I had gone numb on the left side of my body. Because of this we, opted to go to a chiropractor but when we got there they very much worried that this was not a migraine but rather a stroke and sent us directly to the ER (As a side note being referred to the ER in this manner really cuts down on the rigamarole of traditional ER protocol and you get straight back and helped immediately). In short they gave me a bunch of high end strong drugs and did a CT scan and EKG and determined it was just a "complex migraine". I went home that day pretty bad off but completely believing that I would wake up the next morning feeling totally fine like every other migraine I had ever had.
The next morning came and I felt not as bad as the day before but definitely sick and unable to function. I thought to myself - ok, I guess this was bad, I'll surely be better tomorrow. Tomorrow came and still no relief. The ER doctors had recommended that I see a neurologist and possibly a cardiologist as they noticed a slight irregularity in my heart beat. In short I went to two cardiologists, a neurologist, two MRIs, my family care practitioner, a naturopath who prescribed all sorts of herbs to add to my medical regiment, and after 3 weeks I still felt awful but had ruled out MS, Complications because of a hole in my heart that I have surely had since birth, and pretty much everything else besides being overweight and not dealing well with stress.
On day two or so of this experience I asked my uncle to give me a priesthood blessing in which the Lord told me that I would get better and that I would learn about how I could help my body to do so. It was one of those things that I remember thinking, "wait, I will know how to do so? I want You, Lord, to do so..." The blessing did say that I would return to normal health but in the next three weeks I admit I really began to doubt that statement.
I learned a lot of empathy for chronically sick people those weeks. I learned how the adversary really strives to make you feel like everything is your fault and how you must be a really awful person to have something like this happen. I learned that well wishers from across the world can say some pretty interesting things to you when you are sick and can't function. I very much appreciated the neighbor who brought me a box of tic-tacs, a captain america shirt, and a sleeping mask and told me that she had no scientific proof that they would help but that she had done as much research into her remedy as she was pretty sure others had done into theirs and so I should not be surprised if it didn't work too well but at least I could laugh at myself for looking the way I did if I used them all together (the sleeping mask was bright pink). I went to work for a total of 6 hours in those 3 weeks and my wife and I began to plan for the what ifs of disability and other such stuff. It was a very scary time for me and my family. Being in pain for that long and that intense taught me a lot for not diminishing the pains of others whether they be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Something I am very grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to learn.
"I know you must have been referred to everything, but you could try this thing called BodyTalk."
Amy (my wife) and I had many people who referred us to many different things but one of them was a friend who had dealt with numbness (something I was still struggling with off and on) and had gone to this practitioner of a thing called BodyTalk and it had gone away. She admitted that it was, "not traditional medicine but not too crazy". At this point I was pretty desperate and set an appointment for May 22, 2015.
I will explain much more about BodyTalk below but the point of this narrative is to say that after what ended up being a very counseling-esc appointment which used BodyTalk principles to point to the issue at hand and using eastern medicine techniques of healing I walked out of the appointment with no headache and no numbness. For me what it ended up being was that my body was extremely dehydrated. Now before you get too carried away with well duh - why didn't you drink more water, everyone knows a cause of migraines is dehydration - I had been drinking upwards of a gallon of water per day since I got sick to combat just this issue. It wasn't working. I had even tried different types of water with different ingredients. Nothing was working.
In the end, the easiest way to connect my issues with what happened in my life is to point out that in the eastern healing traditions joy is tied to hydration (drink in life), and I had had an experience as a five year old which had trained my body to think it could not be truly joyful. In essence BodyTalk pointed out that I was slowly but surely dehydrating myself because I did not feel like I had a "right" to be truly happy. Now from a western psychological perspective this is not anything new - people make themselves sick all the time. The unique thing about BodyTalk is that there is no way I would have come up with this particular thing without maybe years of therapy. I would have talked about my parents divorce, my abuse as a child, my fractured family relationships, my infertility issues when first married, or just about anything else before I would have brought up the death of my little sister Karlene. I don't know that if I had thought about her at all that I would have ever associated so much pain with her passing or subsequent loss. I consciously just didn't know it was that big of a deal to my little five year old self. As I hope to explain below I also don't know that simply having it come to my conscious mind's eye would have been enough. I believe it was the total process of BodyTalk that allowed healing to take place.
