Alla Svirinskaya

Heal appeal

Heal appeal

Heal appeal

With the involvement of Eileen Drewery in England's World Cup preparations, the press have become very excited about healing. But leaving aside the hype and hyperbole, what is it and why do top celebrities swear by it? Maisha Frost investigates.

You lie flat, eyes closed as a stranger waves her hands above your body and suddenly you feel a fantastic sense of well-being. Later you find no more back strain as you tee off, the tennis elbow has disappeared and your legs will last the full 90 minutes, no problem.

In your dreams and those of Glen Hoddle? Maybe not. Healing has been winning a big following among sports fans of all kinds plagued by injuries that mainstream physiotherapy just can't clear up. Drug free, painless and with no side effects, it has become the therapy of choice for guys who can't wait to get back in action.

Alla Svirinskaya is a Russian born healer and qualified GP who works at The Life Centre in London's Notting Hill. She said: "Men are quite suspicious of going to a healer at first - often it is their girlfriends or wives who persuade them. The hardest to treat are high fliers, men who strive for success and are used to being in control. But once they commit themselves, they are very easy to heal - they are able to concentrate and give themselves one hundred per cent.

"Healers are not miracle workers - what we do is very practical and does not depend on religion. My hands tap into an energy outside myself and then I send it into the person. I feel how their energy is distributed: some have very negative areas which they may not even be aware of and which indicate physical problems later on. One day science will uncover the laws governing this work. Healing should be considered as being as normal as going to the dentist."

Podiatrist Simon Costain treats injured sporting stars at his Gait and Posture Centre in Harley street. Costain, a former adviser to the British Olympic squad, fixes chronic injuries suffered by the likes of Sally Gunnell and Kelly Holmes. When he draws a blank he has no problem suggesting healing. "Healers see the whole person," he explained. "When people are hurt physically, they are also injured mentally. You cannot separate the two and each problem may need several solutions. I've known Alla to cure injuries that have defeated the rest of us."

Dennis Lilley, the former fast bowler, could find no relief for a sinus condition that had plagued him most of his sporting life. He said: "When alla waved her hands over me I felt my breathing expand incredibly. It was that instant, I felt my stomach and chest filling to capacity and then air slowly going out through my spine. Now I feel much more alive and relaxed. If I had had healing when I was bowling for Australia, it would have made me even better. She could do a bit for the present England team, I'm sure!"

For some, healing triggers a complete change of lifestyle. Businessman David Edgar tried healing as a last resort following months of a chronic arm strain. After just one visit to Alla, he noticed big changes. "Driving home, I started to feel very hot and when I next had a glass of wine it tasted like vinegar. My arm improved and I can now play tennis again with no problems. I'm not imagining it - healing has definitely changed my life."

Psychotherapist Kati Cotrell-Blanc has been in the therapy business 20 years and is convinced that Alla is special. "People should beware healers who have big egos. Good healers create strong and subtle changes, not dependent disciples. Alla is a clean channel, untainted by status or ego, that is why she gets results."

Maisha Frost, IT Magazine