For the first 18 years of her life, Francesca McCartney barely said a word.
“I was an extremely sensitive child—-feeling, hearing, and seeing too much,” McCartney explains in her book Body of Health: The New Science of Intuition Medicine for Energy and Balance. “The impact of my inner-sensing system was so loud and distracting that I barely spoke.”
In a dazzling epiphany during Catholic Mass one Sunday at age 19, McCartney realized that church traditions could no longer support her growing need to practice a religion of the spirit. She spent the next several decades studying the Bhagavad Gita, meditation, tai chi, ayurvedic medicine, Bach flower remedies, homeopathy, acupuncture, and other healing traditions that had been practiced around the world for centuries but at that time were still considered outlandish in the United States, where they were practiced rarely. She apprenticed with iridologists and herbalists while drawing blood as a hospital laboratory technician, earning a teaching credential, raising two daughters, and becoming a pastoral minister.
McCartney had found her path as a seeker, and thus her voice, as a teacher of spiritual wisdom. She used it to forge her own new modality called intuitive healing, the diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional, and physical illnesses using intuitive insight.
Determined to make intuitive healing a viable modern-day career, she founded the Academy of Intuition Medicine in Mill Valley, California, in 1984. Certified as a vocational training school, AIM offers programs whose graduates can legally practice as medical intuitives and spiritual coaches.
“What I am teaching is the reinvention of ancient medicine,” McCartney said in a phone interview.
“This ability is an ancient ability. Traditional physicians used intuition and clairvoyance as diagnostic tools to map out where illnesses were located in patients’ bodies. If you go back to the beginning, medicine was meditation.”
Training to be a medical intuitive requires mastering certain fields of knowledge and special skills, in this case energy anatomy, karma, the astral body, mindfulness, clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychometry, and aura reading.
“I was more or less born to see auras—which are not just colors and patterns but subtle energy movements, like the wavy pulses you see sometimes on hot asphalt,” explains McCartney, who also calls herself a spiritual doctor and an energy technician.
“Energy anatomy is just like physical anatomy. Learning to work with it is like learning to listen with new ears.”
McCartney frequently aids scientific researchers and delivers speeches at universities and conferences. That a medical intuitive has established credibility in academic and traditional settings reflects “an incredible amount of change” since McCartney began her metaphysical searches in the early 1970s.
“Back then, very few people were doing this kind of work out of the closet. They did what came naturally to them; they were helping people, but they worked under the radar.
“There was no box for them to fit into.”
She considers herself lucky to have trained with “very gracious doctors and chiropractors” who incorporated energy-based techniques such as traditional Chinese medicine and tools like the Voll meter for measuring energy frequencies into their practices, somewhat sub rosa.
Since those secretive years, “there has been an upsurge of people who were trained underground, as I was, and who are now making noise and being obvious about what we do.”
These former fringe-dwellers and their disciples now freely engage with an increasingly open-minded medical industry. For instance, acupuncture is now practiced at many major American hospitals, including most of those affiliated with Harvard Medical School.
McCartney estimates that about half of AIM’s students, who number more than 10,000 since its inception, are already health care providers: MDs, psychotherapists, body workers, and others “who are medically trained but who realize that their patients need another kind of medicine—and that is spiritual medicine.”
Spirituality and health are inextricable, she says.
“Emotional illness is spiritual illness. It’s a lack of spiritual illumination, a lack of connection to spiritual presence, a lack of being wholly present—and of an awareness of being holy.” Anxiety and phobias, for example, thrive “when your body becomes afraid because your spirit is not fully occupying it—when your body keeps asking, ‘Where are you? Where is the occupant?’”
To heal themselves and others, medical intuitives “ground their emotions and their bodies, connecting deeply to the earth to entrain with its pulse. When you do this practice deeply, you will have a reciprocal effect in which you can feel your vibrational pulse changing. Mentally, you become clearer. Attention and awareness are synchronized into the present. And the earth always vibrates in the present time. When your attention is scattered, you’re not in the present. You are out of the sequence of time.”
And when that happens, as it does almost nonstop in the plugged-in Western world, “we become victims of whatever comes barging into our lives. We forget all the intuitive skills that the human body is wired for. We forget that we have choices,” McCartney says.
But having highly developed intuitive skills “allows you to be at peace even amid chaos—and this is a planet of chaos. I’m training people to walk through this chaotic world with grace and to have a larger menu of choices. That is powerful medicine.”