Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Healer


“Darling I’ve booked us to see a Healer next week. Apparently she’s just amazing and lovely. Isn’t that wonderful?”

My soy chai tea latte dribbled down my chin as my mouth slowly fell open. This is it, I thought, Mum has finally gone senile.

“What, on earth, are you talking about Mum?”

And to cut a very long and tortuous story to its core, yes, two weeks ago I went to see a Healer. Here are the reasons why:

1.    The source of the recommendation.
The family friends who told us about their success with this Healer were the last people on the planet I’d ever expect to be waxing lyrical about such an unconventional treatment method. The husband used to be in the Army, and hurt his back falling off a horse. The Healer has been the only person to really have helped him in any way.

2.    Mum is often right.
After much pouting, I remembered it was Mum who bullied me into seeing yet another Physiotherapist and, as you may know, my current physiotherapist has made the biggest impact on my pain and migraine management. It’s also Mum who tirelessly persuades me to seek yet another Medical opinion saying, “It can’t hurt to ask, we might learn something, even if most of the hour is wasted, we’re bound to come out having learnt a little something.” So, I decided to trust her instincts yet again. (She didn’t pay me to write this.)

3.    The session would be free and the Healer would hardly touch me.
This really clinched the deal for me. Apparently the Healer only asks for a donation to a charity she runs and she hardly touches you – so I decided she could do me no damage. I must also admit the rather evil part of me thought this whole experience is going to make the funniest blog ever!!

The morning of the healing arrived. Dad asked me how I was feeling. I held my hands up to heaven and in my best Southern Preacher accent said:

“I see the light! I feel a healin’ coming on today!”

“Oh stop being such a sarky little Bitch,” quipped Dad.

“Yes Daddy.” I said in my best Queen’s English, and wondered how I’d get through my healing without dissolving into a fit of giggles. Anyone who knows me will know this is one of my most charming flaws. I then also got a life lecture from Dad (complete with quotes from Hamlet) about the mysteries of Science and Christianity.




 Thus, it really was with an open mind that I knocked on the door of a rather beautiful house in North London later that afternoon. I do believe that, as a migraineur, you should try any and everything that could possibly help and comfort you. I wasn’t paying, she wasn’t going to really touch me, what did I have to lose? And, after all, this was going to be the funniest blog I was ever going to write? Right?

But then I met the Healer. And she really is, quite possibly, the nicest and most genuine person you’ll ever meet. All she wants to do is help you get better.

And she is the exact opposite of what I was expecting. In fact, the whole experience bore no resemblance to the séance I had conjured up in my overactive imagination. I was expecting her to be the stereotypical sandals, candles and bangles. Not this lady. By the way she really is a Lady. Her husband was a distinguished soldier and, as she told me, ‘quite someone’. The downstairs loo of her house is littered with framed letters from the royal family. She also didn’t tell me (she’s too modest) that she once represented her country in the Olympics! No, this is not your average fair ground, crystal ball healer. As Mum described it, “she’s the kind of woman upon which the Empire was built.”

She was also quite embarrassed when I called her a Healer and said “Well I just put my hands on people really, I’m still learning how it all works. It’s to do with energy.” I think she’s being modest. She originally trained as a physiotherapist but noticed that her patients seemed to get better much faster than everyone else’s. This also put me at ease, as I felt she truly understood my complex neck problems when I explained them to her.

The session itself was not only deeply relaxing but great fun. She’s full of fabulous stories, I would happily go back just to chat with her (and snoop around her fantastic house!) At first I sat upright on the sofa, and she gently put her hands on the back of my neck. Her hands became boiling hot, which freaked me out a bit. If I had to describe the sensation I’d say it was a bit like an Alexander Technique lesson mixed with Craniosacral Therapy. I kept feeling like she was gently pulling my head up and back, so asked her to stop, but then realized her hands hadn’t moved at all. We then continued with me lying down as I wasn’t happy with tilting my head back.


And then events seriously took a turn for the strange. The man who works in her study upstairs came to work on me too. Man Upstairs (as I shall call him) has a unique gift. My lovely Healer Lady described him as being a human MRI machine. He describes his abilities much more eloquently and in far greater detail, he is also a Healer, but not a hands on Healer; he can see your illness, he can see your energies, I believe, as well as your bones etc. I’m not describing it very well but think of him as a human X-ray machine. And this was the one point in the whole proceedings when I really thought I was going to get a fit of giggles. He’s a very nice man, again not at all what you’d expect, very neatly and conventionally dressed (not in a turban and robes or anything outlandish.) He stood in front of me, explained what he did and how he was able to tell my Healer Lady where to place her hands and he then stared at me as if I was naked.

