|[Note how Janice Mawhinney take the time to include the link to the Gentle Wind Project web site at the end of this article. She does not provide any links to skeptics organizations.]|
|Oct. 20, 2002 01:00 EDT|
|Passing the puck
Gentle Wind Project says multicoloured instruments relieve emotional distress
Well. let's face it — that's what they are.
No one really knows how they work. But a lot of people say that they do.
The people at the Gentle Wind Project call them healing instruments, and explain that holding an instrument once for five minutes is meant to produce some measure of long-term relief from emotional distress such as anxiety, fear, anger, sorrow and pain.
They say the instruments are made with small precisely measured amounts of herbs and minerals, cell salts and precious stones. As in homeopathy, tiny amounts are said to be effective.
The devices range in size from a puck meant to be held in the palm of the hand, to a three-by-six-foot plastic card that hangs on the wall, and is meant for people to hold their hands against.
"This is not a physical cure, but a way to emotional balance," says social worker and researcher Mary Miller, known as Moe, one of the founders of the registered non-profit organization which is based in Kittery, Maine.
Miller will be in Toronto next weekend when a contingent of people from the Gentle Wind Project present open house events at the Sheraton Centre at Queen and Bay Sts. Friday, Oct. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 27 from 10 to 11 a.m. Access to healing instruments will be made available at no charge to everyone at these events.
There will also be a $20-a-ticket optional seminar Friday evening after the open house.
Miller has been invited to speak at a conference on Saturday on spirituality and health care, presented by the University of Toronto medical faculty continuing studies school, and hosted by Mount Sinai Hospital
"There are no side effects and I don't know of anyone who has ever been hurt or harmed in any way by it," says Miller. "There are probably 6 million people in 100 different countries who have held instruments and received the healing."
Miller says the instruments are designed so that holding one for a few minutes once in a lifetime will trigger emotional healing that may unfold over a period of time.
Paul Newton, 42, who sells apartment buildings in Toronto, heard about the Gentle Wind Project from a friend, and looked them up on the Internet. He discovered there was a woman who owned an instrument in the office tower next to the one he was working in, so he got in touch.
"She brought the puck over to my office within half an hour of my call, and I held it in my hand for five minutes," he recalls. "It felt as if it were vibrating in my hand and I wondered how, since it has no batteries.
"The following day I felt nothing and thought it had been a waste, but the day after that I woke up feeling different, clearer and better. Soon after that I lost interest in drinking alcohol."
Newton says he was so impressed at how much better he felt after holding the puck he decided to get one for himself to share with others. Since then, he has bought several kinds of instruments from Gentle Wind, including pucks and cards. He even has the giant wall card in his home.
The purpose, designs and the make-up of the instruments came telepathically to an engineer, one of the six people who founded the organization, in 1979. He recognized the telepathic designs as engineering blueprints, and got a group of friends together from the fields of social work, psychotherapy and education to produce and test the instruments.
When their early research looked promising, and they realized pursuing the project would require hundreds of thousands of dollars, they sold their homes and cars and cashed in their retirement savings to pour all of their resources into their work. They moved in together to consolidate their spending on working with the instruments.
The Gentle Wind Project is named after a hexagram referring to the human spirit in the ancient Chinese philosophy and divination system called I Ching.
In the early years of the project, the organizers gave instruments at no charge to people who wanted to share them with others, and asked for donations in return to keep the project going. Very few people chose to donate, and the personal resources of the group's founders were exhausted by 1995. Since then they have charged for instruments, which now range from $175 to $4,000 in U.S. funds.
Those involved in the organization give instruments at special low prices to relief workers, medical professionals and community workers in impoverished areas of the world. They have established special projects in India, Poland, Hungary, Bali, Brazil, Croatia, Russia, South Africa and Mexico.
Richmond Hill dentist Marty Sekand, 43, came across the Gentle Wind Project last January when his last patient of the day brought a puck to the office and asked Sekand to hold it for five minutes. Sekand's father had had a stroke two weeks earlier, and the dentist says he was feeling unusually stressed at the time. He went to a quiet back room and sat with the puck in his hand, expecting nothing.
"I felt almost drained and totally exhausted after holding it, a kind of relief," he says. "I felt calm and peaceful. I didn't expect it at all: I'm a scientist.
"Maybe I let go of some stuff there. I don't want to categorize the experience. I don't understand it and I'm not looking for an answer — but that's just how I felt after I held it. It felt like a release of stress."
Sophia Trettin, 34, a spiritual counsellor in Toronto, says she found the instruments effective when she first tried one six years ago, so she now offers clients the opportunity to hold one. Some clients visibly respond to it and others don't, she notes, but she believes that for some, the effects may take time to come about.
"I was having anger come up in me, and when I first held an instrument my anger started to dissipate within five minutes," Trettin recalls. "I felt really good after holding it. To this day, if I get upset it doesn't last more than a few minutes."
Miller says the instruments are designed to work on the energy field around an individual, sometimes called the etheric structure. Whenever a person is damaged mentally, emotionally or physically, this energy structure is damaged, she says, and it is here that the hurts and wounds of the person's life are stored.
She and her colleagues believe that the damaged areas have a magnetic quality, and attract people with similar levels of damage. This leads people to a tendency to repeat negative patterns, , according to Miller.
The instruments are meant to set a healing process into motion, to repair the energetic structure, eliminate the effects of past hurts and wounds, and help the individual to an emotionally healthier, more balanced state.
The people who receive the telepathic information about making the instruments cannot identify the source of the information.
"The truth is, we do not know with any certainty where the healing instruments come from," says Miller. "All we can say is that they come from a source of good, and they help some people feel better."
The great majority of people who hold the instruments and who later volunteer information or are asked, report that they have observed some benefits or improvements in themselves or their lives, according to Miller. People commonly report feeling calmer, and dealing more peacefully with situations that would previously have upset them.
A small percentage of people show few or no signs of improvement after holding an instrument, she notes, and the people in the project feel they have not yet been able to develop treatment for the particular energetic problems those individuals experience.
Among the testimonials that have come to the organization are some from physicians and nurses, midwives and addiction specialists. Cynthia Knorr-Muldur, a nurse-practitioner at a clinic in Hackensack, N.J., did a research project with patients using Gentle Wind instruments, and found that holding a puck led to lower scores in pain, anxiety, fatigue, depression, conflict and stress.
The instruments are not going to make people stress free, Miller observes. But she says she believes that they can help individuals feel stronger, calmer, less burdened by past traumas and generally more in control of their lives.
The Gentle Wind Web site is at http://www.gentlewindproject.org.