An Interview with Steve Burgess of Bangkok Natural HealingKevin (เควิน) Khaosan
Reiki, energy healing, Chi Gong, Tai Chi, healing crystals – yeah, yeah, yeah‚… If you’ve been on the road for a while, you’ve heard it all before, usually from some dreadlocked neo-hippy clutching a Carlos Castaneda book he picked up in New Delhi. It’s part of the package, and for many, their understanding of the energy healing and alternative medicine is as substantive as their knowledge of why Che Guevara is printed on the front of their t-shirts. The result – the whole issue is often trivialized and marginalized…
Enter Steve Burgess. Steve landed in Thailand 3 years ago and immediately set up on Khao San Road working out a small, one-room shop. His passion for healing is only surpassed by his passion for standards. He is dedicated to the cause of proving scientifically that energy healing is beneficial, and he has worked with doctors and professors who are now beginning to champion his cause. Beyond this, Steve is committed to developing training courses in a range of healing arts that meet international standards and can stand the test of third-party scrutiny. Syllabus, curriculum, learning outcomes – these are not terms usually regarded part of ‘alternative’ vocabulary. From ‘esoteric’ to ‘pragmatic’ – meet Steve Burgess and it will go a long way towards demystifying the mysterious.
We talk to Steve about his time in Thailand, on Khao San Road, and what is in store for the future.
KSR.COM: Steve – great of you to meet us like this. Perhaps you can just introduce yourself for our visitors’ benefit and give them an overview of what it is exactly you do.
SB: Firstly, I have been here now 6 years. I came to Thailand to study Pranic healing, and as with most training, once you learn something you need to go and practice. I wanted to start doing treatments as I had studied many different healing arts. I started with a little shop on Khao San. As soon as I made the decision to open there, I was contacted by people in hospital who wanted treatments, and then people in other countries contacted me. I was also invited to teach and do treatments in Japan, which surprised me as that is where Reiki originated. Reiki is the main healing art I use and teach.
KSR.COM: You are from Australia. Many of the people I have met involved in these areas you are have been from safe middle-class backgrounds. Not really the case for you though, is it?
SB: Yes, I am an Ozzy ‚– a country boy. I have had quite a few changes in my life. The last big change was before I came to Thailand. I spent 5 years on 4,500 acres of cattle county. It was a bare block of ground, no house, no running water, no electric. I built sheds to live in and caught water to drink and for showers. I built an old style hot water system and then upgraded to an electric generator – using fire all the time was quite time consuming. Then we hit a massive drought – I had to move the cattle for them to survive. I never wanted to be in that situation again, to fight against the seasons is impossible. Earlier I had worked full time teaching Kung Fu and also worked in the Security Industry, mostly at night clubs and pubs. Oh, also spent 2 years in Brisbane at the National Actors Conservatory studying fight choreography and script writing. So, it is only my experience now that allows me to earn an income, and wow, sometimes that has been a challenge!
KSR.COM: So, from that type of background, what brought you to the healing arts?
SB: At the age of 16 I studied Kung Fu and at 21 I was teaching Kung-Fu full time. I was taught that if I was going to hurt someone, I should be able to fix them. I was taught about Acupressure, manipulation, herbs, moxibustion and massage. So, the Kung Fu training got me into the healing arts, in the beginning I never knew it was a part of it. As the years went by I had studied other areas of interest such as the Bowen Technique. With more interest in the Chinese meridian system, I went to Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong and went to Shaolin in China to study Chi-Gong.
KSR.COM: Let’s talk about Reiki for a moment – you are a Reiki Master and a Reiki channel. What exactly does that mean?
SB: Well, it really requires deep understanding and experience with the science of energy and how energy is related to our bodies. The word Reiki means ‚“Spirit Energy‚”, not ‚“Universal Energy‚”. This I discovered when the translator working with me in Taiwan said Reiki was ‚“Lyn Chi‚”. I understood ‚“Chi‚”, but asked her about ‚“Lyn‚”. She replied ‚“Lyn‚” means spirit. From that, I understood Reiki a little differently from my experiences of doing Reiki treatments and the development of the students I had taught.
A Reiki therapist has healing energy around them; Level 1 would normally have 2 to 4 of these Spirit, or healing energies with them all the time. When the therapist is doing a treatment the Spirits send energy through the therapists body, in through the Aura and Major Chakras, and the energy comes out of the therapist‚’s hands, or Minor Chakras, and into the client‚’s body. This spirit energy is what facilitates the treatment – and the outcomes are quite amazing.
