On 29 and 30 May I spent a beautiful sunny weekend in the British countryside near Bruton in Somerset, UK. This is true James Herriot country with old stone work farmhouses, narrow winding roads hugged by tall hedgerows and cobblestone driveways leading into old time horse barns. At times it felt like I had stepped back in time several hundred years.
The purpose of my visit was to participate in a two day Equine Healing Workshop with an amazing lady who I met ‘virtually’ last year on my journey exploring energy medicine and holistic therapies. Fiona Paul is an Intuitive Energy Practitioner who has spent the last 10 years developing her skills. Fiona began her journey as an animal behaviourist and she has studied many animal healing modalities including zoopharmacognosy (animal self-selection) and Tellington TTouch. Fiona works intuitively with Energy to re-balance the body’s natural energy flow, promoting emotional and physical well-being.
For more information about Fiona please visit her website at www.fionapaul.com.
Photos and some information in this post are courtesy of Fiona and I am grateful that Fiona is permitting me to share her important work. Please note that this is my personal interpretation of what I learnt from Fiona and my further studies.
The Equine Healing Workshop included an intimate group of horse owners and equine professionals who travelled from around the UK and Norway to participate. It was great to share insights with people from around the world with the common goal of learning more about helping and healing horses.
The workshop consisted of theory and extensive practical sessions, working with rescue horses at Tree Tops Farm Equestrian Centre. The theory provided important background and an introduction to working with Energy. Fiona showed us how to position our bodies, hearts and minds to effectively open energy channels between ourselves and the horses.
In these photos Fiona is showing participants various hand positions on the beautiful stallion “Tommy”.
Fiona’s work is based on learning to channel energy through the heart. Sounds like a load of ‘hocus pocus’ doesn’t it? Well, bear with me and I will explain why I, as a scientific left-brained overachieving academic, travelled half way around the world to meet Fiona in person to learn from her.
Below is a basic explanation of my personal current view and understanding of what can broadly be defined as ‘energy medicine’ or ‘informational medicine’. It is not a description or attempt to confine Fiona’s work into any kind of ‘box’ or ‘system’ as western science has the insatiable thirst to do. Fiona works on a much deeper level which is difficult to explain using the written word, however I hope that my explanation serves as a starting point and background for deeper inquiry.
Energy / Informational Medicine
The idea that an energy exchange of some type occurs between individuals is a central theme in many healing techniques. This concept has often been disputed by Western science due to the lack of a plausible mechanism to explain the nature of this energy or how it could affect or facilitate the healing process. Western thinking is heavily influenced by the Newtonian-Cartesian model of the universe (the mechanical view of the universe and material world) which separates mind and body. While this theory has brought many advances in modern science, it is important to remember that a good theory is one that lasts long enough to get you to a better one.
Recent advances in a variety of scientific disciplines have revealed the limitations of this mechanical view of the universe. There is an increasing convergence of science and the “perennial philosophy” (ie. universal truth). The new research has led to a critical revaluation of ancient spiritual systems long ignored or rejected because of their assumed incompatibility with science. The common reference amongst all ancient healing systems is the focus on a universal life energy – dressed up in different cultures as prana, chi (qi), ki, etc. Interest in the study of energy flows dates back as far as the ancient Greeks and has been used in ancient and traditional healing practices for centuries. The Greek word “cosmos” means the patterned whole of all existence – including the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions, or in other words the living totality of matter, body mind, soul and spirit.
Fiona has spent time in the Amazon Jungle sitting with the Shamans and explained that they and other ancient cultures have always known and worked with the vast sea of universal energy that surround us. They and other ancient cultures have known that our thoughts and emotions are also part of this universal energy. They feel sense and use energy without filtering or distorting it.
Modern western medicine to date has paid relatively little attention to the concept of universal life energy, consciousness, emotions and the (electromagnetic) body field. The existing control system of the body according to modern medicine involves enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters (a biochemical system). This is slowly changing with the expanding field of informational and energy medicine.
An increasing amount of research has been discovering and confirming many principles and practices that are based on working with energy to harmonise body systems. For example, the recent confirmation of the existence of the meridians (energy channels) used in traditional Chinese medicine and new technology such as bio-electrography confirming that living beings emit an electromagnetic field (aka aura) and this field can be influenced and appears to deplete in cases of disease.
To understand how communication occurs via biological fields requires an energetic concept of information—one in which data about patterns of organisation are enfolded into the waves of energy generated by the body’s activity and distributed throughout the body’s electromagnetic field. This concept is quite different from the “lock and key” concept of biochemical interactions, in which communication occurs through the action of biochemicals, such as neurotransmitters, fitting into specialised receptor sites on cells, much like keys open certain locks.
In Western medicine, until relatively recently the heart was considered merely as a mechanical pump for blood circulation, but is now also viewed as a neurological, endocrine and immune organ.
