Chapter 7: The healing response - a new direction
When the healer Jose Pogson first joined Maxs courses and we measured her brain rhythms on his single-channel EEG, we did not realise this encounter would trigger an entirely new area of research. Healers, we discovered as we met more of them and watched how they worked with their clients, had particular qualities that made them a fascinating group to study. One quality above all stood them apart: their compassion for others. Most saw themselves as being a channel or vehicle for healing energy that came from a spiritual level and which they could transmit to their clients.
They also showed many ordinary human failings. At a personal level, some were quite unsure of themselves apart from their awareness of having this gift; some quite egotistical in imagining that they were themselves the source of the healing energy; and some were dogmatic about how the gift should be used. All though were united in trying to help others and, when we measured them on the Mind Mirror, all of them showed the State 5 pattern for most of the time, though some showed it only when they were working with a client.
Since she was a member of both Britains National Federation of Spiritual healers and the World Federation of Healers, Jose Pogson gave us an introduction to many healers; others we met through personal contacts. We quickly found there was an enormous interest in our work and this led others to introduce themselves to us. We began measuring healers and their clients with two Mind Mirrors, one wired up to each, and were excited to note that each healer could induce a pattern similar to their own in their client when the healing interaction appeared to be progressing satisfactorily.
As the research progressed, Max became more and more confident in stating that if a patient did not respond to the healer by showing at least a minimal State 5 pattern, then nothing much had actually happened. In other words, without a physiological response, it was unlikely that any healing had taken place, a finding that his co-author, Nona Coxhead, called an unparalleled breakthrough in healing research. The healer therefore could invoke a change but unless it was firstly recognised and then owned by the client, then no real change would occur. If this change of mental state did not continue afterwards then the client's State 5 pattern would also diminish.
This seemed to offer an explanation of reports of seemingly magical healing: of crutches being thrown away at big healing meetings, for example, but shortly afterwards the person would be back on them. Many of these studies were funded by the College of Psychic Studies, in London, which made two Oliver Lodge research grants to Max, in 1975-76 and 1976-77.
Some powerful healers such as Rose Gladden, with whom we did many demonstrations at events such as Britains annual Festival for Mind, Body and Spirit, had unshakeable patterns that could be shown on the Mind Mirror in front of hundreds of people or before television cameras. These demonstrations were never set up beforehand; Rose would choose someone from the audience as a patient who, she said, had a black cloud over their head, someone she perceived to be in need. This usually meant anxiety for us because the person chosen would often show very minimal response and asymmetric patterns at the beginning of the demonstration. We should have had more faith because Rose, we discovered, would choose only someone she felt she could help - and the change of the patients response on the Mind Mirror confirmed this.
A healer we began working with regularly in 1974 was Addie (Lady) Raeburn, who met Max when she saw him give a demonstration at a London meeting. Max was showing the audience ways to induce deep relaxation in a patient as an aid to locating a health problem. Addie found herself absolutely fascinated but for an unexpected reason: I introduced myself to him during the coffee break and said, If you know what youre doing, you've got to come and tell me - because Ive got no training at all and no idea what it is I am doing, yet Im getting better results than you are. Max invited her to the classes at St Jamess, Piccadilly saying, with his usual understatement: The class is full but youd better come just the same.
She had discovered she had a healing gift at the age of 17 through looking after an aunt who was chronically ill, and later found that people whose ski injuries she treated using massage got better faster. She was eager to offer Max the chance to do research while she worked with some of her clients, believing that I owed it to my clients that I should know a little more about what I was doing.
So every fortnight Max, Isabel and I would arrive by car with our instruments at one of the Englands most imposing addresses, the Tower of London. Addie lived there, in private apartments, with her husband, Major-General Sir Digby Raeburn, who was then Resident Governor of the Tower - and a sometime chairman of the Institute for Complementary Medicine.
