Case Studies

Here are a number of real-life stories to give you an idea of how Healing Touch® and Healing Touch for Animals® have touched families and animals. Read about Bentley, a Collie who was struck with Vestibular Syndrome and lost the ability to walk; Terri, a woman who frequently experienced debilitating headaches who is now living pain-free; and, Brook, a horse who was severely injured when she became tangled in the fence line.


This was taken on one of Bentley's first trips outside after he started walking. He had been walking a little ways and was "fighting" to stay up on his own. Notice how his hair is missing on the back end - that was where he was shaved for the myelogram.
Bentley is a 10-year-old Collie who was struck by Vestibular Syndrome in late February 2012. Vestibular Syndrome is characterized by a rapid onset of disorientation, dizziness, and often inability to stand. Bentley's case mirrored all of these characteristics - with no prior symptoms, within minutes he became extremely disoriented and unable to stand. His guardians, Brenda and Mac Porter of Chillicothe, OH, rushed him to his regular veterinarian in Columbus, OH, where he was diagnosed and hospitalized for two days.
While the Vestibular symptoms had diminished at the time of his discharge, Bentley came home unable to raise and hold his head up without assistance, his back legs were limp and could not bear weight, and he held his front legs rigid in front of him. Even the slightest attempt to move him would cause Bentley to "paw at the air" as though he was trying to hold onto something for balance. Brenda spoke daily with Bentley's regular veterinarian and after a few days home, they agreed Bentley should be hospitalized once again. Bentley was connected to an IV for hydration and a catheter for elimination. His appetite greatly decreased, but he was able to eat small amounts of solid dog food, which Brenda supplemented with special treats (i.e., cooked chicken, etc.) from home. The Vestibular Syndrome appeared to have resolved itself, but Bentley still was unable to stand. Numerous x-rays and a myelogram performed by their regular veterinarian showed no reason why Bentley could not stand. Brenda and Mac had an Animal Chiropractor visit Bentley; the physical manipulation seemed to provide some relief, but not enough to motivate Bentley to move. Bentley's regular veterinarian was fully supportive from the start, believing Bentley would recover and it was a matter of time before he would walk again - but conveying that to Bentley and making him believe it was another story! The Porters also contacted an Animal Communicator; one thing she learned from Bentley was that he perceived several of the clinic staff had a rather negative attitude about his prognosis. At about this same time, Brenda had a phone conversation with one of the staff veterinarians, who told her that in his professional opinion Bentley would never walk again and he should be euthanized.
Brenda and Mac refused to believe this about Bentley, and with the agreement of their regular veterinarian, decided to take him home so that they could surround him with only positive attitudes. It was at about this time that Brenda learned of the Alpha Healing Arts, and the fact that Jill worked on animals. Bentley received one Healing Touch for Animals (HTA) treatment from Jill while still at the vet's office; all other treatments were provided at his home.
Initially, Bentley could do nothing more than lay on his side, with very brief attempts to raise his head. During one of the first treatments at home, while Jill was repairing his Hara Line, Bentley suddenly began trying mightily to stand. Everyone present, including Jill, was caught off guard by his actions; he wasn't successful in his attempt but he received lots of praise for his efforts! Over the next several weeks, Bentley and his family continued an intense daily regimen of range of motion exercises to strengthen his leg muscles; Brenda and Mac also devised a way to work together to help Bentley stand for brief periods of time. They told Bentley, "You can do it because you're Collie Dog!" And they only allowed people with a positive attitude to be in his presence. In addition, he had a cheering squad across the country who were checking in regularly via email or phone to hear about his progress.
Bentley continued to receive regular HTA treatments from Jill. Each time she visited it was clear that Bentley was making progress. He became able to move from lying on his side to his belly, and then shift from hip-to-hip. He began to pull himself across the floor with his front legs. And once given a boost to stand, he could remain on his feet and walk somewhat unsteadily for longer and longer periods. His overall affect brightened, too. In mid-May, Brenda scheduled another session with the Animal Communicator, at which time Bentley told her that the floor was moving; he also stated that he was having pain in his right hip. Jill then chose to complete a Space Clearing™ in every area that Bentley was in when he first began to stagger from the onset of Vestibular Syndrome - the garage, and every room on the first floor of the house. She also addressed the right hip pain. The Space Clearing™ brought about a major breakthrough for Bentley. He became much more active, and required less and less help to pull to stand. Once on his feet, he was almost unstoppable. And since it was spring, he began to go outside for some of his exercise, which he loved. Some days he simply didn't want to go back inside his house!
With all of this progress, though, Bentley still would not make the final effort to pull himself to his feet. Jill felt that this had become a behavioral issue, so she used Bridging with Behavior Change™ to let Bentley know that everyone was proud of the efforts he had made, and it was time to get up on his own. He continued to require assistance from Brenda and Mac when in their presence, but it began to be clear that he was getting up and moving around when he was by himself.
Then it was time to suggest a behavior change on the part of the humans! Brenda and Mac had always provided Bentley with a piece of hot dog or some other treat, paired with praise, to reinforce his efforts to stand. Jill told them about intermittent reinforcement, in which they would continue to offer Bentley verbal praise but would only offer the treat now and then when he was getting up. And it was also time for Brenda and Mac to raise the bar with Bentley - he had come to expect their help, even though he didn't need it. Jill recommended teaching him to lose that expectation by waiting him out and letting him get himself to his feet, again using intermittent edible reinforcement. She also taught them that when changing a behavior, they should always expect it to get worse before it gets better. In Bentley's case, that meant he would likely test them for a while before he fully believed he would no longer always get a morsel of food and that they really did expect him to get up on his own.
Bentley continues to progress and grow stronger. As of this writing, in early October 2012, he is regularly standing up by himself and is even going up and down steps with more confidence and less assistance. The little things that made Bentley who he was have continued to return - raising a front paw to request a treat (he can even do this when standing!), ambling down to the creek to see what's going on, or walking next door to visit "grandma" (Brenda's mom). Thanks to the unwavering dedication of Brenda and Mac, and Bentley's fighting spirit, the sky's the limit for this Collie Dog!


