6. Bridges Between the Physical
and the Non-physical
If we really are more than just our physical bodies and have various psychological, emotional and spiritual factors in our make-up which have to manifest through the body and can affect our bodily health, there must be a physical cross-over point. The reactions I found in soldiers suffering from battle fatigue first gave me a hint. Forty years later, sheer empiricism has convinced me that the most important physical bridge is the central nervous system housed in the spine.
Perhaps at this point I should say a little more about the complexities of the nervous system which may help in making sense of the interplay between physical and non-physical functions. I do not know the precise mechanism by which healing is transmitted either to physical or non-physical problems, but the autonomic nerves as well as the spinal nerves themselves probably play a part.  The autonomic nerves control the activities of the blood vessels, secretory glands (including the hormonal or endocrine glands) and the viscera. This autonomic system is constantly at work and may be likened to the administrative branches of an army. Its activities do not normally obtrude into consciousness. The autonomic nerves are arranged in networks and ganglia strung up and down each side of the vertebral column along its entire length. Autonomic ganglia have also been located in many parts of the brain itself. As these autonomic nerves are interconnected into a ‘system of administration’, at the same time connecting with the spinal cord and brain centres, it is not difficult to see how it is that healing techniques applied along the sides of the spine could have remote effects on cerebral activities controlled by brain centres within the skull itself. Such functions and activities include not only such things as sight, hearing, sense of balance and speech but also emotional feelings and creative thought.
The Spine and Non-Physical Problems
To insist upon the importance of the central nervous system in the spine as the link between the physical and the non-physical is not to say that everyone with a sore back is in fact really suffering from some deep-seated psychological emotional or spiritual problem, but it does mean that almost everyone with a deep-seated problem of this nature will have an area in the spine that is a potential trouble-maker. Even if there is no pain in the back, there will nearly always be some reaction from the healer’s hands at certain points in the spine. If the physical manifestations can be alleviated, the patient has a much better chance of coping with the non-physical problem and of responding thereafter to more orthodox forms of treatment.
The Spine and Nervous Disorders
The interval between the fourth and fifth thoracic vertebrae seems to me to be vitally connected with all nervous disorders, from battle fatigue (as I then knew it) to schizophrenia and obsession. I have found many other specific areas related to non-physical problems. Those suffering from insomnia or from lethargy, for example, usually seem to have a lesion between the second and third thoracic vertebrae, and I have found that the area around the sixth and seventh vertebrae is similarly related to allergies, many of which are suspected of having a psychological basis. Treatment at this point frequently alleviates asthma, hay fever, nervous eczema, skin trouble and even occasionally stammering as well as easily upset stomachs, including cases where the patient displays every symptom of an ulcerated stomach except the ulcer. In addition, the patient seems to receive help to live with the probably unrecognised psychological problems. In many cases, however, care has to be taken, as the physical symptoms may well be a valuable warning of a more serious malaise requiring treatment.
In some cases, healing can relieve physical symptoms on all occasions except when psychological needs demand their return as a shield. One girl with asthma, for example, found that her symptoms had completely disappeared except when she was at her parents’ home! It seemed that some psychological stress in the home environment demanded the protection of her asthma. I subsequently discovered that though she hated riding, she was expected to go out hunting with her father and this caused her considerable distress.
Having said all this, I must add that it is too simple to say that by treating the back one is eradicating some non-physical problem. But the appropriate point in the spine is the gateway, if you like, for energy to flow into the body for use either at the physical or the non-physical level. Better still, the energy can go both ways.
The Eastern Approach and the Chakras
The idea of ‘gateways’ was and is well known to many of the oriental disciplines. In India, they are called ‘chakras’. Their concept is perhaps nearer to what I am trying to express, since they do not distinguish as we do between ‘medicine’ and philosophy or spirituality. These chakras could be considered as the gateways into and between different parts of the physical body and between levels of consciousness. In our terms, this would include the concept that at certain points in the body a physical defect could lead to psychological stress and vice versa. There are many beautiful representations of the chakras which are shown as symbols on the body. Usually they are shown on the front of the body but sometimes a line is shown connecting each chakra to a point in the spine. The spine is very important to oriental thought but the lack of distinction between the physical and non-physical features makes it easy for them to see the whole body as playing a part in all the aspects of man, including his spirituality.
