Continued from page 1


I started studying Holistic Kinesiology at the Australian College for Energetic Sciences in Carlton.  It seemed like such an all encompassing framework for helping people, covering energetic diagnosis and treatment of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realms.  The staff and students were lovely and I held a quiet hope that my departure into a career closer to my heart would be rewarded by greater physical health.  Unfortunately I didn’t seem to get any better, and many of the physical aspects of the course were challenging to my now chronically aching wrists.

One day in particular I was struggling with the stress of trying to balance work and school whilst being in pain.  I was rushing to school after work, running down Grattan St from the Swanston St tram and I suddenly felt a terrible pain in my ankles.  I was late to get to an appointment with the finance officer at school so I kept running for a few moments only to realise I had done some kind of strain or sprain and I really needed to stop.

I hobbled in to school and had my appointment then wondered what I should do about my ankles.  There didn’t seem to be any ice around so I caught a taxi home and rested up at home with some icepacks, eager for my new injury to be treated promptly and properly so I didn’t end up with more chronic pain.  I was really feeling sorry for myself at this point, hobbling around at home, trying to look after myself but realising my ability to live independently was being seriously challenged.

One of the things I was rapidly realising by now was how dependent I was on other people – dependent in a bad way.  My housemates (I lived in a wonderful share house in Kew I had established with friends a few years earlier) were great people but the added strain of living with a physically incapacitated friend who isn’t getting better was starting to show.  Dishes need to be done, meals need to be cooked and cleaning in a five person sharehouse requires eternal vigilance.  So despite reorganising chores to suit my abilities I found myself in a psychological struggle to maintain dignity in the eyes of my friends.  And now I really needed to rest and be supported, determined that my ankles (or rather my Achilles tendons which seemed to be the site of the strain) wouldn’t turn into another poorly managed injury.   But how do you do that when you are single, and don’t have any family in Melbourne you can call on?  I did have a great group of friends and when I asked, they were happy to provide some help, although the realities of asking for regular support  from a diverse group of already busy people left me feeling like I was at risk of slipping through the cracks.

After a week of the best rest I could manage in the circumstances, my Achilles tendons had improved a bit but were still hurting.  Now it seemed I had chronic inflammation and pain in not two, but all four of my limbs.  The more I used them, the more they hurt.  If I didn’t use them however, the pain would pretty much go away.  It seemed that rest was the only thing that really helped.

Given the worrying decline in my physical state I thought it prudent to go back to my doctor and get his opinion.  He was looking less and less happy to see my distressed state and gave me a referral to a respected rheumatologist at the Monash Medical Centre nearby his clinic.  I faithfully went to see her and she recommended some more tests (the ones previously undertaken by my GP hadn’t yielded any medical clues).  She was at a loss for what might be going on, and the tests for some more exotic conditions I cant remember the names of didn’t show anything either.

Although things weren’t looking great I was enjoying the opportunity to try more forms of complementary medicine, being greatly interested in the paradigm shift in approaches to wellness that had swept the west in recent decades.  It didn’t seem right to me on some level that western medicine’s deeply reductionist approach to knowledge could yield a truly successful form of healing.  So whilst I respected the views of my doctors and of some aspects of their intellectual framework, the reality was that they had little to offer me.   I was drawn to experiment with more holistic forms of diagnosis and treatment.

I tried numerous forms of massage including bowen, shiatsu, western myotherapy, as well as more deep tissue all to no avail.  Another highly recommended acupuncturist for a few sessions.  A couple of the most experienced (and expensive) holistic kinesiologists in Melbourne.  Pranic healing. A couple of other therapies that I cant even remember the name of now, and as I reflect on the wild theories and bizarre practices that went on in some of the sessions, I not sure I want to remember!

The result? Bank balance – 0, pain syndrome – 4.  I spent a lot of money and time and didn’t get any better.  There did seem to be a pattern emerging which my scientific brain couldn’t help noticing.  I would get hopeful and excited about a new form of therapy, go and see them for an initial consultation which was very promising, do a few sessions and feel that something was maybe starting to improve, then continue with the treatment only to realise there wasn’t any significant change.  Whatever change I was feeling might have been a placebo… my first inkling that there might be some kind of mind-body aspect to the chronicity of my pain.

The year drew to an end and my experiment with studying kinesiology and getting my life-direction sorted was also yielding little in the way of pain relief.  I was also feeling unsure about many of the theories I was taught… they seemed so simplistic and to overstate the ability of the practitioner to understand what is going on for the client. As for how they were arrived at in the first place… a hotch potch of hypothesis, case histories, channelling, and faith might be OK if the recommended treatment works for every client that you see but I couldn’t see that happening.

It was now a good two years into my chronic pain ordeal and my sense of desperation was steadily increasing.  I had gone from being successful and creative, and widely respected in my community to feeling constantly stressed, a bit depressed and generally worn down.  I was losing weight which from a starting point of 68kg was not ideal.  But worse, I was losing those friends who preferred the successful, entertaining Hal over the burdensome new person I had become.

My business was still functioning but despite kinesiology not being the right way out of my predicament, it was still clear to me that I needed to let go of what I had been doing for the last few years.  Perhaps in letting go, the answers would come.  I found a buyer for the business and thankfully was able to get some money to keep living and paying for treatments.  I was effectively earning nothing in the business and had to go on Centrelink’s ‘Sickness Allowance’ which was a pitiful equivalent of the dole, with no financial support offered for non-western treatments which might get me back to health.

