At age 80, many people are retired and spending their time relaxing, with their families, doing the things they love to do. Linda Tellington-Jones, who turns 80 in a couple of months, is no different, except what she loves to do is travel worldwide to continue teaching her pioneering healing method that allows people to assist their animals and themselves in returning to a state of balance.
The internationally renowned animal consultant, teacher and bestselling author returns to the Twin Cities May 20-23 to offer a four-hour workshop, “Heal Yourself – Heal Your Pet,” introducing the Tellington TTouch Method for humans, followed by three days of training in the intuitive technique that bears her name. The workshop and class take place at the Carondelet Center at 1890 Randolph Avenue in St. Paul.
The workshop, sponsored by the Theosophical Society as part of its series of workshops and lectures in ancient wisdom and ancient mysteries, takes place from 2-6 p.m. Saturday, May 20. The cost is $35 for adults. $30 for students or seniors and members, and $55 for couples or families, at the door. Refreshments will be provided. For details on the three-day class visit TellingtonTraining.com/eventsLocation.shtml, contact Tellington Training at 800.854.8326 or email kirsten@TellingtonTraining.com.
The pioneering work of Linda Tellington-Jones, Ph.D. (hon), has its roots in a philosophy that sees all beings — humans and animals alike — as reflections of a divine whole.
The Tellington Method was first created four decades ago as a system of animal training, healing and communication that allows people to relate to animals in a deeper, more compassionate way — a way that furthers inter-species connection and honors the body, mind and spirit of both animals and their people. And for the past 30 years, the Santa Fe resident has been teaching TTouch for humans.
Through her non-profit organization, Animal Ambassadors International, she supports projects of children working with animals to enhance understanding, compassion and quality of life for both humans and animals. In 2007, she was inducted into the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame. A year later, she received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the Wisdom University, a global learning community, and was granted the position of Director of the Institute for Interspecies Connection. She has written 21 books about various aspects of the Tellington Method. There are more than 1,300 practitioners of the Tellington Method in 35 countries on six continents, as well as Tellington Method Centers in Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Africa, the U.K. and the United States.
Dr. Tellington-Jones spoke with The Edge by phone while in Germany during her recent training schedule in Europe.
We last spoke in 2013, so for new Edge readers who did not see that interview, can you quickly describe what you offer with the Tellington Method and Tellington TTouch?
We’re an international organization with teachers in 30 countries now and we work with both humans — that’s what I’m coming to Minneapolis-St. Paul for — or dogs and cats and horses and all wildlife, too. We teach a form of really gentle body work that has as its intention to support the brilliance and the wisdom of the cells. It’s done with a very simple 1-1/4 touches that are done on or over the body to access the brilliance that we are. That’s it in a nutshell. What we really do is hold the picture of the ideal behavior or health of that animal, whether it is a dog or a horse or a kitty, it doesn’t matter. Our tendency as humans is to focus on what doesn’t work. The philosophy of Tellington TTouch is to really hold the picture of the behavior or the performance or the relationship or the health of the ideal for that being.
In May you will be presenting an interactive workshop titled, “Heal Your Pet, Heal Yourself.” How does healing our pet heal ourselves?
Those are two different things. We are going to be teaching how you do TTouch on yourself and how you work on your pet. There will be some demonstration dogs there, and we will show how you can affect the behavior and the relationship that you have with your pet or animal. It’s a relationship of deep trust that we are able to develop with these beautiful, simple, gentle circle and a quarter done all over the body.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, when you say a circle and a quarter, describe more about what that is.
The basic TTouch circle involves putting your hands very gently on the tissue and you gently move the tissue, the skin, over the underlying tissue in a circle and a quarter. It is actually the magical spiral of nature. What it appears to do is — and we have seen this for years — is release fear at the cellular level in our animals and also in ourselves. That’s what I love about it, that you can do this for yourself. At the workshop we are presenting, we will show how you can make a difference for yourself and your own family.
It’s often said that our pets sometimes take on illnesses that we have. Do you know why they do this?
It appears to be a commitment that they’ve made at the soul level. That’s certainly what I think I’ve seen over the years. We see it quite a lot. I believe there is a way that we can help them not to take on our issues, to actually hold their perfection, and that is what I think is really important. Nobody wants their animal to take on the illnesses they have, right?
We find that with these really gentle touches all over the body, we can affect the innate perfection of their own level of health. At the workshop we will have a demonstration dog to show what you can do with your animal at home. By simply working gently on the ear — on the dog’s ear or your cat’s ear or your own ear — we can help to enhance the health of the whole body. We can relax ourselves and our animals. For instance, if you have an animal who is really ill or injured, on the way to the vet you can do that ear work on your animal and help them to stay out of shock or come out of shock. We’ve seen this in hundreds and hundreds of cases over the last 40 years.
Will it work even if you have not had the training, doing the circle and a quarter?
