11. Environmental Factors
in Health and Healing
Whatever you like doing, and especially whatever you like eating or drinking, there is bound to be someone who will tell you it is bad for you. Before I go any further, I would like to stress that I am not advocating that we radically change our ways of life overnight, opt out of the stresses of modern society, ignore modern technology and turn into fasting ascetics. Man is incredibly resilient, both in body and mind, but he is perpetually bombarded by factors within his environment which are potentially damaging. Some he may shrug off (though another individual may be unable to do so), others he succumbs to. The difficulty is recognising the particular factor that is harming an individual. This has now become one of the permanent specialities at our Centre where, by asking questions and dowsing, we are able to identify the trouble makers.
Some people can smoke all their lives without any noticeable ill effects. Should you contract lung cancer, however, you are probably not helping medical treatment if you continue to smoke sixty cigarettes a day and you cannot blame the doctors if treatment is not successful. We have to take some responsibility, both as individuals and as a society, for our health. This means being aware of the potential dangers, whether they be self-induced (smoking, overeating, overwork, etc.) or part of the external environment, widespread pollution being probably the most obvious factor. This includes everything from the recognised dangers of the lead content of petrol or radioactive fallout to the more controversial side effects of much technological progress. It also means being aware of yourself, of your own psyche and your own ‘soma’ (body). It means listening to any warnings that your own particular system is running into trouble and doing something about it. You cannot expect a doctor, therapist or a healer to put you right permanently if you go straight back and repeat whatever it was that made you ill in the first place or, more subtly, if you deny all responsibility for your own illness. It is arguably bad luck that you caught mumps, but are you running your life in such a way that you are not giving your immune system a chance and are therefore a sitting duck for any passing bug?
Positive and Negative Aspects of the Environment
We are used to being told that environmental factors are bad for us and I am about to argue that we need to be even more aware of how we can be affected by them. A greater recognition of the fact that our environment can affect us also raises the possibility that some aspects can have a very beneficial effect. If we take sunlight as a very obvious example, its effect on man can be both good and bad. A holiday in the sun can help us relax, revitalise us, and send us back to normal life in the British climate feeling a new person. But over-exposure to sun (and what constitutes ‘over-exposure’ varies from one person to the next) can cause sunburn, sunstroke and, according to some authorities, skin cancer. We need to be aware of the possible effects and discover our individual response. We also need to concentrate on the beneficial effects which can be an aid to healing and minimise the potentially damaging ones.
Whether we like it or not, we are inevitably exposed to a multitude of energy frequencies or what I call, in a very general unscientific way, radiation. Technological progress has multiplied the problems of radiation and we are already aware that while some forms, such as X-ray, radar and ultra-violet, have their uses, over-exposure to them is not desirable. Many other forms, both those which occur naturally and those which are generated by technology, are not adequately recognised.
Electric and Electromagnetic Fields
Take the national electrical grid system as an example. Many thousands of miles of high-voltage cable cross our homes, gardens, work and leisure areas. It is well known that high-voltage transmission lines can cause electrical break-down of the air in the immediate vicinity of the wires via a process known as ‘corona’. This is not considered particularly serious, though it is noisy and produces ozone, a highly reactive and toxic gas which, in sufficient concentration, is harmful to animals and plants.  More controversial are the electric and electromagnetic fields which the wires create.  Since the late 1960s a great deal of research has been done, particularly as the Russians reported that workers in electrical sub-stations were suffering various ill effects, including cardio-vascular and neurological disorders, and the electrical fields were thought to be responsible. Numerous scientists claim that electric and electromagnetic fields affect living organisms by altering behaviour, physiology, or both.
This can include the speeding up or slowing down of responses, the development of tumours, or stunted growth. The research related to a projected submarine communications system in the United States called Project Sanguine is particularly interesting and ominous. The operating characteristics of Sanguine were similar to high-voltage transmission lines, but were about one million times weaker and were still shown to have biological effects.
