Energy Treatments: The Ultimate Balance
Spa menus are constantly transforming to meet the tide of the trends. Today, holistic treatments that target the mind, body and spirit—also known as energy treatments—are becoming increasingly popular as more and more spa-goers seek a more balanced state overall.
Energy medicine is based on the belief that the human body is composed of energy fields. These different modalities help to balance them: chakra treatments, reiki, acupuncture and craniosacral therapy. While these treatments are fascinating, what they entail is not always clearly defined. We break down the top alternative spa therapies and what you can expect from each.
Life experiences, from daily stressors to trauma, are believed to affect chakra. Chakra imbalance presents itself through emotional issues like depression, physical health issues such as disease and listlessness, and your overall well-being.
Chakra balancing, which works to maintain your physical, mental and spiritual health, incorporates several methods aimed at aligning the body. “Chakra balancing maintains one’s optimal health or helps us to regain a desired state of being by aligning and regulating the energy in these powerful centers, which affect us mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally,” says Wendy Allamby, Reiki Master and teacher at RakSa Spa in Los Angeles.
Treatments can include any of the following: colors/crystals/gems, touch therapy, aromatherapy, light and sound, as well as yoga. “There are certain positions in yoga that correspond with each chakra, aiding in the balance and flow of energy,” Allamby adds. Consistent treatments can be highly beneficial for balancing chakra energies and helping the body maintain optimal health.
For Beginners: Indonesian Healing
New to chakra treatments? Visit the spa at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, which overlooks Indonesia’s Ayung River, for a Chakra Dhara treatment. The luxurious property is steeped in adventure as visitors enter by crossing a dramatic gorge via a teak bridge. Guests have access to the equally impressive spa pavilions, a collection of three thatched-roof units that offer treatments based on the healing traditions of Bali, Java and India, using natural ingredients revolving around spices, oils, flowers and Ayurvedic formulations.
Designed to rebalance the body’s chakras, the Chakra Dhara is an aromatherapy-meets-full-body massage treatment that utilizes warm essential oils. Performed by two massage therapists simultaneously, the back, scalp, hands and feet are massaged in a manner similar to a Swedish massage to clear blockages, with a concentration on the four “middle meridian” chakras, which run vertically through the center of the body.
For the Seasoned: South Beach Solace
Familiar with chakra treatments? Try Chakra Flow Yoga at The Standard Miami, a boutique hotel located on the waters of Biscayne Bay within walking distance of the heart of South Beach. The hotel’s spa is focused on holistic and hydrotherapy treatments, and provides the unique services of an onsite energy-healing practitioner, acupuncturist, life coach and naturopathic doctor.
Led by yoga instructor Terri Cooper, Chakra Flow Yoga incorporates longer explorative holds than what’s practiced in traditional yoga, where students are encouraged to move through personal resistance via breath. Suited for all levels, the classes progressively aim to stimulate and balance the seven chakras.
This Japanese practice of Reiki, which translates to “universal life energy,” was developed in the 1920s by Dr. Mikao Usui, who traced its roots back 2,500 years to Tibet. This complete holistic energy system works to heal on all levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
In the most basic terms, Reiki is the transference of positive healing energy, or qi, from a trained practitioner to a client, targeting specific problems from the trivial to the serious—think anxiety, chronic pain, injury—while providing overall well-being. It can be used to alleviate pain, including muscle soreness and stiffness, emotional trauma and stress. “I recommend Reiki for those who can’t handle massage or are pregnant,” says Kristi Sandeno, Reiki Master at Dtox Day Spa in Los Angeles.
For Beginners: Reiki With Relaxation
The Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isles Beach, FL offers an intimate Mediterranean-meets-classic-1950s-environment where guests can relax in luxury. Water is the key element at the resort, as all guestrooms provide outstanding views of either the Intracoastal Waterway or the ocean. Following suit, the 20,000-square-foot, two-story holistic-based ESPA overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and features a spa pool, crystal steam rooms, Finnish saunas and ice fountains.
The 50-Minute Reiki at ESPA is a starting point for spa-goers who’ve never had the treatment, as it focuses on pampering through the use of aromatherapy and limited-touching Reiki. The therapist’s hands are placed lightly on or just above the body, extending the energy to the client’s energy centers to remove blocks.
For the Seasoned: Full-Body Energy Clearing
Try a treatment at Mii Amo Spa at Enchantment Resort in Sedona, AZ, a Southwestern-style luxury resort situated right in the middle of Arizona’s Red Rocks in Sedona’s legendary Boynton Canyon. The 24,000-square-foot spa sits on the property as a separate facility; the Native American and Ayurvedic-centered offerings include everything from traditional massage to Tarot card reading and hypnosis.
The 90-minute Reiki Healing Attunement is a three-step cleansing process that aims to influence the physical body as well as the mind and emotions. It begins with an Aura Clearing, followed by a Reiki Healing Attunement, and concludes with a hands-on Reiki treatment- a powerful combination of Reiki that encourages faster integration of energy.
