Life Yourself - Daily Express 2001

OUR BRILLIANT SECTION LOOKING AT ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES
A JOURNEY BACK TO WELLBEING

Nine years ago, self-help guru Brandon Bays was diagnosed with cancer. Refusing to accept any medical help, she decided to heal herself. Now, her self-healing process is being taught in workshops and has helped not only cancer sufferers but also people with other medical problems. PRITI GUDKA reports



AFTER doctors found her uterine tumour, Brandon Bays put her belief in the body’s ability to heal itself to the ultimate test. She put her life on the line for it. Having studied iridology, hypnosis, acupressure and running self-help workshops for most of her life, Brandon, 47, had witnessed the power of self-healing.

She adopted a different lifestyle which included meditation, a raw vegetable diet and a mental process which she called The Journey. Soon she found the pain and fatigue caused by the tumour started to dissipate. Six weeks later, Brandon returned to her doctor for a check-up, to be told it had vanished. It has never returned.

Brandon’s Journey is based on the idea that there is a direct link between our emotional and physical selves. She believes negative thoughts, feelings and anxieties can transform themselves into disease if they are left to fester. It is only by facing up to what we’re feeling that that we can hope to rid ourselves of problems such as cancer.

“There’s a chemical expression for every emotion we feel,” says Brandon. “At a purely chemical level, consciousness and emotions are affecting our cells. The Journey is about cellular healing. It is about getting to the root or core of an emotional issue or physical block — really uncovering it in the deepest part of the being — before resolving it and letting go. This means the body can go about the process of healing.”

Brandon came to the conclusion that the same part of her that had created the tumour could kill it, too.

The Journey, which Brandon has been teaching at workshops and seminars all over the world, has already changed the lives of thousands of people. Here, we meet three of them.

In March last year, KAREN GILL, 43, a housewife from Exeter, Devon, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ten weeks after she first studied The Journey, her lump disappeared and has not returned. Karen is married to Chris, [?55?], a university professor. They have four sons, Ross, 17, Jack, 15, Harry, 13, and Ralph, eight.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had small lumps in my breasts that came and went. It was only when I found one the size of a walnut, and it didn’t go away, that I saw a doctor and, shortly afterwards, I was diagnosed with cancer.

As well as starting chemotherapy, I decided to become a vegan and started to help boost my immune system by taking vitamins and minerals. Before I became ill I had always been sceptical about alternative therapy but now I was desperate.

I started having regular massages, which made me feel a lot better about myself. It was then that a friend, who had also fought cancer, gave me a copy of Brandon’s book, The Journey, which she thought might help me.

In May, I decided to attend a workshop. It began with general meditation to relax and prepare our bodies for healing. We then had to sit alone and imagine telling our mother, sister, friend or whoever had cause us pain, how they made us feel. Brandon then told us to forgive them. It brought back a lot of negative memories I wasn’t even aware were bothering me. I was surprised at how powerful they were. The workshop helped me to get in touch with the source of my problems and not let them fester.

I felt the cancer leaving my body as though a huge weight had been lifted. It was an extremely overwhelming experience.

Two days later, I could no longer feel my lump. My next mammogram confirmed it had gone and after two sessions I gave up my chemotherapy. The cancer has never come back. I feel The Journey saved my life.

KAREN LYNCH, 37, a holistic therapist from South Brent, Devon, had suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) for more than three years. It was so severe she was forced to give up work. Six weeks after studying The Journey, Karen has seen a dramatic improvement in her health and has returned to work part-time. She and her partner Kevin, 36, who is also a holistic therapist, have a seven-year-old daughter, Tenielle.
Most mornings I would wake up with chronic pain all over my body. I was often too exhausted to get out of bed and was stuck in a cycle of pain and depression. I tried every kind of medical and complementary treatment in an attempt to help myself but to no avail. Even though I had a background in general and psychiatric nursing with holistic therapy, I couldn’t find a solution. In the end, I was forced to live on a State disability grant, which made me miserable.

Attending The Journey weekend workshop was my last resort. It helped me access the memory of a painful emotional incident that had haunted me prior to me becoming ill. I was sure it was part of the reason for my ME and I knew I needed to face up to what had happened. Brandon helped me to do that. Within a week, I felt renewed. Within six weeks, my energy levels returned and I decided I was well enough to start working again one day a week.

I now feel I have so much to give and I can truly believe in myself again. I consider myself to be free of ME. I feel as if I am back in control and can do something to help myself feel better.

ALISON RIVA, 40, a film production and set designer from North London, and her partner Mark, 31, a TV executive, had been trying for a child for more than a year. She also suffered from chronic backache. Two days after attending The Journey workshop, her pain disappeared; she is 22 weeks pregnant.
I’ve always suffered from back pain and have tried everything from massage and osteopathy to acupuncture to east it, but nothing worked. It was on my mind all the time and my constant suffering began to affect all areas of my life. My body felt restricted and I never felt totally relaxed. We’d been trying for a baby, but it wasn’t happening, which was adding more stress. I was desperate and willing to try anything.

A friend gave me Brandon’s book and I decided to go to one of her workshops. The Journey made perfect sense to me and seemed like a practical way to help myself. Brandon encouraged me to explore the source of my problems using visualisation techniques. Often the feelings that came up were frightening, but because I was in a very nurturing environment I felt safe which enabled me to explore parts of my past I had locked away.
I felt the effects instantly. It was like something within me had been released. Not only did it help to get rid of my backache, I feel it played an instrumental part in me getting pregnant.
Just two weeks after I had finished The Journey, I conceived. Mark and I are ecstatic and have no doubt that Brandon is partly to thank for it.

JOURNEYWOMEN: (left to right) Karen Gill, Karen Lynch and Alison Riva