Out of the emerging new research into energy flow, exciting discoveries are being made about the heart and its role in health, disease and healing. For a fantastic resource on cutting edge research involving the heart visit the HeartMath Institue. A field of research called ‘emotional energetics’ seeks to answer questions about how the various energy systems within each of us affect our emotions, how emotions affect our energy systems and how the electromagnetic field generated by the heart affects other people and our environment – at close range and over long distances.
Here is a link to a great video published by the HeartMath Institute on the Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence.
Some important facts to know about the heart. The heart creates the largest rhythmic electromagnetic (EM) field in the body (up to 100 times stronger than that produced by the brain) and this electrical voltage permeates every cell in the body.
The magnetic component of the heart’s field is not impeded by the body’s tissues and easily radiates outside of the body. This field can be measured several feet away from the body. These energetic emanations and interactions provide a plausible mechanism for how we can “feel” or sense another person’s presence and even their emotional state, independent of body language and other signals.
Recent research published in the European Journal of Oriental Medicine states that:
“When the heart beats, it generates energy that is not contained within us, and thereby may be able to signal other hearts. Moreover, cellular regulation can be influenced by EM fields pulsing in the same frequency range as the cardiac field, hence it is possible that a practitioner’s heart has a therapeutic effect by influencing the patient via its radiated EM field. This is of particular relevance because the lack of a plausible mechanism to explain the nature of an energy exchange between people, or how it could affect or facilitate the healing process, causes a major block for its acceptance by Western science.”
Other research has provided evidence that the heart’s energy field is coupled to a field of information that is not bound by the limits of time and space. The research suggests that “the heart is directly coupled to a subtle energetic field of ambient information that surrounds the body… In short, it would appear that we are only just beginning to understand the fundamental role of a bioenergetic communication system in processing information from sources both within and outside the body to inform physiological function, cognitive processes, emotions, and behaviour.”
An important aspect of heart based energy research is the concept of ‘coherence’. Physiological coherence describes the degree of order, harmony and stability in the various rhythmic activities within living systems over any given time period. Researchers propose that the heart, as the most powerful generator of rhythmic information patterns in the body, acts effectively as the global conductor in the body’s symphony to bind and synchronize the entire system.
So what does all this have to do with horses?
The key concept that Fiona imparted on participants during the workshop was that when we are coherent with the FLOW of universal energy it can re-awaken our natural abilities of extrasensory perception, intuition, telepathy and enable the ability to perform healing.
During the workshop Fiona took us through various exercises to practise putting our bodies into a coherent state to achieve heart-brain synchronisation and thus be able to most effectively affect the subtle energy system of the horses that we were working with.
The aim of the practical aspect of the workshop was for participants to practise sending energy from the heart to focal points of the horses’ bodies and observe the horses’ reactions, feel changes in temperature in our hands and observe other sensory perceptions such as feelings of tension or pain in our own bodies, corresponding with tension or pain in the horse we were working with. As a person raised in the western world and scientific community it is difficult to accept these concepts, let alone believe in the possibility to achieve noticeable changes in an animal whilst essentially doing ‘nothing’ physical to the animal. However, having worked with horses most of my life and being a keen student of horsemanship and horse-human interaction, where at the high level subtle communication takes place between horse and rider or horse and handler that can’t always be explained by conventional means, I was keen to see horses respond to my attempt to send energy.
I hope the photos below provide a glimpse of what the participants of the workshop experienced. If someone walked into the barn after one of our practical sessions they would have thought that the horses were recovering from being sedated. The horses exhibited extensive behavioural reactions consistent with deep relaxation, endorphin release and adjusting their postures (extensive stretching, shifting and re-distributing weight). During the practical sessions I felt sensations in my body that I could not explain. Whether this was my imagination or not, it has opened my eyes and curiosity further to delve deeper into the fascinating world of working with subtle energies and their potential for healing.
A huge thank you to Fiona for sharing her wisdom with us and giving us a glimpse of the possibilities. I look forward to imporving my skills on my own horses and observing their responses.
The take home message from the workshop for me was to rely less on my head and trust more in my heart. While science is beginning to explain some of the phenomenons that I expereinced during the workshop, trying to use logic and current scientific knowledge to attempt to explain them in detail only serves to diminsh them. When it comes to new discoveries whether in science as described above or in the re-disovery of ancient pratices, knowledge expands faster than ways to categorise it and the horizon constantly retreats as we approach it.
The following quote comes to mind:
“People look to science as some sort of absolute truth – a story that has already been written but the reality is that science is a story told in instalments.”
I have asked Fiona about the possibility of coming to teach in Australia in 2017. If you have read this far and would be interested in learning from Fiona please contact me and I will note your expression of interest.