I am a sports teacher, medical massage specialist with advanced training in Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Manual Therapy, Dorn Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy and others.
A very negative experience with alternative healing methods has brought me to look into the wellness and spiritual market and to question it critically, from a traditional medical perspective, from own experiences and observations, and internet research.
My question was: what can you actually still do without putting yourself in danger?
The wellness market is unfortunately highly infiltrated by new age and “old age” philosophies.
Yoga is not a form of gym exercise but a Hinduistic method for the purpose of finding “enlightenment”.
The breathing is meant for “opening” and enhancing the effects of the practices.
Therefore you open yourself up to all kinds of spiritual things and under certain circumstances may let in spiritual entities without control, which may become pretty dangerous.
Also, some extreme positions are not entirely without risk for less flexible people or those with orthopaedic conditions, in other words: they are prone to injury.
For mentally instable people, the meditative element of Yoga is also not appropriate from a traditional medical and psychiatric aspect. There is a danger of sliding into psychosis or depression.
Also from a Christian point of view, I am against this we cannot redeem ourselves! (However, we are very good in deceiving ourselves!)
The consequences of excessive self-finding and self-redeeming practices can be a lack of humility, overestimation of one’s own capacities and reality shifts.
However, I am also against dismissing all Yoga practices as questionable, since many of these stretches also existed in the Western world since times immemorial, e.g. in high-performance sport, acrobatics, gymnastics, classic ballet, and have been known as stretching. They are not designed for “enlightenment” but were and are methods for achieving higher flexibility for the applicable sport performance.
Also in physiotherapy there have always been certain elements (e.g. a cat’s arched back, hamstring stretches) shared with Yoga and I don’t like the scare tactics saying that all of it would be dangerous. Even back in the early days of the gymnastics movement they practised the Shoulder stand!
I fully agree with the article of a Hindu scholar. There is no Christian Yoga, but not because the practices are sacred in Hinduism, but because they have a different purpose and objective.
I doubt that we can devote our body to Christ in Yoga and should meditate about him in the Lotus position, as some so-called Christian Yoga teachers claim.
The God of the Old and New Testament focuses more on our soul and our conduct. That, of course, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t keep ourselves fit, and also having fun doing sports is surely rather a gift than a problem.
The postures called Asana in Yoga, however, are indeed designed for praying to deities. Also the so called “Sun Devotion”.
Furthermore, I believe to have observed that many Yoga followers are becoming addicted, their sexual drive is increased unnaturally and many lose the ability to spontaneous genuine communication as they are too focused on their own perfection.
Also Pilates has become highly criticised as being esoteric, which may not be totally without reason, but is a great pity.
According to my observation, the Pilates practices are absolutely okay and very beneficial.
They are based on the findings of physiotherapy and Training Science and are easy on the joints yet at the same time strengthening the muscles and highly suitable for people with injuries or those who are no longer allowed to practise endurance sports due to old age or cardiac conditions.
However, as you rarely find Pilates in its pure form unfortunately and many Pilates trainers are also Yoga teachers, the whole thing is mixed up. I have seen the most radically different Pilates sessions, depending on the teacher: from absolutely good and “clean” all the way to Reiki visualisations in the relaxation part (very horrible) or Kundalini Yoga elements in Pilates.
All this breathing in the relaxation part often points towards esoteric teachings and for me is completely unnecessary in sports, at least to this extreme. Slow, deep breathing to calm you down can be very helpful during anxiety or heart attacks but any form of hyperventilation can be dangerous.(You can practise extensive breathing in pregnancy exercise class; otherwise we are all perfectly able to breath, aren’t we? Cases of psychosis after prolonged hyperventilation, e.g. during Rebirthing Therapy, have been known.)
So it all depends on the teacher.
Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental or psychosomatic problems or conditions by conversation.
The psychological market is awash with “fly by night” therapists and treatment methods and the term Psychotherapist is not legally protected either in Germany or South Africa.
Care should be taken with any therapists that are not approved by the medical council. A proper psychotherapist has either studied psychology or medicine and then completed further training in a specific subject (e.g. behaviour therapy or analytic therapy). In South Africa these people are referred to as Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)-registered psychologists, who also have a completed university study including a 1-year internship. There are clinical, educational, industrial and research psychologists.
Counsellors or lay counsellors are usually volunteers that are working for an organisation, e.g. Lifeline, church, and have been trained by the relevant organisation, usually for a rather short period.
Coaches can by now be found in abundance in both countries, with severe psychological issues. These cannot really be recommended. Should be seen rather as a motivational trainer than as a mental practitioner depending on the training of the coach.
The buzzword “body-mind work” always makes me a little bit suspicious! Also the permanent and unreflected usage of the terms “acceptance, trace, allow, accept” irritates my stomach and rather indicates a practitioner of esopsychology than a professional.
The popular “initial deterioration” can in fact be a serious adverse reaction.
All so-called energetic healing methods have no business in a serious therapy session.
Also be careful when it comes to Trauma therapy. This is something that should definitely be handled by a professional specialist with years of training and not by an alternative practitioner, craniosacral therapist, and osteopath, NLP Trainer or Coach: this group of people is not trained to deal with what can be triggered. The same applies for treating post-traumatic stress disorders.
Beware also of all therapists that advertise universal love or just love. You cannot sell love. Love is a gift from our creator, exists also among people and is available (or not!!) always for free.
Any religious or ideological world view of the therapist should not be involved in a serious psychotherapy.
Anything used to open spiritual gates or using spiritual mediums (e.g. family constellations according to Hellinger, channelling, angel therapy , healing hands is dangerous and should not be trusted. Only very few people are blessed with the gift of healing and even they at least admit that they can not heal everything and do not make false promises.
