Most of us are familiar with the idea that a healer – perhaps trained in shiatsu or reiki – soothes our problems and aches and pains while we lie on a couch in a treatment room. But might it work if the therapist treating you isn’t actually in the same building, but is instead 50 miles away from home?
I’m a cynical so-and-so and worry that such a strange concept won’t do anything for me.
But so far into the pandemic, I find myself exhausted and full of fear, too. I am constantly tense and so easily overwhelmed that I rarely get an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
When I hear about remote healer Abigail Caller, 52, I shatter my skepticism and book an appointment.
Claudia Connell (pictured), who lives in Brighton, revealed the outcome of a distance healing session with Abigail Caller, 52, from South West London
Abigail can work out of the body so there is no physical contact with the people seeking her services. Instead, she operates by ‘tuning in to her client’s energy’.
It means that while she treats many people personally, it is also possible to work remotely.
While a number of healers have always practiced distance healing — some say the practice (also known as distance healing intention therapy) is an ancient shamanic tradition — Abigail didn’t start working this way until the pandemic hit.
She explains, “We’ve done distance healing as part of my training, but I’ve never used it. When the lockdown kicked in and customers could no longer come in person, I discovered that remote healing is just as powerful. The realization that the person didn’t have to be in the same room somehow strengthened the spiritual connection. It’s in another realm.”
Although they are able to return in person, some of her clients now prefer the method of distance healing.
After training in shiatsu, reiki and spiritual healing, she helps people with physical and emotional problems. In general, her clients feel that there is an emotional “block” associated with what they are experiencing physically. So a sore knee isn’t just a sore knee — there’s an emotional story behind the physical pain.
It’s a whole different world for me. I ask her to explain her methods and my doubts grow.
“I’m very clearly aware of what’s happening energetically,” she says. ‘In my mind’s eye I see many energy patterns with which I work to strengthen weak spots and remove blockages. Every session is different. I work intuitively with what is shown to me at the moment. The more I can channel and be an open channel for the healing energy, the more powerful the work.’
Abigail explained that she works “by feeling the energy patterns in the body and working with the energy field” (file image)
Actually? And yet, if Abigail’s healing hands can help overcome this feeling of being stuck in some permanent midlife meltdown, regardless of the fact that I won’t really feel them, I’m willing to try. We start with a video chat. Abigail is wonderfully warm and friendly and doesn’t look like I imagined. Or feared. No tie-dye, no pink hair and no traces of crystals or dream catchers in the background.
I tell her about the emotional turmoil I’m in, plus the ongoing problems I have with low back pain and osteoarthritis in my hands.
Since Abigail lives in South West London and I’m in Brighton, it’s hard to imagine how the cure will work.
“I’ll work like you’re lying on the massage couch I have here at my house,” she says. “The only difference is that I normally start with a foot massage and unfortunately you don’t get the pleasure of that.”
I hate it when someone touches my feet, so I’m kind of relieved.
“Then I tune in and prepare. I work by observing the energy patterns in the body and working with the energy field.’ When it comes to the person receiving the healing, their experiences vary. For some, there is an intense, emotional response; others just feel deeply calm.
Abigail says, “Some people feel that a lot is happening. They may feel pressure or waves of energy or coolness or heat or tingling. Some people see colors. Some people have unusual memories that come to mind. And sometimes people just feel relaxed.’
It does occur to me that during our session, for all I know, Abigail could watch Countdown on TV and make a sandwich. For all she knows, I could paint my nails and text my boyfriend. But after half an hour of chatting it feels like we have built a trust and I have no doubt that she is passionate about her job.
When we’re ready to begin, Abigail tells me that the healing session will last about 40 minutes, and then she’ll text to say she’s ready for a second video chat to share what she encountered. She then advises me to put my phone on silent.
Abigail told Claudia ‘above the loins it feels like there’s an area of real firmness that didn’t allow the energy to flow’ (file image)
But wait, how do I know when she’s ready and texting me for our post-healing chat?
“It’s strange, but almost everyone intuitively knows when I’m ready,” Abigail assures me.
Then I turn off my light, lie on my bed and wait.
I never have radiators in my bedroom but within a few minutes I get a warm tingling sensation in my toes. Am I feeling Abigail’s healing energy in London, or is it pins and needles? I feel the same feeling in my hands. The color I see behind my eyes is a vibrant purple, and while my midsection feels cool, I’m aware of an intense heat on the back of my neck and shoulders.
I thought I’d lay there like a piece of meat and nothing would happen. It’s hard to know if it’s my mind that’s fooling me or if there’s something more spiritual going on.
I quickly lose track of time. Looking at my watch, I see that I’ve been lying down for 45 minutes, and seconds later, Abigail sees a message saying she’s ready and ready to chat.
She tells me that she found our session to be a beautiful and peaceful experience that was also very liberating for her, as she was able to make sounds to aid in healing – something she doesn’t tend to do personally. I ask her to describe the noises, and she makes a noise that I can only describe as an old-fashioned coffee percolator bubbling on a stove. “Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?” she asks. It does a little.
“Something interesting is happening in your back,” she adds. ‘Above the loins it feels like there’s an area of real firmness that didn’t allow the energy to flow, which I’ve worked with a lot. That is the solar plexus chakra and that has to do with identity.’
Abigail wonders if the anxiety I feel about my job and leaving London means I’m struggling with my identity.
She goes on to say that she experienced powerful feelings when it comes to my arthritic hands.
Claudia (pictured) said there’s something very earthy and comforting about someone who thinks of you and tries to fix you from miles away
“There are some acupuncture points in the hands that are very soothing and all the points around them seemed very strong in you. It is an area known as the “palace of tranquility”. A heart protecting meridian goes through the center and that felt very powerful too. I pictured you with your palms up because I was so drawn to working those meridians.’
For my part, I feel incredibly zoned out, like I woke up from the best sleep ever.
Abigail says that while one session can’t fix everything, she doesn’t like to recommend a set number of sessions. When pushed by me, she thought three more would be helpful.
I go to bed at 10pm, which is unheard of for me, and sleep through until 8am as I had the best night’s sleep in a long time. It’s too early to say if the cure has helped with my anxiety, but the next day I have an uncharacteristic sense of serenity.
Is distance healing hokum? At £70 a session (as Abigail charges), some will say yes, and any benefit is probably a placebo effect. Yet around 30,000 healers work in the UK (women aged 50 and over are the largest users) and some studies have shown extremely positive results.
The University of Birmingham has conducted a two-year study of 200 outpatients suffering from bowel disorders for which there is no medical treatment. The patients received healing therapy over the course of five weeks, with the majority reporting an improved sense of well-being — something they continued to feel for the next five months.
While I would still consider myself a skeptic, there is something very earthy and comforting about someone thinking of you and trying to fix you from miles away.
To my surprise, remote healing didn’t feel as trivial as it sounds.