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Come to heal

Most of us do not hesitate to visit our GPs for health advice. But there are other healers with powers that some say are miraculous. Are they the future of medicine? Spirit & Destiny investigates.

The Medicine Woman

Alla Svirinskaya, 35, spent five years training to be a medical doctor in Moscow, before the fall of communism allowed her to finally practice openly as an energy healer.

Alla's family has always been a curious mix of the scientific and the alternative. Her mother used to be a chemotherapist, working with cancer patients, while at home she would see people for hands-on healing sessions. Her father, who supported her mother's natural gift, has a PhD in engineering.

'I'm a fifth-generation healer, that's as far back as we can count,' says Alla. 'It seems to run along the female line. I didn't know my grandmother but she used a lot o herbal remedies and a kind of Russian chanting we call zagovor. My mother's healing is different, relying on awareness of the aura, and the energy chakras.'

Everything young Alla learned was passed on to her by her mother and older sister, who is 11 years her senior, and today has a healing clinic in Serbia.

Her mother's healing sessions would be carried out in secret, at that time (the 1970s), spiritual teaching was against the law in Russia. Anything spiritual, including religion, was seen by the state as a threat to its dominance.

'As a little girl of five or six, I can remember sitting and watching the way my mother treated the patients, the way she interacted with them.

'She'd explain how energy channels vital for good health run through the body, and that each organ has a vibrational frequency, which she could detect with her fingertips.

'When I was seven or eight, she'd sometimes invite me to put my hands on a person so I could sense the different resonance between healthy and sick organs. She made it fun and there was no pressure, I was already curious. Sensing what was wrong with a person became like a reflex to me, like being able to hear or see.'

Because it was impossible for people to meet and talk about healing or spiritual matters in public, Alla recalls how healers and parapsychologists (scientists who study psychic phenomena) would gather at her parents' house.

'Our kitchen would be full of people drinking tea, eating and talking. Spiritual books were banned, so information was passed around secretly, on pieces of paper and in books that people had smuggled into the country, which we'd then translate.'

But when it was time for Alla to choose a profession, she followed her mother to medical school in Moscow. 'I can see now it was all good training for me, as I learnt how the body is supposed to work.'

And then, during her training, Russia changed. It was the mid-1980s and perestroika (meaning 'restructuring') was brought in by Mikhail Gorbachev.

Alla found she could study healing more openly, and began to travel, visiting Australia, where she learned about the healing methods used by Aborigines, and then Asia, including Sri Lanka, where she studied acupuncture at the Open University for Complementary Medicine. She was able to combine alternative healing with her orthodox studies.

Her mother left her job and set up one of the first centres for healing in Moscow, with other healers. It was around this time that Alla made the decision to end her medical training and become a full-time healer herself.

'In my heart I always knew I would follow the healing path,' Alla now confides. 'But I think my medical training gives me a more balanced outlook on people's problems. I do send patients to conventional doctors too.'

In the early 1990s she came to Britain, but even though natural therapies like osteopathy, acupuncture and yoga were becoming accepted, people were more sceptical about healing.

Eventually she persuaded Louise White, the owner of The Life Centre in Notting Hill, London, to let her do some healing there.

'I got all the most difficult cases,' laughs Alla. 'Because no one really believed in healing, I was the last resort. However, this worked in my favour as when it worked, everyone was impressed!

'A person doesn't have to believe in what I do, it doesn't matter if they're sceptical. Once I channel healing energy from some higher source through my hands it will work.

'If they want to continue to get well they have to become actively involved. No doctor or healer can rescue you.

'One pitfall with conventional medicine us that it labels people with an illness and then they often become submissive and start accepting the symptoms. I treat people with any condition, from fertility problems to multiple sclerosis.

'Some of my patients have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses, and sometimes it's a matter of improving the quality of life that they've got left. I still have people who defy their original diagnosis, miracles can happen!'

Alla's powers now attract people from all over the world, including celebrities and royalty, such as Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Since the birth of her daughter Raphaela, who was born in 2001, Alla has worked from home.

'I really think Raphaela's inherited the family healing ability. She says to me: " Why do my fingertips feel funny, Mummy? Like when I touch a TV?" But I won't push her. I'll just be there to answer any questions, like my mother was for me.'

Spirit & Destiny