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Should spiritual healers be put on trial, or are they being used as a scapegoat?

Jolanda, healer on trial / Photo:

Before I left for my last big trip, I went to see an intuitive (or a psychic, clairvoyant – whatever name works for you), as I often try and do at momentous occasions in my life.

I thought she was the woman a friend had recommended to me; it turned out that she was not.

She told me a few things (all of which ended up being wrong) and performed a bit of energy work on me at the end (which I’m assuming helped me in absolutely no way).

And yet last year, I was lucky enough to connect with a different woman who I literally felt knew my soul.

Rather than talking about the future, per se, we discussed more of what was happening for me on an energetic level, all of which really resonated with me. When she performed energy work on me at the end of the session, I definitely noticed it.

Alternative On Trial

So I was saddened to recently read that a spiritual healer and two alternative doctors in Amsterdam are being put on trial for the death of a popular TV star there, Sylvia Millecam.

I tend to believe that anyone practicing outside the “norm,” especially as alternative approaches to health become more and more common, is vilified whenever possible.

Then I got to the middle of the article:

The self-styled medium and faith healer known as Jomanda and two alternative doctors are on trial because they told Ms Millecam she did not need treatment. Jomanda, charged with causing grievous bodily harm, convinced Ms Millecam she was suffering from a bacterial infection.

It’s hard to know if this is the whole story, but if this is true, I’m horrified.

I did a quick search about Jomanda and came across the Apologetics Index, in which psychologist and naturologist Ewald Vervaet states that he has investigated dozens of her purported healings and miracles, but thus far has not one has been verified.

She is known for infusing water so as to give it healing power.

Thing is, she has had a large following since becoming a “celebrity” in 1991 when she started organizing healings in Tiel, so for better or for worse, some people believe she is the real thing. That means they have connected with her, felt healed by her, somehow came out better than when they started.

Beliefs around healing

Photo: Wonderlane/ Feature photo: kshgarg

I have heard countless stories of friends who have visited India or Thailand, or even spiritual areas in the US that have been greatly affected by healers they have come across.

Many of these healers would be considered “quaks” by Western standards.

If, like the crackdown and arrests of supplement sellers or the fight to ban home births in the US, this is a way to put those on the fringe of “accepted” methods of healthcare in their place, I’m not impressed (nor would I be surprised).

On the other hand, if this woman truly convinced Millecam that she did not have cancer, than maybe she should be on trial – or at least have it made publically known her errent influence on people.

Still, this still brings up questions of self-will and our right to choose our own path around health.

What do you think about alternative healers being put on trial? Share your thoughts below.

Health + Lifestyle


About The Author

Christine Garvin

Christine Garvin is a certified Nutrition Educator and holds a MA in Holistic Health Education. She is the founder/editor of Living Holistically...with a sense of humor and co-founder of Confronting Love. When she is not out traveling the world, she is busy writing, doing yoga, and performing hip-hop and bhangra. She also likes to pretend living in her hippie town of Fairfax, CA is like being on vacation.

  • theresa

    Christine – this is intense! A lot of questions and defenses rise up in me as well. If a doctor told me I had cancer and I had to do A, B, and C to live, I would consider it. If a healer told me it was not cancer, I would be concerned. As you know, I practice alternative “holistic” medicine as a practitioner and as an everyday person and I know the value of complementary and modern medicine. I think it is free will and care of self… whichever way a person chooses to go.
    When I did my presentation on Narrative Healing last summer, there were some questions at the end. Are the treatments what cured, or the belief? The story changing? The healer? It is different for every person and yet the stories remain the same… Person A and Person B have the same disease and are healed through very different means… Person C is not. Certainly, we are not in “control” of outcomes, however we are in control of what we do and allow to have done to our bodies.
    I think it’s sad that these doctors / healers are on trial. I think that if people did not receive the services they paid for then they could take the healers to court for their money back… but posthumously?

  • Eva

    I’m not sure how helpful it is to generalize here. I have a feeling this case won’t be very representative of other, clear-cut efforts to marginalize alternative methods of medicine. In this case, the issue isn’t really her methods — if a practicing MD mistakenly told a patient they were cancer-free and didn’t require treatment, they’d be looking at malpractice and wrongful death suits. And if they did so knowingly, rather than in ignorance, then yeah, they’d be up for murder, too.

    I think the key to all of this is disclosure. Yes, alternative methods work for some people and not others, and belief plays a big role — but the practitioners *need to be able to tell* whether or not their methods are working, and to advise their clients accordingly. It’s not about “did it work, or didn’t it,” in this case, really. Evidently, it didn’t work, and the patient was (allegedly) misinformed — that’s the issue. If it’s true that this woman, in a professional capacity, told this woman she was cancer-free (whether knowing or not knowing that this was false), then she should face the consequences. Anything less actually undercuts alternative healing, I think — it says, “this isn’t real medicine, they can’t be expected to be held to any sort of standard.” Know what I mean?

    Not sure if I’m making sense here. It’s an emotional subject for many, I’m sure, but that’s exactly why I don’t think it does much good to treat any given case as a broad-brush showdown between two types of medicine.

    • Christine Garvin

      Eva, I appreciate and agree with your point of view–alternative practitioners should be held up to standards in the same way that allopathic practitioners are. And I can also see the point that there are plenty of intuitives/psychics etc. that are frauds (hence my point in the beginning), or they read the energy of the moment, instead of the actual future. In cases that this fraudulent or present-moment type of reading leads to death, the practitioner should be held accountable in some way.

      But my point is that I wonder if we are getting the whole story here…like the supplement companies that are being run after by the government. I’m the first to agree that we need supplements to be regulated–there is a lot of crap out there that people are spending a lot of money on and it can actually harm their health. But who is pushing the regulation of the supplement industry? The pharmaceutical industry, and they want to be the ones to regulate it. That means billions of dollars in their pocket that they are currently losing to supplement companies AND they will inevitably change many vitamins and minerals into prescription drugs. I want experts in alternative health and vitamins and minerals to regulate supplementation.

      Sorry, that may be a long and convoluted explanation of something that is pretty simple: Follow the money. Sometimes these types of cases are set as a precedent in order to tear at the fabric of a particular alternative method, and bring the money back to the standard method. I’m not saying this is true in this case–what is written sounds pretty damning–but as we all know, the news is often skewed.

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