Healing with Energy

Therapeutic Bio-Energy Healing works directly with the way energy moves in the body

Richard Menard demonstrates a clearing/gathering technique.  “You don’t even have to believe in it—you just have to be open, <a href=

” he says. Photo by Boomer Jerritt ” src=”×401.jpg” width=”602″ height=”401″ /> Richard Menard demonstrates a clearing/gathering technique. “You don’t even have to believe in it—you just have to be open, anesthetist
” he says. Photo by Boomer Jerritt

I use the word “enthusiastic” pretty regularly to describe the people I write about for InFocus Magazine. But after eight years and dozens of articles, discount only now, thanks to this issue’s interview subject Shari Dunnet, do I know the deeper meaning of this word.

“Enthusiasm, if you look at its etymology, means to be infused with spirit,” says Dunnet, speaking, well, with enthusiasm. The word derives from the Greek entheos—“en” meaning filled, “theos” meaning God or spirit.

Dunnet is using this word to describe her feelings about the launch of her and partner Richard Menard’s new Bio-Energy Healing practice, which operates in two locations in the Comox Valley: their Denman Island home-based clinic and Comox Valley Chiropractics Centre (formerly Ocean Health Centre) in Downtown Courtenay.

“Filled with spirit” is an apt phrase to describe the work Dunnet and Menard do. “Spirit” also means “energy” or “life force,” and this healing modality works directly with the way our energy—our life force—moves in our body.

At the core of Bio-Energy Healing is the concept of the human biofield. This term refers to the electro-magnetic energy system that surrounds and permeates every living organism. Essentially, the biofield is the structural network of energies and information that underlies cellular function. Because the biofield is highly integrated with the physical body, the mental/emotional systems, and the spiritual being of the individual, it is both affected by and can affect health on all these levels.

Therapeutic approaches that work with the biofield are often referred to, collectively, as energy healing, and include techniques such as Reiki, Cranial-Sacral Therapy, homoeopathy, Touch for Health, sound healing and practices such as yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Kung. But the biofield concept doesn’t just belong to “alternative medicine” realms. Mainstream diagnostic tools such as the electrocardiogram, magnetic resonance imaging and the electroencephalogram work with the biofield, and a cardiac pacemaker introduces an electro-magnetic field that restores normal heart rhythms.

The biofield is the subject of study, measurement and discussion around the world. The US National Institutes of Health recognized its significance in 2004, and it is now referenced in a number of research papers accessible through PubMed, according to the Centre for Biofield Sciences in India.

In 1964, the invention of the superconducting quantum interference device (known as the SQUID), an extremely sensitive magnetometer, by scientists at Ford Research Lab in the United States, created the ability to measure the biomagnetic field produced by a single heartbeat, muscle twitch or pattern of neural activity in the brain. These instruments are now being used to map the dynamic energy fields around the body.

Although Western science has just recently been able to measure and make use of the biofield, there is plenty of evidence that humans have practised energy healing for millennia. For example, as early as 2750 BC, sick people used the shocks produced by electric eels for healing. And there is evidence that the ancients in Africa, Egypt and China practised forms for magnetic healing using minerals such as magnetite.

Although this is interesting stuff, Dunnet and Menard stress that their clients don’t need to have any knowledge of, or even interest in, the theory behind what they do.
“You don’t even have to believe in it—you just have to be open,” says Menard.

A tall, lanky man with a short beard, brown hair tied back in a ponytail, and a steady gaze, he exudes calm—a fitting counterpart to Dunnet, whose corkscrew red curls and dancing blue eyes suggest energy and engagement.

“This is an incredibly safe technique, which I think makes it feel accessible to many people,” adds Dunnet.

Bioenergy healing can be effective for just about any specific condition, including pain, stress, anxiety and depression, insomnia, arthritis, low energy, migraines, IBS, addictions, allergies and more. It can also help with general well-being and personal development goals such as tapping into creativity, becoming emotionally resilient, or enhancing spiritual growth.

Shari Dunnet and Richard Menard.  Photo by Boomer Jerritt

Shari Dunnet and Richard Menard. Photo by Boomer Jerritt

To fully understand what they do, I sign up for a session with Menard at his and Dunnet’s Denman Island home-based clinic—arguably the perfect setting for a healing experience. The wood and glass house sits on a waterfront acreage with a panoramic view of Baynes Sound and the snow-dusted mountains. An eagle circles overhead, and the damp smell of a West Coast spring permeates the air.

The session starts with a brief questionnaire covering my health history and goals for the session. I need to think a minute or two about my goal. Luckily, I do not have a health challenge. But I realize I do have a problem—the past few months I’ve been distracted, forgetful, absent-minded, and tired. Something is pulling at my energy.

This is not the sort of thing I’d consider bringing to a doctor, but I share it with Menard, who nods in understanding. Setting my intention as “becoming more present and focused,” we begin. I stand in the middle of the room, looking out the window toward balsam, cedar and Douglas firs. After a few minutes my eyes naturally close, and I keep them that way, just peeking now and then as my journalistic duty.

