About The Film

Can Spiritual Healing legitimately work with modern medicine?

Current British research suggests that spiritual healing could revolutionize medicine as we know it.

Producer Dena Barnett’s personal journey across Europe and America offers a fresh perspective on what constitutes healing.

Documentary Summary

“Spiritual Healing: A New Frontier in Medicine” explores a human ability that is ancient, and which has resurfaced through the lens of modern science.

Producer Dena Barnett’s documentary takes us on a personal and scientific journey across Europe and America where we discover the role of consciousness in healing, and how it will transform modern medicine.

Dena Barnett is a former teacher and was a long-term caregiver for her late father. Her personal journey in healing began the day she met a healer for the first time, as well as her Father’s suggestion that she trace her great grandfather’s burial site.

There are very few great tsaddikim or Hasidic spiritual leaders buried in England. It is a rare thing, but there are people who have witnessed healing miracles in this particular cemetery.

At the gravesite belonging to a prestigious Rumanian Rabbi, she witnessed hundreds of people praying in and around his tomb. She was intrigued. These ‘pilgrims’ had traveled across the world in search of one man’s holy compassion.

She wasn’t aware of this at the time, but she had witnessed the profound act of spiritual healing: Tsaddick worship, one of the most intriguing contemporary practices of worship in the 21st century.

Curious to know more, Dena was inspired to start an investigation into the role that healing and consciousness play within science and medicine.

Film Synopsis

“Spiritual Healing: A New Frontier in Medicine” is about the intersection of healing and medicine. The film explores the current UK research evidence, led by researchers from the University of Birmingham and Northampton University, which strongly supports a role for spiritual healing in modern medicine.

Dena’s film answers the important questions about a controversial topic – the who, what, why and where. As she travels across Europe and America, she discovers the inside story of healing by meeting actual healers whose work has transformed the lives of thousands, and whose contributions have helped change communities, hospitals, and medical schools, where medical students are reclaiming humanistic skills that have been long-neglected.

The film profiles acclaimed writer-doctors such as Larry Dossey MD., who has dedicated over thirty years of his life to literary and practical work about healing, and the role of consciousness and spirituality in health.

Other authorities include academician-researcher William Bengston and psychologist-researcher Lawrence LeShan. Both these scholars were initially skeptical about healing, but their research and clinical experiences dramatically changed their views.

For more information and how to support this film, click here for our to GoFundMe page.

Dena Barnett, Producer

photo: Erin Clark

Dena Barnett is an independent British film producer with over twenty years experience in film and TV production and the arts.

She graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in Contemporary Arts, and qualified as an English and Drama teacher.

In the 1990’s she formed two cross arts companies with her partners, and produced and raised funding for two arts festivals in partnership with Nottingham Council.

Dena was a researcher in Arts & Entertainment and Factual Documentary at Carlton TV, as well as assistant director for the international feature film 24/7 with Bob Hoskins. Dena also freelanced for the BBC and Channel 4.

Barnett began work on her first documentary film, “Spiritual Healing: A New Frontier in Medicine”, in 2015.

Producers Statement

Why did I make this film? “Did I lose someone to cancer? Am I a healer? Do I have a serious illness? Or am I a reformed skeptic?

No; the most important factor was my experience as a full-time caregiver for my Father for almost ten years and the fact that I lost both my parents to cancer. As a caregiver, my world revolved around health and healthcare issues. But while ‘there is nothing more important than the health of our loved ones’, I felt helpless and very often hopeless in dealing with everyday issues.

Something needed to change in my life.

Although I’ve always been interested in medicine, science and religion have always confused me.  As a non-religious person from a liberal and orthodox Jewish family I was baffled by the idea of spirituality. Should I have to describe myself as spiritual but not religious? And what does spirituality actually mean?  Am I spiritual? Thus, my confusion.

By 2015, I had been involved in a 10- year search of my paternal family, whose history dates back to the last Tsar of Russia. During his reign, he employed over six doctors. If my family story is true, one of these doctors is related to my great grandfather, an East European Rabbi who is buried in a cemetery in North London. I had not known him, however, and decided to search for his grave and further information. But my search was interrupted.

There are very few great tsaddikim or Hasidic spiritual leaders buried in England. It is a rare thing, but there are people who have witnessed healing miracles in this particular cemetery.

At the gravesite belonging to a prestigious Rumanian Rabbi, I witnessed hundreds of people praying in and around his tomb. I was intrigued. These ‘pilgrims’ had travelled across the world in search of one man’s holy compassion.

