BAY, Laguna ? Stripped of amulets and charms but armed with the principle that ?an illness of the body is an illness of the spirit,? Noni del Mundo believes healing must be a holistic cure of body, mind and soul.
?[When you are sick] you are longing for somebody. It means you are disconnected. And unknowingly, you are looking for God ? not in theory but in experience,? explains the 58-year-old ?manghihilot? (traditional healer) who has been studying the indigenous art of healing since 1989.
In 2002, Del Mundo started the Hilot Pinoy (Philippine traditional healing), which combines orthodox and natural healing. ?A movement of spirit-filled people? is how she describes its over 300 practitioners.
Among the many methods of traditional healing, Del Mundo distinguishes hers by employing an integrated modality ?of healing the spirit, mind and body.? Healing to her begins by ?breaking through? the barriers of physical body and mind.
?It is that simple awareness that there is Someone who has greater powers than your doctors, parents or yourself,? she says.
Del Mundo demonstrates how ?breakthrough? is achieved in a simple exercise at the start of the healing session. ?You have to first focus and surrender yourself and your wants to God.?
This is not easy, she says, as negative and worldly thoughts such as busy schedules, bills to pay and things to buy would normally come their way. ?Mind is the battleground of good and evil. [But] by breathing and concentrating on counting your breath from one to ten, one gains control over the mind and do away with other thoughts.?
Patients are set off to a dreamless sleep through the ?dagdagay,? a native foot reflex massage that also diagnoses illnesses in the head zone, thoracic area, abdomen, spine, pelvic and reproductive organ and extremities through reflex points.
The brief but deep doze helps them regain connection with God until they develop ?that intense desire to be cured.?
?That?s the big difference,? Del Mundo said.
According to her, massage parlors are simply for relaxation, while medical treatment is fragmental as it cures only the physical body.
?Hilot is a gift from God. Anyone, with the sincere desire to cure or be cured can be a healer,? she adds.
A former marketing agent, Del Mundo made the sudden shift in life when her newly born grandchild suffered from severe asthma. ?I prayed to the Lord to make him well and I promised I would serve Him,? she recounts.
It was then she decided to make it her mission to help people reconnect with God through hilot.
The Hilot Pinoy has cured a lot of people with diseases such as psoriasis or even cancer, Del Mundo says.
Del Mundo graduated from an alternative medicine school, the St. Francis Divine College in Quezon City. She incorporated indigenous and natural medicine and traditional healing methods that trace back to pre-Hispanic times.
?We don?t compete with medicine, we complement it,? Del Mundo clarifies. Those with serious illnesses are advised to see their doctors.
?Alternative medicine has various modalities, such as acupuncture, herbal medicines, herbal foods, massage and others, and is differentiated from the present Western medicine,? says Danilo Aleya, 49, her batch-mate.
The group offers home service in Manila and has a healing spot in an eco-resort in Bay, Laguna.
A basic session of three hours costs at least P600 and includes ?dagdagay,? herbal ?suob? and bentosa, ?hilot sa gulugod? (spine), ?naipit na ugat? (sprain), ?kulani? (lymph nodes), ?ngalay na balikat? (frozen shoulder) and prolapse uterus.
Cari de Jesus, 50, said excessive menstrual bleeding required her to have blood transfusion, but the Hilot Pinoy helped her avoid the medical treatment. She underwent hilot for three consecutive months and took in probiotics until she regained her health.
Del Mundo?s group has partnered with nongovernment organizations in holding training sessions. Its Hilot sa Bawat Tahanan (Healer in Every Home) program aims to bring the wellness technology to poor communities.
The Hilot Pinoy may be contacted at (02) 7107196 and 0918-6127444. It offers regular services at Forest Club eco-resort in Bay, Laguna, and home services in Metro Manila.