Featured in the Spa Indx 2013
In our fast paced world people need a place to go to slow down, to connect themselves with nature and to have time for quiet reflection and contemplation through a sensory experience. When we visit a spa we are not only receiving a treatment, we are also separating ourselves from technology, spending time in silence and being healed by a therapist.
Going back to nature with Earthing:
Earthing is a new philosophy that is being embraced by the spa and wellness industry. It is the act of reconnecting with the earth by letting our skin come into direct contact with the earth. The simplest way to achieve earthing is by walking barefoot and spending time in nature.
Earthing works by the earth’s natural electrons acting as a negative charge that helps stabilize our body’s build-up of positive electrons. The earth’s electrons act like antioxidants for our body and generate a powerful and positive shift in the electrical state of the body. This restores natural self-healing including boosting the body’s immune system and circulation, relax muscle tension, reduce inflammation and help with jet lag, insomnia and hormonal imbalances.
Spas are incorporating the principles of Earthing by designing gardens within their spaces and encourage their visitors to walk barefoot before and after treatments. In South Africa we are fortunate that we have many spas that are located in nature, encouraging clients to get back in touch with nature.
We have a strong African healing influence through “ethnobotany”—the relationship between plants and people that comes through generations of healing. Many South African spas include locally sourced ingredients in their products and treatments – such as the healing potato plant, indigenous essential oils, Rooibos and various herbs.
The healing power of Water in the spa environment:
Historically healing in the spa has been associated with water. Water can elicit emotional expressions resulting in dealing with repressed emotions.
The modern spas offer Aquatic bodywork, which involves being supported and moved by a therapist in warm water, enabling a wide range of movements due to the water. Aquatic bodywork also naturally alters breathing and encourages a deepening of breath when underwater.
Floating in water with our eyes closed and ears immersed has a meditative quality that helps us to get in touch with sensations we may have learned to switch off or tune out and can provide a protective space in which we can experience a much deeper meditative state.
The sensitivity of touch is enhanced in water and is more easily received in water as it is perceived as safe and can help people become more aware of their emotions and body, leading to a renewed sense of wholeness in that person.
Amongst the ever increasing list of alternative therapies found in holistic spa journeys, one that is gaining popularity is meditation.
There is a growing acceptance of meditation as an effective therapeutic tool. The benefits of meditation are many. While practicing meditation the heart rate and breathing slow down, blood pressure normalizes and uses oxygen more efficiently.
The Adrenal glands produce less Cortisol (the hormone responsible for stress and abdominal weight gain), memory and concentration are enhanced and immune function is improved.
The Limbic area of the brain, which is associated with associated with emotions, memory, hunger and how we respond to danger and stress experiences the greatest effects of meditation.
The four main requirements for meditation are:
- A quiet environment.
- A comfortable position
- The focus of intention.
- Passively letting the mind wander without concentrating or dwelling on any particular thought.
Awareness is fundamental to meditation. Principally awareness brings choice.
Without awareness there is no choice, with awareness there is choice. With choice comes the consciously directed change that is personal growth.
Magic in the Forest:
“Shinrin-yoku” is a Japanese term that translates as “forest bathing” and describes immersing oneself in a forest environment in order to experience the healing effects of Mother Nature at her best. The concept of forest bathing was first introduced in 1982 by the Forest Agency of Japan and has become a widely embraced wellness strategy in Japan and one that is getting greater attention by researchers.
Studies show that forest environments promote lower heart rate, lower blood pressure and better immune system functioning.
It is believed that the trees emit natural aromatherapeutic benefits from the essential oils in the woods that are inhaled over an extended period.
The concept goes beyond recognizing the health and oxygenating benefits of plant life.
One research article cites a study done in the Sierra Nevada of California that discovered over 120 different chemical compounds in Forest air, only 70 of which could be identified.
The need to connect with the healing powers of the earth affects many of our daily decisions and conscious consumers like to describe themselves as not only socially responsible, but “green.” This includes many aspects including recycling and commitment to organic products. Look for labels like EcoCert, NaTrue and Fair Trade Certified.
“Your entire universe is in your mind. To expand the universe, expand the mind. Behind the cliche that you create your own reality there is a shadow: if you don’t create your own reality, it will be created for you.” Deepak Chopra.