Our sessions with her brought new insights into the responses between healer and client and how these could be improved. One client was a policeman who had been badly injured in a car bomb explosion in central London in March 1973. The hospital which treated him had carried out very successful surgery for his extensive injuries to one leg that included skin grafts; but 18 months on and after many physiotherapy sessions he had no feeling from the knee down and walked with difficulty using a stick.
On the mans first visit to her, Addie Raeburn - to his surprise - was able to induce a small movement in his foot, which had been immobile. And over the weeks he had been making steady progress to gain movement in the leg. But she found that whenever she tried to do healing with her hands near his head instead of at the damaged leg, he refused it. When Max, at the session we saw him, gently asked him why, the man gave a revealing reason. He said he felt the effect of the healing as a fuzzy disturbance in his consciousness, which he would not give in to because a policeman is always on duty and must remain alert.
We connected him to one Mind Mirror while Addie, wired to the second, carried out healing by placing her hands on his legs. Max found the mans brain patterns were very asymmetric, suggesting limited response to the healing. He repeated his reason for not wanting healing at his head and wanted the session to end. Max managed to convince him that he was blocking Addies healing energy and should allow her to try at his head. He agreed and let go so well that after 25 minutes he showed an excellent State 5 pattern. It was a revelation, Addie said later. I could see why the healing has been progressing so slowly and how I could help the man more once he allowed me to. The outcome was remarkable: at the end of this session the policeman was able to balance on one leg and walk on the spot. During the weeks and months that followed, Addie told us later, he became able to step over obstacles again, maintain good balance without his stick and ride a bicycle uphill.
We saw this patient only once since the man was near the end of his treatment with her, yet this one session could be very revealing both for us and the healer. It was the most dramatic demonstration of the interaction between healer and patient we had seen.
In The Awakened Mind, Max explained that this use of the machines was for him a discovery: This was the stroke of serendipity by which we stumbled upon the principle of biofeedback healing, using the instrumentation of biofeedback to help a healer deploy his or her skill to the maximum advantage.
The Mind Mirror could be a benefit to healers too. Addie Raeburn had great respect for Max but got a little upset with him one day when he suggested, while she was working, that maybe she was tired. Stuff and nonsense, was her response to such a suggestion, though in addition to her healing work she was leading a very busy life attending official functions with her husband. What Max had seen on the two Mind Mirrors connected to Addie and her client was that the clients responses were not very strong and had become weaker during the session. Next time we saw her, she said: Max, you were absolutely right, I was bushed, and admitted that another client the same day had said they did not seem to get so much out of the session. Addie had since taken herself off for a short holiday and now felt much better.
Another powerful healer was Major Bruce MacManaway, whom we met in 1977 at the Wrekin Trust 6th annual conference on Health & Healing, at Loughborough University. He had organised this conference, and been its chairman since its inception, and invited Max to speak.
Late on the Friday evening at the beginning of the event, a group of us were relaxing in the house reserved for the lecturers. Bruce, an extrovert former Army officer with a twinkling Irish charm, was on form with his dowsing pendulum which he used as an aid to diagnosis. Waving it in Maxs direction, he said: Your neck is not in a good state. As it had been broken twice, this was an understatement. Almost instantly Bruce was manipulating it. Crick-crack-clack. Isabel ran from the room in fright at the sound of it, but Max looked calmly left and right and said: That feels better than it has done for a very long time.
Max was often invited to report on his work at this conference in the years following, with such themes as Research into the brain rhythms of healers, Improving the Effectiveness of Healers and so on. Bruce MacManaway encouraged our attempts to identify the physiological basis of healing by inviting us to make use of him and his group for our research when he came to London to see clients from his home and healing training centre in Scotland.
During each visit he worked in a house in Pimlico, loaned to him for a few days each month as a healing sanctuary by a friend, Johanna Turcan. Most months we would arrive with our equipment and notebooks ready. Bruce considered that training was an important part of his mission so trainees would be there alongside other guest healers. This gave us a wide variety of subjects to measure. At lunchtime the crowd of perhaps 20 healers and trainees relaxed together in the large basement kitchen and this period usually turned into a lively discussion forum.
