Copyright 2003. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.
"What doesn't make sense is how it works," said Hannah Conway. "You can't wrap your mind around how it works at all."
Conway and others have a hard time putting to words the success of an unusual energy therapy -- the Lenair Technique, designed to address the many faces of addiction. "I come from a big Irish Catholic family," Conway said from her office in St. Paul, Minn. "I'm 41 now and went a long time drinking. I tried AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and it worked nearly five years." Then Conway went back to drinking. "It was at least six beers a day, if not 12."
When Conway saw an article on Rhonda Lenair's bioelectric healing technique for addictions, she was intrigued. "I went for a Friday appointment. That night I felt the same. I didn't think anything had happened. I walked out of there feeling no different." In fact, Conway called her sister, saying she thought she had been duped in a big way. But the treatment worked -- by that evening she no longer craved alcohol, and she eventually recommended the Lenair Technique to other family members who also went for treatment.
Lenair developed her special brand of bioelectric healing in the early 1980s. Since that time, she has treated more than 25,000 clients, many for addictions, including alcohol, drugs, smoking and eating disorders. Healing addictions has become her passion. But how does her treatment work? To Lenair, it's a simple matter of balancing bioelectricity in the body.
Conway tries to describe it in layman's terms: "She sits on a chair behind the arm of the couch, places her fingers on your forehead and has you visualize your craving. That's where your energy goes. Then she corrects it by walking you through a visualization. The next day, I had a terrible headache and upset tummy. She said she would rebalance the cells and new cells would generate," which Conway believes was the cause of the symptoms she was experiencing. "My mom thinks I believed it, so it worked. But I was very skeptical, so I don't think that's it. I feel lucky. I don't know if you can put a 'logical' [explanation] on this. I'm going to return for smoking."
Polly Peterson, an equine massage therapist in Hinsdale, N.H., had much the same reaction. "I'm not really sure what happened. I went in for my appointment and saw this huge aura around her. I looked away and when I looked back I still saw the aura. She did a hands-on thing on my head and walked me through a visualization and 20 minutes later, it was just amazing. I haven't had a beer since. I haven't had an inkling to drink. I can have people around me drinking and it doesn't even phase me."
When Peterson called the center for an appointment, she was asked to define her addiction. Her first thought was, "Oh my God, I have to say what I have an addiction to. I was thinking, I don't want to admit I have an addiction. I don't know if I was consciously ready, but subconsciously I was ready to be there. They say, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. She is really a healer of healers. She had no judgment about me at all. She's so peaceful. I think of the people who go into those dry-out clinics and it's a waste of money. I know that I really did it myself, but whatever she did to me was a catalyst."
For Conway, Lenair's treatment had an impact beyond releasing the addiction. "I'm open to the more joyous part of life, the little miracles around me every day," she said as she defined what she calls her new, spiritual lifestyle. "My health and energy are so much better. I feel calmer, more in control. I'm just more open to possibilities. Maybe I have that innately and alcohol blocked it. You do have to find alternative ways to deal with what comes up in your life and maybe that's why I turned more to spirituality. What is so great is I have a choice again," said Conway.
"The treatment is a process that is psychophysiologically based," said Lenair recently from her office in Newbury, Mass. "The only reason why my treatment works is the timing. It will respond on both levels, psychologically and physically. The best way to define it is I work behind the scenes of our senses. I'm fluent in frequency. I detect and correct frequencies that lead people up to the tip of the iceberg. When that connection takes place I will absorb, as in a mirror image, the energetic representation of what's going on in that system. I am only aware of what their system allows me to observe. I work not with my eyes but behind the eyes."
Lenair began as an accomplished dancer, but her life took a turn when she traveled to England as a teenager to try out for the London Ballet Festival. While hospitalized there for an abdominal mass, she met Dr. Winston Marlowe, a physician who had studied the use of electromagnetic fields for healing in the former Soviet Union and Poland. Marlowe noted that Lenair had an unusually strong electromagnetic field, and, with his mentoring, her path was set into motion. Returning to the United States a short time later, Lenair went about learning all she could about electromagnetic and bioelectric energy fields of the body by reading books and through independent study. After more than 10 years researching and experimenting in her spare time, she was ready to apply her bioelectric technique to healing others. The Treatment Process
The Lenair Technique is defined as a physical treatment in that the medium for change is the electrical frequencies within the body. Addiction, as well as other problems treated by Lenair, is seen as an imbalance within the client's bioelectrical system. Through her own energy system, Lenair taps into weak or damaged parts of the client's bioelectricity and transfers healthy currents to restore equilibrium. The client does not have to do any intellectual work or talk through the problem. They don't even have to be willing to change. The frequency changes Lenair activates will affect both the body and mind simultaneously and eliminate the problem at its root.