The Central Electricity Generating Board claims  that we have nothing to worry about. Apparently the Russians now say that they overstated the dangers and it is claimed that much of the research both on humans and animals which gave rise to concern had been deficient in some respect of scientific procedure. The general conclusions to be drawn from the evidence are, according to the Central Electricity Generating Board, reassuring, notwithstanding the odd suggestion that various health effects may occur. These suggestions include a possible connection between electric or electromagnetic fields and congenital deformity, childhood cancer, infant death and suicide!
Other scientists, notably Marino and Becker come up with very different conclusions from the same evidence.  Admittedly, much of the really alarming research, whereby exposure results in death or development of tumours in animals, involves electric fields much higher that those to which we are subjected by high-voltage transmission lines. The experts cannot agree whether long-term exposure to relatively low level fields might be potentially as damaging as short term exposure to high-level fields. In the absence of scientific consensus it would at least seem sensible to err on the side of caution when planning new lines.
We all take electrical appliances for granted and it has been rightly pointed out that we accept many risks in our daily lives in order to enjoy the advantages that advancing technology has bestowed. The trouble is that we do not always realise the possible extent of the risks we run. I have mentioned the controversy about high-voltage transmission lines as much as anything else to show that even with something as well-established as electricity we do not know all the answers, and the experts are very far from unanimous.
There are numerous other side effects of domestic technical developments which are receiving insufficient recognition. Microwave ovens,  for example, can lead to mutations at a congenital level and can kill directly through organic damage if the shielding mechanisms are inadequate. Even television is potentially dangerous, especially a coloured set, if someone is exposed to it for too long, as one of the rays is horribly similar to X-ray which is already known to be damaging in large quantities. Less well known are the effects of inaudible vibration above and below the sonic range in some types of machinery. I was present when an engineer was rescued in the nick of time from his control room. He was rushed to hospital and it was found that the muscles in his chest had been beaten up so that they no longer worked properly and he could hardly breathe. This was finally thought to be the result of the vibrations from the experimental jet engine they were using. In this case, it was a combination of circumstances that prompted the damage. The rest of us on deck were not affected but the vibrations in the enclosed engine-room were nearly disastrous.
Countering Adverse Radiation
My children would revolt if I banned television and I am not suggesting that we abandon technology. It must make sense, however, to be aware of the potential dangers and take precautions to shield ourselves from them. As a non-scientist I am aware of some of, if not all, the dangers. Though I have no scientific rationale I have found that I can frequently offset troublesome emanations by placing patterns or strips of metal in the path of the energy, but this whole field merits far more research.
The Case for Empirical Assessment of Radiation
We do not understand the mechanism by which radiation affects us. This is still the case with electric and electromagnetic fields as whatever molecular mechanisms may ultimately be uncovered, it is apparent that the observed effects are not energetically driven by the applied field. In other words, the fields affect us in a roundabout way which nobody quite understands. Marino and Becker suggest that the role of the field is to perturb or trigger the biological field, thereby causing it to change. Others think that the effects are brought about by ionisation, one of the effects of the break-down of the air. Whatever the mechanism involved, the results are observable and they are not all bad. Some of the research has opened up the possibility that carefully controlled exposure may produce beneficial effects. Marino and Becker quote experiments by Bassett,  for example, who found that extremely low-frequency fields increased the rate of fracture-healing in dogs and they conclude that human exposure to such fields under proper medical supervision, may be of considerable benefit to mankind.
The lack of comprehensive understanding of even electricity encourages me to think that I may not be immediately laughed down if I put forward the hypothesis that other forms of radiation affect us for good or ill. The evidence for electrical fields is circumstantial in that we do not understand the mechanism, though at least we can measure the postulated agent. I maintain (and once again I am not alone) that other radiation affects us and can circumstantially be shown to do so, though the proof of the theory is made extremely difficult by the fact that we cannot scientifically measure the radiation supposedly involved.
