Alternative Therapy - The Heritage Clinic, Belper, Derbyshire

Penny Oldham discovers an alternative route to physical and mental well-being...

I have to confess that I've never considered myself a particularly spiritual person when it comes to healing, favouring rather the chemical properties of paracetamol and antibiotics for the body and a good heart-to-heart for problems of the mind. But a growing curiosity and 'suspension of disbelief' led me recently to the Heritage Clinic in Belper for a reiki session with owner and reiki master Louise Allen. As well as a wide and attractive looking range of her own pure and organic beauty treatments, Louise offers holistic therapies such as aromatherapy, crystal therapy, Indian head massage and hopi ear candles. But it was reiki that I was most interested in and I arrived at her pretty, shabby-chic clinic with only a vague notion of what it was all about. After taking a brief medical history Louise led me to a small quiet room with low lighting, soothing music and a comfy couch. I'd expected to remove my clothes, but apparently this isn't necessary, as reiki energy can penetrate even plaster casts. As I lay on my back, covered by a light blanket, there was a pause while Louise entered a calm state and soon I felt the light touch of her hands on my crown. She'd told me I might feel some sensation - tingling, warmth perhaps - but all I felt was complete relaxation, to the point of dropping off. The hands worked their way gently down my body, never more than a butterfly's touch, focusing on those areas that corresponded to the main 'chakras' of the body. These are centres of activity that receive, assimilate and express life force energy and are each responsible for specific physical, mental, and spiritual functions. I dimly remember turning over onto my front, but was completely out of it by the time Louise had completed the treatment, although towards the end, the sound of a bell penetrated my consciousness. That was my physical experience of receiving reiki, but the positive mental outcome was necessarily very specific to me and my situation. Suffice it to say that in spite of my initial slight scepticism to reiki, I'm now a convert to its many benefits and plan more sessions soon.But what exactly is reiki? 'Reiki' is a Japanese word meaning 'universal life energy' and is more commonly used to describe a system of natural healing. The practitioner is the channel through which the energy is drawn, through the need or imbalance of the recipient, to re-balance, unblock and cleanse the various chakras to enable them to function more efficiently. The results of this range from a feeling of calm to a quite marked improvement in a physical, mental or emotional problem. In serious illness, while not effecting a cure in itself, reiki can open the affected part of the body to conventional treatment methods to maximise their effect and accelerates the body's self-healing abilities. It has long been acknowledged that fear, worry and anxiety can give rise to physical ills and reiki aims to banish these to promote the well-being of the whole body - thus it can be described both as a 'holistic' and complementary treatment. It's also possible to 'send' reiki energy over some distance, a tool for use at any moment of stress, discomfort or fatigue, and regular sessions, even on a healthy body, can promote a more positive outlook on life.So if you have doubts or have dismissed reiki as 'hocus pocus', pop along to the Heritage Clinic and see exactly what Louise has to offer. You won't regret it.As well as reiki, Louise offers all the usual beauty treatments - with her special twist. Try a Green Goddess facial designed and made by Louise to cleanse, exfoliate and hydrate the skin with hyssop and lavender, jojoba and jasmine, and rose and palmarosa. Or experience 'Earth Angel', a grounding facial with pine needles, sandalwood and rosemary to cleanse any blocked negativities and tension as the energies of the oils and reiki 'balance and reveal the angel within'. Who could ask for more?Heritage Clinic, 96 Bridge St, Belper DE56 1AZTel: 01773 828787

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