Terri Arredondo requested Healing Touch treatments primarily due to what she termed "stress headaches" - intense pain that would occur repeatedly over the course of several days; sometimes it seemed as if the same headache remained in place for two to three days. Her primary way to deal with the pain was to take Ibuprofen, though that rarely helped at all. Also, Terri was diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, which has resulted in chronic but intermittent low back pain as an adult. At Terri's first Healing Touch treatment, Jill completed a Mind Clearing on her. This technique helps to clear and balance the brain; it is particularly helpful for people experiencing headaches. A Chakra Connection was also offered, followed by some back techniques. At the completion of the session, Terri's words were, "I don't feel muddled, though my back pain is still there". Jill informed her that the benefits of Healing Touch back work sometimes takes a few days after the treatment to be felt. Terri continues to receive regular Healing Touch treatments; she typically gets one about once a month. Her back pain continues to bother her occasionally; when it does she requests that Jill do a back technique on her. She has not had another stress headache since she began receiving Healing Touch treatments. She believes this is due to the benefits of the Mind Clearing, which she asks Jill to start each session with. Terri has also embraced the teaching of mindfulness that Jill has offered her.


This is the story of Brook, written by the Founding Director of WHINNY Horse Rescue. Photos of Brook's most severe injuries are not included due to their graphic nature. During the last weekend of September, Brook, one of the horses in our rescue program became entangled in an electric fence wire that ran along the center of our woven wire fence. Her right rear leg was severely injured and she had numerous cuts and scrapes on her body caused by her efforts to free herself. Her injuries were severe. She was confined to her stall. To ward off infection she was given two antibiotics. She was also given something for the pain, but it wasn't enough.

Jill Zimmerman of Alpha Healing Arts read about Brook's accident on our Facebook page and contacted us. She came the following day. Brook was in pain and still suffering from mild shock. From the minute Jill entered her stall, you could see an immediate reaction from Brook. The more time Jill spent with her the calmer Brook became. It was if the pain had all been washed away. Brook became so relaxed that she actually fell asleep and I believe that is when her healing began.

Brook's past experiences with humans were not good ones, and she is a skeptic. She has a "what do you want from me now" attitude. She doesn't open herself up and won't allow herself to trust. We've had Brook in our rescue program for five years. Even though she accepts us as her caregivers and may in some way actually care for us, she still appears to "tolerate" us. I truly believe that Brook accepted Jill into her self-created "safe-zone"; for some abused horses, this is how they exist in the human world.

It's been three weeks since Brook's injury. Jill has made several return trips to work with Brook and her healing is quite evident. Brook looks forward to seeing Jill. I think she's claimed her as part of her herd.

We are thrilled that Jill has offered her services to our organization.

Mary Jones, Founding Director
WHINNY Horse Rescue
Crooksville, OH

Postscript: Brook took an unexpected turn for the worse and passed away on October 13, 2012.


