The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

Sue St. Clair doesn’t diagnose patients or prescribe medication like a doctor. But the Nashville resident knows how to heal people. For the past 13 years she’s practiced BodyTalk, a holistic healing system that addresses a person’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and physiological needs.

BodyTalk utilizes the discoveries of traditional Chinese medicine and bioenergetic psychology to understand how the body functions. Characterized as consciousness-based healing, the method involves targeting the energy fields around the body and removing the blocks — caused by physical injury or emotional pain — that can cause illness. 

“It begins at a spiritual level, but it also is emotional. Everything begins with a thought,” Sue says. “The thought turns into an emotion, the emotion travels through the nervous system and then into the physical body, so where does the thought come from? It comes from the mind. The mind is a part of the soul.”

BodyTalk practitioners like Sue use neuromuscular biofeedback to learn all the information the body needs for it to do its healing. They then utilize the technique of tapping to stimulate the brain to correct broken circuits and stimulate the heart to circulate the corrected energy throughout the body.

“[After] I know that I have all the information the body needs for it to do its healing, I tap on the top of the head, basically saying to the brain, ‘Hey, wake up. You want to consider this information for healing,’” Sue says. “I tap on the heart and say, ‘Here’s new healthy information that you need to spread throughout the body, so the body can take advantage of it.’

The Baha’i writings describe this type of healing:

The other kind of healing without medicine is through the magnetic force which acts from one body to another, and becomes the cause of cure. This force also has only a slight effect. Sometimes one can benefit a sick person by placing one’s hand upon his head and upon his heart. Why? Because of the effect of magnetism, and of the mental impression made upon the sick person which causes the disease to vanish. Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions

Magnetism characterizes the interaction between two forces of energy. And Sue says she can do this energy, or consciousness-based, healing long distance. 

“The best way for me to describe it, as far as long distance energy healing, is the concept of and the understanding — and this is scientifically proven now — that there is such a thing as universal consciousness. That means all of our individual consciousnesses [are] connected to a larger consciousness,” Sue says. 

This means  we can also connect to each other, says Sue. “That’s where we get our information from for these scientific discoveries —  new artistic kinds of things where we get inspired to do something new or different that has never been done before. It comes from universal consciousness.” 

The Baha’i Writings discuss this connection between all created things in the universe:

Likewise, look into this endless universe: a universal power inevitably existeth, which encompasseth all, directing and regulating all the parts of this infinite creation; and were it not for this Director, this Co-ordinator, the universe would be flawed and deficient…Furthermore, although all created things grow and develop, yet are they subjected to influences from without. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha

Sue explains that the brain “is a tool that the mind uses in order to communicate in this world. The mind is an aspect of the soul, so when you are doing a body talk session, you are actually working at that higher energy level or that soul level of the person.” 

The Baha’i Writings also emphasize the power of spiritual healing:

To conclude, the complete and perfect connection between the spiritual doctor and the sick person – that is, a connection of such a kind that the spiritual doctor entirely concentrates himself, and all the attention of the sick person is given to the spiritual doctor from whom he expects to realise health – causes an excitement of the nerves, and health is produced. – Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions

“Right now, it’s almost a mystical thing for us because we don’t know a lot about that way of being or doing — we’re learning,” Sue says of her BodyTalk practice. And although this type of healing still surprises many people, Sue believes in the future, “it will be a no-brainer.”

 “Sometimes when I’m doing a session, I’ll break out laughing and can’t stop,” Sue says. She’s overwhelmed with “the joy, wonder, and awesomeness” of spiritual healing.

If you have any concerns or questions about your health always consult your physician for medical advice and treatment.


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  • Jeanine Goodson Hensley
    Feb 26, 2020
    Our instincts were right on. Just ran across this article that validates what we've been saying. It also reflects how frustrated people are who try to explain why something is actually pseudoscience against an uphill battle of resistance.
  • Keith Verry
    Feb 26, 2020
    Thanks for adding the medical disclaimer. It would also be good if it was clearly stated that BodyTalk has not been verified in clinical studies to heal one's physical or physiological ills, because surely this article implies it.
  • J Thomas Pawlowski
    Feb 25, 2020
    There is much we don't understand about healing: the involvement of the mind, emotions... Placebo effect is real as is the belief of a patient in the attention and compassion of the healer. This article gives just a fractional view of Baha'i teachings on healing. The main counsel is to seek out competent physicians and also to pray. One quotation in the article calls out a "slight effect" of things in the category of this healing method which is hardly an endorsement. The methods described herein lack a scientific examination. If they work at all it is due to the ...lovely nature and concern of the practitioner, confidence of the patient, or other effects yet to be understood. Certainly the explanation of the practitioner is unsatisfying.
  • Mana Parast
    Feb 25, 2020
    I appreciate how as Baha'is we want to believe such treatments work, but it is important to emphasize that any treatment, be it standard or alternative, has to be tested using the scientific method, before it is applied to patients with a claim that it helps/works. Performing trials to test these hypotheses is hard work, but it is necessary before we (as Baha'is who believe science to be the most great virtue) accept such treatments. "Independent investigation of truth" includes the word "investigation" (as in application of scientific method). While I can appreciate the motivation to want help people, I do not appreciate the lack of rigor applied to most alternative therapies before they are advocated.
  • Silvia Ascari
    Feb 25, 2020
    For any non-Baha'is reading this - I just hope it's clear that not all Baha'is believe in this method of healing. Shoghi Effendi, the guardian of the Faith, has on numerous occasions stressed that there is no "Baha'i" mode of healing, that we are not to associate ANY mode of healing with the Faith, and that the Baha'i Faith pertains to spiritual, not physical, aspects of human beings. Not bodies, but souls. People are free to do what they want, obviously, but I think someone should make it clear that Baha'is DON'T have to do this, if they believe other ...forms of medicine are more competent, as per Baha'u'llah's instructions on going only to competent physicians when ill.
  • Jill Meadows
    Feb 24, 2020
    Thank you for this article and highlighting this beautiful mode of healing! I love the quotes you included! And the straightforward and lucid explanation of the connection between our brain, mind, emotions, nervous system and the effects on our body. This is rich territory and there is so much to be learned about this pervasive "universal power" and how we can assist people in healing from trauma and emotional wounds in a gentle and supportive way. Thank you!
  • Cynthia Barnes Slater
    Feb 24, 2020
    This article is from the writer’s perspective and as such it represents “independent investigation of the truth” and is a welcome addition to the exploration of the harmony between science and religion!!
  • Cynthia Barnes Slater
    Feb 24, 2020
    Thank you for sharing your perspective of non-traditional healing methods and considering the Bahá’í Writings’ reference. Your essay reminds me of a fundamental principle “independent investigation of truth.” It appears that some of the commentators on this essay have forgotten that principle as well as the one about “the shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.“ There are many Bahá’ís who believe in and practice Reiki another ancient, energy healing practice so clearly, you are not alone. Thank you again for your brilliant, thought-provoking essay which was read by me as NOT an absolute ...endorsement of alternative healing vs traditional medicine. Keep on keeping on!
  • Jocelyn Anderson
    Feb 23, 2020
    Thank you so much for writing such a forward thinking informative article. Of course Abdu'l-Baha in his tablet to a physician and his compilations on health and healing mentions the power of spiritual healing, the power of diet and waters to heal, concentrated thought and even hands on healing. Of course medical science still has a lot to learn about disease and healing and these adjuncts help not hinder conventional treatments.
  • Grace J. Keene
    Feb 21, 2020
    This is fascinating. I love this article. Thank you so much for delving into this topic!