Hope in Healing
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.