At the beginning of the first appointment, Lenair gives the client a brief overview of the treatment process. Family members are welcome to participate at this time and questions regarding the treatment are addressed. For Lenair, this is the beginning of connection and process. "As soon as the patient walks into the office, her work begins," said Barry Chalfin, Lenair's partner. "By the actual treatment session, she's just confirming what she's already read bioelectrically through the meeting and orientation process. Just prior to the treatment, she slowly changes the frequencies in her body to perfectly match those in her patient. In essence, it's a mirror image. What the client feels is an energetic mirror. She will experience a physical representation of what is in the client's body, but on the opposite side." If their left knee hurts, Lenair will have the pain in her right knee.
"We ask them to come in craving," said Lenair, in effect asking them to abstain. "If they come in inebriated, I will feel it too." With the client in a state where they feel they are ready to imbibe, Lenair then applies her hands to balance out the electrical frequencies. "What Rhonda is doing," said Chalfin, "is changing the bioelectrical as it relates to the consciousness. The patient is in a state of suspended consciousness. She is taking physical desire away by changing their frequency, going back to the state prior to the addiction taking hold. She is literally changing the bioelectrical system back to that state." When the client's bioelectrical energy goes back to that original addiction-free state, the system no longer recognizes the addictive substances as desirable.
Lenair then takes the client through a visualization. This is not intended as a relaxation response, but a method for the client to picture in their mind the act of consuming alcohol. In the third phase of the session, Chalfin comes into the treatment room to transcribe Lenair's recommendations. As part of her treatment, Lenair also conducts what she terms a diagnostic body scan, picking up on other physical problems that may or may not have already been diagnosed through allopathic medical care. This can include allergies, genetic predisposition to certain conditions, problems at the tissue level or psychological profiles, all detected without invasive tests.
According to Chalfin, these energy scans are highly accurate and often verified by medical lab work or assessment by a medical doctor. Although Lenair is careful to point out she has no formal medical training, she does advertise herself as a medical intuitive. This skill is combined with her bioelectric healing for clients treated in the clinic, or separately by telephone consultation.
As a medical intuitive, she begins her phone sessions without history or background on the client. In a matter of 20-30 minutes, she scans whatever the client's system presents, taking notes as she works and constantly commenting as she goes along. There is no interactive conversation, only her feedback. After the session, she may still carry the energy of the contact, and continue to dictate recommendations to Chalfin. "When I hang up the phone," said Lenair, "I process all of those elements, so it's still the aftermath of the state." In the end, the compiled recommendations are mailed to the client. In these sessions, said Lenair, she cannot change behavior. Those sorts of changes can only be done with hands-on contact. But she can offer the client an assessment of their state of health and advise dietary, nutritional and lifestyle changes for them to pursue.
Lenair also claims she is able to conduct this telephone body scan through a close family member, when the situation involves a young child or the hearing-impaired, without diminished results. How does this work? The family member acts as a satellite for the bioelectrical frequency of the client.
The first of three sessions addresses the physical part of the problem. Two additional sessions are scheduled to deal with any lingering emotional or psychological factors. In the final session, said Chalfin, Lenair "will get a signal as to when she should speak to them again. If a signal comes up, she'll do additional telephone contact." She may be treating for fear associated with giving up the addiction, stress at work or for some other factor that would impact recovery.
Lenair greets her clients knowing only their name. "There are no labels," she said. "My position is to be completely void of opinion. I don't like to know anything about them. It's all within them in perfect order. I'm not working with the labels. When the process starts, it's a non-issue." This runs contrary to the conventional practices of some psychologists and addiction treatment professionals whose approach is to analyze, diagnose and work through the issues and behaviors that led to the problem in long-term treatment. And what of those issues? Lenair stated, 90 percent of the time when clients return for follow-up, there are other issues to address. "They may feel uneasy as far as triggers," she said, "so we see if there's any stress or other issues that need to be looked at. I try not to go beyond around six clients a day. Sessions are typically about an hour; some as short as 15 minutes. Time is ubiquitous when I treat. Things happen very rapidly."
A major concern of any alcohol treatment program is the possibility of delirium tremens (DTs) or other physical side effects of detoxing. Lenair said some clients have come in with DTs and a few have had seizures. But then she offers: "Never has anyone had an adverse effect. The worst that happens is nothing. The turnaround time is very quick. Side effects are nominal for some and missing in most.
