This month I walk perilously close to a very fine line, and apologize in advance to any toes that feel tread upon. However, this is important, and needs acknowledgement. As an “Alternative” (I prefer “complementary”) Health Care Practitioner, I am called upon more and more to defend my modalities. I can be engrossed in a fascinating conversation one moment, only to be asked “what I do” and be accused of everything from witchcraft to charlatanism. More frequently, I am a “one of YOU people” without quite knowing what that means. Many of the techniques I practice, although thousands of years old, seem relatively new to many people and may provoke feelings of uncertainty. This is evident by inquiring looks or comments, but can be quickly rectified by a simple explanation. However, there is a growing number of people who have been, for whatever reason, treated unscrupulously by “healers” and now carry a broad distrust for anything “alternative”. Paracelsus said, “The art of healing comes from nature, not from the Physician.” Honoring nature, my belief is: “First, do no harm”. This harm extends not only to the physical health and/or healing of our fellow beings, but their spiritual and emotional needs as well. Yet, harm has been done by some who are supposed to heal. Most disturbing are the times when those in serious need of help, healing, and loving kindness are purposely deceived, causing not only physical distrust or harm, but emotional and spiritual damage that goes far beyond the physical person. This irrevocable damage can destroy the very basis on which we stand. Recently, a wonderful young woman came to see me to share her experience with Aromatherapy. This lovely woman had suffered many physical and emotional conditions over the years and had turned to “alternative” therapies when traditional medicine had not aided her. She had, over the last year or so, become very involved in Aromatherapy, thanks to another “Certified Aromatherapist.” The day we spoke, she was on her way to pick up an “Even stronger, more effective, custom formulation” to relieve her condition. She reached into her bag and, with a shy smile, stated her instructions were to never share this blend with anyone, nor let them smell or touch the bottle, lest they destroy the “delicate balance” created by the oils. The blend had not worked for her, although it was quite pricey, and she was anxious to experience the new blend. When she opened the bottle, I was shocked and dismayed that it contained nothing but bland carrier oil. No essences at all! After much deliberation and consultation, I decided to inform her. Physically she seemed fine. Emotionally and spiritually, someone who had no intent to deliver and had taken not only her hard- earned money but her heart and spirit energy as well, had shattered her world. Each time she tried to disentangle herself, they promised a better and stronger healing, drawing her in time and again by lies and false promises. What can be said? How can we, as healers, move on in a world so damaged by dishonesty? As for my friend, physically, is there hope for her? Absolutely. Spiritually and emotionally, only time will tell. And as for trust, how can you rebuild what has been stolen heartlessly from you? With our world as it is now, many people are renewing their spirituality, their empathy, their faith. Many want desperately to believe in another way. We are responsible, each of us, to share our gifts of love and healing with our community, our city, and our world. Our divine ethic compels us, hopefully, to “first, do no harm”.