Places that Make us Comfortable or Otherwise and Earth Radiation
We all know places that make us feel relaxed, happy and secure or the reverse. This can be partly because the place is familiar, or because we are surrounded by people we like. It can be partly explained by individual tastes. Some like the bustle of cities and feel lonely in the country. Others feel at home near mountains, or the seashore or the desert. But there is more to it than familiarity or personal taste. Some places can make us feel particularly good or very uneasy for no obvious reasons. In many cases, I would suggest that this is a response to radiation from the earth.
We know that energy reaches us not only from the sun but from an infinite number of sources, including such strange entities as quasars. The earth itself radiates energy and it does so more strongly in certain areas. Earth radiation can be either beneficial or detrimental to life and some people are particularly sensitive to it. Animals and plant life are of course also affected. Watch any group of animals and you will see that they habitually pick the same path from one end of the field to another, though it is frequently not the most direct or sheltered route. Many farmers and keepers of livestock will tell you that if animals are allowed a wide range of territory they all avoid certain areas and congregate in others for no apparent reasons such as shelter or better grazing.
Ley Lines and Earth Radiations
Earth energies can either well straight up out of the ground and affect the area surrounding the spot where they surface or they can flow like rivers, criss-crossing each other at intervals6. Nowadays we tend to call these streams of energy ley lines, but their existence has been known of for thousands of years. The Chinese called them dragon lines and would never consider putting up any building for human habitation without first consulting those who were skilled in assessing the power for good or ill of the site. Even recently, a Chinese versed in the old knowledge told me that Western man must be considered mad to build wherever there was a space without any regard to the possible harm that could emanate from the spot.
As usual, the Chinese are not alone and evidence of this knowledge is found in every culture throughout the world. Ancient temples, shrines (later to be followed by churches) oracles, places of healing and teaching, as well as dwelling places for people and animals were built where strongly beneficial streams of energy crossed each other. As so often in Europe, the vestiges of the old tradition lived on in an outdated official title long after the knowledge had been corrupted or lost. Geomancy (the sacred knowledge of the layout of the landscape) was the old art and every court had its geomancer. The Court geomancer remained an official post long after geomancy had deteriorated into garbled hocus-pocus, defined in many an encyclopaedia as divination or even sorcery.
You may ask why ley lines are brought into a book about healing. This to me is like asking what part hygiene and sanitary housing have to play in medicine. The radiation from beneficial (so-called white) ley lines can give a pronounced boost to those who live within their influence. Detrimental (black) lines can be a very strong factor in encouraging discord and illness, ranging from emotional disorder to pathological disease although probably only the latter would be recorded.
Some people are sensitive enough to feel accurately where ley lines run, but otherwise they can be traced by dowsing.7 A group of dowsers decided to conduct some research with the help of doctors into the reality of the adverse effects of black ley lines. They wanted a contained area which would also have medical records stretching back as far as possible. They therefore chose a small British island where there had always been the tradition of so-called cancer houses associated not necessarily with cancer but with severe illness. The dowsers traced a number of ley lines, including some strong black ones, and submitted their findings to those who had access to the medical records. Every house under which the black lines ran had a history of chronic illness and an unusually large number of cancer victims among its residents as far back as records could be studied.
Faced with this potential danger, I pay a great deal of attention to ley lines. A doctor treating someone with bronchitis would probably be concerned if the patient lived in a damp room and would recommend him to remedy the damp or move if at all possible. In the same way, I would find out if any adverse lines run underneath the patients house or place of work and would offer to correct the quality of energy flow. It would seem that ley lines are subject to physical laws as it is possible to turn a black line white by a number of methods. White lines can be turned black be mining or other geological disturbance.
While I and others like me are employed to correct energy patterns at an individual level, this activity is on a very small scale and there is an enormous national and even international need to research the problem, particularly in view of the terrible disruptive effects of the major disturbances we have inflicted on the earth in the last few centuries. Think of the effects of building our enormous hospitals, schools and churches on powerfully negative sites. In the same way that many people live in a damp house with no ill effects, some will be unaffected by black lines, but this is no reason to ignore the problem, imperilling those who are susceptible.
