The etymology of the word heal means “to make sound or whole”. It stems from the medieval root ‘haelan’, which is the condition or state of being ‘hal’, or whole. ‘Hal’ is also the root of “holy”, defined as “spiritually pure”. These associations between healing, wholeness and spirituality encompass a broader definition of healing than fixing or curing, or ‘making good’.  

I was intuitively guided to give my practice the name Preseli Healing, not one I would have necessarily chosen myself expressly because of the confusion around the meaning of ‘healing’. I shy away from the term ‘healer’ as one who can ‘fix’ something or as someone who is divinely gifted with ‘healing powers’. That’s not me. My personal experience of healing and that of many of my clients is closely aligned with this etymological definition of the word. Healing is a deeply personal experience usually born from illness or suffering within the conditions of an individuals life. Healing is often an awakening to meaning within ones life that may or may not result in the actual resolution of the disease or illness itself but in a re-connection within the body, mind, spirit and wider relationships in the person’s sphere in a way that has an inherent significance unique to the individual.  

Gabor Mate, the world renowned trauma expert defines healing as ‘a movement towards our wholeness’ and trauma, as not the event itself but the unprocessed emotional response to that event. If trauma creates a split in our psyche, due to events and circumstances that are too distressing for our bodymind to integrate at the time, then healing is a process of re-integrating these scattered and painful parts of ourselves, gradually re-connecting the fragmented aspects of our soul and psyche through a process of acceptance and resolution.

The inclusion of the body in this picture of healing is crucial in releasing and integrating trauma. It is often the body that begins to speak to us, reaching some moment of crisis in health that forces us to embark on a period of ‘soul searching’ an inherent hunt for meaning and wholeness in the chaos of the present. The Taoist perspective on healing is to initiate change, to bring movement in that which has become stagnant, recognising that beneath the thoughts and thinking of our everyday mind there lies a flow of qi, of energy and information intrinsically connected with our soul or shen. The unprocessed ‘trauma’s are what become the ‘stagnant pools’ within the body, the pain, the illness and dis-ease, waiting for the time, sometimes that never comes, when they will be seen and recognised for the truths that they speak.  

The thinking mind wants to understand the why, the how, the story of the hurts, but the body seeks only to feel and it is in the witnessing of these feelings that the pains can be released. Some therapeutic healing modalities witness both the stagnation and movement of qi, the informational pockets of energy that the body holds within its matrix. With witnessing and acknowledgment, deep layers of trauma can be released, often bypassing the conscious thinking and processing usually associated with talking therapy.  

As a facilitator in this process and giver of Shiatsu, a therapeutic body therapy from Japan, I often experience the receivers emotions as they move and release from the body, whilst the receiver may sometimes ‘check out’ diving into a sea of relative unconsciousness as these deep waves of integration take place. The healing then is initiated by the readiness of the receiver on some level to release what is ready to go, feeling safe and held to do so and being met in a state of trust within the energetic relationship of giver and receiver.

Healing therefore is a subjective state of being, a movement into balance, a process of becoming whole, of re-integrating the fragmented aspects of our being and regaining a sense harmony within our body, soul, psyche and life. How that occurs for each individual is dependent on an interior state of reconciliation within self that goes beyond the fixing of symptoms, and into the realm of acceptance and peace.