By BARBARA JANELLE M.A.
In Touch, Vol. XII, No. 3, August, 2000.
For many practitioners in Ontario, the most profound and integral step within the TT treatment is Heart Support, which is derived, in part, from Cathleen Fanslow-Brunjes’ Hand-Heart Connection. Cathleen initially developed this while using Therapeutic Touch with dying people. Cathleen says that a dying person needs energy but that it must be very gently given to the field and the Hand-Heart Connection is a beautiful way of doing this. Cathleen’s work is done in a centered state, with great compassion and profound internal work (interiorization) on her part while doing this. (1)
HEART SUPPORT: Centering and Being With the Field
In 1990, I became aware that Merlin Homer was using her “Heart Sandwich” (2) as a way of bringing physical touch and the aspect of being with, rather directing energy, into the treatment. Merlin says that by touching the heart area, it is easy to move into a state of unconditional love. She asks, “What is it like for both when the centered practitioner simply places hands on the receiver for a period of time without doing or even having an intent to do something?” (3) When Merlin presented this approach to my upper level students in 1991, she already recognized that the support it provided enabled the field to shift toward greater order.
Long-time Ontario TT Practitioner Margaret Shearman also sees Heart Support as a way of being with and offering deep comfort to the receiver. Margaret says that she feels compassion for the receiver and uses Heart Support as a way of letting the person know that he/she is not alone. In the case of someone who is emotionally upset, Margaret deepens her own stillness and peacefulness and consciously uses her own quietness (centering) to help the person become calmer. She does this not by “sending peace” but by “being peace” herself. (4)
In this article, I am calling the centered act of “being with” the person/field while honouring, accepting and indeed celebrating the receiver, HEART SUPPORT to distinguish it from Cathleen Fanslow-Brunjes Hand-Heart Connection which is a procedure specifically used with the terminally ill and is a way of directing energy into the field.
HEART SUPPORT: HAND POSITIONS
When we work energetically, we are very careful to keep our hands moving to avoid energy build-up. (5) In Heart Support, we may keep our hand (hands) still on the heart area for a period of time. Continual monitoring of the field alerts the practitioner to any accidental energy build up; if this occurs (and it seldom does), immediate unruffling rectifies the situation. In working with receivers who are very ill, frail or young, I choose to support the heart either by holding the hand or while lightly unruffling the heart area.
Some practitioners may start a treatment using Heart Support, but I generally use it after addressing flow through the field with unruffling and grounding. Heart Support is usually brief, and afterwards, I unruffle over the heart and through the entire field. I include it in almost all of the TT treatments I give.
There are several ways of positioning the hands for Heart Support:
a) Borrowing from Cathleen again, the recipient’s hand is held between those of the practitioner so that the hand chakras overlie one another. For companion animals, this is done by holding a paw in one hand or between two hands very lightly and gently.
b) a hand on the back of the heart chakra and the other on the shoulder
c) The “Heart Sandwich” where the hands are in contact with the heart area on the back and front of the body. For animals, this position would involve either
1) placing one hand between the shoulders and the other over the front of the chest, or
2) one hand on either side of the shoulders. In all cases, the heart is between the hands.
d) support of the recipient by standing behind and placing the hands, one on top of the other, in contact over the front of the heart (6)
e) a non-contact heart support with a single hand doing light unruffling movements over the heart of a prone recipient
No matter what position is used, this is a heart-to-heart connection that centers on feelings, compassion and support for the recipient.
FOCUS DURING THE TT HEART SUPPORT
During the Heart Support, the practitioner may:
a) acknowledging the recipient, deepen centering and move into a state of unconditional love.
b) feel compassion for the person/animal and simultaneously recognize that both self and recipient exist within a universe of compassion and order: a field of infinite love.
c) recognize something beautiful and valuable in the recipient and feel a sense of honour in the person or animal’s presence. “What an honour it is to work with this special, unique and remarkable being! I recognize this one’s courage to live this life and see his/her wonderful attributes of (humour, compassion, wisdom, selfless service, joy, etc.).”
d) hold in thought the sacred truth of the heart chakra, “May we give and receive love.” “May we know love, compassion, dedication, hope, and trust.”
e) explore the relationship among the adult self, the child within and the spiritual high self and holding the recognition that these are all One. (7) With both humans and animals, I will suggest silently, “Remember who you are as a spiritual being.”
