You may have noticed that alternative medicine is having a moment. Actually, it’s more than that: As scientific research begins to confirm that practices like acupuncture and meditation have real, measurable health benefits, holistic treatments for virtually everything from stress and anxiety to chronic illnesses have become totally mainstream. What’s more, many of these remedies and treatments can benefit you even if you don’t have health problems—if you are just seeking new ways to look and feel great. This spring, dig into the newest practices that will make you glow from the inside out.
If you follow any health-obsessed celebs on Instagram (we’re looking at you, Gwyneth Paltrow and Lady Gaga), then you’ve probably come across infrared saunas. These magical little retreats are thought to help detox your body, burn calories, improve circulation, and help to ease chronic pain, all with infrared-frequency light. Though they’ve been researched minimally so far, some doctors do recommend them as part of an alternative pain-management regimen. And for those who aren’t dealing with pain, 45 minutes in one of these guys is an amazing way to refresh both your mind and your body. Studios and spas using the technology can be found country-wide.
If you’re looking for a treatment you can do on your own at home that will leave you feeling revitalized, check out dry brushing. The practice involves using a bristly tool to slough off dead skin before you shower each day. Some believe that the process of dry brushing can help drain your lymphatic system and reduce the appearance of cellulite, although this has yet to be definitively proven. Whether it works for internal health purposes or not, you’re guaranteed to have freshly-exfoliated, baby-soft skin afterwards.
Taking part in a sound bath is like meditating and going to a concert at the same time, and practitioners believe that these musical rituals alter your brainwaves, allowing you to get to a place where you can heal from within. Pretty awesome, right? They’re also especially good for meditation and mindfulness beginners, since they don’t require much concentration. Instead, you just lose yourself in the sound, which is often produced by traditional instruments and singing bowls. You can expect to lay on the floor with blankets and an eye mask during the process, since the idea is to totally relax, let go, and focus on the sound. Major meditation studios like MNDFL and Inscape offer sound-based classes, and you’ll also find sound baths offered and yoga studios and holistic health centers in cities everywhere.
Problems with your posture? How about muscle and joint aches and pains? If you’re struggling with any of these issues, it might be worth trying auriculotherapy. The practice of stimulating specific pressure points on the ear is related to acupuncture, with the idea being that imbalances and pain in the body can be corrected by cultivating a particular neurological response through stimulation of certain points on the ear. If you’re based near NYC, check out Torres Fitness, one of the leaders in this type of therapy. If you live elsewhere, head to an accredited acupuncturist or seek out a recommendation from your naturopath to try out the treatment.
Massage for The Masses
The benefits of massage for your body are well-documented, from helping ease anxiety to improving circulation and aiding those with digestive issues, but the price of a treatment can be prohibitive for many. The Now, which has several locations in California, is one of the first places to offer a variety of massage options in a chic, relaxing environment at highly accessible prices ($35 for 20 minutes, $60 for 50 minutes). Keep an eye out for more studios like this to pop up in the coming months.
If you’re into fitness, you’ve probably heard of fascia. Basically, fascia is the connective tissue beneath your skin that connects your muscles and organs and keeps them where they’re supposed to be. It’s pretty important. There are several ways to take care of your fascia, which is often forgotten about by even the healthiest and most active people. Self-myofascial release is when you use your own body weight to massage your fascia, usually with a foam roller. Deep tissue massage is also an option. In major cities, there are even dedicated workout classes like Active Regeneration at Equinox and Rebecca Kennedy’s A.C.C.E.S.S., which focus solely on giving yourself some much-needed recovery conditioning. If you can’t find something like this in your area, grab a book like Lauren Roxburgh’s Taller, Slimmer, Younger, and put your home gym or living room to good use!
Reiki, energy healing, and crystal healing are all part of the major woo-woo spiritual trend that is happening right now. Though people have been using these methods for years and years, they’re gaining popularity as people get more comfortable with alternative treatments. If you want to rid yourself of some bad vibes or just give yourself a fresh start for the coming season, check out places like Place8 Healing in Los Angeles, which is devoted to the practice of crystal healing. There are also many energy workers who practice independently, giving readings in person and virtually, like Deborah Hanekamp of Mama Medicine in NYC.
This treatment—where you’re enclosed in a flotation pod or room for a set period of time (usually around an hour)—has been used for at least fifty years, but has recently become popular. Recommended by personal trainers and therapists alike, flotation isolation therapy is an amazing way to turn down your thoughts and truly relax. It’s also been shown to aid in muscle recovery for athletes, so fitness junkies can certainly reap body benefits from the treatment. Studios, like Pause Float Studio in Los Angeles, have cropped up literally everywhere, so you won’t have a hard time finding one, as long as you live near a major metropolitan area.
Published on April 19, 2017