Put yourself into the capable hands of a massage or holistic therapist who will help you to get to your happy place.
‘Course you could take up a course of yoga or meditation to help relieve stress and restore (or in my case, discover) the body’s natural equilibrium after the excesses and pressures of Christmas and New Year. Or you could just lie back and put yourself into the capable hands of a massage or holistic therapist who will help you to get to your happy place. Check out our guide to some of the key treatments and therapies…
The underlying belief in the ancient traditional Chinese art of acupuncture is that good health depends on a life force or Qi (‘chee’) flowing through the body; if the Qi ain’t flowing, that’s when problems arise. The acupuncturist inserts super fine needles at specific points on the body to restore the flow of Qi, stimulate the body’s own healing response – and restore balance. It’s likely that the needles stimulate sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles which encourages the body to produce all those feel-good endorphins.
Over 400 essential oils made from the flowers, fruit, seeds, leaves, root or bark of certain plant can be used in a deep and relaxing aromatherapy massage or inhaled. The theory is that each essential oil has its own properties and health benefits, including helping to soothe away stress and anxiety, aiding better sleep and boosting feelings of well-being.
Bowen Therapy is a gentle hands-on therapy developed in Australia by Tom Bowen in the 1950s. The idea is that sets of gentle rolling movements over specific muscles and soft tissue, with short gaps in between each set, prompt the body’s own ability to relieve pain. It’s said to be good for back, neck and shoulder pain, sports injuries – and to help relieve stress.
Hot stone massage
This is a deep massage using soothing oils and warmed smooth basalt stones to release tension and relax your muscles. Sometimes the stones are placed at acupressure points around your body before the therapist uses them to work away at those knots.
Indian Head Massage
Not just the head but the face, neck, shoulders, upper back and upper arms too. This centuries-old therapy uses acupressure massage and oils and is said to tap into your seven ‘chakras’ to re-balance your body’s energies. It can help to relieve tension, increase your feelings of well-being – and is super-relaxing.
You won’t be asked to look into the eyes, not around the eyes but you will be helped to re-programme your own thoughts in a safe way under expert guidance. Can help with issues like phobias and low-self esteem as well as stress, anxiety, insomnia and motivation.
A Dr George Goodheart came up with the idea of kinesiology in the 1960s, bringing together Eastern ideas about the body’s natural energy flows and a Western muscle testing technique. The therapist puts your arm or leg into certain positions and applies a gentle pressure to test the muscle response and decide where any issues lie – and then massages or touches reflex points to help relieve them.
More than a glorified foot rub – reflexologists believe that by applying pressure to specific ‘reflexes’ on the feet (and sometimes hands, lower legs and even ears) you can stimulate a corresponding organ in the body and release natural healing powers to restore health and vitality.
Reiki (ray-key) is a Japanese healing technique developed by Dr Mikao Usui in the early 20th century. It’s based on the idea that a universal energy (‘ki’- like the Chinese Qi) flows through all living things and is vital for well-being. Reiki practitioners aim to channel this energy by laying their hands on or near you – you don’t even have to get your kit off – and so help reduce stress, anxiety and pain, make you feel more relaxed and strengthen your overall well-being.
The Sangha House, Taunton’s centre for mindfulness-based health and well-being, has a team of around 35 different practitioners and therapists offering therapy treatments, mindfulness courses (next one starts Sat 13 Jan) and a Restart programme of exercise, nutrition and weight management for those who want to get their physical health back on track (next course starts Mon 15 Jan).
The Sangha House, First Floor, Mitre House, Tower Street, Taunton TA1 4BH. Tel 0800 0191 635. thesanghahouse.co.uk