Yes, that’s why I love to teach this. You have to be careful. It’s not about sliding the fingers over the skin. It is catching the skin and very gently moving the tissue in a circle and a quarter. That is hard for people to get because they just think, “Oh, yeah. I just make circles over the skin.” The training helps you understand exactly how it is done.
Whether it does or doesn’t work if you just make a circle over the skin was researched in 2006. We did a pilot study with the International Institute of Biophysics in Neuss, Germany, with Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp and his laboratory. He has been studying communication between the cells or light in the cells for more than 40 years, and he did a pilot study with our work. What we found is that when you gently move the tissue, that there was a measurable and significant enhancement of the cell communication with Tellington TTouch. But if you just went over the skin, people liked the feeling, but it had no measurable shift in cell communication.
Holding the skin while you are moving it.
Gently moving the skin. That is a good question. A study was done with thousands of massage cases, comparing the difference between deep tissue work and light touch on the body. They found that the light touch on the body actually activates the oxytocin and the deep tissue activated more of the cortisol, the stress hormone. That’s why the touches are done very lightly. We encourage people to practice by just barely using one finger to move the skin on the eyelid as gently as they can, to move the skin on the eyelid in a circle and a quarter. Then you go to your body and you get that same feeling. It works to relieve pain, to relieve fear, to overcome fear in yourself. We have thousands of case studies with humans showing how this works.
From your perspective, why is interspecies communication important?
In the past, historically, just think how important dogs and cats were to our survival; for guarding, for sled pulling, for all of the cats to keep your rats and your mice down. This was really important. But now, I am totally convinced that our animals who live in our houses with us are here for our spiritual survival. They connect us to nature in a way that most people just don’t have a chance to be anymore. They assist us in learning empathy.
There are many studies that have shown when a child learns to have compassion or empathy toward animals, it affects them their whole life. It behooves us to teach our children, and also adults who don’t have experience with animals, how to be with them using the Golden Rule. I grew up with the Golden Rule, “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” We need to treat our animals as we would like to be treated. I’m not at all a fan of dominating animals or the idea that you have to show them who is boss. Yes, we have to give them guidelines, but the Golden Rule to me is what makes us more human.
I’ve had animals as pets my whole life, and some people are criticized for caring so much about animals.
I have a lot of friends who, if they had not had an animal in their life when they were pre-teen and teenagers, may have actually committed suicide. Their animal is what made their lives livable. Today, a huge number of people have a dog or a cat as a significant member of the family. That is a spiritual and physical connection. I think it’s really important.
Somebody wrote me yesterday and asked me what they should do for an 85-year-old friend of theirs who had adopted a kitten and they were getting scratched really badly. She was spraying the kitten with water. What I said was, please take that cat back to the shelter where it was adopted and get a mature cat who wants to be with you quietly, because it is not fair to a kitten. They want to play, and it’s really dangerous for a senior to be scratched. Finding the appropriate animal to suit your strength and your needs and your level of exercise is really important. If you’re not really strong, you don’t want a big, strong dog that needs a lot of exercise. You want a small dog or a lap dog who wants to be with you. I think we need to pay more attention to this.
Would you say that the Tellington Method, or TTouch, is a quantum technology, because it’s dealing with the innate wisdom in the body?
Certainly, that’s the only way I can see it. The thing that just gets me over all these years that I’ve been doing this by just seeing the perfection of each being, and we affect them in such a deep way. Instead of seeing the problem and working on the problem, we hold the beauty and hold the perfection of the being at the cellular level.
The last time we spoke you said Tellington Touch is a form of communication and a message that is sent is to remember your perfection at the cellular level. This is actually a process of talking to our cells, isn’t it?
Yes, and it’s about recognizing the brilliance of the cells. We are now in this quantum age where we are getting to understand the amazing beings that we are, thanks to Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton and Lynne McTaggart and all of these wonderful visionaries who are getting a lot of literature out there and inspiring us to understand ourselves more.
I got that idea of remembering your perfection while I was in my first year of the four-year Feldenkrais training at the Humanistic Psychology Institute in San Francisco, with Marcia Feldenkrais in the 1970s. One of the books that we were asked to study was a book called, Man On His Nature, by Sir Charles Sherrington. He was a Nobel Prize recipient and just a brilliant human being, and I have had the great fortune to speak to several people who actually studied with him in the UK. I remember sitting there in 1976 and reading a statement that Sherrington made that completely changed the spark of my life: every cell in the body knows its function within the body. When I read that I thought, “Wow! Wait a minute!” I remember looking at my fingers and saying, “Aha! Have these cells touch this other body and give the communication to remember your perfection.”
This is where the Tellington TTouch method is a little bit different from a lot of wonderful therapies. Most therapies want to find out what is wrong. What we do for a person or an animal is just hold their beauty, hold their perfection. If I’m working with somebody with last-stage cancer, they may not be able to hear that, but my message is to bring your potential for ideal function at the cellular level.