I find this a helpful concept with healing. The spine is of vital importance, but it is not the only bridge since the rest of the body can also be seen as functioning at different levels simultaneously. There are many chakras, but most disciplines select about seven particularly important ones, though opinion varies on which are the most significant. I find nine which seem to be crucial to well-being. The first two are shown on the cranium and seem to be concerned with aspiration, perception, interpretation and understanding. The third is on the throat, the centre for communication. If you consider that not only the vocal cords, but the nerves serving the arms and hands with which we also communicate are situated in this area, the concept ties in quite neatly. Traditional laying on of hands within the Christian church concentrates on these areas and I would suspect that this implies an instinctive awareness, or indeed the ancient if forgotten knowledge of these important gateways. The fourth is placed over the heart, the centre of emotions, of love and of hate. Language points to our awareness of emotional well-being as vital to physical health and we talk of heartache or a shaft to the heart. The fifth lies on the solar plexus, the centre of energy. Again, we talk of a blow to the solar plexus when a shock drains our energy.
The sixth chakra is what I would call the ‘city cleansing centre’, situated at the level of navel, kidney, liver and spleen the organs of filtration, detoxification, recirculation, elimination and insulation. I find the latter very important. In the same way that mankind has a problem with nuclear waste which can be dealt with only by effective insulation because currently it cannot be transformed or eliminated, individuals have to cope with damaging materials of both physical and non-physical types. If I find a reaction over the spleen, this may mean that energy is needed at a purely physical level. But energy may also be valuable at a psychological level of understanding of the spleen as the ‘insulator’ of any problem which cannot currently be resolved or eliminated.
The next chakra is below the navel and I find it to be associated with courage and determination and what you might call ‘fire’. We refer to a ‘lack of guts’ when someone’s courage has evaporated. The sacral or sexual centre is of enormous importance, not only at the obvious level of reproduction, but also as the home of a driving force which can be available at other creative levels, if successfully transformed or sublimated. The ninth chakra at the base of the spine is much more mysterious but appears to be a basic element of the life force, known in the East as the home of the Kundalini serpent. The complexities of the chakras are unfortunately outside the scope of this book, but it is the failure to handle any or all these energies successfully and use them in some other creative endeavour that can lead to the problems of repression and consequent cries for help. Almost invariably, I find in such people spinal lesions influencing the effective interplay of energy between the appropriate centres.
Interplay and Transformation of Energy
The idea of sublimating or transforming energy is not unfamiliar. Recognising but wishing to discourage the direct expression of the very powerful adolescent sex drive, public schools advocated cold baths (a sort of fire extinguisher) and long runs, thereby converting the sexual energy into strenuous athletic activity. This is a very basic example of sublimation, but we are familiar, too, with the idea of emotional energy being transformed into creative expression. Some superb music and literature has been written as a direct result of the agony or ecstasy of a love-affair. We seem to be made up of many energies which permeate the body through many specific ‘gateways’; each of the energies being capable of actually flowing up, down and around the body. If there is a ‘block’ at some level, the energy can bypass it and find expression at another level. Alternatively, if the gateway is not working properly, the energy may drain away.
The blocks and problems that occur can be likened to the plumbing system of a bath. If you turn on the tap and no water comes out, either the tap is blocked or there is something wrong further back up the system. Equally troublesome is a tap that will not turn off and wastes all your hot water. If you lose the bath plug, the bath will not fill up at all as the water drains away immediately, and a blocked waste-pipe will cause the bath to overflow and flood the bathroom. In the same way the faults or blocks in the ‘gateways’, be it in the input system or output system of the energy flow, can cause trouble. Our language expresses some idea of this as we use expressions such as ‘I feel drained’ when energy is lacking or, ‘she was bubbling over’ of someone in good spirits and full of vitality. I am convinced that a free but controllable flow of energy, whether this means removing a block, adjusting a gateway or ensuring that the bypass system works properly, is vital to good health and the full enjoyment of life. My own suggestions of the principal functional levels and gateways are shown in the chart opposite.
These flows of energy are very real to me. I can feel them and on occasion see them. They have been known for thousands of years in the East and indeed some of the religious training concentrates on this flow and transformation of energy for use at different levels. They are and have been reported consistently and persistently by multitudes of people throughout the millennia and in all parts of the world. Such corroboration makes it necessary to entertain at least a hypothesis that such things may in fact exist, though they have not yet been verified by instrumentation. As we have now developed instruments that can pick up radio waves, cosmic rays and hundreds of other energy frequencies unknown only a few decades ago, I have great hopes that appropriate instrumentation will soon be found.