It was at Pimlico that we first saw reverse healing. Often, in the training, several helpers would work as a team on a patient. One day we noted that one trainee was not only looking much better at the end of the day than at the beginning, but all her physiological readings on the instruments were much livelier. When she arrived in the morning, we could not help noticing how pale and tired she looked, yet by teatime she was glowing. We concluded that she had been unintentionally drawing in some of the spare energy of the team.
Now that we were alerted to the possibility, we sometimes saw it happening between healer and patient, where the healer looked much better at the end of a session. We noted that this could happen with experienced healers who perhaps had booked a client weeks before: when the patient arrived, they might not feel able to say they were not on form that day, and so would attempt to do their best. When we discussed this with many healers, most would admit with some embarrassment that they had had such experiences. At these times, they said, some patients had commented: I didn't seem to get much out of the session today. Our ability to demonstrate this as a reality made it easier for a healer to admit the possibility that sometimes the channel was closed - that is to say, they were human and had their off days.
We also visited Bruce MacManaway at his centre in Strathmiglo, Fife a number of times to give healing and relaxation courses jointly with him. The Westbank Healing and Teaching Centre is set in its own gardens which produces all that is needed to feed hungry trainee healers. Patricia, Bruces wife, was not only a healer in her own right but also a very able gardener; we always ate well there.
Bruce and Max talked at length about healing on a two-part Radio 4 programme in which the subject was sceptically tested by the presenter and producer. The two programmes proved useful for drawing out explanations of how healing works and showed that for the layman who thinks healing cannot work, there is no substitute for a little experience. The producer, Jock Gallagher, began a days training with Bruce stating that he was very sceptical that healing worked and ended it baffled because he had definitely felt heat and other sensations in his hands while working on Bruces patients.
Asked what makes healing work, Max replied: I think the personality of the healer is enormously important. All the effective healers have a great air of stillness and calmness about them . . . It is the relaxation response which enables you to heal yourself; this is a form of being very, very still, both mentally and physically. I think it has a lot to do with it. But Max would not be drawn on whether this was the full explanation saying: I would never like to say there is a simple, complete explanation for anything relating to the human being - body or mind. Could spontaneous remission be responsible for apparent successes by healers, Max was asked. Certainly, he agreed, adding dryly that it could also be responsible for apparent successes by doctors.
In his book, Healing (ref 6-1) Bruce wrote: I have been privileged to work for the last five years with Maxwell Cade, one of the foremost researchers in this field. We felt privileged too. Bruce talked often about the need to develop the gift of discrimination, to clarify the path each of us was following, and this seemed to apply to both our research and healing efforts. The work of the centre continued after Bruces death in 1988 through Patricia and John, their son.
By now Max, Isabel and I were giving weekend courses for the National Federation of Spiritual Healers at venues around Britain. Many healers told us they had often noted that some healing sessions seemed very effective while others were not and were very interested that we could demonstrate very different physiological responses during healing periods. Don Copland, who became the federations president, and his wife, Audrey Murr Copland, secretary at that time, were very interested in our findings and supported our studies.
With another healer, Edgar Chase, we tried an experiment with distant healing. One was from room to room when we found that the clients brain pattern in one room changing in apparent response to Edgars in another room. To be completely convincing, this experiment needs to be repeated because we were not accurate enough in timing of these events.
Edgar came into healing through Addie Raeburn, in a rather unusual way. His wife Hilda saw Addie for healing and he usually went with her. One day, Addie said to Edgar: You know, you have healing ability. He was sceptical: he was an engineer in charge of a printing factory and therefore a practical man.
But he hadnt forgotten an incident at the factory when dowsers were brought to locate a site to dig a well. Three dowsers had arrived: one who could locate water if it was near the surface, a second who was more sensitive and could find it deeper, and the third who could locate water if it was quite deep - so between them they could work out the depth the proposed well needed to be. Yet, watching them, Edgar realised that he knew exactly at what depth water would be found, and when the well was dug his figure proved accurate.