So where to from here? I decided I needed to dedicate myself 100% to healing, and to set up a comprehensive and supported rest and rehabilitation plan.  I had some money in the bank from selling my business and it was time to make some changes.  I bought a new car which had power steering and an automatic transmission so when I really needed to drive I could do it without the aggravation caused by an old manual car with heavy steering.

I decided to move out of my current house and found a new place with some people I didn’t know so well.  I explained to them my predicament and they were open to negotiating an arrangement of housework etc which would work for all of us.  I kept an open mind in terms of treatment, trying still more western and complementary therapies.  I was determined to get better.


As you can see I haven’t fully finished writing my story.  There are a few more chapters of getting worse before I started to get better, and if you want to find out how I did that I havewritten about it somewhat briefly on this page. But it should give you enough of an idea about how you can use the mind-body approach for your own healing.

Also if you have any feedback on my story, positive or negative, I would like to hear it, you can leave a comment below or contact me.



7 Responses to my-story-page-2

  1. Lois Pearl Pillar says:

    I enjoyed your story, Im not a reader but I managed to read the portion you have written thus far. I felt a bit disappointed that it came to a stop before its ending. Im looking forward to reading the next portion to see how it turns out. I do believe in your approach. I recently had a massage with crystal healing, it was during this massage that I was guided into relaxation and through this relaxation I was able to revisit old places that had caused me intense pain and be delivered from them through a process of mind guided rescue. Regards Pearl

  2. hal says:

    Hi Lois, thanks for the feedback. I do apologise I havent finished the extended version of my story yet. I assume you did see the short version of my recovery though? If not you can read it here.

    I will certainly let you know when subsequent chapters are written and posted.

    Also I’m glad to hear you feel a resonance with this approach, and thanks for sharing some of your journey. I do believe their are many ways to do healing work.

    All the best, Hal

  3. Anna says:

    I have enjoyed reading your story also, but like Lois, I would also like to know how your story has gone from chronic pain to being cured. I have had back pain which has become chronic back since before the beginning of my 20’s and I have now just turned 40! I, like you have tried many different approaches to getting better but nothing has worked. I have Dr Sarno’s ‘Healing Back Pain’ Audio book and have found it very interesting but I am a little confused as to how to actually deal with the fear and anger? Ok we acknowledge we have the anger and fear and we acknowledge that our emotions have caused this and that structurally there is nothing wrong with the spine but now what? How do we get rid of the pain? Does it take psychotherapy? I would love to hear more about this. Thanks once again.

    • hal says:

      Hi Anna

      Thanks for your comment. I have been a bit stuck about how to write the next part as for me it did involve a quite personal journey into dealing with, as you say, fear and anger! How much should I spill my guts on the internet? Still thinking about this.

      But in relation to your question, now that I have moved in to the practitioner role and helped many clients struggling with chronic pain and fatigue I have observed that there is a significant group of people who will need some psychotherapeutic support to contact the feelings which are causing the issue. Some people seem to be able to just read Sarno, think about it a bit, and recover. I wasn’t in that category and it sounds like you may not be either.

      So yes I do (as Sarno does also) recommend working with a good therapist to help you to safely access the feelings which are probably mostly still unconscious. This is an art as much as a science but as I found, and am continuing to find in my private practice, it is very much possible and if you find someone you trust and keep working with them ultimately I believe you will be successful in healing the pain.

      And as I discovered, you might just learn some interesting and useful things about yourself and your history in the process!

      Hope that helps,


  4. Lisa Quinn says:

    Hi Hal. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Years ago I began my medical journey with anxiety attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines and a frozen shoulder. A few years ago I developed an unusual gait which culminated in leg leg neuropathy and chronic stiffness and pain. I literally visited every medical specialist and alternative therapist in Adelaide. Some twice! Nothing helped end the pain and disability worsened. And then I discovered Dr Sarno and TMS. I journaled and journaled…reviewing my childhood. I allowed myself to rage and xpress sorrow in my journal. And in a matter of months, I became completely pain free. I have a slight foot drop in my left foot but when it occurs, I return to my journal.I recommend ‘The Divided Mind’,by John Sarno. I am deeply grateful to therapists like you Hal for your very important work. Best wishes, Lisa

  5. Amy says:

    Hi Hal, I live with my husband who suffers from chronic back pain and has for the last 4 years, the last 2 being the worse with him developing anxiety, depression, sleepless nights and continued strong pain with no significant real evidence that his injury should cause so much pain. I read your story and can relate to all my husband has gone through. Thank you so much that there is hope out there for suferers of chronic pain. So glad you live and work in Melbourne which makes you accessible. I have forwarded him your website and hopefully he may take it on as treatment that may work for him. I’m also wanting to know of other people who live with a loved one with chronic pain. Is there a carer’s support group that anyone may know about? because this has affected me and my family as a whole. I pray all the work you do with many sufferers provides healing – so glad I came across your website. All the best, Ami

    • hal says:

      Hi Ami, thanks for that its nice to have some supportive feedback. Happy to see your husband if he wants to do some work with me. In terms of support groups, I dont know of any off the top of my head, I have been thinking of starting one for people with pain but in terms of carers support perhaps you could ask Chronic Pain Australia if they know? Kind regards Hal

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