By Lizzy Thomas
On days before their games, the Mission League champion varsity baseball team often goes to trainer Sandee Teruya to have her stand five or so feet away from them, doing what appears to be gesticulating towards them with a sharp rock.
The rock is Teruya’s 18-sided quartz crystal, and serves as an integral part of what’s known as pranic healing, a treatment that looks to balance the body’s energy and is praised by actress Melanie Griffith and Dr. Mehmet Oz.
“It’s a crazy sort of Eastern medical philosophy — it’s very esoteric,” Teruya said, as she pulled out her leather-wrapped crystal, first from a mirrored, beaded navy blue bag and then from a Chanel sunglasses case. “Our energy fields can get contaminated, so when we have injuries, we feel the product of that. What I do is I try to clean that out and smooth everything over.”
Teruya trained with master healer Stephen Co, who opened the first pranic healing center outside his native Philippines in Chino Hills. Co trained with grand master Choa Kok Sui, the founder of pranic healing who still resides in the Philippines. Choa traveled the world educating others in pranic healing up until his death in 2007. Teruya went to a crystal show with a large room filled with quartz crystals to pick out a crystal of her own. The prices, Teruya said, ranged from $50 to upwards of $2,000. Teruya went down the tables, picking up each crystal to see if she felt a particular connection to it.
“I was worried that my crystal would be one of the $2,000 ones, and I would just have to buy it,” Teruya said.
Teruya’s crystal proved to be more mid-range, costing her a relatively reasonable $650 and not sacrificing any of the connection she sought.
“I just had a feeling,” she said.
In the Harvard-Westlake training room, Teruya frequently waves her crystal about a foot or so away from her patients’ bodies, as she seeks to bring about a positive change in their auras.
“I tell them, ‘I’m not going to change what you have to do for your test or paper, but I’m going to make you feel more relaxed about doing it,’” Teruya said.
The time Teruya spends working on students varies based not only on their injuries but also on what they have going on in their non-athletic lives.
She references three baseball players where, of the three, it was the least injured one who took the longest to work on but who also warranted the greatest reaction from her in terms of her own energy and aura.
“Sometimes I feel sick when working on someone, and I have to clear out everything later on,” she said.
Teruya’s crystal requires cleaning too, with a special lavender extract concoction she mixes herself and that she joking calls her “cosmic Purell.”
Teruya, who saw great success with her use of pranic healing during her time as head athletic trainer for the WNBA’s Los
Angeles Sparks, first brought out her crystal during her first year at Harvard-Westlake, when a volleyball player’s ankle seemingly refused to get better in time for the playoffs.
“I said, ‘Do you want to try something crazy?’” Teruya said.
Evidently, the long-since graduated player did, and Teruya began to incorporate pranic healing more regularly into her Harvard-Westlake routine. Though Teruya says players usually notice a real difference some hours after treatment, one of the most dramatic effects she saw was much more immediate, when a soccer player had an allergic reaction during a game that left him with his eyes almost swollen shut. Teruya only worked on him for 10 minutes, but was able to dramatically decrease the swelling.
“While I worked on him, I could see the swelling going down,” Teruya said. “He was able to return to the game and he never had the reaction again.”
Current students are crystal converts as well. Lucas Giolito ’12, who was sidelined this season with an elbow injury, receives the treatment regularly.
“She always notices that my sinuses are a little stuffed because I think I have some allergies,” Giolito said. “They always clear out after. She’s combing out my aura.”
Teruya cautions that, in spite of her own success with it, pranic healing is not some kind of miracle cure-all.
“I don’t really take myself very seriously, but I just have a really strong intention to help people,” she said. “But in terms of healing or Eastern medicine, people expect it to be miraculous. But when we do Game Ready [ice treatment] or stem [electric shock treatment], you’re not healed in one session. This is a treatment as much as anything else.”