For many of us, the last 90 days of the year serve as little more than a cautionary tale of self-defeating behavior and abandoned resolutions for improving our health and overall outlook on life.
Maybe you’ve already vowed to bounce back from the perennial trifecta of stress, consumption and sloth. Or maybe you just rolled over and went back to sleep. Either way, the year’s end is as good a time as any to leave our wicked ways behind us and take a forward-thinking inventory of all the ways we can use a mind, body and spirit overhaul.
The concept is hardly a new one. In fact, our ancestors were early adopters when it came to righting all the wrongs of stress-filled (or cream-filled) living, and they did it all without prescriptions or gym memberships. Following their lead to get ourselves on the road to living better, we’ve opted to explore the road less traveled.
Secluded on a mountainside within an hour’s drive from either Santa Fe or Taos, New Mexico, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa is the oldest natural health spa in the country, comprised of naturally occurring geothermal waters of assorted properties that are believed to ease many health woes, including digestive, skin, circulatory and arthritis problems.
Originating from a subterranean volcanic aquifer and segregated according to their elements (iron, soda, lithia and arsenic), ten natural geothermal pools vary in temperature from 80° to 109° Fahrenheit and allow visitors any combination of bone-soaking options.
Native Americans considered the mineral springs of Ojo Caliente to be sacred, and that reverence is still respected today. The entire spa is a “Whisper Zone,” to maintain Ojo’s sanctuary environment where the only sounds come from the natural outdoor setting surrounding the baths.
GIVE YOURSELF A CHRISTMAS BONUS
If you prefer to partake of Ojo Caliente’s healing waters yet make your base in Santa Fe, we recommend a fireplace suite at the Hotel Santa Fe’s Hacienda. All the creature comforts are within reach, thanks in part to your professional butler, whose devotion to your bliss is rivaled only by the tranquility and artistry of Santa Fe’s only Native American-owned hotel.
Ensconced within several acres, guests at the 35-suite, Pueblo-style Hacienda enjoy the proximity of Santa Fe’s historic Plaza, as well as sweeping views of the city’s painted sky from the balcony of the Hacienda’s inviting outdoor terrace.
Steps away, the Spa at Hotel Santa Fe provides an ethereal escape for the tense and the weary. It blends elements of water, earth and fragrant, indigenous herbal ingredients for its distinctive spa rituals, many of which incorporate Native American practices for grounding and balancing, as well as several from East Indian origins for detoxifying and purifying the body.
If your crippling fear of needles tempts you to skip over this section, hypnosis therapy might help, but it’s worth mentioning that acupuncture uses really tiny needles to treat more than 43 common disorders (according to the World Health Organization). Odds are, you’ve got a few of them.
Based on the thousands-of-years-old Chinese teachings that the body’s energy (or “qi,” pronounced “chee”) travels up and down meridians (or channels) throughout the body, acupuncture is an effective means of restoring the disrupted flow of energy that results in illness and imbalance.
Those infamous needles, inserted into specific acupuncture points, set off electromagnetic signals within the tissues, causing them to regulate themselves again. Think of it as re-booting your computer when a program isn’t functioning the way it should… and then cue the endorphins.
Acupuncture has been shown to help release endorphins and serotonin from the brain centers and pituitary gland, sending them right into the bloodstream for instant, made-it-myself pain relief.
According to the Oklahoma Acupuncture Association, the proper use of acupuncture produces an analgesic (pain-relieving) result, sedation, immune-enhancing effects and anti-inflammatory/anti-allergic effects, among others.
This ancient, holistic healing technique (pronounced Ray key) focuses on the wholeness of mind, body and spirit by raising the body’s vibrational frequency to align the various energy centers throughout the body.
A highly trained practitioner, known as a Reiki Master, channels non-invasive, subtle energy to the recipient by placing his or her hands on or slightly above the recipient’s body. The result for the recipient is often a state of deep relaxation, which is essential to reducing stress and allowing the body’s natural healing to begin.
Stress, pain, nutritional issues, negative emotions and thought patterns, such as anxiety, fear or anger, take a destructive toll on the entire body. As a Reiki Master for the past 12 years, Phyllis Maxey of Oklahoma City says that results vary from person to person, but almost everyone emerges from their session, which lasts about an hour, with a sense of renewal and a distinct change in energy. Maxey adds that, frequently, the shift in energy produces a “state of bliss” for her clients, which is often the first step to increased spiritual awareness, as well as emotional and physical healing. “Reiki clears out the old energy in order for the new energy to come in,” Maxey says.
Maxey also points out that Reiki therapy is becoming more prevalent in the nursing practice, as many nursing schools have begun using Reiki to enhance their patients’ healing processes with pain relief and relaxation. For Maxey, this combination of therapies is ideal. “Some people believe that modern medicine is all wrong,” Maxey says, “but I don’t believe that. I believe that modern medicine should be intertwined with the holistic.”
Maybe it’s really all in your head after all.
The question, “how can hypnosis help me?” is better phrased, “what can’t hypnosis help?” Its overwhelming success rate has made hypnosis therapy increasingly accepted among medical and healing professionals, according to Oklahoma City Certified Clinical Hypnotist Patrick Coleman, who routinely uses the mind-body connection of hypnosis to ease the discomfort of wary dental patients by helping his clients apply the mind’s infinite capabilities to overcome pain, fear and nervousness.
In addition to “relaxed dentistry,” Coleman specializes in therapeutic hypnosis for pain removal, sports performance, increasing memory retention, smoking cessation, weight loss, better sleep and overcoming phobias, fears, grief and trauma.
Coleman says that about 95 percent of us can enter into a hypnotic state in one session, which typically takes about two hours. The other five percent might take another session or two, but they’ll get there. Once they’ve experienced therapeutic hypnosis, Coleman’s patients regularly report improvements in (or complete disappearance of) physical conditions such asthma, allergies, migraines and skin conditions.
Coleman adds that patients can apply the techniques he uses during their session after they leave, giving them the freedom to benefit from the therapy in all aspects of everyday life.