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Lenny's Story: Cancer and the Quality of Life
Peter Churchill, LMT

Peter Churchill is a manual therapist who specializes in the treatment of chronic pain. He is a nationally certified massage and bodywork therapist and is an adjunct faculty member and guest lecturer at Harvard Medical School. Churchill is also an instructor for the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School's annual symposium for Alternative and Complementary Medicine hosted by Dr. David Eisenberg. When Body & Soul filmed Lenny Zakim's treatments, Peter Churchill had been working with Lenny for several years.

"I'm a manual therapist using my hands to facilitate a healing response in people. I specialize in people with chronic pain or people who have had injuries that won't heal well; or people who have had illnesses that are serious and are not responding to conventional therapies. And so if a person has been fighting a chronic disease and has been having pain for many years, their own body has begun to shut down in many ways because of the pain and because of the stress and trauma of that, so often I can find a way to open that obstructive energy in their body and get that life force flowing again, and then they can begin to heal much more quickly.

"I facilitate the healing response in that person, and that's the distinction between me and, say, a technician who's only working with the physical side of a person. I work more with the physical and the energy side of a person. When a person, when their life force has been blocked, there's a tremendous tension in the body, and as you begin to undo that, the tension goes out. If you could see it, you would see a kind of darker energy come out of a person. When a person has cancer, it is the darkest, most horrible energy that you can imagine.

"Real healing always has to happen in the heart and in the energy system of the person, and that includes their body, but it has to happen in that dimension, or really not much occurs. So even an oncologist who's giving chemotherapy, he's giving a physical substance, but the whole way it heals is that it does something to the energy of the person. No drug in the world ever heals anybody, and no healer who puts their hands on somebody ever heals somebody. Both are just using different ways to open the energy and life force in a person and then that heals them.

"If you ask any doctor, any practitioner of any form of healing arts, from psychotherapy all the way to surgery, anyone would honestly tell you in a candid moment, that they really don't know how a person heals. It is absolutely a mystery. Whether I'm using my hands or a brain surgeon is doing the most intricate work inside a person's brain, everybody is being a facilitator or a catalyst for this ability for the body to then regenerate itself.

"The whole matter or alternative medicine versus conventional medicine is really something that should be put behind us. That we're somehow fighting for the same turf; the alternative medicine people saying conventional medicine is no good because it does this and this, and the conventional medicine camp saying that alternative medicine is not valid. We really need to find people who are genuine servers of other people's health, and those are the people that are going to make the difference. Yes, there should be studies, and yes, there should be validation about what we do, but helping people and seeing the results should be the most important test."

Program Description
Lenny Zakim
David Eisenberg, MD
Ken Anderson, MD
Michael Lerner, PhD
Peter Churchill, LMT
Help YourSelf
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Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.

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