On Wholeness

By Barbara Janelle M.A.

First Published In Touch, Vol. X, no. 1, February 1998

In his book Coyote Medicine (New York: Scribner, 1997), Lewis Mehl-Madrona writes that the shaman holds the concept of wholeness for the person undergoing a healing ceremony. This is the case in a Therapeutic Touch treatment too; although it may be forgotten if the focus is on searching for and working on “problems” in the field.

By centering we access the deepest aspect of our own totality and are able to offer a profound sense of wholeness to the recipient’s field. Two presentations by Therapeutic Touch teachers in the past year and several personal experiences both in giving and receiving treatments have inspired changes in my work and in myself.

Deep Centering

In late 1996, Carolyn Buchanan gave a presentation to my Level 3 Therapeutic Touch class at the University of Western Ontario. Carolyn led an exercise on scanning from very deep center that made a tremendous impact on everyone.

The exercise has people working in pairs and following these steps:

1. Come to center and scan your partner. Notice what you sense in the field and where your hands are with respect to the skin.

2. Now center again. When you feel centered, use breathing to go deeper. Now go deeper again!

3. Then scan your partner again, As if there was no physical body, only energy.

(If possible, do try this now before continuing to read this article.)

Scanning from deep center is amazing. The field actually leaps out to meet the scanner’s hands twelve to fourteen inches from the skin. There is a much greater sense of the overall character of the field, rather than of localised distinctions. Qualities of vibration, activity, and flow are immediately apparent. Because the scanner is so deeply centered, information on intuitive levels is readily available too.

I find that this exercise provides the much needed breakthrough for students who have trouble sensing the field. The deepening of center eliminates worry, doubting, and the range of personal issues that often interfere with the ability to take in information.

Working from Deep Center

Working from deep, deep center is amazingly effective. Rather than focusing on specific discrepancies or particular locations in the field, the entire field is at hand, and the awareness that every move truly affects the whole is clear. Unruffling and energy direction procedures promptly affect the entire field. I find that a treatment given from deep center has a greater and more profound impact than one given from a moderate level of centering.

Shortly after Carolyn’s presentation, I worked with an elderly lady with a broken hip. The woman, in her early 80’s, had undergone surgery to repair a broken hip the year before, but the hip had not healed and she was in continuous pain. With one TT treatment before Christmas, and one session a week in the new year, by the end of February x-rays showed the hip to be completely healed. Many more experiences working from deep center convinced me that Therapeutic Touch done in this way is tremendously effective in speeding healing.

There is an added benefit to working from deep center on patients in hospital, particularly those in ICU who are so surrounded by monitoring equipment that it is difficult to reach them. Because the field meets my hands twelve inches or more away from the skin, I do not have to strain to reach the patient and it is physically easier to treat someone in bed.

“Be At Peace with Yourself”

Another beautiful and effective means of reaching deep center came with Merlin Homer’s presentation at the 1997 Vision and Reality conference. Merlin worked through Dora Kunz’s Meditation phrase by phrase, offering understandings from Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing work to help all who attended achieve a very deep, personal experience of centering.

“Be at peace with yourself” takes me into profound peace. Setting aside worries, hopes, and all the extraneous issues of life, “just for the next few minutes” brings feelings of wholeness, connection to all, and trust in self, in the situation and in compassion. Any focus on treatment outcome dissolves. This deepening self-peace sets the stage for “talking” wholeness with the field.

Energetic Wholeness

In health, energy flows freely and fully through the field. Emmanuel says “As the body constricts under the onslaught of trauma [or stress], there is a denial of energy to a particular part of the body. Thus the stage is set for a physical manifestation which is, in your reality, a malfunction of the body” (Emmanuel’s Book, 159).

In Therapeutic Touch we are addressing wholeness by supporting free, full energetic flow through the field. I find that through deep centering, there is much greater sense of the overall character of the field and that the whole field is more consciously addressed throughout the treatment.

Lewis Mehl-Madrona. Coyote Medicine. New York: Scribner. 1997.

Rodegast, Pat & Judith Stanton, compilers. Emmanuel’s Book. New York: Bantam Books, 1985, 1987, 1988.


Here, in the ideas presented by Carolyn Buchanan and Merlin Homer, is the essence of Therapeutic Touch. Following Dora Kunz and Dee Krieger’s instruction to meditate every day brings deeper and deeper centering in a TT treatment. The quality of centering determines the quality of the treatment. –BJ 2/99