Colour, Shape, Sound and Movement
Part of the power of particular places may be because, subjectively, we like or dislike them. They put us in a particular mood. Mood or state of mind has been shown in the biofeedback experiments to have physiological effects. Mood can, in turn, be affected by a number of things from medical or hallucinatory drugs (be they stimulating or relaxing) to places, people, colour, form, sound and a multitude of other stimuli.
I claim that places have a force of their own, independent of the subjective likes or dislikes of the individual, and the same appears to be true of colour, shape, sound and form. In the 1930s, Ghadiali propounded the theory that colours represent chemical potencies in higher octaves of vibration, and that every organ and system can be stimulated or inhibited by the correct application of a specific colour. Undoubtedly, certain colours can stimulate or sedate an individual and many such as Steiner have developed this recognition to a very effective science. Theo Gimbel  is one of those who is currently applying the knowledge that both the colour and the shape of the rooms in which we live can affect us. He found that by rounding all the corners in a room he could bring enormous relief to people suffering from certain emotional or psychological disturbances. Those who design homes and offices have no idea of the powerful effect of their creations! The power of architectural design was known in the past and is gradually gaining recognition once more. At a sensational level, the shape of the pyramid of Cheops has proved to have extraordinary power. A small but exact replica can reproduce this, as if you place a blunt razor blade in it overnight, it will be sharp and clean in the morning. 
The pyramids appear to have a certain power which tentatively could be attributed to shape. It has been established that in certain points in the pyramid, milk and meat will remain fresh for years. Whatever the explanation, the pyramids present problems to the scientists. In 1968, Einshams University in Cairo set up a very expensive project to excavate the pyramid of Chephren at Giza to try and find secret chambers. Computers and space age electronic equipment ran for 24 hours a day for over a year recording on magnetic tape the rays reaching the interior of the pyramid. The recordings were totally inconsistent and from the outraged scientists’ point of view, gibberish. In a letter to The Times of 14 July 1969, Dr Amir Golid, the scientist in charge, said the research had reached an impasse and stated that ‘there is some force that defies the laws of science at work in the pyramid’.
It is thought that the power of architectural form was also known in Europe. Louis Charpentier  is one of those who consider that some of the cathedrals (Charpentier is particularly interested in Chartres) express esoteric knowledge and that the proportions can have very strong effects on man.
Others have found that music too can be very powerful. Music can be soothing and stimulating by turns, but certain notes and harmonies can have specific effects. Some notes, for example, can keep you awake to the point of nervous collapse. Most people have heard that certain notes can shatter a glass. Specific notes can therefore be used to produce both emotional and physiological results and this is well known in the East where, even at its simplest, each chakra is considered to ‘resonate’ at a certain note. I am told that this knowledge of the power of sound was still known in the Middle Ages and was used with an effect that even we can dimly appreciate in the composition of Gregorian chant, aimed to stimulate the mystic and spiritual centres of man.
Dancing or exercise in various forms can help to balance the flow of energy through the body. Some disciplines (Eastern again) have developed a science of posture and movement where each skilled and precise stance or movement has a particular physical or non-physical purpose for the practitioner. Many of these disciplines are now available in the West. Yoga, the martial arts and many of their derivatives including T’ai Chi, if properly taught, can be seen to be of enormous mental and physical benefit.
Our culture partially recognises the effect that the loving and careful practice of an art or a skill can have, but we have no real inkling of the full importance of the complexities. Thus Music and Movement is taught as a subject in schools, and Occupational Therapy is provided in the medical field, but we still have a great deal to learn.
