Health & Fitness : Willing to get well
In a 1986 interview in Musician magazine, Paul McCartney recalled about having dinner with John Lennon, who suggested that they both get trepanned. In case you aren't familiar with the practice of trepanning, it's when a hole is bored into your skull for the purposes of drug-free mind expansion, altered states of consciousness, and enhanced clarity and perception. Paul declined.
While the aforementioned treatment sounds a tad extreme, such a treatment is actually used for real medical issues, such as a localization of an intracranial hematoma.
When it comes to alternative treatments - ones that almost seem frivolous, yet extremely beneficial - Island establishments offer many from which to choose.
For instance, what to do about menopause. What to do with hot flashes, mood fluctuations and just general discomfort? One alternative may be Yoga for Menopause. Arlene Stark Prisco of Guiding Light Yoga in Oak Bluffs brings students struggling from hot flashes through a series of cooling yoga asanas (poses), and works with the body's natural rhythms and flow at a gentle pace. As mood fluctuations often occur in menopause, restorative and supported yoga asanas such as Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose) and Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) are also used to nurture the body and mind (mood).
"Yoga practice in general can be beneficial for sleep and may be of benefit as insomnia commonly arises during menopause. We also provide a longer period of relaxation at the end of class for release, integration and meditative repose," says Ms. Prisco .
Ms. Prisco stresses that Yoga for Menopause is not a medicine or medical treatment for a disease, but a holistic path working with the body's own natural rhythms.
Anxiety and other ailments
At Vineyard Complementary Medicine (VCM) in West Tisbury, resident yoga therapist Jane Norton leads a Yoga Anxiety Workshop, among many other classes and workshops.
"Many of my clients suffer from both anxiety and depression," Ms. Norton says, "so finding the place in the middle is key. I like to meet people where they are - physically, as well as emotionally and spiritually. The latter two aren't always immediately evident, but throughout the course of working through the physical, other 'stuff' rises to the surface."
By developing more sensitivity to their own bodies and feelings, Ms. Norton's clients may learn what is the most appropriate action for them in any given situation, and apply what they've learned in the moment that it's needed.
Also at VCM, founder and lead physical therapist Susan Sanford often incorporates traditional Chinese medicine treatments such as cupping to assist in the movement of energy in the body, for people recovering from injury.
Cupping is a method of stimulating acupuncture points by applying suction through a metal, wood, or glass jar, in which a partial vacuum has been created. This technique produces blood congestion at the site, which is stimulative. It is also used for low backache, sprains, soft tissue injuries, and may help to relieve fluid from the lungs in chronic bronchitis.
"People have to be ready to meet themselves," says Pamela Danz, owner of BodySense in West Tisbury (just a short trip across the road from VCM). "There is a trust period when someone comes to me for the first time. But once someone begins to feel relaxed and truly considered, they are more open to receiving exactly what they deserve - the power of knowing they have a direct hand in helping to heal themselves."
Ms. Danz, who also specializes in Craniosacral Therapy - among many other areas of concentrated healing - is extremely intuitive when it comes to knowing how much or how little a client needs.
"It's all about the senses," she says. "Senses are who we are. I can sense what they need, but unless someone feels comfortable it's not going to happen and you can't force it."
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Guiding Light Yoga:
Then there's lymphatic drainage, a therapy that consists of a manual massage, performed by a lymphatic drainage therapist, like Ms. Danz.
When the lymphatic system becomes blocked, lymph nodes may become swollen. Then your system fails to remove the body's toxins and can even affect white blood cell counts. Some therapists believe that lymphatic drainage therapy can also reduce allergies, menstrual cramps, colds, and other viruses.
A common concentration between the staff at VCM and Ms. Danz is the focus on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, specifically the latter. The sympathetic is our "fight or flight" impulse, while the parasympathetic is mostly about how we "rest and digest."
Regardless of any misperception one may have when it comes to those crunchy granola, holistic, unconventional practices, the common theme among these professionals is this: All it takes is the will to get well, an openness to new ideas, and the willingness to feel deserving of a pain-free, happy life.