A revolution in UK cancer care happened when bereaved mum Angie Buxton-King persuaded one London hospital to try spiritual healing.
Angie was not a natural born healer. She actually refers to herself as a natural born skeptic. But when her mother became terminally ill with ovarian cancer in 1988 and received a prognosis of just one year to live, Angie was driven to seek help beyond the confines of conventional medicine.
Discovering the ‘Gentle Way with Cancer’ spiritual healing programme at the Bristol Cancer Centre, Angie sat in on her mother’s first healing session. She found herself becoming hot and extremely emotional. She felt her body “buzzing with energy”. The healer told Angie these were signs that she had the potential to be a healer.
But it was not until several years later, when her seven-year old son, Sam, was diagnosed with Leukaemia and given just three months to live, that Angie set out on her healer’s journey.
Angie treated Sam every day. “He was completely disengaged from it and wasn’t cooperating, but [yet] he began to feel the benefits,” said Angie, adding: “He was a happy child before his diagnosis and continued to be a happy child.”
Angie observed how the other children on Sam’s ward were experiencing a wholly different journey to his.
“While Sam was losing his hair and having the occasional bout of sickness, the other children were very ill and lying in their beds. Sam was a very different child. The only thing that was different was the healing that was going in. I became very aware that we were supporting Sam to go through his treatments, which meant that he could tolerate his treatments, and that is the basis of our charity now,” said Angie.
Sam lived for three years longer than the doctors foretold, during which time he maintained, said Angie, a “reasonable and sometimes excellent quality of life”. He was even able to leave hospital for a while and return to school, she said.
A new chapter opens
Angie would not have taken her healing journey further were it not for some strange “inner prompts” she experienced after Sam’s passing. Describing them as “a little voice” in her head, she said she likes to believe they were instigated by Sam.
The little voice would change her life. The first time it spoke, it told her: “Now you know [about healing] you’ve got to go and help the children”. But the second time it spoke, it left her with a question: “What about when you can no longer [provide healing]?’
A stoic former healthcare manager, Angie set to to follow each cue. The first fired her up to approach public hospitals that ran cancer units with the idea of piloting an energy healing service. After several rejections, Angie snagged the interest of University College London Hospital, where her healing unit continues to run today.
The second inner prompt led her, magnificently, into the world of rock and roll.
For her work to continue after she was gone, Angie needed a charity which would fund her to train energy healers who, like her, could work in a public health setting. It was legendary rock band Deep Purple that stepped in to help. Through their high profile fund-raising platform dedicated to complementary health, The Sunflower Jam, Deep Purple raised tens of thousands of pounds for Angie.
It was thus that the Sam Buxton Trust founded by Angie and her husband became The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust.
Since 2006, the award winning charity has trained and funded healers to serve in NHS cancer centres and hospices, who have provided energy healing to thousands of patients and their families.
Getting into the system
Despite Angie’s success, it is still very challenging for energy healing to gain acceptance in the wider conventional healthcare environment in the UK.
Said Angie: “We’ve been branded with the term here in the UK of ‘complementary and alternative medicine’, which really holds you back.”
She says therapists who want to integrate their services into the public health system must be mindful of the terminology they must use to describe their offering. ‘Reiki’ is an acceptable term, ‘spiritual’ is not. ‘Complementary’ is an acceptable term, ‘alternative’ is not.
“The medical world hate[s] the word alternative, because it means it’s something other than what they’re doing, but complementary means you are working alongside, as an adjunct to conventional medicine.
“And that’s the bridge. It would be really useful if people would recognise that that [language] is the bridge,” said Angie.
A pioneer to be listened to
Angie is a pioneer who should be listened to. She has created in the UK a model of integrated healthcare that has been accepted in a field strongly averse to energy healing.
Angie heard the concerns of the established system and paid attention to its requirements. She trains her healers to national occupational standards and educates them on working within a public healthcare setting. She thus makes it possible for cancer patients to gain access to both therapeutic and preventative healing in the time of greatest need.
Angie’s advice to healers
If you are a healer who wants to provide healing in the public health sector, here are Angie’s top tips for achieving your goal:
- Be aware of “the words that close the door in your face and the words that make a bridge”. You provide ‘complementary’, not ‘alternative’ therapy or medicine.
- Be qualified to national occupational standards. Healers in Britain are voluntarily self-regulated, so it is important they maintain standards of practice outlined by national bodies and professional organisations.
- Take Angie Buxton-King’s ‘Healing in Hospitals and Hospices Workshop’ to learn how to function in the specific environment of a public hospital.
- If you would like to train as a healer with Angie’s charity: pick a hospital near you where you would like to provide healing. If the hospital is interested, Angie’s charity will train you and provide the hospital with funding that will cover you to provide two days’ healing per week for two years.
Some healers may feel put off by the structure of a hospital and fear that they will be “put in a box”. Employed healers do have a job description, a person specification, and must behave in a certain way, said Angie, but all these trappings fall away at the patient’s bedside.
“When you are next to the bed and it’s your therapy that’s doing the talking, which is energy, love, and compassion, that is when the magic happens.
You have to conform to a box of sorts, but the therapy, when it’s being delivered, is very special and very useful at the bedside,” she said.
Furthermore, healers become “respected members of the multidisciplinary team”, said Angie.
To read about, contact, or donate to the Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust, click here. You can also purchase Angie’s books, all proceeds from which are ploughed back into the charity.
The NHS Healer describes Angie’s healing journey with Sam to the point of setting up the Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing charity.
And The NHS Healer, Onwards and Upwards explains how Angie expanded her healing offering, and how “you can do the same work yourself”. The book is, she says, of “particular interest to those who want to empower and help themselves”. It describes the “patient pathway” and “how healing supports the patient at every stage of their journey”. This book also has an accompanying meditation CD, which can be purchased separately.