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Trick or treat: Healing therapies you should be aware of

As Lady Gaga reveals that she swears by her fairy cards, we take a closer look at some other bizarre alternative healing therapies.

health and fitness Updated: Jun 25, 2015 15:06 IST
Susan Jose
Healing Therapies
Therapies-are-any-day-better-than-popping-medicines-In-craniosacral-therapy-above-a-practitioner-applies-healing-touches-to-your-head-and-spine-sometimes-also-around-the-pelvis-area-Shutterstock

Are you going through a bad break up or are you having issues dealing with stress at work? There might be an alternative to popping medicines. Of late, many workshops in the city, hosted by trained practitioners have highlighted alternative healing methods. These therapies claim to help a person get through life's ups and downs.

We list a few that might seem bizarre, but are very popular in the city.

1) Craniosacral therapy:The therapy was developed by US-based physician John Upledger in the '70s. It involves a practitioner applying healing touches to your head and spine, sometimes also around the pelvis area. The swift movement apparently helps move the spinal fluid in your body, and fastens the healing process. It is said that the therapy, in itself, is categorised under pseudoscience.

2) Angel Healing:This therapy has been pioneered by Doreen Virtue, an American motivational speaker. It is said that it helps you communicate with angels, who, in turn, heal you. It recently gained a lot of popularity after singer Lady Gaga mentioned it on Instagram. She posted a picture of herself on the site with the caption, "Never leave home without my fairy cards (sic)."

3) Crystal healing:This therapy claims to be based on the scientific fact that our bodies have electrical energy fields. However, whether these fields can be manipulated with the use of crystals is still a debatable topic. As part of this therapy, the healer places gemstones on the body to draw out negative energy.

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(Shutterstock)

"These gemstones are placed on the seven chakras of the human body," says Pushtiie Shiv Shakti, founder and therapist of Goddess Breath, a foundation where alternate healing and spiritual workshops are conducted. She further claims that the body then enters a state of trance.

4) Pendulum dowsing:This technique of healing has its origins in the Renaissance when pendulums were used to find water sources. "A pendulum is usually used to get answers in yes or no. Apart from using it to make decisions or figure out stuff, this method is also used for finding lost objects," says Shiv Shakti.

5) Rebirthing and breathwork:US-based physician Leonard Orr is said to have invented this technique. Practitioners believe that by re-living the experience of being born, one can clear a lot of mental and emotional distress. "This involves breathing techniques that help join your energy with the divine energy," says Shiv Shakti.

6) Emotional freedom techniques: Dubbed as psychological acupuncture, this therapy involves tapping yourself with your fingertips, usually on the inner side of your wrist or the back of your palm while making an 'affirmation statement'. For example, as part of the therapy, people are asked to say out loud: "Although I do not like my 'mention any aspect of your personality', I completely accept and love myself." "This clears stress and disturbances, whether they are emotional, mental, physical, financial or spiritual," says holistic healer Janhvi Patel.

Expert speak
"There is no scientific or concrete evidence about the responses to these therapies. They are more for those who have low self-esteem or do not know how to cope with day-to-day stressors. These people clutch onto anything that makes them feel better, albeit temporarily, and the angel healer is skilled in making you hear what you want to hear. Psychiatry on the other hand has scientific basis to most problems, and has proven effective in managing people through counselling and medications."
- Dr Rohann Bokdawala, MD, Psychiatry.

"Most of the positive responses are based on desire, and not rationale, which is why we are sceptical, and file the positive effects under placebo effect. It all comes down to the power of the human mind."
- Dr Kersi Chavda, consultant psychiatry, PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mahim.