There are more holistic therapies these days than you can shake a stick at, from aromatherapy to zero balancing. But what are they, and what will they achieve?
My note to self for 2017 – written in big bold letters is to be less stressed. There it is, in permanent marker pen, pinned to my fridge. This year, I’m chasing health and fitness and balance. Especially the balance. And I’m aiming for a more holistic approach. (But don’t worry Mr Wine Bottle, you haven’t been cast aside – there will be balance.)
A holistic approach to health and happiness focuses on healing the whole person – the mind, body and soul. But there are more holistic therapies being offered these days than you can shake a stick at, from aromatherapy to zero balancing. But what are these therapies, and what will they achieve. Check out our guide…
Aromatherapy is a deeply relaxing, calming and balancing massage which is enhanced by the use of pure essential oils. Treatment uses carefully blended essential oils, which are massaged on to the skin and at the same time are inhaled. The smell of the oils has an effect on how you feel.
The Arvigo techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® is a traditional therapy from Belize in Central America which Rosita Arvigo® brought to the West. It’s an external massage technique that guides internal abdominal organs, including the uterus in women, into their proper position. It works by relieving blockages to improve the flow of chi and fluids of the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems, which releases physical and emotional congestion from the abdomen, resulting in improved organ function. Angie Ix Chel, who practices Maya Abdominal Therapy at The Holistic Centre in Godalming says it will help with many issues, including hormone imbalance, fertility problems, digestive issues, endometriosis, prolapses.
Shiatsu originated in Japan from traditional Chinese medicine. Shiatsu means ‘finger pressure’ in Japanese, although the practitioner will use touch, pressure and manipulative techniques to adjust the body’s physical structure and balance its energy flow. Shiatsu helps to relax the muscles fully, stimulate the circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluid, it also works on the nervous and hormonal systems. Becky Price, Shiatsu therapist at The Holistic Centre says: “Our bodies tell the story of our lives with each experience leaving some kind of imprint, and working with the body is a great way to release these imprints leaving us feeling more rested, energised and able to get on with our lives.
Zero Balancing is based on the understanding that energy exists as a force within our body. It was developed by Dr Fritz Smith, an American doctor, acupuncturist and osteopath. During a session you lie clothed on a couch. Your practitioner uses a series of gentle stretches and light finger pressures through your body. These stretches and pressure create points of stillness that create a positive release of tensions in your body and mind. Zero balancing enables the energy to flow cleanly and clearly through the body.
Originating in China and dating back at least 2,500 years, acupuncture aims to address the root of a condition and not just the symptoms. Fine needles are inserted at certain sites in the body, stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles of the body. It is a very effective treatment for a wide range of illnesses and symptoms – including back pain, migraines, chronic headaches – and is often used in conjunction with Western medicine.
AstroCrystal Therapy involves working experientially with a person’s birth chart for the purposes of profound healing, using tools like crystals, sound and sacred geometry. It involves creating a birth chart on the floor, using symbols of the planets and houses, which the person will then step into, to experience the energies and dynamics of the chart. In AstroCrystal Therapy the birth chart is thought of as a person’s sacred blueprint which can be worked with to help heal deep stuck patterns. It is a road map of why we are here, what we have been before, and what we hope to be in the future, containing information about unconscious hidden aspects of ourselves that may be blocking our growth. It’s best to come to an AstroCrystal session with an area of life you would like to look at and work on.
BodyTalk is a simple and non-invasive way to restore communication breakdowns in your body’s energy systems, using light tapping on the head and sternum, which helps the body’s natural healing process. It draws on the latest developments in epigenetics, neuroscience and quantum physics, as well as elements from traditional Chinese medicine and other ayurvedic systems. BodyTalk addresses issues of the mind, body and spirit, dealing with the ‘bigger picture’ of a health issue, rather than just focusing on the shorter term relief of symptoms.
Reiki is Japanese for ‘universal life energy’ and refers to the vital life force, which flows through all living things. It is thought to be an ancient Tibetan healing technique that was rediscovered in the early 1900s by the Japanese scholar Dr. Mikao Usui. Although a hands on therapy it is not massage, as you keep your clothes on. The hands remain still when placed lightly on the body and you generally feel a warm deep, feeling of relaxation. Reiki is used to promote vitality, harmony and well being, enabling the body’s self healing processes.
Craniosacral Therapy originates from the practice of osteopathy and is a gentle, holistic way of working with the body using light touch. It is a quiet, sensitive therapy which works through stillness to allow the body to rebalance itself and to restore underlying energy. Craniosacral Therapy treats the whole person working through contact with the spine to help release tensions held in the body which may be linked to physical or emotional issues.
The Feldenkrais Method® is a system that approaches human development and the improvement of functioning via exercises which improve flexibility and coordination and increase ease and range of motion. It is an educational method – named after its founder Moshe Feldenkrais, an engineer, physicist and judo teacher – that focuses on learning and movement. The Feldenkrais Method offers relief from tension and muscular pain, relaxaton, increased vitality, improved performance in sport, dance and music, and easier breathing and improved wellbeing.
Kinesiology is a bio-energy therapy that taps into your body’s innate wisdom, gently peeling away the layers to get to the heart of the problem. Health kinesiologists use gentle muscle testing and questioning to communicate with your body’s energy system. It involves applying light pressure to a muscle (often your arm) and monitoring how it responds. By removing disturbances in your energetic system, health kinesiology enables your body to function efficiently again and process environmental, emotional, physical and spiritual stresses. It is non-invasive and suitable for people of any age, from young babies to those advanced in year.
NLP is a form of life-coaching, used for personal development and to help people reach their full potential and achieve more success. It’s been widely used for many years to help business executives reach their full potential. Neuro-Linguistic Programming helps us to understand our thoughts, feelings and behaviour and helps us to create more successful strategies. It can enhance the way we interact with people and improve our confidence and behaviour in situations that can be challenging.
The Holistic Centre, The Barn, Wiggins Yard, Bridge Street, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1HL. holisticcentre.co.uk