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Au Naturel: The Hands On Approach to Healing

By Sophie Pettit 12 February 2015

We explored the world of hands-free healing in our last installment of the wonderful world of natural therapy in Hong Kong. Now we're ready to tackle the healing power of touch as we catch up with some of the city's leading practitioners who explain how they can restore your body, mind, and soul to a blissful equilibrium. Enjoy!


aromatherapy treatment What could be more heavenly than the healing hands of Mother Nature? Combining essential oils and massage, aromatherapy is a holistic therapy that treats the mind, body, and spirit. When essential oils are applied to the body during a massage, they enter the skin through the hair follicles where they are absorbed into the blood stream and circulated around the body. This treatment has many benefits to the person being treated and can enhance mood and general feeling of well-being, improve blood and lymphatic circulation, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain, and encourage restful sleep. “One of the reasons that aromatherapy has been so successful is because it uses a holistic approach, whereby the therapist takes into account a persons medical history, emotional condition, general health, and lifestyle before planning a course of treatment,” explains Nigar Qureshi, owner of Spa BPZ. “The whole person is treated, not just the symptoms of an illness, and this is in direct opposition to the modern trend of just treating present conditions. The benefits are unlimited and aromatherapy can be used for stress, which can lead to depression, backache, irritable bowel syndrome, or headaches." Find out more.


Therapist hands massaging foot. Who knew your foot could hold the key to solving your health woes? Reflexology has been practiced in various forms in different parts of the world for thousands of years among people in Egypt, China, and native America. Much of the reflexology practiced today is influenced by the hard work and research carried out in the 1930s by a physical therapist called Eunice Ingham, who discovered the whole map of the body on the soles of the feet. Reflexology uses a pressure technique on specific reflex points on the feet which correspond with organs, glands, and other body parts. The aim of the treatment being to work on a problem and bring about balance where there is imbalance, treating the person as a 'whole' and stimulating the body's natural self-healing abilities. This will result in a feeling of equilibrium, a balance of mind, body, and soul. "Anyone young or old can benefit from reflexology and as only the feet are exposed it is non-intrusive," explains Shelagh Ho, Reflexologist at Vitality Centre. "It can help many disorders and alleviate pain and stress. The number of sessions recommended varies from person to person and this is discussed at the first consultation. Each session will vary because as the body improves so the reflexologist adapts the treatment." Interested to find out more?


acupuncture_feature_image It may look painful but it's not. The Chinese word ‘Acupuncture’ actually covers two distinct treatment methods; one of them refers to the painless insertion of very fine needles in human skin with the aim of stimulating the body, another one means the use of burning moxa sticks on human skin to stimulate the body with heat. Both approaches work to encourage the nervous system to release chemicals such as opioids and serotonin in the muscles, spinal cord, and the brain, which increase the body’s pain tolerance or trigger the release of other chemicals such as endorphines. This results in reducing stress and balancing the autonomic nervous system. Acupuncture is successful in the treatment of many more types of diseases since it releases hormones that help to regulate the body’s health system and well-being. Proponents say it can be used to treat a variety of conditions such as stress and depression, chronic pain, digestive health, insomnia, and even weight loss. “With acupuncture one can feel immediate results and pain release,” explains Dr. Grace Yu, TCM Practitioner at Balance Health and Oriental Health. “The patient’s whole energy level can increase along with a better well-being of body and emotions; it’s as simple as that. Acupuncture is an effective healing method with scientific research behind it. We have patients that even come in regularly for acupuncture as part of their wellness and illness prevention program. Acupuncture can act similarly to massages that help maintaining a healthy balance and retain good looks.” Yu explains that the number of acupuncture treatments and needles used depends on the condition of the individual and can range from 2 to more than 30 needles. "The needles can be quickly adjusted if the patient feels any discomfort but if any unpleasant sensation is experienced during insertion, it is often compared to a gentle electric or tingling sensation," she adds. Nothing scary about that! Read more about this sensational treatment.


3 There's nothing quite like drifting away on a massage table and letting a pair of healing hands knead away your woes. No one really knows the origin of massage but many say it originated from the ancient methods of acupuncture from China and dates back 5,000 years. Massage uses pressure and manipulation to induce relaxation and relieve pain in the muscles and can alleviate a variety of ailments. “Almost everyone can benefit from massage treatments,” explains Anna Treier, Managing Director and Founder of Sense of Touch Spas, Capelli Salon, and Beauty Nest. “Massage can also assist in minimizing headaches and gives energy in a sluggish day. It aids restful sleep and boosts immunity because it improves white blood cell circulation, which can also help to lose weight and relieve muscle pain with proper kneading in the sore areas.” Treier suggests that you can experience great health benefits from regular massage. “If one has the time and resources, weekly massage treatments are best to keep muscles pliable, improve system circulation to keep energy in top form and this relaxes your mind and body. For those time-challenged individuals, once a month treatment should be sufficient.” Check out the variety of massages of offer.


alternative medicine for headache treatment It's mind over matter when it comes to this rather alternative therapy. Broken down into two words, 'hypnosis' and 'therapy', Hypnotherapy is a natural process that everyone can go through to access their subconscious and find root causes to an issue. The therapy process uses guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of awareness where they can begin to address a problem. “There are many benefits to hypnotherapy as it can help improve on a broad scope of areas such as relaxation, stress release, enhance self-confidence, eliminate bad habits, and improve self understanding, just to name a few,” explains Shakti Healing Circle’s Hypnotherapy Practitioner, Rhoda Choi. “All of these are done by finding root causes to an issue, affirming client's correct values and beliefs, and providing positive suggestions to the clients. Once root causes to issues were worked upon, problems generating from these root causes will be eliminated. Most importantly, hypnotherapy is a natural therapy.” According to Choi, the number of treatments required to treat a particular issue varies case by case and depends on the client and the issues involved but in most cases, a treatment course would consist of three one-hour-sessions held a few days apart. Click here to find out more about this fascinating therapy. Tempted to try out any of these holistic therapies in Hong Kong? If so, we'd love to hear about your experiences. Did Mother Nature come through for you and work her magic? Tell us all about it.

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Sophie Pettit


Sophie is always on the lookout for a great story and her next big adventure and loves nothing more than discovering the city’s hidden gems—and most delicious cocktails. When she’s not exploring new places, she’s off travelling and ticking countries off her bucket list.