Now I have had many skeptics say, well Dan this wasn't that miraculous, any counselor could have helped you in a similar way but I am not so easily persuaded. I have also had individuals tell me that it was all the placebo effect. If it was - more power to it. I have now gone one full year since my hospitalization (I am writing this on April 20th, 2016) without any migraines at all. Now I always joke that I could very easily still have one - after all I only ever had them once or twice a year before that crazy month - but I don't think I will. If I do, I promise you I will take a long hard look at what my body is trying to tell me and probably have another BodyTalk session to try to figure it out. In honesty I have enough of them I hope to deal with things before they become life altering. In short that last sentence is meant to assure you that I do not think that BodyTalk in anyway stopped my body from being able to have a migraine. What it did do however is give me a wake-up call that if my body needs to tell me something important and I am not listening, its probably gonna use a migraine to do it. I hope to be listening enough not to have to worry about it.
What just happened here?
If you knew me, you would know that I am very analytical. I like to understand the big picture and why things work. My mother tells the story that any time I would get a new toy I would tare it apart to see how it worked before I would ever begin to play with it. That coupled with a very intense desire to know how all of this squared with my religious convictions prompted me to begin to read and learn anything I could about what this BodyTalk was all about. I first watched a series of youtube videos from the founder of BodyTalk, John Veltheim located here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JDcF4Tway0. That got my interest enough that I read a book written by the founder located here: http://smile.amazon.com/Science-Philosophy-BodyTalk-Healthcare-Designed/dp/1929762291/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441071348&sr=8-1&keywords=John+Veltheim. After those two things I started talking to my BodyTalk practitioner, Becky Rogers, about anything and everything I could to figure out what I could about how it all worked and how it fit into my bigger world view.
All of this study eventually made me decide that I would put out the money and take the "Fundamentals of BodyTalk" course which is a 4 day, 32 hour introduction of how to do BodyTalk and how/why it works. I very much took it to understand - not because I had any thought that I would want to be a practitioner. In my mind I had never seen myself as a "healer", in fact I have stayed away from counseling as a career because advising is helpful and gives direction but it stops short of doing therapy for people. I just didn't see myself as a healing practitioner. About half way through the second day of class I couldn't get it out of my head that I needed to learn how to do this and start helping people in my life and in my circle of influence.
What is BodyTalk?
The short explanation of BodyTalk is that it is a protocol which uses muscle testing to ask your body a series of questions to determine what is out of balance in your bodymind and then uses a series of other questions to determine what parts of your life are causing this imbalance. In my case it was finding out that I was dehydrated and then finding out the circumstances which caused it to happen.
For anyone who has ever had an appointment with a naturopath who uses some sort of muscle testing to determine what deficiencies you have in your body and what herbs might help meet those needs, a BodyTalk session will not seem that out of the ordinary. It usually begins with the client laying down but can be done with the client sitting or standing for the matter. The practitioner usually uses the wrist of the client to muscle test a series of questions. Two major things very immediately stood out to me about this process. The very first priority that must be established is that of permission. I think this is extremely valuable because a client may be pressured into going to a BodyTalk practitioner or a child may be taken to an appointment and thus give passive approval for a session to happen but in reality this is not enough. A client's whole "bodymind" must give approval.
The second thing that impressed me a lot about BodyTalk is that built right into the protocol chart for questions to ask the bodymind is, "is there something more effective and/or a bigger priority than BodyTalk for this client? Is there a better way to help this person heal?" I immediately loved this concept. BodyTalk is not meant to be a everything to all people and keeps things in perspective that it has a lot to offer but is not an end all, solve all.
Other areas that the protocol checks in with range from parts of the body, energies (think Chakras, Meridians, etc), environmental concerns such as relationships and pathogens, and memories and belief systems that are keeping clients from achieving their greatest life balance. A practitioner goes through a systematic appraisal asking the client where the priority is and then finds out the necessary information to invite the body to become more in balance.
