Nurse promotes spiritual health care techniques

Joel Sawyer

Physical wellness occurs when the body has a balanced and free-flowing stream of energy, said Marilyn Parker Bach, a registered nurse at University Hospital’s Center for Spiritual Care and Healing.
An audience of about 20 at a brown bag lunch Tuesday in Deihl Hall listened to Bach speak on how disease and stress block or congest the flow of energy through the body. She said one way of balancing the energies of the total person is to use a complimentary healing therapy called therapeutic touch.
Therapeutic touch practitioners, Bach said, serve as “battery chargers” and instruments of healing. People are made up of auras or energy fields that can become unbalanced and cause illness, she said.
The goal of healing touch is to restore the harmony and balance of a person’s energy system and to increase that person’s healing potential and sense of well-being, she added.
Bach said some people believe the human body has as many as seven different energy fields that can become unbalanced. When this happens, she said, it may be necessary to smooth out these energy forces.
Bach outlined a five-step process she uses to achieve harmonious energy balance in patients, friends and family. The first step is called “centering.” Bach said this step requires the facilitator and patient to focus on attuning themselves to the universal energy, to allow it to flow and work through the body.
She asked the audience to feel the energy emitted by their hands by placing them near one another. One audience member said he “felt an energy source very strongly, but then my rational mind took over.”
Once centering is complete, Bach said, a therapeutic touch practitioner must assess the patients’ energy field. Bach demonstrated this step with volunteer John Olson, a recent School of Nursing graduate.
Olson said he was feeling tired. “I have low energy,” he said. “You can give me some more energy.”
Bach searched for “numbness, tingling or any unbalance in (Olson’s) field” by moving her hands around his seated, relaxed body. Bach then combed through Olson’s “energy field” in a third step that she called “smoothing and unruffling.”
In the fourth step, Bach said she transferred energy from the chakras in her hands to Olson’s body in an effort to infuse him with her energy. The whole process stops, she said, “when you feel the energy is balanced or the patient says to stop.”
Olson said he felt sweaty and warm, but not particularly relaxed after the process, probably because of all the attention he was receiving.
Bach’s lecture was part of a series titled “Exploration of Complementary Healing Therapies for Patient and Self Care,” sponsored by University Hospital and Clinics’ Center for Spiritual Care and Healing.
The center was established to provide an infrastructure for chaplains, physicians, nurses, social workers and other health care workers who provide spiritual care and complementary healing therapies.
The center seeks to incorporate spiritual care and alternative therapies common in many parts of the world into mainstream Western medicine.
After all, center administrator Mary Jo Kreitzer said, “what we consider alternative medicine is well-accepted and well-integrated in most health care systems around the world.”