Hope in Heal­ing

Natural Solutions - - Get Inspired - BY SA­MAN­THA FIS­CHER

In 2005, Va­lerie Heath was di­ag­nosed with a pi­tu­itary tu­mor— although the tu­mor was non­cancer­ous, she needed to have it sur­gi­cally re­moved. Af­ter suc­cess­ful brain surgery, her lungs col­lapsed on the op­er­at­ing ta­ble. “That kind of shot me to the other side tem­po­rar­ily,” says Va­lerie. “When I came back, I dis­cov­ered my lungs were filled with fluid: All of the fluid in my head had gone down into my lungs and I then had to deal with that type of re­cov­ery.”

Va­lerie sought out a shaman in Ojai, Cal­i­for­nia who spe­cial­ized in Reiki—a form of holis­tic treat­ment, also known as univer­sal life force en­ergy, in which you are able to move the en­ergy flow in not only the phys­i­cal body, but also the emo­tional and spir­i­tual body—to help with her post-op re­cov­ery. Af­ter many ses­sions with the shaman, he in­sisted that Va­lerie was a great healer in her own right, and sug­gested she learn the prac­tice of Reiki her­self.

“I said, ‘You know what? Let’s go for it,’” Va­lerie re­calls. “I stud­ied with him for over a year and dis­cov­ered that Reiki was in­deed a very pow­er­ful tool for help­ing you heal and move the en­ergy in your own body.”

From there, Va­lerie de­cided she would make a dif­fer­ence by heal­ing oth­ers. Be­fore her di­ag­no­sis, she had more than 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with mil­i­tary per­son­nel and vet­er­ans sell­ing com­puter prod­ucts and phone equip­ment. Dur­ing that time, she had seen many men and women come back to the US from de­ploy­ment with symp­toms of post­trau­matic stress disor­der (PTSD) and rec­og­nized that Vet­eran’s Af­fairs was not very fa­mil­iar with the con­di­tions vet­er­ans were af­flicted with upon ar­riv­ing home. Soon af­ter Va­lerie be­gan prac­tic­ing Reiki, she ap­plied for a 501(c)(3) non­profit for what would be­come the Heaven & Earth Oa­sis heal­ing cen­ter in Los An­ge­les.

“I had wanted to open my own heal­ing cen­ter since the age of 25, be­lieve it or not,” she says. “I wanted to cater the heal­ing cen­ter to the vet­er­ans who I be­lieved needed the most care right now. We were ap­proved within a year, so how could I say no? We had to go for­ward af­ter that. I wanted to help ed­u­cate the pub­lic on the abil­ity of Reiki and what it can do for just about any­thing.”

Va­lerie and her busi­ness part­ner Chan­tal Bene­dict treat around 40 vet­er­ans a year—Va­lerie through Reiki and Chan­tal through en­ergy heal­ing and skele­tal re­align­ment. The cen­ter is also open to the pub­lic by ap­point­ment, but Va­lerie and Chan­tal put spe­cial em­pha­sis on help­ing former mil­i­tary mem­bers with their PTSD con­di­tions. Be­cause symp­toms of PTSD vary widely, Va­lerie be­lieves that Reiki could be the an­swer to suc­cess­fully ad­dress­ing and treat­ing them.

“There are many dif­fer­ent symp­toms of post­trau­matic stress,” says Va­lerie. “Some peo­ple have headaches; some peo­ple have pain in the body; some peo­ple are just hav­ing a lot of dif­fi­culty deal­ing with the day-to-day [ac­tiv­ity] in a busy city like Los An­ge­les. But I find that a lot of mil­i­tary per­son­nel be­come a lot calmer when they have Reiki.” For many suf­fer­ing with PTSD, dis­rup­tion of sleep pat­terns and the in­abil­ity to sleep are par­tic­u­larly de­bil­i­tat­ing symp­toms. “Reiki re­laxes the mus­cles to such a de­gree that you of­ten conk out on the ta­ble while you’re hav­ing a ses­sion,” she says.

The first treat­ment in a sug­gested many is free for vet­er­ans. Va­lerie and Chan­tal then en­list their vet­eran pa­tients to sup­port the or­ga­ni­za­tion by find­ing more clients to come in for paid ses­sions. For ev­ery client a vet refers to the heal­ing cen­ter, they re­ceive another free treat­ment. To help cover the cost of those free treat­ments, the cen­ter also holds an an­nual fundraiser.

This year, the fundraiser will be held Oc­to­ber 17 at the Bev­erly Hills Coun­try Club and will fea­ture best-sell­ing au­thor and lec­turer Mar­i­anne Wil­liamson. The heal­ing duo ex­pects to have more than 200 at­ten­dees.

Also worth not­ing about Va­lerie and Chan­tal: Va­lerie says that since the be­gin­ning, they’ve had a won­der­ful part­ner­ship and friend­ship, as they came to­gether when Chan­tal of­fered a hand in help­ing Va­lerie re­cover from her health scare through en­ergy heal­ing.

“If you want to go on a soul level, she’s my twin sis­ter from another life­time,” says Va­lerie. “We found each other again in this life­time and we’re very blessed to have each other.”

You can learn more about Heaven & Earth Oa­sis by vis­it­ing heav­e­nan­dearthoa­sis.org.

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