One final part of BodyTalk that can "weird" people out is that a BodyTalk session almost always ends with the practitioner tapping on the clients head and heart. The Head to invite the client's bodymind to change appropriately and the heart for the bodymind to remember it. This can be the part of the whole thing that is different or weird for people. I admit that I wasn't necessarily ready for it when I had my first session but it also doesn't hurt and is rooted as talked about in the links above in quantum physics not eastern medicine.
This is my story and by default not meant to be all inclusive but I highly recommend checking out the BodyTalk website, http://www.bodytalksystem.com for more comprehensive information.
There are a series of most common questions that I would like to address:
Why would someone have a BodyTalk session?
This question has many, many answers. The most common reason someone starts with BodyTalk is because they have some ailment that they have tried to "cure" with traditional western medicine or even alternative medicines and have just not been successful. I usually tell people that any appointment you might make to try to change some physical or emotional issue and/or habit is great grounds for a BodyTalk session. There are, of course, many other great ways to find relief and healing from these sorts of things but BodyTalk is a great place to start or look for complementary options.
How does BodyTalk compare to Reiki?
I am not a Reiki Master nor do I practice it at all so I cannot tell you officially or definitively but the easiest way I know to explain the difference is that BodyTalk attempts to bring balance to a client by identifying imbalances in mind, body, and energy and inviting the body to balance them. Reiki, on the other hand attempts to increase or decrease the energy of the body by bringing it in from the outside world or taking it out of a person. To be blunt I have real concerns about this process but admit that most of them are probably because I don't understand it well enough. I do admit though that most of my experiences with people having negative experiences with "Energy Healing" come from this modality so I am very admittedly leery of it.
How does BodyTalk or Energy Healing fit with the LDS Faith?
I believe a quote from Brigham Young, "It appears consistent to me to apply every remedy that comes within the range of my knowledge, and [then] to ask my Father in Heaven...to sanctify that application to the healing of my body." The church has no official stance on Energy Healing and especially not BodyTalk. In my study and learning, I have never come across anything that conflicts with LDS Gospel principles or doctrines. I do admit that any of it might be used inappropriately to try to manipulate someone into doing something and thereby attempt to take away their agency. That being said, I think most things in this world could be lumped into this category from traditional western medicine to counseling to politics for that matter. Wisdom and order in all things is the thing that always comes to mind when I think about this.
What side effects does BodyTalk have?
Because BodyTalk is not invasive in any way and is not physically manipulating the body - if it isn't really a thing and/or a person doesn't believe it works, it can cause no harm. If a practitioner is "wrong" with their muscle testing and tapping than the body will by default ignore it as not necessary. If a person deals with certain emotions or physical symptoms it has been reported that clients experience flu like symptoms for a couple of days as their bodies process through stuff. In my experience there are four types of reactions during a session, 1) the client just experiences the session, i.e. nothing out of the ordinary. 2) The client will yawn a lot (it is believed that breathing is one of the most important actions to good health so yawning initiates release and deepness that can be healing). 3) A persons stomach/digestive track will become agitated and/or loud (I have many clients who's stomach gurgles the entire time they are in a session). 4) Often people cry, especially when emotional issues arise (this is my personal most common way to process through a session when I have one).
Well if you have made it this long you are probably thinking to yourself, ok so what? Well the short answer is, "that's it - I just wanted you to know my story." The long answer is a bit more complicated. As mentioned above when I felt like I needed to take the classes and tests to certify, I thought that might be because I was being led to change careers or do something drastically different with my life because of my experiences. In reality I have come to feel that although my life is much richer for knowing BodyTalk to a level capable of certification: I am not supposed to make this a career (at least for the foreseeable future). Don't get me wrong, I plan on still carrying out a few sessions a week for my friends, loved ones, and occasional unknown clients via referral, but full-time practice is not in the cards for the time being. I have become great friends with individuals who do currently have many appoints each week to help people, namely Becky Rogers (http://bodytalksolutions.com) and Suzee Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I highly recommend them as I personally go to them. Your session will cost between $60 and $100 dollars.
I thank you for your time and energy in reading this. I am always happy to answer questions so please do not hesitate to let me know. I assume if you are at this website you know me personally but if not as listed above my email address is email@example.com and I will happily respond to an email with a phone call, Skype call, or whatever else.