The joy series: The lazy person's guide to happiness
Last week, we looked at fun alternative therapies that focused on self-expression as a means for insight, awareness and wellbeing. Whether it was laughter, movement or the process of making art, the techniques required some level of activity and commitment for the feel-good factor to kick in. That's all well and good when you're feeling motivated, but what if you just don't feel like doing anything but staying horizontal? Is it possible to elevate our mood without having to jump through life's proverbial hoops? Can we just feel good with minimal effort and dedication? Apparently, yes. Here are three alternative therapies that focus on bringing you into balance and raising your spirits one click, breath, smell, or flash of light at a time.
"Everything in Life is Vibration" - Albert Einstein
The premise of most of these alternative therapies is that everything in nature, including you and me is composed of vibrations of different frequencies. Some of these frequencies have been researched and linked to certain states of calm and others to disease. Advances in modern technology have now made it possible to read and measure the body's subtle energy fields and this has allowed vibrational medicine to gain wider acceptance. In fact, some of these very remedies have been used by the natives of our lands for centuries and we are only now realising their deep efficacy.
1. Aromatherapy and flower essences
The roots of aromatherapy can be traced back to thousands of years ago. Today, the liquid of roots, blossoms, leaves and seeds of over 300 plants are extracted as essential oils that can be inhaled, massaged on, or in somerare cases consumed, for health. How does it work? Science is still out deliberating on this one but practitioners believe that breathing in essential oils affects the parts of the brain where we store our emotions and memories. The essential oil molecules also enter into our blood stream when applied, influencing our hormones and chemistry, hence its wide application in massage therapy. Can you really deny instantly feeling more relaxed after taking a whiff of lavender or more perked up when citrus diffuses nearby?
"The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day" - Hippocrates
Made famous by bacteriologist, physician and pathologist, Edward Bach in the 1930's, flower essences are herbal infusions or decoctions, made from the flowering part of the plant, to address emotional and mental aspects of wellness. Dr Bach based his work on the fact that each flower has a distinct energetic imprint of its life force and could be distilled using water as a medium to benefit the subtle bodies within a human being. Bach identified 38 negative states of mind like fear, loneliness and indecision and created a plant or flower-based remedy for each one. Today, many others have continued his work and there are an array of brands and remedies to choose from.
In his book Vibrational Medicine, Dr Richard Gerber refers to flower essences 'as an energetic form of healing comparable in importance to acupuncture and homeopathy.' It's important not to confuse flower essences with aromatherapy. While both are extracted from nature, essences have no fragrance and are to be consumed.
Effort required: All you need to do to benefit from the wonders of aromatherapy and essential oils is to aerially diffuse it, directly inhale, or topically apply it. In the case of flower essences, you drop them under your tongue for a greater sense of wellbeing.
Where: You can buy high-grade aromatherapy and flower essences online or at stores like Life By Design at Haji Lane. You can also have a proper consultation with a trained aromatherapist for a course of treatment at Therapeutics Aroma at Forum The Shopping Mall.
2. Biofeedback treatments
Biofeedback relies on the use of specific machines to read signals from our body to give us more insight into our health. There are many different brands and systems that can do these readings like the L.I.F.E System and Thought Technology. Clinicians hook you up to the machines, attaching sensors to the pulse points around your forehead, wrists and ankles to pick up on the electrical signals within our muscles. After taking your reading, these frequencies are compared against several thousands of stored settings in the machine that relate to different conditons and a complementary frequency can be triggered to better align any inbalances. When two frequencies are brought together, the principle of resonance will see the lower always rise to meet the higher.
Effort required: Turn up, get strapped in, and let the clinician cue the machine to pick up on the areas you would like to look into and rebalance.
Where: Essential Healing at Petain Road or Spectrum Learning at UE Square.
"IF YOU WANT TO FIND THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE, THINK IN TERMS OF ENERGY, FREQUENCY AND VIBRATION." ~ NIKOLA TESLA
Light therapy has been used in hospitals to treat all kinds of skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema and neonatal jaundice. However, there is now a host of new technologies that utilise light for much more meditative and mentally-expansive pursuits. An example is Pandora Star light therapy, marketed as a deep trance light machine that uses flickering lights to guide your brain to experience a range of beneficial states of brainwave activity. This in turn helps to train the brain, balance emotions, and expand the mind.
The sequencing of flickering light makes it possible to access any frequency state from 0.1 Hz to 200 Hz as well as the deep relaxation states that exist outside the beta waves of our normal waking consciousness of between 13-36Hz. This includes guiding your brain waves to Alpha, Theta and Gamma states. In these states, you'll witness self-created hallucinogenic imagery and fractal patterns that are said to bring about feelings of joy and oneness.
Effort required: Lie beneath flickering lights and let your brain waves do the rest.
Where: Email Re2 for appointments and home visits.
The last part of this series takes place next week, where we review what we've learned and ponder what gives the most joy of all. To view more stories in The Joy Series, click here.