Being a therapist the training consists of understanding the different energy bodies of our clients, such as the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. What makes Reiki different to other energy healing arts is how energy is drawn into the therapist‚’s body. Other methods require meditation practices, and then the therapist becomes depleted of energy, this is not the case with Reiki.
KSR.COM: How exactly does Reiki help people get over their ailments and diseases?
SB: OK – I will bring some facts into the picture here. Russians have used bio-reasoning equipment for the last 40 years, initially to monitor the health of their astronauts. In the USA (Rife) equipment has been developed that works on frequencies for healing. Every part of the body – organs, cells, etc. – can be measured by frequency. The 3DMRA in Taiwan, Rife in the USA, and other bio-reasoning programs are now being recognized by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
When performing a Reiki treatment, Spirit energy goes through the therapist’s body to change the polarity of congested molecules and, where necessary, remove the negative Ions from the physical body – this also cleans the energy around the body (Elixir) or Aura, Etheric Aura and Major chakras. With scientific equipment, the outcome of treatments can be verified. In simple terms, Reiki energy balances the Chakras and the client’s body detoxifies.
Energy sciences are found in many cultures – the foundations of Chinese medicine, Acupuncture, Chi Gong, and also Ayurvedic healing from India which dates back even further. Shamanic practices have been in most cultures around the world.
KSR.COM: I went to the opening of a restaurant on Khao San Road recently and there was a gentleman their promoting his resort in southern Thailand. His philosophy was that there is no such thing as medicine and that all medicines are in fact just poisons of different intensity. He was a firm advocate of anything but the western medical approach. Do you subscribe to this point of view? Does western medicine have any value as far as you are concerned?
SB: Everybody has choice in life; I only supply a service like others in the medical industry. Conventional medicine certainly has its place. Where do you go if your arm has been ripped off? You will not come to me. Although Reiki will help quicken the healing process when the arm is put back on, that type of injury requires surgery and western medicine.
I believe in what has been established by WHO (World Health Organization) and in most countries – Complimentary Alternative Medicine is beneficial. My view is to get the greatest benefit for my clients – that is what I am looking for. Everything has its place. We have to establish what caused a problem. If the cause of a problem is identified, healing is very quick.
KSR.COM: So – and forgive me for being so blunt – I have in the past heard Reiki described as ‘snake oil’. In a world of facts and figures and checks and balances, what evidence is there to prove that it’s not?
SB: When I was in Taiwan I was introduced to a director of a hospital dedicated to the use of natural healing on patients with stage 3 or 4 cancer. I suggested incorporating Reiki treatments into their program, and I was introduced to a professor at the Taiwan Community Development Association. I was asked to do a presentation on Reiki while the 3DMRA equipment was presented to doctors. The 3DMRA showed clearly Reiki treatments are powerful and detoxify the body to equivalent extents as acupuncture, and sometimes even greater extents. This evidence has been documented and is now undeniable. The 3DMRA is now being used in five hospitals and diagnoses illnesses up to 2-3 months before blood tests or X-rays are able to.
KSR.COM: And what are your personal experiences of the benefits of energy healing? What results have you seen?
SB: Starting with tension and hypertension, Reiki is very effective with both of these. Many students have emailed me to say thank you as they are now sleeping well. A stranger experience would be when a client arrived with an X-ray of a disease with a long, complicated name, which is considered incurable by conventional medicine. I did 2 Reiki treatments and taught the patient Reiki level 1. Later, I got an email from the patient saying he no longer had any pain. About 6 months later I received another email stating another X-ray had been done and the disease had gone. Another client lived in Bali and asked me to go there to do a treatment on the King of a village who had been sick for 3 weeks. No doctor or Shaman could deliver results. I was in Bali for 4 days, on the 4th day the village King was fine. I have now done over 4,000 Reiki treatments in 6 Countries – I don‚’t know why, it is just my life.
KSR.COM: So, when you first came to Thailand, you set up Bangkok Natural Healing on Khao San Road‚… Was it a good experience?
SB: Khao San was the best experience as the clients were from all parts of the world – some very interesting people with various healing methods they had trained in. Some had a very good understanding of Reiki. I met many people who believed Yoga was Reiki or meditation was Reiki – it was an experience to observe these differences of opinion. Some would stay on KSR for only 2-3 days and some would stay 2-3 weeks learning the courses I was teaching. It was a great place to be.
