FIREWALKING; Therapy of the Week

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSE ROUSE

WE ARRIVED at Woolston Manor, a Georgian house near Totnes, Devon, to try something completely different -firewalking. As we are sipping tea at 3.30pm, John Shango, who runs courses in personal mastery, tells us we'll be doing our first firewalk in a few hours.

Of course, it's all voluntary but it's still quite a shock.

First of all, there's log collecting in a big wheelbarrow. The fire needs to be lit about three hours before we start, so there are some good hot embers.

The mood is co-operative but apprehensive. Kate, who has done numerous firewalks, is reassuring. 'You'll feel exhilarated later tonight,' she tells me as I hit a low spot of panic and regret. 'It's great for athlete's foot,' someone says.

So why do people decide to firewalk? 'To get through another personal boundary,' says Glenn. 'For me, it's about accessing potential in myself.'

Others are hoping firewalking will act as a metaphor for the rest of their lives, giving them the courage to make changes at work or in relationships.

After dinner, John explains that firewalking is about 'confronting limiting beliefs and restructuring who you are and what you're capable of'.

Then he announces ominously: 'There is a danger you could receive burns that lead to you being hospitalised.' I start to take firewalking extremely seriously. …