Alla Svirinskaya

Simply go with the flow

Once a last resort, healers are becoming increasingly mainstream, says Alice Hart-Davis. Heal thyself. Find a healer

When the fashion crowd has been loving something for a few years, it may be time for the rest of us to take notice. So it seems with energy healing. Donna Karan is a fan and for the past few years designer Maria Grachvogel has installed a healer backstage at her fashion shows to treat models before and after their catwalk performances. Meanwhile, leading model Olivia Inge now claims that she has "healing hands".

Energy healing takes various forms (hands-on healing, bio-energy healing, holistic healing), and its practitioners talk about what they do in many ways. It used to be called faith- or spiritual-healing, though that title is less popular now as it implies, says healers, the need for a common faith or spiritual leaning on both sides (or, say sceptics, that faith is all there is to it).

The idea is simple enough. The body, healers believe, radiates a life force, into which they can tune, thereby diagnosing problems both mental and physical that they will treat by rebalancing the body's energy flow. Most healers claim to work by acting as conduits for "energy", from a source, such as God, or the universe, to restore a body or mind that is out of kilter.

People tend to go to healers as a last resort when conventional medicine is not helping them, but healers are now as popular for soothing the general stresses of life as easing specific health problems. In London, healers such as Alla Svirinskaya and Seka Nikolic have a following that includes royals and celebrities such as Elizabeth Hurley, Kylie Minogue, Sarah Ferguson, and Prince Andrew. They are also used by doctors to help treat ailments from broken bones to ME.

Healing is still regarded with doubt by most of the medical profession, but some GPs are now employing healers in their practices. Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, has two healers in his Devon practice. "Research by the Royal Society of Medicine has shown that healing is of great benefit, but really, the proof that healing works lies not in the research statistics but in the fact that healers are increasingly in demand. Our health visitors are particularly keen on using healers for babies with colic, sleep problems and skin conditions."

When pushed to explain how they do what they do, most healers will say that it's simple: anyone can learn to do it (see below). Clearly, though, some people are better at it than others. The best analogy, perhaps, is that everyone can sing, but there are very few Pavarottis.

  • The Inner Potential Centre: 36 Kelvedon Road, London SW6 (020 7736 4187; www.inner, runs one-day courses based on the "You too can heal" philosophy of the late healer George King.
  • The College of Psychic Studies: 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 (020 7589 3292; www., runs evening courses in healing. The college is part of the Confederation of Healing Organisations (CHO) and also runs a two-year healing accreditation course. call for times and prices.
  • The Simply Healing Centre: West Sussex (01403 823328; www.simplyhealing holds workshops in various aspects of healing, as well as offering a range of healing retreats and holistic therapies.
  • Seka Nikolic: a bio-energy healer who claims to beam positive energy at the body with one hand while removing negative energy with the other, which crackles alarmingly with static as she does so. Hale clinic, 7 Park Crescent, London W1 (0870 167 6667;
  • Momo Kovacevic: like his sister Seka (above), Momo beams in positive energy with one hand and removes negative energy with the other. Fans include Yoko Ono. Kailash Centre, 7 Newcourt St, London NW8 (020 7722 3939).
  • Alla Svirinskaya: her family claims a healing gift that goes back five generations, but Alla trained as a doctor in Moscow before moving to complementary medicine. Highly regarded, with a waiting list of months. her book, Energy Secrets: the ultimate well-being plan (Hay House, £10.99) is due to be published in June (email:
  • Gloria Thomas: a former Bond girl, now a mind-body therapist and College of Psychic Studies-accredited healer (020 8742 8553;
  • Stephen Lewis: a Harvard-educated businessman until 1986, when he discovered he had a gift for healing. Lewis now offers intensive one-to-one healing sessions in North London (020 8458 0867;

Alice Hart-Davis, Daily Telegraph