Sheri is a 53-year-old woman who has Bipolar Disorder. Here is her story in her words. The accompanying artwork is also hers.

When I was 18, after a suicide attempt, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and extreme anxiety. When I was around 40, after years of wild ups and downs I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 1. Later on, after heinous abuse by my ex-husband, a diagnosis of PTSD was added. Physically, I'm in relatively good shape for my age, which is 53; but mentally I was a huge mess. I was deemed disabled, unable to work due to my mental condition. I haven't had any manic episodes for a very long time, but I had treatment-resistant depression for over a year. I must have taken every SSRI-type antidepressant in existence. I have since found out that there are some people who are SSRI-resistant. My psychiatrist, who prescribes my medication, actually said to me "I don't know what else to do for you", which left me feeling hopeless and in despair. In January 2011, I finally decided to have ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), which can be a miracle to some people that don't respond to medication. To me, however, it was a nightmare. After six treatments, there was no significant improvement. I was left feeling flat, no desire to do the any of the things I used to enjoy doing, no appetite, and significant memory loss. I was told I would have some short-term memory loss of the time around the treatment, but I had considerable long-term memory loss as well. In March, I went to a health fair and won a session of Healing Touch. I was a bit skeptical since I'm a no-nonsense logical person and had never paid much attention to anything to do with chakras or body energy. I figured no loss in giving it a try, and I went to my first appointment with an open mind. I was at the point where I was willing to try almost anything to relieve the depression. I finally went to Alpha Healing Arts in April. Jill took a very thorough medical history, and we discussed the physical as well as mental aspects of my problems. She was very kind and explained things extremely well, so I basically knew what to expect. It turned out to be an amazing experience. I went from feeling hopeless despair to having a sense of calm and well-being. A bonus was that a small physical problem I was having actually disappeared. Each week since seemed to be more incredible than the last, and eventually my depression disappeared. I also started taking an old-style MAOI medication, but I didn't really feel the depression lift until after I started the Healing Touch treatments. I did have one trigger that started a depressive episode, but after a particularly intense session with Jill, I was back to feeling fantastic again. I have also gone from being a dyed-in-the-wool atheist to researching different aspects of spirituality. I have discussed the Healing Touch treatments with my therapist, and she agrees that it is an important adjunct treatment with my medication and therapy sessions. Healing Touch was never intended nor promoted as an alternative to medication. Bipolar Disorder is a chemical imbalance, and as such it is necessary to take medication to help control the symptoms. I view Healing Touch as a vital part of my remission and continuing well-being. If you have any questions for me, or are interested in my life with bipolar disorder, I can be reached through my blog at

Noble - Arabian Horse

Noble is a five-year old Arabian horse whose owner, Krisitin Colwell Harkins of Windabrae Farm, has been unable to get a halter on him since the age of two. Noble was referred to Alpha Healing Arts by his owner because of his inability to get over his fear of the halter. The short-term goal for Noble was to have him accept wearing the halter so that those working with him could control him as any horse should be. The long-term goal was to have Noble compete as an English Pleasure Performance Horse.

Initially, several sessions were devoted to Noble getting comfortable with Jill before a halter was even brought into his stall. It was clear that he had had very little hands on contact from humans. Each visit included use of Healing Touch for Animals® to ground and balance Noble. Jill used Lavender Essential Oil at the first visit as an aid to help Noble relax. He loved it so much that it has been used at every session since.

Once Noble trusted Jill and was comfortable enough to allow her to touch most of his body, the halter was introduced. At the outset, lavender oil was rubbed on the halter and Noble was encouraged to smell and nuzzle it. Then the strap was gently rubbed over his face and neck. Next, Jill worked with Noble to get him to feel safe to have the halter placed over his nose. Eventually, she began to put the straps over each side of his neck with no attempt to hook them. Finally, Jill worked on putting all steps together so that Noble could successfully wear a halter.

This has been a slow, gradual process. Much time has been spent on building Noble's self confidence. This has been accomplished through lots of praise and positive physical attention while he is working. As importantly, Jill has devoted considerable time to communicating with Noble to encourage him to recognize what he has accomplished and to believe in himself. This has been one of the greatest challenges, as Noble is well aware that his many fears have set him apart from other horses and they have also kept him from meeting his potential.

Noble recently found the courage to allow his halter to be put on him by Kristin. The photo taken of him once it was on shows a horse wearing his halter with ease, confidence, and pride. Way to go, Noble!