The next 45 minutes could be described as extremely uneventful—or full of action, depending on the perspective. From the outside, you would see Menard making a variety of hand motions around my body, a few inches from the surface—scanning, spiralling, pulling away. From the inside, I experience a panoply of sensations: heaviness, then later lightness, tingling in my forehead, my solar plexus, and the centre of my chest, pressure in my skull, then release. Sometimes there is no sensation and I feel bored—just a woman standing in a room with a long-haired dude waving his hands around her body. Then a sigh comes up from the bottoms of my lungs and I feel the skin all over my body relax, like a shell cracking off.

When it’s over, I feel great. Perhaps, I think, just standing and doing nothing for 45 minutes is therapeutic enough—an island of stillness in the swirl of my life. Over the next few days, I do indeed feel more present and focused, and spend far less time muttering to myself, “Now where did I put the….?” and “What did I come upstairs for?” And—even better—I feel like I’m able to give my attention more fully to my children, my husband, and my work.

This initial session will be the first of a series of five, which is how Menard and Dunnet usually work, although they are not averse to doing just a single session if a client wants. For most people, at the end of a five-session series, the process is complete.

“This is not meant to be an ongoing process,” says Dunnet. “It is exceptional in that the results come very quickly, and when a shift is made, it’s lasting.”

Menard explains how it works. “My intention is to pull blocked energy out of the energy field and the body where there’s congestion,” he says. “This then creates a vacuum. The energy trapped deep in the body comes to fill this vacancy. Then the next session gets to that deeper level.” Mostly the sessions are quiet, but sometimes the practitioner asks questions or engages in dialogue aimed at nudging the client to step away from old, limiting thought patterns.

“Our training included how to listen closely to the language people use, and to notice when we hear something that sounds like it’s shaped by limiting thought patterns,” says Menard. “We all have our stories about ourselves, about other people, about our pain and trauma. These stories can trap us. We can work with these stories to reshape them.”
Dunnet adds: “…or let them go.” Bio-Energy Healing can help create deep energy shifts that allow this to happen. Long-term issues that have resisted other types of treatment can resolve, she says.

“I had someone who had been living with severe chronic anxiety for 30 years and it was running her life. I had five sessions with her and it was gone,” says Dunnet.

For Dunnet and Menard, becoming Bio-Energy practitioners didn’t so much signify a turnabout in their lives as much as an evolution. Dunnet can pinpoint the moment they literally became enthused.

“We were in Maui in November 2012 for a holiday,” she says. “We spotted a poster for an evening gathering with Ram Dass [a well-known writer/thinker/speaker on Eastern spirituality]. He spoke about his life path, and the beauty and power of being of service. We came away inspired, and realized that we wanted to be more of service—as healers.”

The couple had studied and experienced a wider variety of healing arts, but not as the focus of their working lives. However, their work and lives over the past couple of decades clearly encompassed healing elements.

Menard was, and still is, a working artist, whose wood carvings reference Buddhist iconography, West Coast First Nations style, and the natural world. His website uses the tag line, “Art for serenity and healing.” He’d been a seeker of truth, meaning and personal growth his whole adult life, living in solitude in the Clayoquot Sound rainforest for seven years, studying yoga and meditation as a spiritual path, and exploring a variety of healing techniques to overcome childhood trauma.
Dunnet had worked in social work, including five years as an AIDS outreach worker, and also had a background in community health care administration, and as an artist, musician and activist.

“I’ve been very involved in social justice issues, and have spent a lot of time discussing what constitutes empowerment, and what constitutes disempowerment. Now, as a Bio-Energy Healer, the impetus for what I do is still that commitment to empowerment, but in a whole other dimension,” says Dunnet.

To follow up on their epiphany in Hawaii, they signed up for training in Vancouver with Michael D’Alton, who has been practicing and teaching Bio-Energy Healing for more than 20 years. Originally from Ireland, D’Alton studied with Plexus Bio-Energy and in 2005 founded his own International School of Bio-Energy Healing in Canada.

Dunnet and Menard are the only certified Bio-Energy Healing practitioners in the North Island region. They plan further studies with D’Alton, are also doing course work in another healing modality called Soul Integration Technology, and their practice on both Denman and in Courtenay has taken off.

“We are doing our purpose work,” says Menard. And when action is aligned with purpose, energy flows.

The enthusiasm that was kindled in Hawaii is deepened by every healing session they offer. Dunnet explains why she finds her work rewarding: “It’s co-creation. We are working with universal energy and life force, and it is miraculous. It allows you to be part of life in a different way.

“It’s so beautiful to be able to relate with energy,” she adds. “It allows me to be the perceptive and sensitive person I am. There are not many places in our culture you can do that.”

Energy healers depend on both innate ability and training, say Menard and Dunnet. “Technique plays a role, definitely. There is a body of knowledge behind what we do,” says Menard. At the same time, they both feel they always had a natural aptitude, a certain awareness they were born with.

Quite possibly, many people have such abilities, but never realize it, says Dunnet. “These are natural human abilities, but our school system and our culture don’t teach these skills or encourage them. If we were in a culture where these kinds of gifts were supported, that would be a quantum leap forward.”

In the meantime, Dunnet and Menard are using their skills to facilitate quantum leaps in health and energy for each of their clients.

“We are here to help raise the frequency,” says Menard. “And to alleviate suffering,” adds Dunnet.

For information call 250-897-2707