Alternative techniques can help you relax, energize

Most of us when asked "How are you?" answer "Fine."

We tend to ignore our physical and emotional discomforts or turn to medications that treat the symptoms, not the causes, of our distress.

Welcome to the world of alternative healing, where the underlying cause of pain is the practitioner's target, and sound, scents and intuition may be used to investigate how our lifestyles and attitudes helped create the discomfort we're in. Get rid of these blocks, practitioners say, and you'll feel fine.

Scents-itive energy healing

Lilly Buyco discovered energy healing as part of her own quest for health.

"I had lots of physical issues — allergies, tiredness, ulcers. I was really not feeling well," she said.

She finally found an energy healer who told her, "You need to start learning to heal yourself."

Buyco was working in the restaurant industry at the time, but the more she studied energy healing, the more she realized she had found her path in life. She began offering treatments to friends and neighbors, who quickly spread word of her helpful techniques.

She favors a combination of methods, including intuitive readings that examine what's going on inside you; Raindrop Therapy, where drops of aromatic herbal oils with healing properties are gently rubbed into your back; and Reiki, a Japanese system that uses the laying-on of hands to tune up your energy.

Most people feel lighter and brighter after a treatment. I did. Fragrant, too.

Good vibrations: Sound energy healing

Diane Mandle uses the vibrations of Tibetan singing bowls and other sacred instruments in her energy work.

"Sound tools enable you to move into brain wave frequencies that induce a peaceful, meditative state of mind," she said.

At a recent session, I lay on a comfortable mat on the floor, surrounded by metal bowls, as she covered my eyes with an eye pillow and placed several bowls on my hands, heart, and stomach. As she struck the bowls, one by one, I could feel every tone and vibration in my body. Talk about surround sound! I felt cradled in a soundscape, relaxed and energized.

Mandle, once a regional manager of the American Cancer Society, discovered Sound Healing in the 1990s, and was the first certified practitioner in California when she moved here from Massachusetts in 2000. Besides private sessions, she now teaches and gives concerts around the country. Her next local appearance will be Feb. 26 (see sidebar).

The Egoscue Method: Healing through motion

If you're ready for some do-it-yourself healing, you can't beat the Egoscue Method, developed by Del Mar's Pete Egoscue almost 40 years ago.

During a painful recovery from a combat injury, the former Marine officer came up with a series of exercises that train the body to return to its natural state of well-being.

Egoscue uses yogalike stretches to create proper alignment, and tells clients of all ages and ailments to get on the move. He believes it's our high-tech, low-motion lifestyle that causes most disorders, and much of our pain.

"If you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, come to us," said Brian Bradley, vice president of therapy protocol.



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