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I WAS recently sent a fax inviting me to a Coffee-Time Cabaret to celebrate National Spiritual Healing Week, which began yesterday in case you didn't already know. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Coffee- Time Cabaret, but I was intrigued by a paragraph in the fax which promised 'distant healing' to anyone who wants it. Apparently, next Saturday night the National Federation of Spiritual Healers is doing a 'healathon': 'Anybody, anywhere, who wishes to benefit from this can do so by relaxing quietly for five minutes . . . being aware that they are tuning into the healing energy.'

Healing energy sounded just what I needed (any kind of energy, actually, would be fine by me), so I rang Tonie Winrow, the press officer for the National Federation and a healer herself. Mrs Winrow lives in Croydon, and she told me that she became aware of the benefits of healing after it had cured her chilblains. I said that I didn't have any chilblains, but I did have a baby who wakes up six times a night, and I was therefore sadly lacking in vitality. In fact, what I really wanted was for the baby to stop waking up at night. Could Mrs Winrow help?

Mrs Winrow said that she might be able to, with the aid of her colleagues at the local healing centre in Croydon. She couldn't promise any miracles, but they would put me and the baby on their list of people who needed healing light beamed towards them. I could help by concentrating, just before 12 noon every day, on an image of him sleeping peacefully in his cot. The appointed time came, and I concentrated very hard indeed.

I could hardly wait to see the good results that night; sadly, he woke up just as often as before. I did feel a bit depressed the next day, but then I remembered that Mrs Winrow had said it might not work straight away.

That was a week ago, and he still hasn't stopped waking up at night, but then he does have a cold. (Incidentally, how can one small baby produce so much snot?) So I rang Mrs Winrow, and told her the bad news. She remained positive, and said that the Croydon healers were still working on it. Then she asked me how I was feeling. Had the distant healing helped me at all? As she said it, I felt a wonderful warm self-centred glow: somebody was concentrating on me, thinking all about me from the other side of London. I told her that yes, I was feeling much better, thank you very much.

I asked if the baby and I could still stay on the Croydon healing list, and she said that we could, which was a great comfort. In the meantime, I've made an appointment for the baby to see a cranial osteopath. You've never heard of cranial osteopathy? It's wonderful: there's this nice woman who listens to all your complaints about lack of sleep, and then she puts her hands on the baby's head and, hey presto, your problems are solved. Probably.

If not, there's always aromatherapy or herbalism, or possibly I could find a white witch in the Yellow Pages. Or a dowser. I'm not quite sure what a dowser does, but apparently it works wonders.-