Nairobi-based Scottish fashion designer ANN McCREATH has been a trailblazer in the world of fashion for more than two decades. Her design company Kiko Romeo (which means “Adam’s apple” in Kiswahili) is known for its innovative clothes that combine African fabrics with modern designs. However, in recent years, Ann has found a new passion – pranic healing. RASNA WARAH spoke to Ann about what led her to become a pranic healer and why alternative forms of treatment are gaining more traction globally. 

Q. Recently, you have become a proponent and practitioner of pranic healing, which works with people’s energy centres, or chakras. What got you interested in this form of healing?

I have often been told I should be a healer. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I spent a lot of time with my brother in Scotland, who had been a healer since childhood, albeit something we recognised later. I got him to teach me how to meditate and also how to feel energy and heal. Quite quickly he told me I should tap into my past lives when I had been a healer and channel that energy. In the beginning I couldn’t manage the energy well, and would shake like crazy, although family members said they could feel a positive effect, so that encouraged me. When I came to Kenya again, another healer referred me to the Pranic Healing Foundation in Nairobi. He remarked that I wave my hands a lot, so maybe it would suit me.  

The Foundation was just what I needed as it teaches anyone with an open mind how to channel God’s energy. I started with the weekend Basic Pranic Healing course and just kept going, to Advanced, Psychotherapy, Crystal Healing and more. What I like about it is that it’s very clear and structured with a step-by-step approach, so anyone can learn and then practise using the specific protocols for a physical or mental ailment. It was invented by Master Choa Kok Sui, who was also a chemical engineer. It is complementary to modern medicine, and is used by many medical practitioners, especially in India, to heal what conventional medicine may not be able to heal. 

I then started practising on myself and family and found that I was getting positive results. So, I continued with others also. It can even be applied to business. I would really encourage everyone to learn it. Under capitalism, healthcare has become a money-spinning industry with more and more drugs to counteract the side effects of others. These techniques can be applied to clear a migraine, control blood pressure, heal a broken bone faster, or even remove a tumour. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it actually works. I am living proof. 

The concept starts from what quantum physicists have proven – we are all energy, atoms held together by energy. If we heal our energy, the physical body can heal itself faster. The technique sweeps away diseased or stagnant energy and replaces it with clean, fresh energy, channelled from God, however we define “God”. It requires faith in a higher power to be a healer as well as the patient being open to receiving the healing. There are many different forms of healing, but I find pranic healing to be very effective. The healer doesn’t touch the body, and can detect the energy level of the chakras, auras and body organs, without touching the body. 

Q. Can you tell us in a nutshell what chakras are and why keeping them clean and balanced are important for physical and mental health? 

Chakras are the energy equivalent of the physical body organs, with meridian lines which “carry energy”, like our veins, which carry blood around our body. If your energy is flowing, not getting blocked anywhere, naturally your body and mind function better. Chakras radiate and receive energy constantly. Negative thoughts and anxiety can make chakras to radiate negative, dark energy, and can cause disease. 

Q. There is increasing recognition in Kenya and around the world that modern Western medicine is overrated, and can in some instances, cause harm. More and more people are turning to traditional medicines and herbs to find cures for diseases. Why do you think this is so?

I think capitalism has corrupted modern medicine. There are many brilliant medical professionals, who help so many people. It is not about them, it’s the system that pushes professionals to use more and more drugs when sometimes less is more. A lot of drugs have been derived from compounds extracted from plants; nature was always a reference point. Nature still works, but the packaging and advertising of the health industry makes people feel they must have a drug to fix illnesses. Of course, in many cases, this is completely true. However, home remedies and other forms of healing can also work. I don’t see it as an either/or situation, but I do think advertising has influenced all of us. Also, the food we eat has been proven to cause many modern ailments, which naturally directs us back to organic nature. Many people are turning to alternatives as what they were prescribed didn’t work, and because there is growing scientific proof of why traditional medicines do work.

Q. I have been reading books by advocates of alternative treatments, such as Deepak Chopra, who, despite being trained as a medical doctor, believes that the human body is capable of healing itself.  This requires a level of spiritual awakening that is hard to achieve if you strictly stick to conventional science. Do you believe that science and spirituality can co-exist and even reinforce each other? 

I think the Canadian physician, healer and author Gabor Mate is another illustration of this. There are many scientists who become intrigued by specific cases, where maybe someone they have given up on medically recovers. To study medicine, you have to have very high grades at school, which means some of the most intelligent people become doctors. It is only natural that amongst them you have curious minds, who look further for answers. I also think individual experiences as humans guide us to answers in different directions, often spiritual. If I think of myself, I had a spiritual experience in my 20s which led me to know that there is a higher power. It is perhaps now that I am in a time in my life that I have chosen to explore it more and awaken myself spiritually. I have always been interested in religions, and found myself seeking out the commonalities of different faiths.

Q. Tell us a bit about the healing centre you plan to start and what alternative therapies it will offer. 

It’s early days yet, but over the years with my fashion business, I have noticed a direct correlation between making things with one’s hands and healing. Usually, craft skills have been learned at a peaceful time in life, often from the older generation. Knitting and crochet always used to bring women together in a circle, to talk as they crafted. That is like a peer counselling group as well as entertainment and income-generating in some cases. I’m interested in seeing how I can blend my knowledge of fashion and crafting with different methods of naturally healing, collaborating with different therapists. I have enjoyed many kinds of healing, so definitely pranic healing, reflexology, aromatherapy, herbal gardening, nutritious food and psychic readings. On the art side, I would like to include visual arts, papier mache, and textile arts (patchwork, embroidery, knitting, crochet, sewing, applique etc). I also expect that music, dance and movement will all feature as they touch our souls. Basically, anything and everything as there are so many healing options and professionals in Kenya. Why limit it?

Author

  • Rasna Warah

    Rasna Warah is a Kenyan writer and journalist with over two decades of experience as an editor, writer and communications specialist. She wrote a weekly op-ed column for the Daily Nation, Kenya’s leading newspaper, for many years, and has contributed to various regional and international publications, including, the UK’s Guardian, Africa is a Country, The East African, The Mail and Guardian, The Elephant, and Kwani? She has worked as an editor and writer at the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and has published two books on Somalia: Mogadishu Then and Now (2012) and War Crimes (2016). Her first book, Triple Heritage (1998), explored the history of South Asians in East Africa. Her latest book, Lords of Impunity (2022), examines the failures and internal contradictions of the United Nations and what can be done to transform this global body. She holds a Master’s degree in Communication for Development from Malmö University in Sweden and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Suffolk University in Boston, USA. She is based in Nairobi, Kenya.