Although its origins are vague, acupuncture is believed to date back to the Stone Age in China— making it one of the oldest forms of healing. It is based on the belief that the body has 14 primary meridians, or channels, through which the properties yin (blood) and yang (qi, or life energy) flow. When these elements become imbalanced—due to blockages or stagnation—overall health is compromised.
With acupuncture needles, there is a number of ways to combine points to correct the imbalance, unblock the obstructions, re-establish energy flow and improve bodily functions. Acupuncture is widely used to treat fibromyalgia, lower back pain, migraines and osteoarthritis.
For Beginners: The Acupuncture Facial
Situated just steps from the Champs-Elyséesm is the MajClub Spa at the spectacular Villa & Hotel Majestic, Paris, an elegant and sophisticated stop that mixes classic style with contemporary touches. This sleek sanctuary features holistic Chinese medicine–inspired treatments and cutting-edge facilities, including blue-tiled hammams, infrared saunas and a heated indoor lap pool.
If you’re new to acupuncture, try the Gold Needle Acupuncture Facelift. Through the use of a three-step process that involves gold needles, this treatment incorporates traditional acupuncture, but with a concentration on the face to help improve skin’s elasticity by encouraging microcirculation. “Clients have been extremely pleased with the results of the acupuncture facelift and have found the procedure to be very rejuvenating,” says spa director Céline Claret Coquet. “The treatment is perfect for those who have tried acupuncture already and for first-timers as well.”
For the Seasoned: Emotional Release Through Acupuncture
Visit historic San Miguel, Mexico, for Sagrada Wellness‘ cabana-clad eco-friendly retreat grounds, a popular get-away destination for the Southern California crowd. Offering five-day-long all-inclusive yoga, Pilates and wellness retreats, the sanctuary is all about “revitalization” and provides its guests with organic cuisine and holistic spa treatments.
Eva Inglizian, the spa’s director and a licensed acupuncturist, and her father, an emergency room doctor and psychotherapist, created Sagrada’s signature treatment, Acupuncture Modulated Psychotherapy. The goal: to quiet the mind through targeted breathing, acupuncture and talk therapy. “It goes beyond the range of traditional acupuncture and combines Eastern and Western modalities,” explains Inglizian. “I start by inserting tiny needles in the ear to open the heart and lungs, and help you reach a more relaxed state on the table. My dad comes in and does about 45 minutes of gentle talk therapy and really touches on what’s going on in your life. People get deep, and they really release.”
Craniosacral Therapy, also known as cranial osteopathy, targets the spine and skull to improve the functioning of the central nervous system and boost the body’s self-healing properties. This treatment is said to alleviate everything from headaches and scoliosis to autism and fibromyalgia.
Performed by chiropractors, massage therapists and doctors, “craniosacral goes beyond treating symptoms, and focuses on locating and healing the sources of problems,” says Robyn Walpert-Rose of Intentional Wellness Center for CranioSacral & Integrative Therapies in Altamonte Springs, FL.
The therapist will place his or her hands on you, as you are lying on your back. Dr. John E. Upledger established a 10-point protocol for sessions (which typically last an hour), in which parts of the head and spine are gently massaged to tune into and affect their functioning. “Treatment is gentle and noninvasive. Generally, the client is clothed and in a comfortable position,” says Walpert-Rose.
After craniosacral therapy, many report feeling relaxed and some feel lightheaded due to an increase in endorphins. “Experiences vary from session to session. At times, it may be very quiet, and you may fall into a deeply relaxed state or even sleep, or there may be dialogue and expression. You may feel a range of sensations, or recall memories or emotions that are pertinent to healing,” explains Walpert-Rose.
For Beginners: Experience and Understand the Fundamentals
Set among wooded acres and a private 15-acre lake, the 58-room Spa at the Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley, PA features a 40,000-square-foot spa with a full range of treatments that encourage personal awakening and are geared toward promoting lasting lifestyle changes.
Offering a light yet profound touch that assists the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the body, the 50-minute Craniosacral Specialty Bodywork treatment facilitates a feeling of deep relaxation, greater well-being and pain relief. The practitioner works with the client to explain the benefits of the treatment, as well as gather information on any health issues he or she may be dealing with.
For the Seasoned: Healing with Cranio
With several locations in Manhattan (and additional outposts in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, and Turks and Caicos), Exhale Spa is a fitness and spa mecca. The Midtown location spans more than 12,000 square feet and includes an area specifically devoted to the spa’s Asian-inspired treatments.
Like the traditional treatment, Exhale’s 60-minute Craniosacral Therapy works to remove accumulated blockages that restrict the flow of cerebral spinal fluids—but the spa suggests consulting with a therapist first to learn more about energy work so they approach with realistic expectations. “I would suggest that craniosacral be reserved for the more seasoned spa-goer,” says Konstantine Varvaris, massage therapist at New York’s Exhale Spa. “It’s really a detailed healing session that’s specific to one’s needs; it addresses conditions such as migraines, TMJ, lower back issues, headaches, sinus conditions, vision problems, fatigue, depression and other emotional issues.”
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