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Chakra Healing

by Sandra Ramani

Unblock and unlock the energy centers of the body

Similar to concepts like “aura” and “qi,” chakra healing is an alternative modality that might bring out the skeptic in spa-goers—until they experience a session for themselves, of course. Currently enjoying an increased popularity at spas around the world, this ancient technique is proving to be as effective as ever in helping to unblock and balance energy centers in the body.

We tapped some chakra experts to help explain what the therapy is all about, and scouted top places where you can experience it for yourself—as well as products that help bring some of that healing home.

What’s a “Chakra”?
Chakra balancing is based on the fact that everything on the planet radiates energy, right down to the cells within us. Translated to “wheel” in Sanskrit, “Chakras are the energy center systems that flow throughout the body,” explains Rashia Bell, resident healer at the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown and founder of The Cristalline, an energy-balancing lifestyle and design service.

Originating in ancient India, and part of traditional practices such as yoga and meditation, “Chakras also represent a spiritual energy source in our body, from our root all the way up to the crown of the head, and are a key part of staying connected and dealing with our subconscious mind,” adds Majka Kendall, spa director at Cape Cod’s Chatham Bars Inn and an expert in positive psychology.

Why do they need balancing?
As Bell explains, while “there are hundreds of chakras in the body, we usually focus on the main central seven: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye and Crown.” When these chakras get blocked, that can lead “to illness, as well as physical, dietary or emotional imbalances—so we strive to keep them in balance so that our body can be fully functioning, and our mind clear and productive.”

Kendall further breaks down what each of these seven core chakras represents—and what can happen when they are out of whack.

How do chakras get balanced and cleared?
“Healing and balancing can be done through yoga, reiki, meditation, polarity sessions, cranial sacral therapy and more—it’s all about guiding and shifting the energy,” explains Kendall.

Some can take on the form of a typical spa treatment, too. Vernika Shukla, founder and CEO of the chakra-based product line, Kanya, has crafted healing treatments for top spas around the country that start with a foot ritual—during which the therapist will identify which chakra is in need of attention—and then continue with a salt soak and body scrub to clean your energy, then a body and face massage using the correct chakra-corresponding aromatherapy blend.

Most common, though, are balancing sessions that incorporate the use of crystals. As Bell reveals, these therapies harness “the energy of crystals, and pair specific stones to each chakra, based on how they resonate with the energy points.”

The treatment is typically a relaxing experience, performed while the client is lying down, and may include some type of guided meditation or visualization. Kendall explains that clients might “feel a gravitational pull or a shift when the crystal is laying on the body, and may also notice physical shifts like a change in breathing patterning or a difference
in heartbeat.” She also notes that some clients may experience things like “body twitches, heat or extreme emotions, such as laughter or crying,” in the course of the service, as chakras become unblocked.

When deciding what type of chakra balancing service to choose, Bell says the most important thing is to talk to your therapist to “understand the type of energy work that will be taking place. Knowing if it’s going to be a more passive experience or an active one between the client and practitioner can help you decide if you would like something restorative and relaxing, or something that will focus more on the self and inner-personal work.”

Can anyone have these treatments?
Pretty much, as this “treatment is beneficial for anyone and everyone,” notes Kendall. However, both experts recommend letting your practitioner know if you have any specific medical issues or are on medication, and Kendall also notes that pregnant clients “should avoid chakra healing and balancing, as we do not want to shift any energy for the baby.”

What are the benefits or results?
As the therapies aim to clear energy blockages that affect both the physical and emotional body, benefits might include relaxation or re-energizing (depending on what you need), a rebalancing of the mind and body, and increased self-knowledge, motivation and clarity on any unresolved questions. “This is alternative medicine that gets to the root of any issues, with a focus on mind-body-spirit therapy,” notes Kendall. “So you will learn something deeper about yourself.”

