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For the open-minded

Are you curious about the expanding spectrum of alternative therapies? We get experts to decode some of them for you.

fitness Updated: Feb 14, 2018 20:13 IST
Susan Jose
Susan Jose
Mumbai
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The number of takers for alternative therapies is growing day by day.(Photo: Oleh Slobodeniuk)

Recently, a wellness festival titled Quantum Energy Conclave 2018 was held in Bangalore. It focused on energy-based healing, and threw light on other forms of alternative healing such as sound therapy and crystal therapy. These days, there are quite a few takers for alternative healing, despite many of its positive effects being tagged as being placebo effects. Several celebrities such as Bella Hadid and Kate Hudson endorse alternative healing, which has stirred curiosity about such practices. Herein, experts expound on sound, neurofeedback and crystal therapy.

What is energy-based medicine?

According to a study published in the medical journal Acta Neurochirurgica in 2005, energy-based therapies “expand the healing spectrum of individuals”. It goes on to state, “Not only do they have the capability to help a variety of secondary conditions, they have the ability in some people, for certain injuries, to restore function, sometimes dramatically.”

Indian drum in sound therapy. (Photo: IStock)

SOUND THERAPY

Aurelio, a sound therapist and founder of sound research institute Svaram in Pondicherry, says, “There is vibration in all materials. Even during early gestation, we grow up listening to our mother’s heartbeats. But somewhere, we lose our inner and sacred approach to music, and it becomes a purely entertaining product. Parents turn learning music into something competitive.”

Aurelio has been learning about sound and its effects since 1981, when he encountered aborigines who used healing rituals, as they were miles and weeks away from any medical help. “If you live in a place where you hear the noise of traffic or construction constantly, it will affect you. Every ‘dis’ease is a disharmony. When we reharmonise our system with the help of balancing vibrations, physiological effects follow. It generates the will and capacity to self-heal in a person,” he explains.

The therapist says that many people come to him expecting miracle cures or quick fixes, but that’s not how it works. “A disease has to be dealt with at its root,” he says. “Once, a child was brought to me for his learning disability. But the root of the problem was that there were problems among the parents. All he needed was unconditional love and emotional support. How one considers the disease has changed here.”

Aurelio firmly believes that every treatment has its place. “Vaccinations are necessary. Even though the future of medicine is energy-based, the ideal healthcare system will have an integrated therapeutic approach. It will be a centre where allopaths, ayurveds, homeopaths, unani medicine practioners, reiki healers, craniosacral therapists, chiropractors and other specialists all come together to diagnose and then give the best, tailor-made solution for the patient’s illness and recovery process.”

Patient with electrodes attached to his head, during a session of neurofeedback. (Photo: IStock)

NEUROFEEDBACK THERAPY

Neurofeedback therapists say that when a frequency is supplied to a person, the brain has the ability to copy that frequency. Using this principle, neurofeedback therapists try to heal their patients.

Michael Beasley, a nuerofeedback therapist, says, “Your brain is the centre that registers pain. Painkillers inhibit you from feeling it. So if the brain waves can be programmed to emulate a healthy person’s brain with the help of devices, it can be optimised again, and the pain and anxiety may be lowered.” Beasley says that he turned his attention from research in semi-conductors to helping those with chronic pain using pain relief devices when his daughter Julie Nicole Beasley was shot by a gunman in 2001.

Therapists use technologies such as Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS) and NeuroField with different functions to treat different ailments. Beasley, a major in chemistry from Western Kentucky University, USA, explains that such devices help calm the brain and bring one to a meditative state. “I have worked with people suffering from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. My own daughter has had so much relief with her chronic pain and associated traumas with the help of these machines,” he says.

Therapists claim that neurofeedback therapy can work really quickly, but that is one of the drawbacks Beasley has had to deal with. “A person who has been suffering from anxiety for several years may be uncomfortable with a sudden change in their mental status within a few minutes. The sudden clarity of thoughts may be too easy or hard to process. They may doublethink their own decision-making process, or may wish to immediately solve a problem, because the path is very clear,” he says. Beasley adds that despite no reports of any permanent harm, there are chances of ticks and seizures in this therapy.

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CRYSTAL THERAPY

“Crystals have an energy of their own and have the ability to store, absorb, project and focus subtle energies on the subject. Hence, many healing modalities use them to alleviate the healing process,” says Shikha Mehta, a crystal healer at Thriive Art & Soul, Nariman Point.

She adds, “Because crystals have a memory, they must be deprogrammed and reprogrammed carefully before being used. It is very important to set the intention and instruct the crystal about the work it is expected to do and for whom.”

Mehta says that it is now easier to bust claims that crystal therapy is a pseudoscience, as it is possible to map the energies of the crystal. One can see the colours of energy projected by the crystal through a machine, which gives proof that the healing is working.

She adds that over her five years of practice, she has seen people lose faith and interest in crystal healing when they learn that it does not work as fast as allopathy. “Any healing works at the pace of the receiver’s willingness to receive energy and the ability to release energy. So, if the healing hasn’t worked on someone or is working at a slower pace, it could be that the receiver was either unwilling to receive the energies due to disbelief or doubt or had a slight resistance towards releasing old energies or receiving new ones. When one has faith in something, even stones work,” she says.

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First Published: Feb 14, 2018 20:12 IST