In a physical sense, we are what we eat . Nutritionists of various convictions tell us that certain foods are carcinogens and they are probably right. Most people have heard that refined sugar and flour are thought to be extremely harmful in large quantities. The pesticides used on our crops can end up in your digestive systems, and many of the harmonisers, additives and chemical dyes can be damaging. It is not only the materials but the manufacturing process which can result in toxic effects. Technological progress is going so fast that monitoring standards are not keeping pace, and in many cases commercial interests are unfortunately at odds with consumer safety. Nonetheless, large numbers of people will happily survive on a supposedly unhealthy diet. Others can eat most things with impunity but will be found to be allergic to something normally considered innocuous such as wheat. While we can generalise by saying that numerous foods are potential trouble-makers, we also have to realise that one man’s meat is undoubtedly another man’s poison.
We do not pay nearly enough attention either to what we eat or to the many vital ingredients such as minerals which we fail to eat. The subject demands a great deal of attention and, unfortunately, I cannot do justice to it here. Nutritional good sense can be taught in general terms but, as in everything else, it is the individual reaction that matters most. A competent healer/dowser has an advantage here as he or she can immediately detect the foods to which the patient is allergic, without having to wait for the results of the conventional tests which can take several months to complete. It is worth remembering that psychological as well as physical discomfort and illness can result from eating the wrong things. To quote an extreme, it was discovered some years ago that agene, a product that was once used to bleach flour, could send laboratory research animals mad if fed to them in large quantities. It is always worth checking for dietary allergies in all disease, including non-physical disturbance, as once the allergy-producing factor has been isolated it is so easy to start the reverse process, and it can be very encouraging for someone suffering uncharacteristic depression to discover that the cause, or one of the causes, is a straightforward dietary one.
Those who find nutrition within their dowsing range will find it very useful in relation to their own health, if embarrassing on occasion to their hosts. I well remember one American lady who had attended a conference of the British Society of Dowsers. She and her husband stayed on after the conference and dined with the remaining members of the group at their hotel. She was allergic to shellfish. The menu included fish with some seemingly innocuous white wine sauce. She dowsed her plateful nevertheless, and reported that her sauce contained shellfish. The waiter was summoned and challenged. He replied soothingly and not a little patronisingly. The other guests gazed around the room in the manner of embarrassed Englishmen, but she stuck to her guns, and the waiter retired to confer with the chef, only to return full of apologies. Madam was quite right. The sauce on the menu had run out and the chef had made a supplementary one, this time adding shellfish. We returned to our fish, our American friend had steak and saved herself two days’ food poisoning.
1. Marino, Andrew and Becker, Robert. ‘Hazard at a Distance Effects of Exposure to the Electric and Magnetic Fields of High Voltage Transmission Lines’. Medical Research Engineering Vol. 12, No. 5.
2. Battocletti, Joseph H. Electromagnetism, Man and the Environment. Elek Scientific Books, 1976.
3. Male, J. C. and Norris, W. T. Central Electricity Research Laboratories. Laboratory Note No. RD/L/N2/80, December 1980.
4. Marino, Andrew A. and Becker, Robert. ‘Biological Effects of Extremely Low Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields A Review’. Physiological Chemistry and Physics Vol. 9, No. 2, 1977.
5. Hildyard, N. ‘Overexposed’. The New Ecologist Vol. 9, No. 1, Jan/Feb 1979.
6. Devereux, Paul and Thomson, Ian. The Ley Hunter’s Companion. Thames and Hudson, 1980.
7. Graves, Tom. Dowsing: Techniques and Applications. Turnstone Press, 1976.
8. Gimbel, Theo. Healing Through Colour. C. W. Daniel, 1980.
9. Watson, Lyall. Supernature. Coronet, 1974.
10. Charpentier, Louis. The Mysteries of Chartres Cathedral. Research Into Lost Knowledge Organisation, 1972 (available from Thorsons).
11. This is a vast subject, but my wife Patricia, who is a much greater expert than myself, suggests that the following could form an introduction:
Lappé, Frances Moore. Diet for a Small Planet. Ballantine Books, 1976.
Rodale, J. I. and staff. Complete Book of Food and Nutrition. Rodale Books. 1961.
Davis, Adelle. Let’s Get Well. Allen and Unwin, 1979. Westberg, Marita. Eat Well, Live Longer. Quartet Books, 1979.
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.