If and when devices for recording these energies are found, it may be possible to ascertain whether my theory that the chakras tie in with the endocrine system has any validity. I have long suspected that the mysterious and complicated ductless glands play a vital role in the transformation of energy and I now find that others have come to a similar conclusion. Dr Shafica Karagulla, a neuro-psychiatrist with an outstanding medical and psychiatric background of research and practice in four countries including Britain and the United States, set herself the task of researching the creative frontiers of the mind and what she calls ‘Higher Sense Perception’.  Amongst the multitude of people she studied, she mentions ‘Diane’ who could see energy patterns from which she could diagnose the condition of a patient. In every case her findings were confirmed by medical diagnosis. Diane sees the energy as vortices, and is particularly interested in seven of the major ones which she claims are directly related to the ductless glands. As the studies of her work in the endocrine clinic of a large New York hospital showed, what she saw in these major vortices certainly described exactly the condition of the appropriate gland. The chiropractor and former President of the Radionics Association, David Tansley, also suggests a connection between the chakras and the endocrine system. 
Auras and Higher Energy Bodies
The interplay of energies permeating the body can also be seen, felt and described (though once again not yet adequately measured by instrumentation) in a further form. Many people see or feel the so called aura, a force field often seen as a colour or colours permeating and surrounding the physical body. The halo in old religious paintings is thought to be representative of this aura and indeed many Byzantine paintings show the ‘halo’ extending not just round the head but, round the whole body. According to which colours they see and the quality of the colour (bright, dull or opaque) many people with this gift can give a very accurate analysis of the physical and often the mental and emotional states of the person concerned.
Although science cannot yet measure this field or fields of energy, W. J. Kilner, a physician and X-ray specialist at St Thomas’ hospital at the beginning of this century, was certain that they exist, and developed a screen through which these fields could be made visible to the eye. Many people found that by using the screen initially their vision developed and they could then see auras without its help.
I say that science cannot yet measure these fields, but some startling discoveries have been made recently by a Rumanian called Dumitrescu.  His work clearly demonstrates that around the body, extending to about two or three inches, is a highly important electrically cognisant layer which he terms ‘the proximal electric medium’. It is mostly ionic mixed with water vapour and it is very adherent to the skin surface. Very important electrical exchanges take place in this zone between the body and the zone itself, and presumably further electrical exchanges take place between the zone and the so-called outer electrical medium within which we all move. This may well be a breakthrough to a scientific understanding of the aura, at least in its relevance to physical well-being.
Shafica Karagulla, amongst many others, claims that there are three distinct interpenetrating fields of energy within the total aura. One of these which may share properties with the proximal electric medium is closely related to the physical. Any disease or malfunction in the physical body can be seen in its energy field and indeed changes in the energy field seem to precede reactions in the physical body as it can be seen to be depleted or affected in some way before physical symptoms appear. I and many others would claim not only that it is possible to perceive this field and to read information from it, but that by applying healing to it, the physical body can then be affected. The same goes for the other two fields, the emotional and mental.
There are in fact more than three fields, but some people ‘see’ more than others and give them different names. While some say that we have a ‘soul’ body, others claim that we have a spiritual and a soul body. This is not the place to argue over details, and I would merely suggest that, as complex beings, we have a series of even more refined levels of awareness or frequencies, each of which requires a ‘body’ or ‘field’ in which to manifest at the appropriate level.
The unsuspecting healer, when he or she first puts his hands on a patient requesting help, probably does not know what he is in for! I used to put my hands on a patient, endeavouring to help some physical problem. I discovered that I could help psychological problems and that points in the spine were vital in this respect. I then found that I could feel energies leading up and down, as well as places where the flow of energy was blocked or draining away uncontrollably. This would seem to be a very concrete, physical manifestation of a concept known to the orient as the interplay of energy between functional centres. A healer may therefore be restoring the flow or balance of energy, but it is significant that he or she need have no intellectual awareness of exactly what occurs.
The idea of balancing flows of energy is very highly developed in the complex and precise knowledge of acupuncture.  Although I have not studied acupuncture in any depth, some of the points which I have found to be useful in restoring energy balance do tie in with acupuncture points, and pressure with the finger-tips (so-called acupressure) can be very helpful. Western medicine is coming to accept not only the empirical evidence for acupuncture but also the reality of the acupuncture points, as treatment through them can be seen to have physiologically measurable consequences. We may be coming closer to an intellectual recognition of the energy flows that I have suggested.
1. Gray’s Anatomy 35th Edition. Longman 1973.
2. Karagulla, Shafica. Breakthrough to Creativity. De Vorss, California, 1967.
3. Tansley, David V. Subtle Body. Thames and Hudson, 1977.
4. For this information I am extremely grateful to Dr Julian Kenyon who is currently translating and editing Dumitrescu’s work.
5. Lewith, George T. Acupuncture: Its Place in Western Medical Science, Thorsons, 1982.
A straightforward look into
all aspects of the healing phenomenon
© Bruce MacManaway, 1983. This book may be quoted from and printed out in single copies only for personal use and study, without permission.
For publication on websites or for printing in larger quantities or for commercial gain please e-mail Patrick MacManaway for permission.
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