Some relaxation techniques, breathing exercises for relaxation and also autosuggestion are okay for me and I see them as helpful as long as you don’t specifically open up somebody’s subconscious. (Progressive muscle relaxation and cognitive behaviour therapy are okay and even recommended by psychiatrists.)
Any supporting medication should, if necessary, come from the psychiatrist and not be recommended “into the blue” by the psychotherapist, GP or pharmacist in the form of globuli etc.
There is also something like a timeframe. If you don’t see any positive result after 6 months, something is wrong that is with the therapist, not with the patient. A good therapist is resultfocused and doesn’t need to drain their customers’ wallet for years on end.
Physical work as an addition can be helpful, but rather in the form of aerobic training such as jogging, gym, swimming than Yoga etc. The excretion of your body’s own endorphins in connection with an increased heart rate is more effective, healthier and a much more liberating experience. But also more work.
Music is for me one of the legal “drugs” to lighten up the mood, but should not be part of a session as background (mystical sounds for relaxation). To be recommended is anything that creates joy and is beneficial, all according to your liking, not to the therapist’s taste.
Eastern healing methods, Ayurveda, TCM, Reiki
I know of several cases of mental conditions in connection with the Indian Ayurveda, both of patients as well as people who have completed the training.
For a long time I have been unable to see what should be bad about Acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine, except the procurement of the ingredients for the various powders and teas.
Last week my father in law (the most rational person I know and a Christian) had an experience during an acupuncture session with a Chinese practitioner. All of a sudden and out of nowhere he had visualisations of Buddhist symbols (as we later found out in the internet) and had no explanations for this. He certainly did not open himself up consciously and rather didn’t even believe that such things existed.
This has finally persuaded me that all Buddhist and Hinduistic methods are not merely old medical knowledge but that they are also spiritual, and that unknowingly we can open ourselves up for their spiritual worlds.
Reiki is a highly occult technique.
By now there are many victim reports in the internet and also statements by exorcists that today do actually require psychiatric background information before they take action.
www.Reiki@Christianity www.spiritlight.eu and many more.
Due to personal experience I have a problem with osteopathy. The studies conducted by traditional medical are not convincing. I have observed personality changes during the training of colleagues showing fussing healer behaviour and mixing of esoteric teaching ideas (both from the inventor as well as his followers) which make me stay away from it, even though the 5-year training in terms of anatomy and physiology is extensive and impressive. There might well be some serious therapists around.But even then : The occiput- atlas release is always an opening of the main spiritual gate
And these gates are to protect us.
Craniosacral therapy is often acquired by medical laymen and then practised. I have not yet found a single therapist, either over the internet or live, who doesn’t have an esoteric background. (You find anything from Shamanism, Kinesiology, Reikihealing etc.)
A neurologist, who I had asked for his opinion regarding these forms of therapy, gave me the following answer: “My girl friend is an osteopath, so I know a little bit about it. Among other things, they are playing with the central nervous system. I am a neurologist and I know that this is not without risks.”
In this view, the popular resolution of birth trauma, especially for babies, is irresponsible in my
opinion. They cannot give proper feedback when to stop.
Furthermore, God has arranged things in such a way that birth is traumatic AND that you have no recollection of it.
After I had a very bad experience in a cranio training course and was taken care of very unprofessionally by means of Rescue drops instead of being sent to the doctor, I have lodged a complaint with the Craniosacral Therapy Association in the UK. After extended mail correspondence, I received the following reply from their chairman:
“Over the years I have come to realize that it is possible for someone doing this work to do real harm. How or why I do not know but it seems to be something destructive or negative or unbalanced in the mind of the practitioner. I emphasise that I do not know if this was true of (Name).
Hopefully it is rare, but no-one really knows. Of course those who believe craniosacral are just imagination and placebo could never accept this. As they do not believe there is any good result, they can hardly say they believe in bad results.
Perhaps one day someone will find a way of researching this.It is very troubling but how to find out the truth in this matter?”
This is an extract from the reply in original wording. I find this more than “troubling”. My alarm lamps are flashing dark red when I read this.
The answer is that if you open the spiritual gate of another person and the person himself cannot determine what comes in. The practionor might be evil spirited or simply in the spiritual environment of the client is something wrong and now gets access .The gates are there to protect and not to be opened.
The person I argued about is unfortunally still member and works under the protection of the association.
As long as they do not separate medically and psychologically skilled people from the black sheep of the new age market the craniosacral work is irresponsible.
How can I protect myself or how do I recognise rogue practitioners?
- Training acquired on the mental market (usually by trying to resolve own issues) instead of university (University of life is not good enough!)
- Uses phrases such as universal love, acceptance of your own self, of your own weak points or other "soft talk"
- Often lack of concrete answers or personal opinion, all concealed behind the esoteric world view, often lacks fresh humour
- Understands everything, feels everything with you.This is impossible!
- Physical appearance rather ethereal than earthy. Gaze often slightly out of this world.
- Incense sticks during the session. Have seen both already, during conversation therapy or even during Pilates at the gym (unbelievable).
For all who are looking for purely worldly traditional medical reasons I recommend the book by Colin Goldner (clinical psychologist) "Die Psychoszene" (The Psycho Community).
In a very disillusioning way, the book describes the alternative healing methods, the moneymaking all the way to criminal schemes and their possible consequences from the perspective of a clinical psychologist without any religious-ideological background.
Another reasonable source of independent information you find under www.quackwatch.org. Today there is no guarantee that your physiotherapist or even your medical councilapproved psychotherapist may not have made one or two training courses in this direction. There are a lot of not mentioned so called therapies around to be very critical about. Therefore be mindful or rather watch out when selecting your therapist.