Bionic healing powers
Tuesday 16th June 2009 Irish Times
Irish Times image
Photographer Patrick Bolger
By Sylvia Thompson
Lindsay Wagner is in Ireland to lead her healing workshops, building up her reputation as a healer, writes SYLVIA THOMPSON
LINDSAY WAGNER may still be best known for her roles in 1970s television dramas and Hollywood movies – particularly as the Bionic Woman (for which she won an Emmy in 1977), but more recently, she has been building up a reputation as a healer in North America and Europe.
“I've been interested in complementary medicine ever since I was young.
I wanted to be a psychologist and I almost became a homeopath but I'm dyslexic so I couldn't get through college,” explains Wagner who is in Ireland this month to lead healing workshops here for the first time.
Wagner's workshops, "Quiet the Mind and Open the Heart," aim to help people become aware of and release limiting thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and negative emotions.
“Our minds are so much more powerful than we've any idea about,” she says, as she recounts how learning meditation and visualisation in her early 20s to help her cure her stomach ulcers was the start of her journey in the study and practice of various complementary therapies.
“In my case, I was good in a crisis. I could take charge and suppress my emotions. Then, I'd get sick later so I had to sensitise myself to my emotions and learn to acknowledge them and reach out to people when I was hurting,” she explains.
While working as an actress, Wagner stayed clear of the Hollywood set and instead chose her friends from within the holistic health domain. Pioneers of holistic medicine in the United States such as Dr Gladys McGeary continue to inspire her.
“You know it's interesting how the language has changed. In the 1970s, these approaches to health were called holistic therapies, then they became known as alternative therapies, later complementary therapies and now, I think the great new word is integrative therapies,” she says.
“There's also a new term emerging – living medicine – which encourages healing traditions to stop focusing on the disease but instead to focus on the living person,” she explains.
Although an advocate of holistic health – integrating mind, body and spirit – Wagner is cautious about heavily marketed food supplements.
“Narrowing down your focus to the physical effect of a food supplement is simply replacing the supplement for the drug and, in that, the holistic view is lost,” she says.
While working as an actress in the 1970s, Wagner persuaded producers to make movies about such subjects as child abuse with the goal to help viewers examine how such issues affected their lives.
Commenting now on how spiritual leaders are struggling to help people through recent revelations of child abuse, she says, “It's not a matter of religious leaders teaching people [how to cope], it's about healing themselves and then, if they are natural leaders, that healing will allow them to take people somewhere positive,” she says.
Wagner is a big fan of Echharte Tolle, the international speaker and best-selling author of Power of Now books.
“I think he is one of the most important writers in our culture today. He is a tonic and a wake-up call to Westerners and the good thing is that people can understand and learn from what he is saying.”
While she studied various spiritual traditions from Tibetan Buddhism to Native American Shamans, her own specific field of training is so-called energy psychology or emotional freedom techniques.
Based on tapping techniques applied to various acupressure points together with specific phrases about self-worth and self-acceptance, this approach is already established as a complementary psychological therapy in Ireland.
“It's an absolutely wonderful technique which works with the acupuncture system. Basically it's all about recognising that our energy field is out of balance when we have an emotional or physical problem or a sense of not being connected,” she says.
“What I often say to people is we brush our teeth and wash our skin before we go to bed at night but why don't we think our energy field needs attention?”
Wagner trained to become a practitioner of energy psychology with American life coach and motivational speaker, Dr David Krueger.
“Many people are shocked by how fast these techniques work. When you use the techniques, your perspective on your situation changes and the negative charge is cleared."
“I experienced it myself, with children and with various clients including guys I worked with in jail, so I decided to bring the show on the road,” says Wagner,
In her workshops, she combines these emotional freedom techniques with various forms of meditations/blessings.
“I've just led a workshop for healthcare workers in the National Health Service in Britain and will do another one for addicts and healthcare practitioners soon. It's so important for those who work in healthcare to keep doing work on themselves."
“Personally, I just enjoy seeing people's faces soften and open up at the end of the workshops,” she says.
Wagner will spend another few weeks travelling and giving workshops in Ireland and England. She will turn 60 while here – a significant birthday she seems quite unfazed about. “I'll miss my family [her younger son has just moved out of the family home] on my birthday but otherwise, I'm happy to be here for it,” she says with a kind of serene elegance that charms supporters and disarms sceptics of her healing ways.