18th February 2001
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Healing hands - they really work

His list of patients includes Sarah, Duchess of York. Now back in Sri Lanka, Ranjan Karunaratne is seeking to introduce his energy-boosting healing methods to patients here.
By Hiranthi Fernando

Ranjan heals with his hands. Through a combination of gentle massage and application of deep pressure on areas of head, neck, and upper back, he relieves tensions. He does not always need to touch you directly. At times, he holds his hands just over the body and using vibrating movements relieves the body of pain.

Already relaxed and at ease, the patient next lies down in a recliner, while Ranjan massages his feet for up to half an hour. He uses the metamorphic technique, designed to alleviate physical and emotional discord. This gentle form of massage enhances inner growth as it releases blocked energy. At the end of the session, the patient feels relaxed and revived as the body returns to its own natural rhythms.

"The treatment marries the spiritual and physical, resulting in the patient having his energy and immune system boosted," explained Ranjan Karunaratne, who recently started a practice in therapeutic and self-care programmes in Colombo. "Typically what he experiences is a wonderful feeling of relaxation after a session. It is like unblocking all blocks in a plumbing system. The energy flows well and the body heals itself."

The son of a former Director of Health Services in Sri Lanka, Ranjan holds a First Class Honours degree in the Philosophy of Health from the School of Independent Study, UK. He was on the staff of several health centres in London and Chicago, for several years. With over 25 years experience in health and education, Ranjan has treated a diverse clientele suffering from chronic pain or acute illness. Sarah, Duchess of York, was one of his patients.

Ranjan stresses that one need not have an illness to benefit from the treatment. It helps to improve job performance in the average individual, including sportsmen and women.

In the short period he has practised in Sri Lanka he has had reasonable success. "He literally draws out the pain by will-power," commented Mr. Sam Wijesinha, former Secretary General of Parliament whom Ranjan treated for a pain in the leg. "It is remarkable and very effective if you concentrate properly. It requires concentration and will- power something like a kind of healing practised in India. It is fascinating to watch him. It is a case of mind over matter."

"He is completely mad but it works," said Elmo Alles, a neighbour and patient. "I met with a nasty accident four months ago and was immobilised in a plaster cast for three months. During this time Ranjan treated me for the excruciating pain and lack of circulation on my right side, whilst in bed. The pain certainly went off." Describing the treatment, Elmo said Ranjan rotated his left hand over the areas affected without touching him at all. "In his right hand he had a metal object on a chain. By swinging the chain, he created static electricity, which passed through his body, creating a magnetic field round the affected areas." In the case of Suramya Karunaratne, who was developing symptoms of Diabetes, the treatment resulted in subsequent tests being normal.

Bandula, who drives a taxi, has an infant son who had suffered from a urine infection from the age of two months. "We took him once a week for about two months, while continuing to go to Lady Ridgeway hospital," Bandula said. "The doctors at the hospital then told us to stop the medicines and test the urine monthly. Now he is cured and the tests are clear."

Apart from the treatment, another aspect of the programme is retraining the person to use his body properly. "We need to use our bodies the way they were meant to be used," Ranjan said. "For example, the body needs 64 ounces of water daily but we are not giving it that. The body has a tough time with denatured sugar. This sugar has already been extracted and goes straight into the blood stream, whereas sugar from fruits or rice, takes time to be digested and get into the bloodstream. Today we eat 300% to 400% more denatured sugar than our grandparents did."

Correct breathing and exercise are important aspects of Ranjan's treatment. "The starting point in your health is breathing," he said. "The foundation of achieving high level energy is habits of thought and habits of living. In the west, scientific research on Psycho-neuroimmunology validates eastern sciences relating to health. There is a distinct relationship between health and happiness."

"My experience has been that everyone who has come to me in the last 25 years with a chronic illness, has been using the costal muscle for breathing. Research in the biological field has shown this is an adaptation that interferes with the body's maintenance function. My experience is that if you can revert to involuntary diaphragmatic breathing, the disease goes into spontaneous remission, as for example in heart disease or cancer."

Speaking of cancer, he said the body produces five to six cancer cells a day which the immune system disposes of. If the immune system breaks down because you are not giving it enough energy, the cancer cells are not disposed of and thus form a tumour. This can be changed by boosting the energy and the immune system. The individual has to be receptive to the treatment but it is irrelevant whether you believe in it.

Ranjan was introduced to a healer, Donald Munro, as a 17-year-old suffering from acute Asthma. He then had ideas of pursuing a career as a concert pianist. When the Director of Music at his public school found he had acute Asthma, he recommended a healer who had cured him of cancer ten year before. "He put his hand on my chest and stopped the pain," Ranjan recalled. Ranjan was at first very sceptical, but went back to the healer, who treated him for ten years. "His wife became my spiritual teacher. I changed my attitude and understanding of life."

Back in Sri Lanka, Ranjan's recent lecture at the Sri Lanka Medical Council was well received. He now plans to start a centre for health-oriented approaches to relaxation, rejuvenation and improving the quality of life. He has four therapy rooms and a consulting room, which he intends to rent out to others interested in similar programmes. He has also built a small room with a floor of Kohomba wood especially for Yoga classes.

What is systemic health care ?

According to the medical anthropologist Helman (1984), the western medical paradigm is based on the study of disease, whereas the eastern one is based on a quest for balance - that is, to rebalance the 'system' comprising an organism. In biomedicine the treatment-objective is to cure: through understanding the mechanisms of disease, to kill or remove the 'causative agent'(germs, tumours, faulty parts).

The body may then work to restore balance to the system.

In systemic health care, the objective is to intervene directly in the balancing process of the system to trigger innate self-healing mechanisms. In a healthy system this can be thought of as maintaining health.

In an unhealthy system, the intervention aims to help the system restore health, sometimes through a healing crisis.

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