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Tuesday, 27 June 2017 04:34 pm

Sensing Murder boosts ‘new age’ health care

healingmain1-150x1501NEW ZEALANDERS are increasingly sidestepping conventional health care in favour of “new age” offerings of spiritual help and guidance.

Sue Nicholson, a self-professed psychic who features on television’s Sensing Murder, is so popular, private clients have to wait months for a session. 

A young Wellington woman, who asked not to be named, says she sought Ms Nicholson’s help and went on a long waiting list.  At the consultation, she felt reassured when told she would have a child and that it would be a boy.

Deb Webber, also from Sensing Murder, has a weekly column in Woman’s Day offering guidance for people who have lost loved ones.

New Zealand Sceptics Society chair Vicki Hyde has a problem with people putting themselves up as alternative healers, where they manipulate vulnerable individuals who are “ripe for exploitation”. 

Large numbers of New Zealanders are open to religious, spiritual and paranormal concepts, according to a Sunday Star-Times/Victoria University online survey that drew nearly 5700 responses last year. 

Psychology lecturer Marc Wilson, who analysed the results, concluded that 32% of participants believe psychics can predict the future, 32% think psychics can communicate with the dead, and 14% believe in astrology.

Tarot, reiki, clairvoyance, crystal bowl healing and astrological readings are just a few ways people seek guidance and answers for their lives.  Carolyn Perry, owner of the Saarsha House Holistic Healing Centre in Waikanae, says some people are desperate for help and open to anything.

“Some people want a magic pill to fix them.”

Whether or not this makes them likely to feel benefit from a “placebo” (or belief-induced) rather than a real, physiological effect has long been a matter of debate in health circles.

Dr Kerry Clancey, of Brookfield Medical Centre in Tauranga, says placebo means the mind and body working together and can be a positive thing. “That’s when you take on the concept that in fact your mind is more powerful than you give it credit for, and its ability to affect the function of the body is huge.” 

Dr Clancey says there are doctors with a holistic approach but many remain focused on the scientific approach.

GO TO THE FEATURES PAGE to see Melissa Kinealy’s full-length feature on this topic.

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