Barnegat Woman is Second in Ocean County to Acquire Healing Touch Certification
“Before I start a session, I have to center myself. I pull the energy from the earth through my feet and from the source through the top of my head, into my heart,” said Lorene Sherman, 75, of Barnegat. She was referring to her work with healing touch, a nurturing energy therapy that uses gentle contact to balance a person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
“I inhale the energy and exhale it out through my hands, into the (client’s) body. Sometimes I feel a rush, or a tingling. Some clients say they feel twinges, or an overall sense of peace – if nothing else, at least relaxation, and that’s the main thing,” she added.
Sherman is the second person in Ocean County to have become certified as a healing touch practitioner. She received her certification in March from Healing Touch International Inc., a nonprofit professional membership organization recognized by the healing touch community, health care communities and general public since 1993.
According to HTI, healing touch works with a person’s energy field to support the body’s natural ability to heal. It is considered safe for all ages and works in harmony with standard medical care.
“I’ve just always been interested in energy in the hands and sort of even the laying of the hands,” said Sherman. “My grandmother was very spiritual, and she would sometimes be led to lay hands on people for healing purposes, like if they were ill. So that was never considered weird or unusual in my family,” she explained.
Sherman was formally introduced to the energy therapy about four years ago when Kathleen Gill, owner of Ocean Healing Touch, taught introductory healing touch classes for the adult education program at Barnegat High School.
“I said, ‘That’s what I’ve been looking for! I got to go to this!,’” Sherman remembered. “I think it was always percolating inside me anyway, and when Kathleen spoke, I could say, ‘Yes, I understand that; I agree with that. Yes, that makes sense.’ I didn’t have an aha moment. It was more of an affirmation that yes, this makes total sense to me,” she added.
A friend of Sherman’s who had also attended the course noticed a decrease of pain in her foot after Gill performed a session on her. This account reaffirmed Sherman’s belief in the therapy.
“There is this energy that you can’t see, but it’s there. We all have it,” she said.
The main reason people seek healing touch is for pain reduction, said Gill. Help with anxiety and stress, as well as with hospice care, is also sought after.
“I always like that feeling of peace that comes over me during a session, but I always ask Kathleen to work on my head a little bit for my memory,” said Sherman, chuckling.
Before obtaining her healing touch certification, Sherman had to complete five levels of classes that incorporated a variety of educational and practical energy-based learning modalities. She traveled all the way to Morris County to participate in the classes.
It took her about two years to finish all of the required courses and another year to complete all of the necessary fieldwork. Besides regular readings, she had to experience 10 different modalities of energy therapy, such as acupuncture, acupressure, massage therapy and reflexology. She also had to document 100 sessions.
After completing level two of the required coursework, Sherman was qualified to begin practicing healing touch as a volunteer. She started working with Gill at Causeway Chiropractic, located in Ship Bottom, where Gill has volunteered her services for the past five years.
Sherman “jumped to the occasion right away,” said Gill. “She showed up and started her volunteerism with healing touch in every opportunity, in every community event that we had here at Dr. Bott’s (at Causeway Chiropractic).”
“Having Lorene and Kathleen here, working on energy therapy, adds a new energy to the building,” said Dr. Christopher Bott, owner of Causeway Chiropractic and a licensed chiropractor who is also trained in reiki and craniosacral therapies. “It complements my work and gives patients other tools to bring home with them. It’s nice to have different modalities. It’s a holistic center. We have the space, so whatever the community needs, we’ve tried to provide it,” he added.
Causeway Chiropractic offers a healing touch sampler for residents interested in a complimentary, 30-minute healing touch session. The next session will be held on Wednesday, May 29, between 5:30 and 8 p.m. Holistic stress management workshops to help residents better deal with the emotional effects of Superstorm Sandy are also available from 6 to 7:30 p.m.; future dates are Tuesdays, May 21, June 4 and July 2. Classes are free, but donations are welcome. Registration is limited and required. Call 609-361-1800.
Besides working at Causeway Chiropractic, Sherman has also volunteered her services within the adult community where she resides.
At that point, “I had enough techniques to feel the energy. I could begin to feel it in my hands and in other people,” she recalled.
After completing all fives levels of the healing touch education, Sherman was acknowledged as a healing touch practitioner and could begin charging for sessions. She set up a therapy room at her house for clients.
“It helps to set a sacred place,” said Sherman. “There’s something about lighting the candle and turning on that music; you already start to relax when you walk in. If the room is also used for meditation, I think that brings a certain energy into the room. You are getting the energy that this room holds. It’s tranquil. You have to trust,” she added.
Sherman wasted no time pursuing her healing touch certification. She submitted her final work in January to be reviewed by a panel at HTI.
“To have someone else take a look at your work and the case studies that you have to do, and to analyze those as an outsider who doesn’t know you at all, and to say this person has been through the program and is ready to go out and has enough knowledge for us to say she is ready, really meant something to me,” said Sherman.
She said she doesn’t think of herself as a healer but as a vessel for the healing.
“I never think of it as I’m doing the healing,” said Sherman. “I’m a channel, but I’m just doing the housekeeping, getting the energy connected and balanced. It’s up to the body to do the healing,” she added.
“She’s gifted,” said Gill. “She works on me, on my energy field, and her work is profound. It evokes a profound relaxation response.”
Though Sherman is now certified as a healing touch practitioner, she said it is still a continuous learning process.
“I wish more people could experience (healing touch),” she said. “I sense that the medical field is beginning to maybe listen a little bit, and the more people that get involved with an understanding of energy, the better. I think it’s kind of sad when you think of medical doctors who may have an understanding, or who may have some agreement that there is energy, that there’s a life force that they can’t see or touch, and they have many patients that traditional medicine doesn’t do anything for, and yet they are afraid to embrace something that is basic. But I think very slowly it’s beginning to shift.”
Gill and Bott both agreed the medical industry is beginning to acknowledge the benefits of healing touch.
“More and more science is backing it up. It’s not voodoo,” said Bott.
Though Sherman has continued to volunteer at Causeway Chiropractic, she said she hopes to open her own healing touch practice in the future.
“I think it’ll be part-time; I don’t think I’ll do it full-time,” said Sherman. “I’ve got too many other things I want to do. I like taking courses. Now I’m going to take this aromatherapy course. Can you believe it? How am I going to do that?” she said, laughing. “I’d also love to get my foot in the door at the hospital here in Manahawkin. It would be wonderful to get in with the cancer unit, to be able to combine working in the energy field to help patients feel relaxed and connected and balanced for the medicine to work in the best possible way. I would love to do that.
“I’m trying to remain open to the source. My life has always been one of service,” said Sherman, who used to work as a speech pathologist for many years at a pediatric hospital in Union County. “I’m beginning to get a feeling that it would be a joy to help people in hospice, to help them emotionally down that road without fear. I personally don’t have any fear of death or dying. Spiritually I’ve grown to accept that it’s just moving from one dimension to another dimension. So maybe that will be my path,” she added.
— Kelley Anne Essinger