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BodyTalk is a holistic therapy grounded in the belief that people have the capability to heal themselves more effectively than technology can, with ‘innate wisdom’. Can it help this writer with her headaches? Photo: Shutterstock

BodyTalk holistic therapy taps your powers of self-healing by reading your ‘unique frequency’ – could it solve a lifelong migraine problem?

  • Combining ‘elements of Eastern and Western medicine to facilitate personal healing and growth’ is how BodyTalk practitioner Angie Tourani describes the therapy
  • Anthea Rowan has a remote session with Tourani to see if it can stop her migraines. It doesn’t, but she finds it has value by forcing her to listen to her body

BodyTalk is a therapy, one that I’d always dismissed as woo-woo medicine. How could talk treat a physiological ailment? But – and it’s a big but – I have friends who swear by it, friends who aren’t woo-woo at all, who are grounded, competent, common-sense women.

“It feels a bit like your body has been defragmented, put back together again,” one such friend told me. “Things ‘fit better’ afterwards.”

I liked the idea of that – of being undone and put back together again. So, with that in mind, I attended my first remote (isn’t everything these days?) session with Angie Tourani, who is in Hong Kong.

Tourani trained in BodyTalk when her children were young. “I was tired of giving them antibiotics for recurring ear infections which were compromising my daughter’s hearing,” she said. When doctors recommended surgery to install tubes to prevent infections and hearing loss, she looked for a natural, non-invasive alternative.
Certified BodyTalk practitioner and instructor Angie Tourani, pictured in Central, Hong Kong, has been practising the therapy for 15 years and teaching it for over 10. Photo: SCMP/Jonathan Wong

Equipped with the fundamentals of BodyTalk, Tourani started practising on her family – and their health improved dramatically, she says. She has now been practising it for 15 years and teaching it for over 10.

Tourani describes BodyTalk as a holistic therapy grounded in the belief that living organisms have the capability to heal themselves more effectively than technology can. “It combines elements of both Eastern and Western medicine to facilitate personal healing and growth,” she says.

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Some doctors, family physicians, and even surgeons, swear by a combined East/West approach. London-based cardiologist Dr Boon Lim says that “modern – read ‘Western’ – medicine is good for preventing death, and traditional – often Eastern – practices are good for promoting wellness”.

By addressing the whole person – taking a holistic approach rather than just tackling one specific issue – BodyTalk provides a “health care system that promotes emotional, physical and physiological well-being”, Tourani says.

The approach is based on a number of key beliefs – that the body can heal itself using what practitioners call “innate wisdom”; that stress impacts overall health; and that the body communicates via energetic circuitry and stress can interrupt healthy communication. This does not sound too “woo woo”.

I can ‘tune in’ to your unique energy frequency, access the information necessary to conduct the session and facilitate healing.
Angie Tourani, BodyTalk practitioner

Tourani and I face one another through our respective screens – she in Hong Kong, me a long way away. Her voice is soft and melodic. She describes how she’s going to “defrag me”, like you would a congested computer; she tells me the layering up of stress has left me in a highly sensitised state, always in fight-or-flight mode.

And this is true: I catastrophise exhaustively. A doctor has previously observed: “Your poor adrenal glands, they must be under relentless pressure.” I have already completed a questionnaire, so Tourani knows the problem I hope to address: migraines.

On her instruction, I close my eyes. And keep my mind open. You do not need to believe in BodyTalk for it to work, Tourani has told me. However, keeping an open mind definitely helps.

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“Think of your mind as a receiving station for information. If your mind is closed, resistant or highly doubtful, it will be less receptive to the energy of the session,” she said.

Headaches are just one condition BodyTalk treats – along with allergies, intolerances, insomnia, anxiety and depression. I am encouraged that a previous client reports good results.

The BodyTalk System was developed in the 1990s by John Veltheim. From Australia, Veltheim ran a successful clinic in Brisbane for 15 years and was principal of the Brisbane College of Acupuncture and Natural Therapies for five years. He adopted the system to manage his own poor health.

John Veltheim is the creator of the BodyTalk system. Photo: Facebook/John Veltheim

If I’d been in Tourani’s clinic, lying on her massage table, she’d be touching my arm as she conducts the session. But I’m sitting at my desk on the other side of the world. With my eyes closed. When my husband steps briefly into my office, so that I must hiss at him under my breath to get out, he thinks I’m sleeping on the job.

I ask Tourani how a remote session can possibly work. “To provide a simplified explanation, we could say that everything is energy. When you deconstruct anything physical, you end up with molecules, atoms, subatomic particles and ultimately, frequencies of energy,” she says.

“Everything – every person – has a unique frequency the same as every radio or television station,” Tourani adds. “I can ‘tune in’ to your unique energy frequency, access the information necessary to conduct the session and facilitate healing.”

Angie Tourani works on her client Anmol Nanani in Central, Hong Kong. Photo: SCMP/Jonathan Wong

I begin to feel incredibly relaxed – Tourani’s tones are restful and easy on the ear. More relaxed than I’ve felt in weeks (after a period of extended stress). So relaxed, in fact, that I might fall asleep.

That stress dissipates during the session as Tourani asks the occasional question and I am forced to face the things that I’ve been anxious about, and consider how my stress has manifested, why, and why I felt it so acutely.

I am struck with the thought that this alone makes BodyTalk important: it is rare that we take time to step out of our lives and objectively consider the stress that affects them, and recognise their effect – almost always negative – on our physiological well-being.

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According to WebMD, 75 to 90 per cent of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Stress plays a part in a whole host of problems – high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, anxiety and, yes, headaches. I can see that analysing stress could have enormously beneficial impacts on my health.

BodyTalk, Tourani says, “enhances and strengthens the body’s immune system by improving the communication pathways between the brain and the immune system”. I don’t know about that. But I do know that stress compromises immunity enormously, and that this fact has been proven by science.

A 2021 study conducted by doctors in Australia showed that stress can dramatically affect the way our immune system responds to pathogens and tumours, for example.

But how widely is BodyTalk actually recognised? The Federal Health Department upholds the BodyTalk System in Australia, and in France, BodyTalk has been officially recognised as a practice under “non-conventional health care activities”.

There are 200 BodyTalk practitioners teaching the system in 50 countries. Tourani teaches in Hong Kong.

I’d like to tell you that my migraines vanished. But they haven’t. And despite my open mind, I didn’t really expect them to: I’ve battled with them my entire life, I’ve seen countless neurologists, been prescribed all sorts of medications. How could a single 20-minute session change that?

But, I was migraine-free for a while after my session; I enjoyed a longer interval between attacks, my head felt clean – as if something had been unclogged. Defragmented, even. I felt calmer.

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Perhaps that’s BodyTalk’s greatest value: it makes us sit up and pay attention to what’s happening in our lives and how that could be undoing our well-being.

It forces us to listen to our bodies. And that has to be a good thing.

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