It’s amazing how many people can get that and start talking to their cells and appreciating their cells. I’m very much inspired and have a deep appreciation for the work of the Heart Math Institute. They have proven how speaking to our bodies has an effect on our immune system. Bruce Lipton and I co-taught in Vienna three years ago, and what he said — and I have never read anywhere else — is that every cell in our body has its own immune system. That is a really important statement, and it has given me some food for thought. When I think of all of the interference we are getting with pharmaceutical drugs and all of the stuff that we are putting into our bodies, it’s no wonder that we are in trouble health-wise on the planet.
What role does the soul and the heart play in this process?
In three months I’m 80, and I am so excited I can’t tell you. I’m in great health, and we are going to have a big party here near Frankfurt. People ask me, “Okay, so how do you deal with difficulties in your life?” Certainly it has not been all a bed of roses. What I do is live by this statement that I am not a human being with a soul. I am a soul living the human experience.
People ask me frequently, “Okay, Linda, you have worked with the tapir in the zoo in Germany, and you’ve worked with elephants in the Washington National Zoo, and you worked with the 26-foot boa constrictor in Johannesburg that had to be treated every day. How come you know so much about animals?” I don’t! I listen to the vet or the keepers. I observe, and then I make this connection cell to cell and soul to soul with each animal. I go to the soul level that we all are.
Do you teach how to get to that level, or is it just a basic intention to be there?
In the classes that I personally teach, this comes across because that’s what I live by, and we have teachers in 35 countries and many of them know this and they teach it. Actually, it is my intention, and I need to make a webinar about it. It’s about doing the heart hug for yourself and bringing it in yourself in two minutes to a place of heart coherence and a place of peace. If you are having these awful stressing, looping thoughts that you can’t stop, with our heart hug you can literally bring yourself to peace. You just put one hand over the other on at the heart chakra on the chest. Imagine the face of a clock, and with the number 6 toward the ground, 9 to your right, 12 above you, and 3 to your left, as though you took a clock off the wall and put it on your chest and someone else is looking at you.
Then you very gently put one hand lightly cupped over the other, or fold one hand and put it over that. You want to be comfortable. Then you catch the skin lightly at 6:00 and move the skin from 6 to 9 to 12 to 3 to 6 and back to 9. Take a nice deep breath and then smile and send gratitude to some person or animal or place in nature that you really love. That concept of breath and gratitude is the beautiful work of Heart Math. Studies we have done show that our circle and a quarter can take you into heart coherence in less than a minute.
I also suggest that people go the opposite direction, because some people prefer clockwise and some prefer counterclockwise. You want to do what is right for you. The first thing I’ll be doing in our class is leading people in that heart hug on the first day, because it gets you connected, it gets you into a place of appreciation, and it takes you out of that stressful place. We can actually come to a place of peace and heart coherence.
What we teach in this class is very practical, things that people can take home and do. That’s our intent.
Who will benefit the most from this experience?
I’d like to give you one of my favorite examples ever. It happened about four years ago. This couple in their sixties came to the class. At that time, it was just a two-day class, and they did TTouches on each other. We guided them to work on each other. You’re standing or sitting and the other person is guided to do TTouches on you. At the end of the session the woman said that she had intended that weekend to make a decision whether she stayed with her husband or not, because he never listened to her.
In our training, we have what we call a self-empowerment scale, so that you give the person feedback on how it feels to you on a 1-10 scale. She said it was the first time he had ever listened to what she needed. Actually, this couple has come back to my classes other times over the years, and it’s really changed them.
What final message would you like to leave with our readers, maybe something we have not talked about?
One of the exercises I am going to be leading people through is what we call the Body Blessing. You make a little circle and a quarter on all parts of your body, just sitting there and saying thank you. Thank you for my hair. Thank you for my ears that I can hear, however I can hear. Thank you for my eyes and the fact that I can have trifocals. I just lead everyone through the whole body. Sometimes in the beginning people have a very hard time thanking the body, because they don’t like themselves. You can do it in the shower, you can do it in bed, imagining it. If you do this process for enough days in a row and trust it, it changes people to come to a place of deep appreciation.
My primary philosophy is to practice. Practice feeling that a half empty glass is half full. Count three blessings each day. Each one of us can make a difference by the thoughts that we have, by the beliefs we have, by the feelings we have. I learned that so beautifully from Gregg Braden and his wonderful works.
I used to say to myself, “Okay, Linda, that was really stupid.” But when I read the Heart Math research studies I learned that anything I say like that to my body affects my immune system negatively, so I quit doing it. I think in 30 years maybe I dropped the ball once because I live in a state of great appreciation for my body. My body is the brilliance of the Divine Wisdom in every cell. That is who we are. That is what I want to get across. This is not a religious point of view. It’s a universal point of view. It’s a way each one of us can make a difference in the world, just by counting our blessings each day and choosing to see that happening and giving great thanks for it.