From Reiki to Crystal Therapy: Your Guide to Alternative Therapies
Let’s face it, energy work and alternative therapies are not for everyone. In fact, I never believed they were for me until I had a session of Reiki that left me feeling calm and content and a vibroacoustic session that managed to ease some of my anxieties and fears in under an hour. I have friends who swear by acupuncture and I think we can all agree on the benefits of meditation. Interested in alternative therapies? We’re breaking down some well known and not-so-well-known energy work and treatments that can help heal your mind, body, and soul!
Acupuncture – This ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine practice may sound scary to some but in fact what seems painful actually is great for alleviating pain. Long, thin needles are gently inserted into meridians (energy centers) just under the skin to stimulate our nervous system and treat ailments, allergies, gut health, headaches, and more. You may feel a slight tingly sensation but the needles are painless.
Aromatherapy – Dating back to ancient Egyptian times, aromatherapy helps to promote wellbeing, reduce stress, and can even treat insomnia and anxiety. Fragrant essential oils are extracted from plants, flowers, and herbs and each type of oil has a different therapeutic benefit — for example, lavender encourages your body to calm down.
Ayurveda – Meaning “knowledge of life,” Ayurveda has been around for more than 5,000 years. At the center of this ancient practice lies the balancing of a person’s doshas (three biological mind-body traits: vata, pitta, and kapha) through nutrition, exercise, meditation, massage, aromatherapy, and herbal medicine. Common rituals on spa menus include Abhyanga (oil massage), Shirodhara (the “third-eye” treatment), and Panchakarma (detoxifying therapy).
Craniosacral – Focusing on where the spine meets the cranium and sacrum, this technique aims at improving the flow of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain and spinal cord to enhance the functioning of the central nervous system. A therapist applies light pressure and traction along the neck and skull and it’s been said to help migraines, back pain, and more.
Cryotherapy – Cold saunas set to seriously frigid temps (we’re talking -167°F) were initially developed by a Japanese physician in 1980 as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Today, cryotherapy is used for pain relief, sleep disorders, mood disorders, and other ailments. You are subjected to the cold for up to 3 minutes at a time and the benefits can last to up to a year.
Crystal Therapy – Using stones and crystals placed on the body’s chakras, this alternative therapy is said to help to reboot the body’s flow of energy. While no scientific evidence has been able to prove this treatment it’s been said to improve mood and physical ailments.
Qi-gong – Also known as chi gung or chi kung, this this self-healing ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine practice is believed to improve energy flow and strengthen body and mind. Combining easy, slow movements, rhythmic breathing, and visualization, Qi-gong is a great way to center yourself.
Reflexology – Way more than a foot massage, reflexology is the practice of stimulating points on the feet which correspond to specific points on the body. As your therapist kneads, pulls, and traces around the foot you may feel sensations and even pain, indicating a blocked energy pathway and weak organs.
Reiki – Based on the principle of transferring energy, Reiki comes to us from Japan. A person must be highly trained in order to perform a session and you may experience heat, cold, tingling, flashes of light, and color as the Reiki Master moves his or her hands over your body. The practice is said to release blocked energy and help with anxiety, healing, and detoxification.
Tai Chi – Think, meditation in motion, Tai Chi began as a form of self-defense but turns out it’s also a great way to defend your mind, body, and soul against stress! The low-impact, slow, meditative movements help you to increase energy, balance, and even improve your immune system.