Curing your body of its stresses, aches and illnesses needn’t always call for a frenzied dash to the doctor. You can often step out of the prescribed pill zone and try out holistic therapies that help you recognise and work with the demands and distresses of your body. This month we take a look at some unique healing processes that not only cure but revive you from within and have you raring to go.
Why queue up at the chemist when you can be at a luxurious spa enjoying tranquil comforts while rejuvenating your body? More and more people today are turning to alternate healing therapies to cure long existing ailments and do away with stress related problems. Here’s a quick run through a few popular and interesting practices that work like magic on your system.
The next time you are green with envy, feel blue, or see red, take a moment and think if it isn’t more than just a phrase. From stereotypes (pink for girls and blue for boys) to signs and signals (red for danger and green for go), colours have a profound impact our mood and mind in more ways than one.
Colours of the rainbow or the primary colours are a normal occurrence in nature and hence can have a natural, deep impact on the system as well. They are nothing but light in varying frequencies and wavelengths. And in colour therapy, it is this light energy that is harnessed and channelised to the various parts of the body by means of tools that balance the vibrancy and energy in the body. This non-invasive method taps into the chakras of energy in the body as a way to healthy living. The vibration of the light creates a wholesome impact that works on all levels- physical, emotional or even spiritual.
Colour therapy is a brilliant new way that complements treatment for a number of disorders like asthma, depression, fevers, blood circulation and mental disorders among others. Applying colour therapy in everyday life can help one relax, feel creative and, bring back the balance in life. Like most alternate healing practices, this method too aims to get to the root of a problem without injury, pain or discomfort by creating a balance in the vibrations in and around the body.
A colour therapist begins by identifying the problem by means of counselling sessions or various other light and colour related processes. Remedies are then initiated by various means like colourful gemstones, crystals, clothes, or even bath treatments. In some cases, the therapist may even go on to prescribe a colour-related diet plan and suggest changes of colour in your home decor or at work. The idea is to create an environment that directly influences your mental and emotional well-being by manipulating the light and colour balance around you.
Ever wonder why a good pedicure or manicure transports you to your happy place? There’s nothing like a nice soothing, foot or hand spa to feel fresh, energetic and put the spring back in your step. Reflexology however, is no ordinary massage. And there are more benefits to this routine than just great skin.
This therapy involves the use of special oils to apply pressure on the hands and feet (or even the ears!) to create a physical impact on the body. While there are various theories to the method, it is believed that the human body is reflected on the hands and the feet as reflex areas. The right hand or foot impacts the right side of the body and the left hand and foot affects the left side of the body. Each such reflex area is related to a specific organ or part of the body and applying pressure on these areas can bring about physical changes in the body or the respective organ.
While the effects of reflexology are often debated upon, it can prove to be a great complementary therapy to usual medicine. The most obvious impact of course, is relaxation. Everyone enjoys a soothing massage. However, it is also known to help cure problems such as arthritis, insomnia, digestive and stress-related disorders. And the improved blood circulation, is a given. It has also been found that the therapy helps speed the recovery process after surgery and is a good way to lessen pain during menstruation and ease back problems.
A regular session with your reflexologist begins with a quick assessment of the tender and tense points of your hands and feet. Foot reflexology is more commonly practiced and may involve the use of certain lotions or oils. The session may last anywhere between half an hour to one hour.
Enveloped in moist towels, lying on a cosy wooden bed with scented warm oils dripping steadily and gently onto the forehead and a relaxing head massage. Shirodhara, the ancient Ayurvedic healing practice is indeed ‘a cloud nine’ experience! This amazing purification and rejuvenation therapy has been performed in India for over 5,000 years. And is a sought after healing, beauty, spa and health therapy.
Popularly known as the third eye treatment of Lord Shiva, therapeutic Marma head massage is performed by gently, continuously, rhythmically pouring herbal oils or medicated milk on the forehead from a specific height, allowing the oil to run through the scalp. The liquids used in the practice of Shirodhara depend on the ailment, the body type or individual choice. Most Ayurvedic centres across Kerala use medicated oils, milk, buttermilk, coconut water, or even plain water whereas several high-end luxury spas use aroma oils infused with exotic herbs.
Traditionally, Shirodhara is used to purify blocked channels in the human system. For centuries it has helped treat a wide range of conditions like eye diseases, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, greying of hair, headaches, neurological disorders, facial palsy, Schizophrenia, memory loss, insomnia, hearing impairment, vertigo, nervousness, fatigue and certain skin diseases like Psoriasis. In a spa, however, the focus of Shirodhara is non-medicinal, promising a long lasting sense of harmony and contentment. It primarily works on the central nervous system by calming and restoring the nerves. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is considered an important tool in the pursuit of the higher states of consciousness.
Shirodhara works on the cerebral system, synchronizes alpha brain waves, enhances blood circulation, and helps in balancing the Prana Vayu around the head. It improves the function of the five senses, eliminates toxins and purifies the human mind and body. It also helps minimize those dreaded wrinkles, worry lines and crow lines, leaving the face calm and fresh. Depending on the ailment, it could take up to five or seven sittings. But then, when the benefits are this enticing, no one’s complaining!
Hot Stone Therapy
With gleaming, warm stones working on your body through energising points, hot stone therapy isn’t just another therapeutic experience. It’s ultimate relaxation, on the rocks!
This interesting mode of therapy uses heated basalt stones for an invigorating, energising boost to the body. The basalt rocks, known for their heat retention quality, removes the stress from various parts of the body, leading to deeper relaxation. The therapist may use stones of different shapes and sizes and much of the effect depends on the pressure applied by the stones. There is also the option of including fragrant oils in the therapy. But even without it, the treatment works wonders for the body and ensures your energy levels rock!
If performed well, it is a great therapy to relieve stress, heal aches and pains, increase energy levels, reduce back pain or help arthritic or rheumatic conditions. Injuries caused during sports can also be alleviated to a great extent by this technique. However, the most significant impact of this therapy is on the circulation of blood. Because the basalt stones retain heat for a longer time, this heat increases the circulation of blood, thereby creating a longer lasting complete impact on the body, mind and system.
Before placing the stones on the body, they are cleaned and heated in hot water. While the stones absorb the heat, the therapist usually begins by giving you a massage. Thereafter the stones are placed at specific points to improve the flow of energy to those parts of the body. The therapist changes the stones once they cool. But the heat, massage and the pressure, all act together to create an unforgettable luxury spa and therapy experience.