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Healing and Recreational Therapy

A Summary of Kelly Noonan’s (2017) documentary, Heal


Noonan, K. (Director), & Noonan, K. (Writer). (2017). Heal [Motion picture on Netflix]. United States: Elevative Entertainment.

By: Danny W. Pettry, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, CTRS-BHS


Heal (documentary) was directed by Kelly Noonan who sought out experts in healing.


The documentary:

Noonan (2017)’s documentary features authors, doctors, experts, healers, and scientists, including:

Peter Crone

Rob Wergin

Kelly Turner

Kelly Brogan

Bruce Lipton

Joe Dispenza

Gregg Braden

Joy Borysenko

Mark Emerson

Anita Moorjani

David Hamilton

Deepak Chopra

Anthyon William

Jeffry Thompson

Michael Beckwith

Darren Weissman

Marianne Williamson



Disease and illness are caused by various factors.

Sometimes the root cause is unknown to anyone.

Immediate accidents like trauma can causes health problems.

Long-term stress often leads to types of chronic diseases and illnesses.



Three Types of Stress

Three types of stress was discussed in Noonan’s (2017) Heal.





Continual building of any stress over a long-period can become chronic.

In example: a person who plays football who is sacked over and over again may result in chronic pain like arthritis in the long-term.




Treatment was covered in Noonan’s (2017) Heal.

Treatment is often focused on alleviating symptoms opposed to addressing the root cause of the problem.

Medicine is effective when there is a need for a fast intervention like a lifesaving surgery after a car wreck.

The quick fix (like an emergency surgery) isn’t the most effective approach for treating long-term chronic stress and illnesses

Lifestyle changes are effective for addressing these types of long-term stressors.



Recreational Therapists are Healers

Recreational therapists (RTs) are healers.

RTs provide a systematic process to help people with illness and disease.


RTs interventions typically help people to make improvements in these domains:

Emotional/ affect,

Social/ interpersonal;

Cognitive/ mental; and

Physical/ body; as well as overall health.


RTs are well-suited to provide education and treatment (in the form of real life activities) as a way to help people make lifestyle changes to help alleviate symptoms and promote overall health and wellness.


RTs are in a great place to provide education to teach about preventative care. These pre-interventions can address social, emotional, cognitive, and physical health conditions now to before stressors become chronic.


The Power of Belief

Thoughts were covered in Noonan’s (2017) Heal with information about the Placebo effect.

Research shows that people in the comparison group who didn’t receive the actual treatment, but merely thought they received the treated reported gaining outcomes quite similar to those in the treatment group.

Thoughts are powerful.

Negative thinking leads to negative feelings which lead to negative behaviors which result in negative health outcomes.  Victim thinking like the world is against me is going to cause more problems in health.

Positive thinking leads to positive feelings, which lead to positive behavior, which results in better health outcomes. Thinking the world is out to do great things for me is going to result in people looking on the bright side and being open to health and happiness.



The Power of the Mind

Two parts of the mind were covered in Noonan’s (2017) Heal.

Conscious mind is the creative mind.

Sub-conscious mind is the default or autopilot mind.


People live their life based on programming in the sub-conscious mind.

If the download was positive then the person can live healthy.

However, if a person downloaded trauma, abuse, and negativity, then their life is going to be problematic based on ineffective downloads.

People who unintentionally download a belief that they’re a loser and pathetic are going to live their life based on these ineffective thoughts.

People who were fortunate to be exposed to learning about positive thinking, resiliency, connecting, and healthy habits are at an advantage.

People can change their thoughts. It is possible to download new programming to replace ineffective programming. Mental health counselors often provide Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to help people to give up faulty, ineffective thinking styles and to replace them with healthier, effective thinking styles.

Recreational therapists can study and learn about CBT as well.


Heart Rate Coherence

Heart rate coherence was covered in Noonan’s (2017) Heal.

Emotions (like stress, frustration) send incoherence waves to the brain that match stress. People who stay in this state are more apt to become sick.


Emotions (like gratitude, compassion, and love) send Coherence waves to the brain that result in healing, growth and repair.

Rec Therapists can gain competencies in heart-rate coherence. There have been various bio-feedback and Hear Math training offered at national and state level conferences for recreational therapists.

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

People can grow and improve.

Radical acceptance: None of us can change our past experiences or programming.

We are fortunate that we do have the power to change our current thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists

RTs can continue to learn and grow their awareness about evidenced-based practices that promote overall health, wellness, and healing.

RTs can intervene as being advocate, educator, and provider of services to help promote mind-body health and wellness.

RTs can provide interventions like meditation, heart-rate coherence training, stress relief/ relaxation training to help people with chronic illnesses and disease.

RTs have an opportunity to intervene in several ways now to help people with preventative strategies.


RTs can:

Provide education and training for their local or national communities about chronic stress and ways to prevent it.

Advocate the benefits for community-based interventions including: mindfulness, relaxation, nature, healthy lifestyles

Create private practices in their community to intervene, providing preventative strategies. These services are not necessarily for people with chronic needs. These interventions can be geared for those people who aren’t physician ordered for treatment.. These training could be self-pay by people who want to learn strategies for healing (as preventative care). Practitioners could provide evidenced based interventions and training (that they have experience, training and competencies) to provide including:



Nature therapy

Social support groups

Creative self-expression

Healthy lifestyle techniques

Heart-rate coherence training

Leisure education and training to help people create a life worth living.


RTs can definitely benefit from continuing their education and learning and continuing to intervene as healers.



Noonan, K. (Director), & Noonan, K. (Writer). (2017). Heal [Motion picture on Netflix]. United States: Elevative Entertainment.