You’re also sure to leave with a sense of inner peace, says Bell. “In the hectic world we live in today, people are open to exploring different mindful modalities like this to help find balance and harmony within their lives. These aren’t trends—they’re a return to ancient practices.”

Where to Try It

ABOVE: Chakra Balancing Body Treatment at Topnotch Resort | Photography by Danielle Visco, Luv Lens

Chatham Bars Inn
Elements of chakra healing can be enjoyed in the Couple’s Massage, which incorporates rose quartz to tune the heart chakra, and in the Healing Crystal Harvest Scrub, which combines the Spa’s own Rosemary Orange Sugar Scrub with powerful Selenite crystals to help both rejuvenate the skin on the outside, and restore clarity and balance on the inside. The Spa also addresses chakra healing in select meditation classes and workshops, and stocks custom-made Selenite crystal jewelry in its boutique. chathambarsinn.com

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown
The chic spa’s Resident Healers, including Bell, offer services such as the relaxing and restorative Chakra Crystal Energy Clearing, and the more in-depth Crystal Healing Experience; the latter uses meditation and visualization techniques to identify the client’s immediate needs, then uses targeted crystals to support that journey. Both therapies include a set of chakra crystals to take home. fourseasons.com

Inn and Spa at Loretto, Sante Fe
Performed while the guest is wearing loose, comfortable clothing, this Southwestern-inspired spa’s 50-minute Chakra Balancing session uses gentle, light touches and energy work on the seven chakras to leave you balanced and refreshed. A half-hour of energy work can also be added on to any traditional massage. hotelloretto.com

Topnotch Resort
After a day hitting the slopes around Stowe, Vermont, realign your energy centers with the Chakra Balancing Body Treatment, a 105-minute ritual including a foot treatment; full-body exfoliation with a mix of salt, aloe and shea butter; and a warming body/face/scalp massage using a chakra-appropriate aromatherapy oil blend. topnotchresort.com

Heal at Home

A Healing Primer
Coming out in February, Crystals: A Guide to Using the Crystal Compass for Energy, Healing, and Reclaiming Your Power is a comprehensive look at how crystals can help in all aspects of our lives. London-based author Aisha Amarfio draws upon years of experience as a shamanic healer, reiki master and energy medicine practitioner to offer guidance on how to identify imbalances and select the correct crystals and healing methods for transformative effects.

Perfume with Purpose
As a base for her clean, nut-free line of body oils, soaks/scrubs, essential oils and facial toners, Kanya founder Vernika Shukla created six aromatherapeutic blends that correspond to the main chakras and to any issues that might be associated with each area. The Throat Chakra blend, for example, also helps with allergies and stuffy sinuses. But the scents are far from medicinal— “they’re more like natural perfumes,” Shukla notes. Check out the site to see what attracts you, or pick up the Body Oil Chakra Balancing Trial Pack for mini-sizes of all six blends. kanyalife.com

Face It
Switzerland-based Nazan Schnapp drew upon her family’s Turkish heritage when first developing natural skincare for her online concept store; the results proved so popular, she’s now got a full-blown skincare line and a roster of die-hard fans, including a number of celebs.

The small batch-made products feature both active organic ingredients and issue-specific crystals (actual pieces of crystals, not just infusions). Favorites include the Rose Quartz Toner for deep hydration, the Aquamarine Daily Exfoliator to detox oily skin, and the gel-formula Amethyst Daily Wash to help regenerate sensitive skin. A just-launched Diamond line includes a youth-boosting eye cream and tinted lip balms. thedetoxmarket.com

Tune Up
Named after the purest form of light, the new Epicuren Sol Exquisite Gemstone Oil is a lightweight body oil featuring a blend of aromatic essential oils supercharged with citrine gemstones, which together correspond to the heart and solar plexus chakras (the energy centers of love and courage). While the oils nourish the skin, aromatherapy from a mix of citrus and green notes and woody undertones—including wild orange, vanilla, patchouli and black pepper—help uplift the spirit. epicuren.com

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