An ambitious attempt to explain how the mind (conscious or subconscious) can heal the body, the six-hour “The Heart of Healing” uses dramatic examples to illustrate alternate approaches to good health. With Jane Seymour doing yeomanlike work as the host, the handsome, sleekly produced uplifter may amuse some skeptics, but might comfort some afflicted.
Seymour urges the audience to “open your mind to the possibilities” before the docu launches into reportedly true stories of attractive people (playing out their own struggles for the camera) suffering from everything from high voltage shock to various aspects of cancer.
Presumably illustrating the power of positive thinking are examples of hypnosis used to help repair bodies; faith healing with rattlesnakes; gospel singing, voodoo and trances used for cures, and a Tokyo businessman who dropped stressful living and eliminated his cancer.
There’s the danger, of course, of viewers buying alternate methods without trying established medical systems; the program says nothing about spontaneous remission or about those sad cases in which people die.
Individuals appearing on the docu are undoubtedly remarkable and would seem to be able to use their subconscious minds for basic healing; in several cases their M.D.’s are aboard to fill out the individual’s tale.
In Part I, an excellent animated design by David Barlow of fighter cells attacking a cancer cell keenly illustrates the immune system’s function. In another spot, a healthy woman challenges terror by climbing a tall, wobbly pole as a support group eggs her on; it’s a valid picture of positive thinking overcoming fear.
A Lourdes seg notes that doctors and the Church recognize only 65 verified miracles, but observes that out of 5 million annual visitors, many have improved.
With no medical cure yet available, AIDS support groups help in Uganda and in a community catering to HIV-positive children in Northern California. And a playwright with only 10 fighter T cells — out of 1,500 — remains valiant and spiritual as he goes about life sustained by inner strengths.
Meditation, willpower, defiant wills, spirituality, exercise, prayer are touted as good health promoters, but reported percentages of cured patients aren’t mentioned. A woman using something called psychosynthesis broke up her negative sub-personalities to banish her deadly cancer, according to the docu; how many others have found help through this curious method go unrecorded.
Third episode eyes life from birth through childhood, adolescence and marriage. As for oldsters, program moves to China, where a man stricken with stomach cancer was supposed to die. The man, ignoring medical pronouncements, decided to take charge of his own life. “I did not want death!”
In Zimbabwe birth and death are sacred moments. “The Heart of Healing” points out decisions that might be possible between those two moments, but in offering such dramatic recoveries it doesn’t offer any red flag warnings.
Well organized, buoyed up by Ed Bogas’s supportive score, chronicle of odds-beaters comes off as a paean to faith and courage, plays like good drama. It may not be what the doctor ordered, but “Hearts” should pull in curious onlookers.