Health & Wellness

Healing with ancient ways

Virgil Mayor Apostol

Virgil Mayor Apostol

Virgil Mayor Apostol tends to get on people’s nerves. The holistic health practitioner treats his patients’ nervous system using traditional Filipino healing techniques like pulling, stretching, pressure and joint mobilization, and in so doing can help them heal from injury, chronic pain or work-related impairments.

Part physical therapist, part masseuse and part medical intuitive, Apostol is a new local healer with something to add to the already-diverse community of local alternative healthcare practitioners — a system called Ablon.

“Ablon deals with urat, or the nerve, which is a channel that something flows through,” Apostol said of the indigenous method whose roots can be traced to the northern Philippine island of Luzon. “It’s a form of manual medicine, so it incorporates some massage, stretching, movements in order to help blood flow and enhance flexibility.”

Apostol now offers Ablon at Yellow Springs Chiropractic by appointment. This weekend he will demonstrate Filipino healing arts and traditional Indian club swinging at the Yellow Springs Experience Wellness Weekend. A free talk from Apostol starts at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday in the Bryan Center gymnasium, a free mini-class using wooden clubs begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday in the Bryan Center Dance Room, and a paid workshop runs from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday at Yellow Springs Chiropractic.

Apostol also teaches a class, “Swing Your Way to Health,” which uses Filipino martial arts techniques and Indian club swinging at the Yellow Springs Senior Center on Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m. Participants in the practice may benefit from increased joint range-of-motion, eye-hand coordination, balance and brain stimulation.

Even though much of Apostol’s work is hands-on, the physical is just one element of a person’s overall health, Apostol said. That’s why he incorporates mental, emotional and spiritual work in his sessions. Through counseling, energetic work, and “listening to, and reading, the body,” he seeks to determine the root cause of an injury before beginning treatment, he said.

“You have to look at an individual holistically,” Apostol said. “What’s their story? What are their past traumas and injuries?”

A certified holistic health practitioner in California and second-generation Filipino-American, Apostol learned the traditional Filipino healing arts from his maternal grandmother, Apo Allang, a Filipino healer and midwife.
“I would watch what she was doing — she was my T.V.,” Apostol said of his grandmother, who would frequently receive patients in his childhood home. “I saw how she would help people.”

While Apostol’s mother, father, brother and sister all worked in conventional hospitals, Apostol chose to “take the torch for the more traditional” in continuing a long familial line of healers, he said. Born in San Diego, he attended school in the Phillipines, and later travelled through Luzon meeting with and learning from traditional healers. In his 2010 book, Way of the Ancient Healer: Sacred Teaching from the Philippine Ancestral Traditions, Apostol writes that what is called “alternative medicine” is traditional medicine for 80 percent of the world.

Traditional healing uses an “indigenous science,” and is different from conventional or allopathic medicine, Apostol explained. For example, a so-called western medical approach to an ankle sprain would be to take an X-ray, medicate with anti-inflammatories and painkillers, apply ice and prescribe rest. An eastern approach, such as the kind practiced by Apostol would be to address the inflammation directly with massage so that adhesions don’t form and nerves stay properly aligned, and to use herbal poultices and teas. He would also find out why the injury occurred in the first place.
For those with chronic conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive strains, Apostol would not only use massage, stretching and joint movements, but “confront the problem” head-on by recommending new postures, chairs and daily work habits. That way he could fix the problem, not just the symptom, he said.

Apostol has practiced at the Chopra Center for Well Being and the Tibetan Healing Center in California, treated members of the San Francisco Ballet for their injuries and with his new local company, Unified Health Concepts, aims to blend centuries-old and modern disciplines to promote wholeness. He moved to the Dayton area last year.

Apostol, who has already attracted a steady flow of local patients over the last few months, is currently accepting new clients. The healer has enjoyed practicing in the expansive, authentic community of Yellow Springs and doing the work that he loves — even though it feels like he is “merely an instrument.”

“It’s like a stream of energy shot through me,” Apostol said of one experience doing energetic work. “I was merely a witness to the energy that flowed through me, and watched my own hand being moved.”

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