4 “New-Age” Remedies for Stressful Lives
Do you know where you can claim a measure of personal calm amid the storm of everyday life? A restful refuge in which to reconnect with the universe? A safe harbor of health and hope to share with likeminded gentle souls?
Answer: the past.
Not literally, of course, tempting though that sometimes seems. But in a timely twist on the Back to the Future theme, the New Age relaxation techniques of old are experiencing a rebirth today as our frenzied fellow travelers from all walks of life embrace the Age of Aquarius anew.
While the mind-expanding hallucinogens of the Sixties no doubt played a role in Western culture first discovering, then embracing, many of these techniques back then, their efficiency, effectiveness and affordability have rekindled interest among today’s time-strapped grandchildren of the hippie generation.
Try these four re-emerging indulgences to calm your mind, refresh your body – and perhaps discover an inner world well worth exploring!
Of our five senses, smell may be the one we most take for granted and least understand. Scientists who study smell however have discovered that when we encounter smells we like, three great things happen: we breathe more deeply (yes, your yoga teacher was right!), we relax, and we experience an immediate sense of well-being. That’s because aromas elicit a positive response from the limbic center of our brains, the seat of creativity, emotion and yes, memory.
No wonder natural healers have used the compact aromas of essential oils for centuries to help those in need attain a more positive mental state. Certain scents improve certain conditions: lavender and rose for stress, jasmine and lemon for fatigue, clary sage and ginger for menstrual cramps, lily of the valley and peppermint for focus, and so on.
It doesn’t take much to discover the eye-opening benefits of aromatherapy, whether in a room diffuser, inhaling it from the bottle or adding it to massage oil. Just follow your nose!
Can you really relax floating on your back, enclosed in a casket-like sensory-deprivation flotation tank? It seems impossible and even scary at first.
But trust me, I’ve done it, and it is heaven. Not only does the heavy concentration of Epsom salt in the relaxing warm water make you feel unbound by gravity – a sensation some describe as anti-gravitational or cloudlike – but the pain-relieving effect of all that magnesium continues for days. Which is why you’ll probably run across more than a few athletes, arthritis sufferers, pregnant women and chronic pain sufferers occupying adjacent flotation rooms.
Is 60 to 90 minutes alone in a pitch-black float tank boring? Actually, I found it quite invigorating, a state of consciousness just shy of meditative. Several floaters I’ve met used their sessions for out-of-body astral travel; others prefer a waterproof music player.
Halotherapy Salt Rooms
Eating too much salt? Baaad. Breathing salt? Gooood!
Meeting planners and other busy professionals have recently discovered the benefits of time spent in salt rooms for on-the-run relief for everything from nasal allergies, asthma, bronchitis and sinusitis to such skin conditions as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. Salt sessions particularly help frequent flyers counteract the various ill effects of recirculated air on airplanes.
Officially dubbed halotherapy from the Greek work halos (salt), these relaxing rooms often feature reclining chairs, dim lights and soft music, and may even be lined with blocks of backlit Himalayan pink salt and salt under foot. A 45-minute session breathing salt-infused air serves as a natural anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling of throat and nasal passages.
What’s more, “salty yoga” sessions and “sound baths,” which feature crystal bowl music and other meditative tones, can help invite the outer benefits of salt rooms inward.
Infrared Jade Sauna
If you find steam saunas uncomfortably social and stuffy, you may be surprised by the latest take on the traditional, which incorporates the healing benefits of jade stone with far-infrared (FIR) heat therapy in the privacy of your own flotation-tank-size container.
Unlike traditional saunas, which warm the body by raising the surrounding air temperature to sometimes stifling levels, FIR heats in the same manner as sunlight, but using the full spectrum of visible and invisible infrared light, which is much safer than ultraviolet light. For comfort and to avoid claustrophobia, your head remains outside your container as you lay on the jade, letting it eliminate toxins, expel chemicals, improve your circulation and remove dead skin cells, speeding up the body’s natural detox process.
Need an additional reason to try an infrared jade saunas? Service providers note that regular customers consider their sessions to be a non-invasive alternative to face lifts, tummy tucks, liposuction and cellulite removal.
One thing’s for sure: this is not your grandmother’s sauna!
Photo credits: Shutterstock.com