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Author: Kay Carmichael
Title: A Nature Cure Experience

Some forty years ago, I had a life transforming experience. At that time, I was a heavy smoking, whisky guzzling, coffee dependent, hard working female - convinced that if I lived any differently, the world would collapse around my ears. One Sunday (note Sunday) I was speaking at a conference in Stirling, quite convinced that what i had to say was supremely important. In the middle of my speech I suddenly lost vision - that is to say, everything turned black. Being the kind of person I was, I kept talking and after some minutes, my sight came back - leaving me very shaken though determined not to show it.

Monday morning at nine o'clock I was at my GP's surgery demanding to see him. In those days that was possible and soon I was pouring out my heart. He was a lovely man and a good friend and he calmed me down saying, 'Don' t worry Kay, we' ll soon fix that. There are some excellent pills I can give you.' Being as always, insatiably curious, I said, 'And what effect will they have?' - 'Nothing much' he replied, 'just a slight change of personality.' ....I left without the pills.

But what was I to do? I knew in some way I was at risk, that I needed help but didn' t know which way to turn. Somewhere out of the depths of my mind I dredged up a memory of a place in Edinburgh called Kingston, which helped people to become healthy. I found their telephone number and phoned to ask for an appointment. It was May to whom I spoke ('though I didn' t know it at the time) and on hearing my address she said 'But our Mr Milne consults in Glasgow, you could see him there.' So the following Wednesday, I met 'our Mr Milne.

He listened very carefully to my story, then said with great conviction, 'You must come in to the Kingston Clinic for at least a week.' I didn' t offer even the faintest objection - I was so grateful to be taken seriously - to know that you have been listened to and really heard, is the first stage in being healed. Two days later, having cancelled all my appointments ( previously seen as essential), I found myself in the baronial-style, Victorian structure, of the Kingston Clinic. At first I thought I was mad to have come to this place. I was cut off from cigarettes, from tea and coffee, from whisky, from good red meat, and expected to have a cold shower every morning as well as a walk which had no purpose other than exercise. I was to learn that this was only the first stage in what was to become a spiritual journey.

It was the experience of being massaged that brought about a shift in my perception of myself in relation to the world that has stayed with me for the following forty years. Through my therapist's hands, I was offered not only the skills we associate with conventional massage but also a healing process that involved my feelings about myself and gave me a sense of my own worth. I sensed that the therapist was offering me a share in his love and concern for humanity. It was this conviction that brought me back, time after time to experience that rare and powerful gift for healing.

Along with this, I began to understand the healing power of nature and the importance of learning and respecting my body's response to symptoms. I began to understand the importance of food not drenched in chemicals, and fresh air not polluted by fumes. I learned the importance of walking, of keeping my muscles active, my circulation flowing and, of ensuring sufficient sleep to balance the activity of the day. What Nature Cure has meant for me is very powerful. For a start, I have lived much longer than I would have thought possible but also, I believe the quality of that life is better than it would have been had I not had the traumatic introduction to a sense of my own mortality. being in touch with one's body leads to being in touch with nature and realising that one is part of this great, mysterious universe in which we live. This realisation makes human destruction of wildlife, of forests and of our fellow human beings in wars, an outrage. our pollution of the atmosphere which is causing global warming, ice floes to melt and destruction of the habitat of polar bears, with the promise of greated horrors to come is a direct negation of everything Nature Cure has taught me.

Perhaps most of all, I have learned what can be offered by those human beings who have made it their vocation to connect with and nurture the primordial forces of the healer - combining skill with love. We should be grateful that they exist among us.