It’s difficult to dispute the aesthetic beauty of raw quartz, or the sense of serenity some of us feel after inhaling an artful blend of essential oils.
But the actual health and beautification benefits of alternative therapies (including crystal healing, energy healing and aromatherapy) are hotly debated.
While the effectiveness of many new age therapies lack scientific support, leading UK trend forecaster, The 2016 Future’s Laboratory Report, says consumer demand for them is steadily increasing, as a “counter-culture” to the ravages of 21st century living.
The report argues that beauty products seeking to boost spiritual or emotional wellness are the antidote to the self-esteem knocking “unrealistic beauty standards” of our ‘Photoshop culture’ and the effects digital device overuse can have on the skin
“Spirituality and beauty are often regarded as fellow travellers, joined in the minds of consumers wanting to build a particular lifestyle,” it elaborates.
“Beauty brands are making the connection more explicit by creating products that that incorporate mystic symbolism and new-age thinking.”
SPA+CLINIC explore the common principles behind popular spiritual, ritualistic and shamanic healing therapies and the ways you can weave them into your biz.
An Holistic Approach
Similar to conventional faiths, new age thinking seeks to demystify the human experience in terms of our existence, health and growth.
Although the movement was coined in western culture during the 1970s, against the backdrop of folk music and flower-power, it is also thought to borrow bits-and-pieces of beliefs from a variety of ancient traditions.
With an eclectic value system, it celebrates many points of view and accepts and attracts a diverse demographic of devotees.
Harmony between mind, body and spirit is a common thread among much new age thought.
Therefore new age thinkers often believe optimum wellness is achieved by nurturing all three.
Offering a unique menu of treatments from chakra balancing to reiki, Anthropocosmic Apocethary (a day spa based in northern NSW) embodies an holistic approach to beauty.
“To nurture the skin and spirit simultaneously, we use a combination of different tools from clinical grade essential oils, to crystals and guided meditation,” says co-founder Noel Hill
“We wanted to create a space where people can release their emotions in a healing environment.
“Our practitioners encourage an open mind and being “in the moment”, and we suggest our clients choose whichever modality resonates most with them.
“People love it, because we approach every treatment with emotional wellbeing in mind too.
“Even if they come into a pedicure, we approach it with healing hands and ask them questions that have often prompted them to release their emotions.
“If they have this kind of spiritual breakthrough, they leave feeling a lot lighter.”
Despite the broad scope of healing arts that fall under the alternative or “new age” umbrella, the concept of “energy” underpins almost all of them.
Many are dedicated to unblocking or shifting areas of stagnated energy in and our around the body to optimise everything from organ function to the way combat the earthly elements.
“Humans are energetic beings and are made up of auras, chakras and meridians that carry the life force that nourishes our entire body,” says Rachael White, founder of Rachael White Aromatherapy.
“When we focus on negative emotions, we create a negative energy and the longer we focus on this negative emotion.
“This negative energy can manifest in the body and/or mind and can lead to illness – so the vibrational properties in our essential oils work to interrupt negative energy at the source and shift them into a better mood.”
By that token, Noel Hill and the staff at Anthropocosmic Apocethary, follow an energy cleansing ritual of the spa space before clients arrive every morning.
“The space carries the staff and clients’ energy from the day before so we cleanse the space so it’s pure for the new day’s clients.
“When cleansing the space, we employ a range of tools (including white sage smudge sticks) and make sure we use them with intention.”
The Elemental View
Energy fields (namely chakras, auras and meridians) are not the only eastern belief that has been adopted by new age thinkers.
In Ayurveda, India’s traditional healing philosophy, earthly elements (air, fire, wind and earth) are believed to manifest in humans too.
“One of the elements dominates, which determines that person’s physical constitution, most likely health issues, and emotional attributes.
“We believe the elements govern all biological, physiological and physio-pathological functions.
“Thus, if out of balance, they contribute to the disease process,” says Yasmin Sadikot, founder of Omveda Aryurvedic Skincare.
“You can determine which element is dominant in your constitution with a pulse diagnosis from an Ayurvedic doctor.
“As seasons change, our lifestyles changes, so does our constitution – to balance the uncontrollable elects, we embrace herbs with special formulas and educate practitioners on our signature massage techniques.
“Our skin and haircare products carry energetic properties that are absorbed into the skin upon application.
“They work to rebalance the various elements an individual’s constitution to rejuvenate them, promoting a feeling of wellness.”
Just as Ayurvedic herbs and massage techniques work to attune human energy with the universe, devotees believe crystals can instigate change within our mind, body and spirit.
Sydney Lifestyle and brand expert Scarlett Vespa moonlights as a crystal healer and clairvoyant.
She works with top-level corporate teams including Westpac senior management to shift people’s energy into a more positive place.
“Crystals come from the earth and they hold vibrations – they have a soul of sorts and a spirit,” she explains.
“They can stir your profound shifts in your energy, wake things up, cause things to happen, and act as an oracle.
“An energy shift inside an individual can enhance their sense of self and wellbeing, which helps them glow with a natural radiance that comes from within.
Scarlett says crystals are very powerful and should be handled with good intentions.
“If passed between hands or harnessed as a healing tool, they need to be cleansed or charged using moonlight, sea-salt, water and sun.
“All crystals have a unique structure which gives them a vibrational integrity that supports healing,” agrees Alison Gallagher, founder and formulator of Alyssum Alchemy (rose quartz infused skincare).
“The soft pink colour of rose quartz, aligns with the heart chakra which governs compassion, healing and trust.
“By infusing my skincare range with this crystal, the products emit the healing frequency of rose quartz which can aid feelings of self worth, balance the heart chakra and increase compassion.
“To make make, them I use an ethically and sustainably sourced crystal, set an intention for it, place it in water or oil, then set it out under the moon.”
Age Of Aquarius
Many new age thinkers believe the pattern of stars and planets at the time and place of one’s birth can reveal their personality traits.
The Rains, founder of Synthesis Organics has found a way to merge her talent for astrology with her aromatherapy expertise by recommending combinations of aromatherapy oils according to one’s astrology chart. She elaborates:
“There are general health and emotional patterns that have come to be associated with different star signs.
“As our beauty is very much linked to our health and emotional wellbeing, it is possible to offer specific star sign suggestions to support natural beauty care.
“I created a list of essential oils that would enhance the strengths and balance the challenges associated with particular star signs.
“For example, Pisces is considered a very intuitive and spiritual sign so I would suggest essential oils to support and nurture that sensitivity such as; lavender, sandalwood, patchouli, rose, ginger, frankincense and ylang ylang.
“Star signs are also associated with areas of the body, in this case; Pisces rules the feet and this is typically when health challenges can show up.
“Thus I would recommend tea tree, peppermint, lavender and lemon which are great essential oils to use with the feet.
“Black pepper, rosemary, cedarwood, peppermint, bergamot and basil essential oils are very good for grounding the at times dreamy, unpractical nature of Pisces.”