Elizabeth, No, I haven’t worked with Achalasia (characterized by difficultly or an inability to swallow food) but I have seen the condition. I would bet that guided imagery (GI) would be a good tool to use.
However, I usually start with talk therapy and explore the psychological aspects of a condition and their symbolic implications. In this case it would involve at least the 5th chakra and possibly the 4th. Issues of feeling unloved may be involved, the client may be unable to speak their truths or have an inability to “swallow”what life has handed them. Then I might ask them to shuffle the Tarot cards and layout four cards that represents: the portrait of the self, what is conscious, what is unconscious and an outcome card. (More instructions are in my book Messages from the Archetypes.) Sometimes just being able to talk to someone about psychological issues goes a long way towards client healing. After talk therapy, and when the client was comfortable with our relationship, I would progress to GI…sometimes in the first session but usually at least the second session.
You cannot separate the mind from the body and that with every symptom, we should also treat what is troubling the person emotionally….which may be at the root of the problem in the first place. The unconscious mind speaks to us in symbolic images through dreams and since the body cannot speak, it also expresses itself symbolically. The chakra system is a good energetic map that can lead us and our clients to solutions. There are some good books on chakras: Anatomy of the Spirit by Carolyn Myss, PhD, Eastern Body Western Mind and Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith, PhD, and Healing the Split by John E. Nelson, MD.
Shuffling and laying out a few Tarot cards and having a discussion around their images also goes a long way towards the client bringing issues to the surface to be healed. Then guided imagery to a safe place and then “possibly” progress the imaginary journey to the site of the symptoms in the body (one must go with the psychic flow of the client).
The symptom may or may not be responsive to this type of therapy. It is worth a try before resorting to botox treatment or surgery.
Currently, I am studying aroma therapy and can see that essential oils might also be useful to the holistic practitioner. In this case, it might be quite powerful to breath in an aroma along with GI. You could also bring color into the imagination session too. And on it goes. The possibilities of the healing arts in medicine is endless.
In healing, Toni