I wasn’t aware of this at the time, but I had witnessed the profound act of spiritual healing. It was one of the most intriguing contemporary practices of worship in the 21st century; Tsaddik worship.

I was curious. I wanted to understand the concept of prayer and healing. So, I began to research this phenomenon and talked to some of the experts in London and America. People like Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis, lecturer in Kabbalah and rabbinic literature at the University of North Texas. He taught me that, “Whatever is effective as a remedy is not witchcraft”.

What is a Tsaddik, and why have they become so fashionable to Jews and non-Jews? What is Kabbalah and why does it play such a large part in the revival of mysticism, particularly in the virtual reality world? Why does the cultural concept mysticism come to include Jewish mysticism and also non–Jewish mysticism, and even on -religious mysticism and magic?

Philosophers grapple with the mechanics or metaphysics of prayer, the process of how it works. If a person is worthy of a reward, should God not give it to him without the need for prayer? So what does prayer add? And, Spiritual Healing? What is it? Does it work? If so, does it have a place in modern medicine? Can it prevent as well as heal disease?

This film is research driven. For the better part of three years, I have tried to understand the story of healing and the role healing plays in modern medicine. But our story of healing today cannot be like the healing story told by earlier cultures, because we have learnt to speak the language of empirical science.  As Larry Dossey MD points out, ‘’science is our language, and our story of who we are needs to be anchored in it.’’

If we are to honor the language and methods of empirical science, our picture of consciousness needs to be consistent with science. Currently, it is not. It is entrenched in the biomedical, materialistic view.

I decided that a film about healing was vitally needed, but that it should not deal exclusively with Jewish Spiritual Healing, as important as it is. I also wanted to find out if ‘healing’ could define itself through other means beyond history and scientific hypothesis.

The best way to understand the notion of healing was to meet a healer.  I knew from the outset that access was going to be the most important element producing this story. I didn’t want to make a film that was a recitation of facts (something that relied on talking head interviews and an authoritative voice-over narration); I wanted to find a personal story of an individual’s journey through this therapy.

But I ended up doing the opposite of what I thought a good film should be. From a storytelling standpoint, I thought it would be compelling to document a few real people on actual healing journeys.

We interviewed the experts to understand the science, but in the words of my director, “We did not have a robust example of a healing” – in other words, a miracle).

I interviewed several people who chose spiritual healing in combination with conventional medicine who wanted to share their stories. Their families, however, were less enthusiastic.

Again: Why did I make this film? It’s really about introducing the evidence-evidence not only that spiritual healing works, but also evidence for the crucial need for an overall integrated, complimentary, healthy medical environment. Such an environment would honor the evidence wherever it takes us, whether towards spiritual healing or towards the use of medications and surgery that have been scientifically validated as effective. A healthy healing environment would not be ideological, but eclectic.

The message of this film, therefore, is not anti-medication, is not anti-surgery, and not anti-western medicine, its intention is to raise awareness of spiritual healing, the what, how, and why. But there is an even greater story. I hope this film – it’s scientific evidence, thoughtful stories, and spiritual insights-can help shift the current medical model from one of symptom management and surviving, to one of true wellness and thriving through the healthy influence of spiritual healing. If we can dispel some of the ingrained myths that circulate around this subject, I’m confident we can meet this challenge. But this film also challenges healers. Science has its limits, it can tell us how to lower our cholesterol level, but not whether it is inherently good to do so. It can instruct us on how to make lethal weapons, but is silent on whether or not they should be used. Healers, therefore, are not required to permit science always to have the last word. In many areas of human endeavor and behavior, science has not only had the final word, it has hardly had the first word. In healing, we look beyond science when helpful; we look beyond science when necessary.

This film suggests a dual approach. We should employ all we are- spiritual wisdom and the logic and reasons of science- if we are to achieve greatness of which we are capable.

~ Dena Barnett, 2019

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“The greatest problem is not the acceptance of the reality of spiritual healing, but the implications of such an acceptance.”

Aubrey Rose, CBE OBE

Spiritual Healer, Author and Human Rights Lawyer

“Spiritual healing is the most ancient form of healing known to humankind. It takes many forms and is expressed in various ways. The recent entry of scientific evidence into this arena is of monumental importance. Dena Barnett’s film explores how the spiritual and the scientific complement each other, and how spiritually based conscious intentions can seamlessly enrich scientific modes of healing. The medicine of the future will recognize this harmonious fusion, as materialistic science increasingly recognizes the role of consciousness in our world.”

Larry Dossey

M.D. and Author

a film by Dena Barnett

SPIRITUAL HEALING

A NEW FRONTIER IN MEDICINE

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