"I want more for them than they want for themselves -- for them to feel their very best and acquire an optimum state of health." Lenair said she is directed only by her client's system, not by anything within her own mind or consciousness. "The physical shell creates separation. In treatment, there is no separation. I remain detached or strive to be nothing so I can be in tune with anyone and anything. I need to remain 'entityless' as possible. When I identified this was my purpose, it was also my sacrifice," she said, noting that with great emptiness, loss and sacrifice comes reward.
When asked if she does any special work to build energy or move into a particular energetic state for work, Lenair said, "I think that you don't need to go into a state if you live in that state. It's the familiar state, the energetic world is the familiar world." She also refrains from reading about other energy healers and their work. "It's irrelevant," she said. "The only thing that matters is what transpires within the treatment room."
Although Lenair's extensive reading has included herbal and nutritional therapies, she indicates her recommendations do not come from this body of knowledge. Rather, her ability to read the client's electrical system brings with it an awareness of what that body needs and can tolerate. She calls this synthesizing. As the message comes into Lenair's electrical system, it is simultaneously tested by her own body to determine its appropriateness for the client.
"It's recommended by themselves already," explained Lenair. "Some substances are recognized by me through study. But it all comes through the person in a very clear and defined way. It would be apparent because I'm in their space. My system is acting as the chemist." Chalfin added this is not done by any overt physical action, but is processed bioelectrically by Lenair at the time. "She continues to carry some of that patient with her awhile," he added, "and may have additional comments regarding insights from bioelectrical knowing."
There has been no scientific inquiry into the effectiveness of Lenair's treatment, although she has been approached several times by parties interested in doing research. And the center has no long-term statistics on clients. Chalfin indicates that Lenair has been so overwhelmed with requests for treatment that time has not been available for pursuing this path as yet, but personal testimonials by clients clearly show immediate effectiveness. The center now offers a guarantee. If treatment doesn't work the first time, the client can repeat the program at no cost. "But no one has needed it," he said. After treatment, clients are given a reinforcement exercise, described by Chalfin as a combination of visualization and touch to the forehead. An audiotape is also provided to support the client in doing the visualization. Are there relapses? Without long-term statistics, this appears to be an unknown. Chalfin admits that if the client has a major stressor down the road and chooses to ignore the reinforcement exercise, a relapse could occur.
Lenair's treatments are pricey -- $1,625 for a three-session addiction program and $825 for an additional two-session treatment for other issues. According to Chalfin, it's all relative, especially compared to expensive, inpatient addiction centers, and "according to the effort and energy that goes into it." Lenair addresses the whole system, not just the problem. "She wants total health. She doesn't leave anything behind. Her goal is not to be popular, it's to help them. She's doing it for the patient, not for her ego."
Chalfin noted many of Lenair's referrals come from the health care community, including psychiatrists, psychotherapists and nurses who firmly believe in the power of her technique. One of Lenair's most staunch supporters is Dr. Michael Johnson, a clinical instructor in the psychiatry department at Harvard Medical School. With clients coming from all walks of life, LeNair has also treated a number of Hollywood celebrities, as well as the royal family of Jordan. Her popularity as a medical intuitive greatly increased after being recognized for her alcohol and drug healings by Dr. Christiane Northrup, a physician and author specializing in women's health. The Lenair Healing Foundation
Lenair's dream has been to establish an institute for increasing awareness of her healing technique through workshops and lectures, publications and eventually a formal teaching curriculum. As a start, she and Chalfin have gained private, nonprofit status for The Lenair Healing Foundation. Services for those who cannot afford treatment is one goal of the foundation, although sufficient funds are not yet available to activate this offering. In the meantime, Lenair does perform gratis work in certain situations. The center will soon relocate to a recently purchased 100-acre property in Vermont, the site for the intended institute.
"Our success rate is very high," said Lenair. "That's probably the largest motivator in wanting to teach." But if the success of her healing is based on her own unique talent in bioelectrical conduction, how can others learn the technique and be as successful? "Everyone would have a different style for how they choose to use it," she said. "I think whatever we do or choose to do, we will become it. The individuality will shape what they do. In teaching, I aspire to someone being the best of who they are as they work. Their own self will influence how they develop." As someone fluent in frequencies, she would teach others to be fluent in frequencies. But, she added, "To be able to design a curriculum, to devote time to teaching has not come as yet."
For more information on The Lenair Technique, visit www.lenair.com
, or call 978/465-7711.Shirley Vanderbilt is a staff writer for Massage Bodywork magazine.