KSR.COM: I can imagine alternative treatments being popular on Khao San Road, but, of course, you have moved now, so the question comes to mind – are these treatments popular amongst Thais, or are you still dealing mainly with visitors?
SB: Thais know more about Palung Chukawan (Universal Energy) and Yo-Ray – both techniques draw in energy by using meditation, neither are Reiki. I am dealing mostly with expats and people who fly into Thailand just to learn, or to have a treatment. I guess word gets around. I have now submitted a 3 month training curriculum and a 1 year curriculum to the Ministry of Education to enable people to come to the school on a student study visa. This will also enable Thais to get a student loan to study.
KSR.COM: Alternative medicine, energy healing – in the past they have often been marginalized. And as you have said, you are now working with doctors and professors who are more in tune with western medical approaches. Why have these areas suddenly become more mainstream, do you think?
SB: I feel there is certainly a world trend and statistics show that 80% of people are inclined to seek Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatments rather than conventional medicine. I feel many people are becoming aware of the side effects of the chemicals used in modern medicines. Australia is taking the approach that people working in the CAM industry are likely to identify illnesses and therapists likely to make health reports and recommendations to their clients. More people’s lives may be saved as illnesses are found earlier in their development. Therapists are to be given training meeting national qualification standards set by the government. There are 45 to 50 insurance companies that allow members to go to spas for treatments and claim it on their health insurance. As more research is being completed, we are becoming aware many CAM methods work more quickly on some serious illnesses than conventional medicine or treatments.
KSR.COM: You are heavily involved in preparing a range of training courses. Typically, who are your trainees and what do they do with what you have taught them?
SB: Trainees are generally locals and the courses boost their qualifications. They meet international standards in areas such as anatomy and physiology, client consultation and other subjects. With the courses under their belts, people can get jobs working in Spas in other counties. Other students seem to want to establish Spas in their home countries. I try to support them with a Spa concept and give as much guidance as I can.
KSR.COM: And you are running these courses at a resort south of Hua Hin. Tell us more about this. What are the objectives of the resort?
SB: Lumra Resort is quiet and it’s got a great beach. There are a limited number of rooms down there so it’s an excellent place to deliver programs such as Stress Management, Full Moon activities and Elite Energy Training programs. These programs have been tailored for specific outcomes and there are activities every month. Our objective is to make this resort a special place in the world, where people can have individual growth and soul touching experiences. All these programs leave a lasting impression on your life.
KSR.COM: You are also starting a Reiki Research Center and attempting to set up clinical trials. Why choose Thailand for this? Surely, it must be easier in the west?
SB: The Reiki Research Association was submitted a year ago and the registered certificate will be completed soon. I am lucky to have some good support from like minded people, some being doctors. The objective is to scientifically prove the outcomes of Reiki treatments. The research protocols will be to western standards such as CBC, and Viral Overload tests will be taken as part of the clinical observations – though not limited to only this. Bio-reasoning and the 3DMRA are planned to be implemented to monitor changes before blood tests.
In the west pharmaceutical companies get funding through governments and they have their patents on production lines. With alternative treatments and medicine, the funding is limited. The pharmaceutical companies want to own the rights – big business in a big industry. When the registration is completed we will be looking for financial support and assistance to run clinical trials starting with HIV; there’s a planned 3-month “live in” program on a mountain planned. What we are planning would be very difficult to do in another country. Interestingly associations and doctors in other countries are very interested in what we are trying to establish. I feel the results will help all health practitioners, from doctors to therapists. We will though need donations – some of the outgoings to run a 30 people live in program for 3 months will be close to one million baht.
KSR.COM: So you have your individual treatments, and your training, and your resort work and the Reiki Research Center – what’s the big picture here? Where do you want all this to be in, say, 5 years?
SB: Well, I am only here for one life and the best I feel I can do is establish a school where people can come and learn competent healing practices through training that meets Australian educational standards. I want to share my experience in Reiki with others, so others may grow. I want to develop a Spa concept for students wanting to do the same in their own countries. And I want to do research to prove what I and so many others are doing around the world with Reiki is genuinely beneficial, and I want to share the outcomes and information with the rest of the world.
KSR.COM: That’s great – thanks. Good luck with everything you are doing in the future.
SB: Thanks, John
Click here to contact Steve Burgess.