And here’s the rather creepy/scary/amazing part. He proceeded to repeat, almost verbatim, my latest set of MRI and X-ray results.

Pointing at parts of my body, starting with my head, he said: “She’s got bulging discs in her neck about there, bit of a twisted spine there” and on he went… apparently I also have deformed ankles! It really was quite impressive. I guess some of it most physio's could do as well, such as uneven collar bones, tight thoracic spine etc, but I was still impressed. All my Healer Lady had told him was that I had migraines and an old whiplash injury, which is only the tip of the iceberg but all I felt like divulging. I then divulged that my left hand and shoulder often go numb, have pins and needles (part of my cervical radiculoapthy) and Man Upstairs said he could “see” that the nerve had "retreated" up my arm…

They then worked together, Man Upstairs telling my Healer Lady where to place her hands to start correcting some of the many things apparently wrong with me. But, they both assured me, I was fixable, and it would take at least 3 sessions.

So, after session one how did I feel? Before I went I was actually starting to get a left sided migraine, I had that horrible pinching pain and tightness down my left side. As an experiment I decided not to take any painkillers, as I usually would, and during the session she completely relaxed my shoulder muscles and arms, and the pain did go away while I was with her. At the end of the session she looked at me and said, “Gosh, you did look quite ghastly when you came but now your face looks normal.” The migraine didn’t develop.

I am under no illusions that there is a cure for migraine. But I so loved my Healer Lady, and when I was with her the pain was a little better, that I’ve decided I’m going to go back for two more sessions. Why not? Annoyingly, I had to miss the second session so Dad took my place. He wants to see what they can do with his hand tremor. One condition of my attendance was Mum going too (she also gets migraines) so the Saxton family will keep you posted on our progress! As I write this Mum is actually having her second go… she’s going to have the human X-ray this time, so I’m looking forward to hearing about that!

This is, far and away, the craziest thing I’ve ever done in the pursuit of a migraine free life. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? 

14 comments:

  1. Ok, now I really want to go and see your Healer!! She sounds lovely! I spent way too much money once getting a fancy mouth guard from a top dentist hoping that would help (it cost more than my car!) but it made no difference. But you never know until you try it. I can't wait to hear your progress with the Healer! Fingers crossed (and what was she in the Olympics for?)

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  2. Yes! You totally should go and see her too, that would be hysterically if we were both going. They also work with a dietician who apparently is also amazing...?? I'll email you her details if you like!!! She completely no nonsense and its worth an hour with an amazing woman with fun stories!

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  3. That is so amazing. I am so not a believer in this sort of thing but I would quite like to try. Which bit of North London is it?

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  4. Hi Gill. I'm not normally a believer in this sort of thing either, took Mum about two months to persuade me to go along. I'm going to go to all three sessions before I full give judgment, but she's just so nice and genuine! She lives v close to St John's Wood tube.

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  5. Hi Victoria

    I've tried something similar and I think that it's definitely worth giving it a go...

    I’ve totally given up on electro-acupuncture and a sugar free diet as it made no difference to anything apart from my bank balance (£1,000 for three months of treatment).

    So, I’ve just started with cranial sacral therapy again (I used to have it in my twenties). I spoke to my GP about it and asked how the NHS could help a sufferer of a chronic condition like mine and asked if he could finance either my Magnesium supplements or my osteopathy (I thought that sounded less new-age than cranial sacral therapy). His answer was that the NHS does not provide support for either osteopathy or supplements! I cannot believe that this is true…what do people do who have bad backs and can’t afford private treatment? I argued that I am keen to continue working and am a good citizen who works hard to manage her own health to avoid being a burden on the health service, and he just nodded and said that there was nothing he could do apart from try me again on the ‘Dopamax’ (which was one of the scariest drugs I have ever been subjected to). In your experience, is he right? Or do other migraine sufferers get ‘alternative’ help on the NHS?

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  6. Hi..the above is from Amanda by the way!

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  7. Hello Amanda, I knew it was you! Well you know my first question is going to be when are you going to come to London for the afternoon and come to the National Migraine Centre!!! It really doesn't cost much, if you can't afford the suggested donation they'll accept whatever you were going to pay for lunch that day! (Let's hope you weren't planning on going to the Ritz!) I know you've seen headache specialists before but as you know I keep going till I find one I like!

