Strange Therapy

Strange Therapy

The road to health and beauty is often one paved in painful hair removal and scratchy exfoliates. LondonNet helps guide you through the quirkiest of spa therapies.

strange therapyThe Laboratory is hidden in sprawling North London, backed up to large apartment complexes and winding roads full of cars. It is a haven in the suburbs: a flat, stretching compound marked with a cushy juice bar, extended pool, and window-lined rooms full of various exercise equipment, with Londoners huffing and puffing to their hearts' delight.

It is no surprise then that the Lab - which boasts holistic health - wiggle out into edgy spa territory, with Hopi Ear Candle and Stone Therapy being two of weirdest.

Hopi Ear Candle...
I must admit that I wasn't entirely looking forward to getting candles stuck & lit inside my ears. I have enough trouble with swabs and fingers - fire and wax seems a bit much. Without reservation, however, therapist Frank Horstmann persuaded their greater virtue, which included better balance, sinus relief, and (of course) better hearing. He has being doing Hopi Ear Candle therapies for about 3 years, after learning them the British School of Complementary Therapies, on Harley Street.

His clients range from young to old, men and women. In fact, although men are a bit more hesitant about the therapy, they are more likely to return, according to Horstmann. Older clients come for hearing relief, while the young tend to enjoy the therapy's headache and sinus relief.

It works like this: after a soothing head massage - in a bit of a hazy sleep - Horstmann inserts the candle, which is a hollow stick of wax made from essential oils, gently into my ear. I clench my fists and prepare for the worst, but that's really it. Once the flame is started, the heat works as a vacuum to suck all the iniquities out of my ear, signified by the fuzzy, popping sound, and oddly soothing, like sleeping to white noise.

It takes between eight and twenty minutes, with the longest recorded time being around twenty, depending on how much gunk is actually stuffed in your ears, and Horstmann lifts the candles out and sets them gently on the ledge for one distinct purpose: seeing what was in your ear.

For me, it was somewhat disappointing. The candle unravelled to show a few bits of wax, but no huge chunks previously clogging my hearing abilities. More than residue, however, the candle therapy did guide me into a long run and a string of headache-less days, but the clearest result was one in my balance. Known for my frequent trips over and bumps into nearby objects, my next week was one with a greater capacity of body control - which I esteem to a cleaner, fresher inner ear.

Horstmann recommends working this treatment, along with massage and other holistic therapies, into your regular health routine.

Stone Therapy …

I've seen pictures, and the idea of piling hot stones all over my body didn't strike up my spa appeal. Perhaps it's the few times in Germany where I cooked my own meal on a granite slab that had been heated in a fire for a few hours.

Regardless, Horstmann's knowledge and interest in about 4 years, after learning it from Jane Scrivner, owner of BSCT, who is the only teacher in Britain licensed to teach the original therapy, created by Arizonian Mary Nelson in 1992, after she had a vision of healing stones in a sauna.

The stones, themselves, are taken from the Arizona desert, and are considered healing agents by a resolute group aptly named the Stone People. As recommended by the mysticism of Nelson, Horstmann keeps his rocks hot all day (some are also cold), but leaves them out in the moonlight at night, which is thought to replenish their healing powers.

The therapy starts out with a lengthy massage, and then Horstmann stacks up stones along my spine. He then massages using freshly hot stones, placing them on pressure points. I laze into a gentle aromatherapy, my body relaxes into the massage, and Horstmann uses Chakra along with the stones' pressure-point positions to ensure good energy. Once in awhile, to get my circulation going, Horstmann compliments the hot stones with cold marble ones, and the result is striking: while I lapsed into mental sleep, my body rushes with energy, and the sensation continues even after the massage finished.

Horstmann recommends stone therapy as a balancing treatment, and the result is tangible: my body felt refreshed for days after. It might become a regular occurrence, holistic health considering.

- Megan M. Retka

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