It was when a neighbours dog was ill that Hilda reminded him of Addie Raeburns prediction and persuaded him to lay his hands on the dog, which recovered remarkably quickly. Gradually, when he began to have success with people, he admitted that perhaps he did have a gift.
When we demonstrated the Mind Mirror to Sir George Trevelyan, founder of the Wrekin Trust, we wired him up and he showed a pattern we had not seen before. There was very little beta or delta, but the alpha and theta responses of both hemispheres, joining together, formed the symbolic shape of an egg on the display. His mind was calm and showed very little beta activity, while the conscious and unconscious activities represented by alpha and theta seemed to be united. Max called this level Creativity and considered it to be a pattern that shows the State 5 pattern of meditation has been fully integrated into daily life.
From the start Max had tried to relate meditation states with the patterns shown on the machines. We were therefore very interested when Indian swamis and other teachers became intrigued with our results. We had opportunities to meet them during their visits to Britain to meet their followers, and a number allowed us to look at their brain rhythms on the Mind Mirror. Max was uniquely qualified for this research, having trained under a gifted master. We never had any doubt that we would see the State 5 pattern because these teachers were talking about similar mental states to those that Max was trying to achieve with his pupils. This was confirmed many times over and gave us great confidence in the reality of the State 5 brain rhythm.
Swami Prakashanand, whose International Society of Divine Love has a considerable following in Britain and New Zealand, was introduced to us by the journalist and writer Leslie Kenton. He was very keen for us to measure his brain rhythms, which we did early in 1977. Max found it an experience of great impact. It was, he wrote later: . . . a perfect opportunity to study his remarkable EEG patterns under varying circumstances, to discuss the application of scientific methods to the study of meditation, and to learn about Divine Love Meditation at the feet of this great Master. (ref 6-2) Max, deeply impressed, said: . . . he has attained to that level of consciousness at which he is in the higher reaches of meditation and in everyday waking consciousness at the same time. During one of our sessions Swami-ji was asked by someone how often he meditated. Once a day - for 24 hours, was his reply.
Swami Prakashanad was also interested in the effect he had on his followers as seen on our machines. One day he insisted that Isabel be wired up to the Mind Mirror; he placed his hands over her head and noted that she quickly showed an excellent State 5 pattern. Now Isabel, rather than receiving such a gift of grace, was used to connecting up others and generally seeing that everyone was being looked after. Because of this, in no time at all, the State 5 pattern vanished and she was showing the everyday pattern of alpha blocking. Swami-ji, incensed to see this, placed his hands again over her head and with what seemed like a very physical effort did something that caused the State 5 pattern to reappear and stay with great stability. Max said that Isabel remained in this blissful state for three days afterwards!
An attempt to use the Mind Mirror in hospital
In 1977, Maxs collaborator Ann Woolley-Hart, still working as a researcher at St Bartholomews Hospital, suggested an interesting experiment to her colleagues. Why not check all their cancer patients, using the Mind Mirror, to see if it was possible to predict which ones might have a spontaneous cure. In other words, could we show a state of mind which might be more helpful to the outcome of the disease?
The response from her colleagues was that the Mind Mirror needed to be thoroughly evaluated before such a study could be undertaken. It seemed some considered the test a total waste of time while others felt quite threatened by the potential of the idea. So, they said, it had to be established whether the Mind Mirror could indeed have the specification claimed in a machine of such small size. A computer program was written to simulate our machine on one of the departments larger EEG machines. This took a year and was expensive. There was also suspicion of our head contacts, so a recording was made with a conventional EEG showing standard contacts and ours mounted side by side. A half-hour chart recording showed no difference between the two. The Mind Mirror was found to have an excellent performance but by this time she had left the department and the whole idea was conveniently forgotten.
6-1 Bruce MacManaway, Turcan Johanna. Healing. Thorsons 1983.
6-2 Swami Prakashanand. The Sixth Dimension. Divine-Love-Consciousness. International Society of Divine Love.