    I found cranial sacral nice and comforting but not a long term solution, I found it doesn't help with the foundation of the problem if that makes sense but I really hope it helps you again! And I do so wish GP's and the NHS could help us migraineurs more! I think if you're in hospital can't you get acupuncture for pain? And you can get physiotherapy through your GP if you have 'back' or a muscle problem, maybe you need to invent one...Re Dopamax, well actually the side effects, after 6 months have actually started to ware off but they were so weird. I've really taken so long to get up to quite a low dose which I wonder is why a lot of people suffer? I.e I was on 15mg for about a month, then only went up 15 month by month, waited for side effects to pass, then went up? But obviously you had horrific side effects, as do a lot of people, and the severe drowsiness passed which I'm hugely relieved about! I'm also having quite a lot of success with the nerve blocks. I don't know if you've tried occipital never blocks, can't remember! sorry. Also can't remember if you tried to caffeine free diet? As you know I'm personally a fan of full fat coke when in pain but last night heard the amazing Dr N Silver say that a huge majority of migraineurs would be so much better off with no caffeine!

    But I do wish you lived in London as then I'd drag you to my brilliant physio (to help strengthen back problems) and the National Migraine Centre! ha! xx

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  8. Hello! I really must get myself down to London. If I do, we'll have to have a Peppermint tea together! I am so pleased that your Dopamax experience is a positive one. I hope it continues to work for you. I've not heard about the nerve blocks? What are these and how do I get them? In answer to your question, I gave up coffee, tea and coke 18 years ago, but I do struggle to resist chocolate! I can't find any direct correlation between chocolate and migraine so that is encouraging. My cranial sacral practitioner is also a trained osteopath, so she's working with me to release other types of pain. She tells me that migraineurs tend not to notice pain as they are accustomed to very intense levels of frequent pain, so this can lead to problems in the way we hold our bodies. She thinks I'm stiff and carrying lots of different levels of damage throughout my body. I suspect at some point I will need to consider decapitation as the only remaining option. (Just joking - migraine free today so can joke!). Amanda

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  9. You see a headache specialists! You have seen a headache specialists right? I'm now pretty tempted to book you an appointment at the NMC right now! ha ha ha. And I"m also going to write a blog on Great and Lesser Occiptial Nerve Blocks just for you! I was actually planning on doing this anyway but this is the prompt I needed, so next week look out for that. And here is a link to some good info on them from the Migraine Trust - it's kind of what it says on the tin - in an ideal world blocks the nerve sending pain!
    http://www.migrainetrust.org/research-article-occipital-nerve-block-in-the-treatment-of-migraine-2007-11204

    But doesn't always work. For example I've just found having them done lower in my neck works much better than having them done as true GON (which will make sense when you read the MT fact sheet). But if you suggest that you think it might be time for you to try this your GP should refer you to a headache specialist who would decide if this is a good idea for you - BUT they also do then, if appropriate, at the National Migraine Centre! I'm a fan as basically no side effects compared to daily drugs! Would you be interested in having a go at Botox? I hear you about being very stiff, as you know physical/neck is a huge part of my problem which is why I had to stop 9-5 desk day job, sitting at computer is my biggest trigger! I think that's also why Pilates, alexander technique and really looking at strengthening core muscles can be good for some migraneurs. Really hope the sacra cranial - and other exercises will help you! xx p.s I've often thought of decapitation too!

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    1. Hi, what is cranial sacral therapy, if it invoves head massage then I want it!

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  10. Hi Victoria,
    Great article!

    Could I also get the contact details of your Healer Lady? She sounds amazing!

    I've been to the NMC and had two lots of nerve block injections. They've made an amazing difference. I'd recommend any migraine sufferer try them if they haven't already, especially if you suffer from Chronic Daily Headache like I do. On that basis I have been to see my GP to see if I can get Botox on the NHS now as I can't afford to pay £500 to have it done privately.
    Penny

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  11. Hi Victoria,
    Great article!

    Could I also get the contact details of your Healer Lady? She sounds amazing!

    I've been to the NMC and had two lots of nerve block injections. They've made an amazing difference. I'd recommend any migraine sufferer try them if they haven't already, especially if you suffer from Chronic Daily Headache like I do. On that basis I have been to see my GP to see if I can get Botox on the NHS now as I can't afford to pay £500 to have it done privately.
    Penny

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    1. Hey Penny,
      So glad to hear you've been doing well at the Natinoal Migraine Centre - and that the nerve blocks have helped you get over the Medication over use headaches! I need to book myself a check up there actually - am keep meaning to write a blog about nerve blocks too!

      Do you want to email me - victoria@migrainemonologues.com and I'll pass you on Lady Healer's details - yay! Victoria
      p.s Exciting about the Botox - can't wait to hear how you get on... you'll have to write a guest blog post for me about it all...

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  12. Are migraineurs more prone to being sarcastic sods?

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