I’m a logical person; my opinions are firmly based in science and fact. I do my research, I weigh up arguments and I look for ingredients that are proven to make a difference. Which is why my sudden interest and passion for alternative (and unproven) therapies has taken me so much by surprise… But I’m really quite fascinated by the spiritual and somewhat illogical concepts of acupuncture, chakras and crystal healing. Over the years I’ve tried pretty much every treatment going (from hot stone massage and cupping, to cranial osteopathy and reflexology) and have seen stronger results with some than others, but after suffering with a rotator cuff injury for over a year (the tendons and ligaments that support the arm at the shoulder joint,) and trying everything mainstream to tackle it I was at the end of my tether. Physiotherapy only temporarily offered support, daily exercises reduced the pain but didn’t stop the discomfort, massage only relieved rather than offering a solution, and even changing my office chair and mattress didn’t provide the difference I needed. I’d been thinking about trying acupuncture for a while, but finally I took the plunge to see if it could make an impact – and blimey, the experience was life changing.
I’ve experienced acupuncture a couple of times before, but it’s been for general wellbeing just for the sake of it rather than targeting a specific issue. When I turned up at a spinal health clinic a short drive from my home, I had neutral expectations – I was hoping for the best, but wasn’t expecting miracles from a few needles. After a lengthy consultation to get to grips with the issue as well as my general lifestyle and energy levels, my very calm acupuncturist started to administer needles to key points around my body as well as directly into my shoulder; the weirdest and most intense sensation crept up on me, and I started to feel incredibly woozy (almost like I was about to pass out.) The needles were quickly removed from my shoulder and I was left on my back for a few minutes to let it pass.
Apparently it’s really common for such a sensation as we hold so much of our emotional energy in our shoulders, and directly targeting it can cause intense movement that the body finds overwhelming. Coupled with the fact this was where my main issues were, the result was more intense than most! Needles were later applied to other key areas of my body to indirectly target the areas of discomfort, as well as helping to restore balance and overall wellbeing – the main locations being in my hands and feet. After that first session I felt strangely restored and incredibly calm, almost like I’d had the best sleep ever (even though I’d literally been lying on a pop up bed for thirty minutes.) Suffice to say I’ve been going back weekly ever since and the results have been pretty amazing.
So how does acupuncture actually work? In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is linked to the belief that pain and disease is caused by disruptions to the flow of energy in the body; the needles stimulate points on or under the skin called acupuncture or acupressure points, releasing this energy, which then travels around the body through channels called meridians. By restoring this energy flow (and stimulating the body’s natural healing response) you can relieve discomfort and restore balance that is present in a healthy body and mind. It may sound a little ‘out there’, but with knowing every cell is made up of energy and a little understanding of the nervous system, it started to make all kind of sense to me – and the results scuppered any kind of doubt too.
I’m a couple of months into my treatment, and my shoulder hasn’t felt this good in a couple of years. Although we built up the application of needles because of such a strong response (and resistance) to the release of energy, I’m no longer in pain and I hardly ever notice the discomfort that’s been plaguing my life for nearly eighteen months. The strength in my arm has been restored (at one point I couldn’t even carry my own handbag) and it’s now only a niggle that I notice when I’ve been slouched over in Starbucks all week, or have been sleeping at funny angles. I’m so pleased with the results that I’m keeping up fortnightly treatments for general wellbeing and little niggles, believing that acupuncture really can make a difference – both physically and mentally. And that brings me nicely on to my corresponding fascination with gemstones and crystal healing…
Incredibly complementary to acupuncture, and based on the same principles (my therapist is actually qualified to use crystals too) gemstone healing has been increasing in popularity in the last few years. It’s said that crystals act as conduits for healing, allowing positive and healing energy to flow into the body as negative, disease-causing energy flows out; as these stones are formed over thousands of years using the most intense energy, it’s said that their compressed energy can be used to restore without the pentration used in acupuncture. Each of the different stones are said to have different qualities and can be used for varying purposes, but once you start to do your research you’ll find the ones that could potentially work for you (and those that you’re naturally attracted to.)
Some of my personal faves include:
Amethyst, essential for cleansing and purifying. It can bring a calming influence, and therefore be of great help in times of change, as well as promoting contentment and warding off negativity. Known for helping to promote sleep, it’s also celebrated for its ability to relieve eye strain and headaches as well as soothing skin irritations.
Green Moss Agate, essential for confidence and personal growth. This beautifully complex stone is said to balance emotion, enhance concentration, boost endurance and promote success. It’s also known to improve circulation and enhance oxygen in the body, and even ease childbirth.
Rose Quartz, essential for nurturing and healing. It can help to ground, promote sensitivity, alleviate fears and provide a sense of security, which is why it’s often known as a stone of love. Believed to help stabalise blood flow and promote fertility, it’s also known to help calm the complexion and reduce redness.
What’s amazing about crystals is that you can use them in many different ways – from using them in meditation, placing them on specific areas of the body to encourage energy flow, carrying them with you or popping on your desk, using them in baths or even creating tonics that can be applied topically. I’m still very early on in my crystal journey, but one of the books that’s certainly helped me to understand and get to grips with the magical potential of these beautiful stones is Elemental Energy by Sjal Skincare founder Kristin Petrovich. It covers not only how crystals are thought to work, but a breakdown of stones and their qualities, alongside techniques to use them in meditation, massage and bathing. It’s a great place to start if your interest is sparked, or if you just want to get to grips with the different ways crystals can enrich your life, as is her skincare line Sjal which utilises crystals and their corresponding qualities within beautiful formulas to energise the complexion.
I’m aware that the whole concept of alternative therapies is a bit left of field, but I personally find it slightly magical (in a Harry Potter energising kind of way.) I’ve been shopping for crystals and have placed them on my bedside table and desk, as well as using them within baths, and my next step is to use them within meditation – even if it helps me relax and the stones themselves offer a placebo effect, the concept is still fascinating and the stones themselves beautiful decoration for my home. Crystal healing is set to be big news this year and beyond, with endless books and gemstone enriched beauty products launching, which confirms to me there really is something in it; but often (whether there is or not) we just need something to focus on and believe in – and right now alternative therapies are helping me in more ways than one. That’s enough for me to have faith…
Are you interested in alternative therapies? Have you experienced success from acupuncture or are fascinated with crystal healing? If you’re interested in me covering my journey with crystals further, do let me know!
I pay for my acupuncture treatments at Wellness Be, which are £50.00 for a sixty minute session.
Find a certified therapist in your area via www.acupuncture.org.uk
Buy Elemental Energy by Kristin Petrovich online or in book stores, priced £18.99.
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