Being that I specialize in public relations management for integrative medicine doctors and holistic health practitioners, many of whom work in metaphysical fields like energy healing, I often find myself needing to coach clients on how to speak about their work in a way that mainstream media will understand and validate. Currently I’m working with a sound healer, who successfully has healed her clients and herself from the spectrum of emotional and physical health issues, through the power of music. I’m going to share with you some of the guidance I shared with her, as an example of how to take an esoteric concept and make it clear and relevant to mainstream media.
1. Find common points of reference.
We live in a culture that turns to the big guns of pharmaceuticals and surgery, to resolve the spectrum of health issues. For this reason, saying that you can find resolution through music – even for physical health issues – may sound downright ludicrous to people. Just about everyone, however, has had the experience of instantaneous emotional and physical transformation through music. So reference that collective experience.
For example, we may feel aggravated, and our bodies may feel constricted, because of the stress we feel at work. When we listen to our favorite music, however, we may suddenly feel happy and relaxed, with our muscles softer and our breathing deeper, in as little as two or three minutes. By finding and using that common point of reference, you will enable media professionals to access their own personal experience and knowledge – effectively helping them understand and recognize the validity of your work.
2. Cite scientific studies where possible.
While you may have come to your work through personal experience and intuitive knowledge, media looks to science for validation of what is and is not true. Media professionals therefore must reference not only any scientific studies, but those considered “reputable,” when making any health claims. So find out what leading scientific research says about your work.
Mind you, science is always catching up to human experience; so it’s entirely possible that what you have discovered, experienced, and facilitated may not yet have been studied. Pan your lens wider, however, and you may discover that some aspect of your work has in fact been studied. For example, “energy healing” per se may not have gotten much attention from the scientific community, but Reiki, meditation, acupuncture, and the like most certainly have. So think about and follow the trail of the “cousins” of your work, if you do not find your exact work in scientific literature.
Be sure to reference studies that have been in peer-reviewed medical journals, which are indexed through PubMed, because those are the ones validated by top media. If you are not scientifically minded, it may initially feel overwhelming to read these studies. Look for the study overviews and conclusions, to get the gist of what was researched and discovered, without getting overwhelmed by scientific mumbo-jumbo.
Also make use of Google Scholar in researching your topic of choice. While that search engine may lead you to studies that are not indexed on PubMed, and that therefore may not carry the weight you are seeking, they may nonetheless give you ideas that lead you to your scientific gold mine. In the case of my sound healing client, for example, research led me not only to individual studies in peer-reviewed medical journals, but also to a few books that are written for the general population but that are a treasure trove of leading scientific studies on sound healing.
3. Give examples.
As human beings, we relate to personal stories. Once you have laid out the concept of your work, along with the common points of reference and the validating science, share client experiences that showcase how your work plays out. Before/after stories are perfect. In the case of my sound healing client, for example, people came to her with health issues that went unresolved for years, despite conventional treatments. Within just a few sound healing sessions with her, however, these individuals experienced complete resolution of their problems.
The proof is in the pudding and all that.
Many integrative medicine doctors and holistic health practitioners feel frustrated by mainstream media – specifically, the lack of awareness and understanding around non-conventional therapies, despite all the changes over the past decade or two. Keep in mind, however, that it is your job to speak in the language of the media; it is not the media’s job to speak in your language. By finding the points of reference that media values, and by presenting your work through those lenses, you can engage the media and showcase your work in ways you never thought possible before.