In each of these approaches, there is an awareness of the greater aspect of the recipient, the spiritual essence of the person (or animal). I believe that Heart Support brings both practitioner and receiver into the realm of infinite possibility and is a shared transformative experience.
EFFECTS OF THE HEART SUPPORT
Heart Support touches all levels of the receiver. There is often profound relaxation, deeper breathing (horses often begin yawning), melting away of worry lines, and a softening in the entire body of the receiver. In almost every treatment, I find the field makes a tremendous adjustment during this heart support. The degree of change in the physical field can be monitored by assessing the field before and after this step.
While Heart Support can be used in any treatment, I find it particularly useful for problems that involve the structure and systems controlled by the heart chakra: the chest, shoulders, arms and hands, and the circulatory, respiratory, and immune systems. I believe that supporting another being through a focus and connection at heart level promotes the health of both receiver and practitioner.
SOME EXAMPLES OF HEART SUPPORT
There are so many examples of the impact of Heart Support that it is difficult to choose just a few.
GOUT. A woman with gout that had been very responsive to medication, had a bad flare up when she went off her diet. New medication did not work, and she asked me to help. I had only a few minutes to work with her so I started with a check on the affected foot and found it congested, cold and very, very slow to respond to gentle unruffling. I unruffled her back and visualized grounding from the spine, and then supported the heart chakra for a minute. When I returned to the foot, it responded to unruffling. The pain disappeared quickly after the treatment and she was back on her old medication and diet within a few days.
INJURY. Dianne Gollan, a member of our London TT Hospital Team was at an intersection when a serious accident occurred in which a young child was injured. Dianne sat with her holding her hand, speaking in soothing tones and deepening her own state of peace. The little girl quieted quickly and remained calm until the ambulance arrived.
A HORSE STORY. My friend Linda Markey and I worked on the horses at SARI – Riding for Disabled in London for ten years. One day, we were asked to work with Linda’s favourite horse, Coppertone. This big Palomino gelding had fallen going across a plowed field under an exercise rider. He pulled the muscles in his shoulders and was hobbling badly. The veterinarian recommend several weeks of stall rest.
Linda and I started a Therapeutic Touch treatment and found the field very sluggish. After thorough unruffling and grounding, Heart Support seemed appropriate. Linda stood on Coppertone’s left side and used the Heart Sandwich. She held the position silently, while recognizing Coppertone’s specialness. Coppertone and Linda seemed to melt into each other and then very subtly, they began to sway. Linda said later that it was like being in water with him. The moment Linda felt it was time to stop the Heart Support, Coppertone took a step forward – both recognized the ending simultaneously.
We checked the field and found it much more uniform and flowing and then finished with more unruffling and grounding. When Linda led Coppertone back to his stall, he no longer hobbled! Although a little uneven, he took long strides, and his whole body moved – a vast improvement from his severely lame state minutes earlier.
HEART SUPPORT: THE ESSENCE OF TT
Heart Support contains the essence of Therapeutic Touch: when we touch the heart and acknowledge the receiver, we embrace unconditional love and infinite possibility. With this support, the field will move toward greater order. Deepening center, paying attention to and valuing the receiver, rather than trying to change the person or the field, creates the possibility for a major shift on some level of being to occur in both the recipient and in the practitioner. In my experience, the Heart Support is one of the finest ways of achieving a resonance effect in the TT treatment.
1. From a conversation with Cathleen Fanslow-Brunjes on July 30, 2000.
2. Merlin Homer tells me that the term “Heart Sandwich” was independently coined by both Susan Aaron and herself, and both use it with similar intent to refer to the comfort and support that it gives the receiver. In her book, PSYCHODRAMATIC BODYWORK, Self-published, Toronto: 1994, Susan Aaron specifically acknowledges Merlin for her contribution to her work. From a conversation with Merlin on July 30, 2000.
3. From a conversation with Merlin Homer in January 2000
4. From conversations with Margaret Shearman in January and July 2000.
5. One of the rare instances where the hands stay still for any period of time during energy direction is over the adrenals, which can take large quantities of energy without congestion occurring.
6. This is a position I usually associate with Emmagene Borden’s work, but she tells me that Crystal Hawk taught it to her.
7. See “Going Deeper,” Our Healing Power by Barbara Janelle, self-published, London, ON: 1999.