Non-traditional, or complementary, therapies offer healing benefits beyond conventional treatments.
“Sometimes people refer to these things as ‘new age’ but it’s nothing new,” said Donna Bretz, owner of Our Place by the Bay, 186 E. Market St.
Bretz is a certified hypnotherapist, reiki master teacher and ordained minister with the Universal Life Church. She opened Our Place by the Bay after working for 30 years at Job and Family Services.
Bretz uses a hypnotherapy technique called “guided imagery.”
Hypnotherapy is also a second career for Tedde Abbott of Avon.
Some people are hesitant to try hypnotherapy because they’re afraid of losing control, Bretz said.
“They are actually more in control while in a state of hypnosis,” she explained.
“You’re actually very very focused and very alert,” Abbott said.
Many people have found that hypnotherapy and guided imagery help with pain management or surgery preparation, while others have found hypnotherapy will help them lose weight or quit smoking.
Reiki means “Universal Life Energy.” It is an ancient Japanese therapy technique that works to balance the body’s natural energy.
By a simple and non-invasive hands-on process Bretz uses energy to relax the body and stimulate a balanced energy flow.
“I really believe that your body can heal itself,” Bretz said. “Letting go of stress is 90 percent of the problem.”
The ears are big business for Patricia Armannsson of Creative Relaxation, 1644 Settlement Road, Norwalk.
Ear-candling is an ancient technique that was practiced by the Native Americans and ancient Egyptians. By lighting a hollow cone-shaped candle into the ear canal, the smoke creates a vacuum which helps remove wax, debris and blockages from the ear.
“It’s a natural, non-intrusive procedure which most people find surprisingly stress relieving,” Armannsson said.
Armannsson is also a reiki master and certified reflexologist.
Reflexology is a process of applying pressure to certain areas of the hands and feet.
It activates different nerves and muscles in the body to reduce tension and promote balance, Armannsson said.
Another complementary therapy can be found right under your nose.
“I swear by aromatherapy,” Bretz said.
For a cold, try eucalyptus or peppermint scents. Lavender is good for relaxation and stress relief. Citrus scents are uplifting, Bretz said. Essential oils can be warmed by a candle or light, or a scented candle alone can serve as an aromatherapy.
Another complementary therapy available at Our Place by the Bay is sound therapy, which incorporates a specially designed sound table. When people are ill, their energy frequencies are out of tune, Bretz said. The vibrations from the music help to reharmonize the body.
Bretz said she would like to see these complementary medicines being used hand-in-hand with conventional cures one day to help people achieve physical and psychological balance.
“That’s what it’s all about,” she said, “getting your body to function as it should.”
Complementary Therapy Dictionary:
• Aromatherapy — a holistic treatment using aromatic plant oils to maintain and promote physical and spiritual well-being.
• Ear Candling — also known as ear coning; by placing a lighted cone-shaped candle in the ear, wax and toxins are removed from the ear through the vacuum created by the smoke.
• Hypnotherapy — a deep state of relaxation, achieved through focused attention, during which the subconscious mind becomes more receptive to new perspectives and ideas.
• Reiki — a Japanese techniques that involves the laying on of hands to balance the body’s energy to achieve physical and mental stability.
• Reflexology — an ancient Chinese technique that uses pressure point massage, usually on the hands and feet, to restore the body’s natural energy flow.
• Sound Therapy — using sound and the vibrations to relieve stress and achieve physical and psychological balance.