Relief aid work is healing for volunteers as well
Fifteen years have passed since I began this type of healing work. I have visited many people to offer consultations. Based on my experience of touching the bodies of many people as an aromatherapist and a lecturer, I thought that providing treatment to people who had encountered the earthquake and the tsunami, and who were naturally exhausted, energy was needed, and anticipated that I would become somewhat tired, both physically and mentally.
It turned out however, that not only were we not tired, we all felt ourselves to be light and nimble, both physically and mentally. I was enveloped numerous times by a sensation that I had done a good thing—so much so that it was a little embarrassing as to why I had felt that way. Ms. Hirota, who had accompanied me on this tour had studied under me for close to ten years. She is a therapist who works with me to conduct research on flower essences. She also said that with her sensitive senses, she did not perceive any negative energy. Like me, she said that she was surrounded by a pleasant mood without ever feeling tired.
The other member who came with me was a female acupuncturist who was one of my students who had studied aromatherapy about five years previously. She was using flower essences only for herself. However, when she happened to take a remedy sold by a certain manufacturer, she experienced changes that were extremely distressful. She said, “It turned out okay, but I almost never use it now.” I saw her when she attended my aromatherapy class before leaving for this tour, so I invited her to join us. She said, “I want to go, but isn’t it still dangerous at the sites? I tire easily if I provide acupuncture, chiropractic and aromatherapy, so I’m a little concerned, but is it all right?” She told me numerous times about her worries, so I reassured her that temporary housing units were not dangerous. Her worries kept growing, so I suggested that she take flower essences to calm down. However, she said that her feelings were not serious enough to do that.
I myself was dubious about letting her enter the disaster-affected areas in such an unstable, anxious state. In view of her age and experience, however, she was most likely able to deal calmly with many people, and since Seasons of the Soul herbal oils were used for hand treatment, I concluded that things would turn out okay, and asked her to accompany us. She, too, said that the tour was completely different from what she had imagined before her departure, and did not get tired at all—far from it, she reportedly had a wonderfully pleasant experience.
On our way back, we had planned to visit the Rikuzentakata Volunteer Center to connect this visit to the next one. However, the city office did not offer services for volunteer work. Since we did not know where the Volunteer Center was, we tried to ask the passers-by. Unfortunately no one was around, so we stopped by temporary houses that were erected on the school grounds. There was no one outside the house. We spotted a man who appeared to be living there, carrying a small child and standing outside, so we asked him who the leader of the temporary housing unit was. The man did not seem to know, and instead told us where the Volunteer Center was. We returned to our car and fetched a sample of Rescue Spray and Cream, and a brochure of flower essences to give to the child. The man told us that we could visit these temporary houses one by one and give out samples. So I discussed with my colleagues who had accompanied me on this tour, how we should carry out our activities the next time.
Removal of rubble seemed to be the primary job in which Rikuzentakata’s City Volunteer Center was engaged. This was a situation different from that in Kesennuma City. The Volunteer Center was not at all ready to provide psychological care to the residents of temporary housing.
We handed out the FES Relief Aid with Flower Essences guidebook, brochures and flower essence samples, and told the staff to contact us if we were needed. From the way they responded to us, we got the impression that no psychological care was being provided, and no one seemed to be considering such care. It appeared that people were busy removing rubble day after day, and had no time to think of anything else. From our experience this time, we felt that having more people use flower essences could help the region’s reconstruction efforts, at least to some degree. We also felt it all the more important to use flower essences during these difficult times.It’s ideal if difficult situations can be dealt with promptly. However going forward, I feel that still there are lots of things we can help with in restoring the region. I also think that providing care from now on is extremely important. I have written this report with the hope of continuing to carry out activities to provide care, with the help and cooperation of many people. I also hope that other practitioners will find my experiences useful in carrying out their own activities.
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