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Testing the alternatives

I have a friend who, following a bad break up, tumbled into a bout of depression.

At first I assumed it was natural, but after a year it became harder to understand and sympathy turned to irritation. Little did I know she was doing everything she could to try to lift herself out of the daily sadness but was failing miserably.

Two years on, having done everything conventional medicine could prescribe, she found herself at the door of an energy healer, Rebecca Singleton in Kimmage, wondering what on earth she was doing.

Rebecca assessed the situation and stated that we all have bonds between the people we meet day-to-day, friends, family, co-workers and, of course, lovers. When someone directs ill will toward you, they can drain your energy. What followed was a process called ‘cutting the ties’, thereby releasing her from the sadness the situation had left her with.

My friend left feeling like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders and has never looked back. As much as I didn't quite ‘get' what she had been through, I couldn't help but notice that my happy mate was back.

I was cynical and curious. The fact that Rebecca had ‘cured' my friend in an hour, where other methods had failed, led me to explore more holistic therapies. So here's an outline of the therapies I’ve tried in the past year.


What is it? Acupuncture is a major part of Chinese medicine, which works in the knowledge that the body has 14 energetic meridians. When these become blocked, due to muscle tension, emotional pain, poor diet or poor lifestyle, the body is not functioning at its optimum. Acupuncturist Anne Hughes places fine needles to stimulate the energetic channels.

What does it do? Acupuncture has been known to cure a range of ailments from poor digestion, stress, muscle tension, emotional issues, infertility and pain. It can also be used to relieve facial tension achieving a more youthful appearance.

What actually happens? Anne inserted fine needles into areas where she feels the chi, or energy, is blocked. She also used moxibustion, which is where a clump of herbs is placed on the end of the needle and set alight. The sensation is of deep heat penetration which was so soothing I could feel tension melt away and my circulation instantly stimulated.

Anne also placed a needle in a knot of tension between my eyebrows and the effect afterward was like a natural Botox. The knotty furrow disappeared and my forehead was smoother.

What are the drawbacks? Acupuncture is not entirely regulated in Ireland, so it is vital to ensue that whoever you go to is thoroughly qualified.

What it costs? A one-hour session is €50.

www.well-being-dublin.com, or call 087 624 9555

Spiritual Tarot

What is it? With 15 years’ professional experience, Christine Danielle Vierling is a highly intuitive woman who uses tarot cards to answer questions people have about life direction, health, relationships, work, anything really.

What does it do? Christine asks the cards to show the messages for the client which she then interprets psychically and spiritually.

What actually happens? I shuffled a deck of tarot cards to put my energy on them and then asked questions. I had to pick a card and Christine answered my question with her interpretation of the information shown on the card.

What are the drawbacks? You need to have an open mind and be prepared to hear things you may not like. During my session Christine said one thing I didn't like the sound of, but it turned out to be true.

What it costs? A one-hour session is €75.

www.cdvierling.com or call 085 703 4984

Natural Spiritual Healing

What is it? Bernadette McPhillips is a former social worker and a counsellor whose therapy involves channelling positive energy directly on to the body.

What does it do? It attempts to restore balance and is effective in dealing with depression and anxiety.

What actually happens? The session involved a lifestyle consultation, then I was asked to lie on a massage table fully clothed. In silence she moved around my body occasionally touching it with incredibly warm hands, apparently channelling pure healing energy. The sensation is gentle and soothing. I drifted off and, although she barely touched me, the effect was as if I had had a week’s worth of massages.

What are the drawbacks? Although I felt relaxed, for some people it will seem like nothing is actually happening. You have to be a believer in energetic therapy to feel a benefit.

What it costs? A one-hour session is €50

www.dublinhealing.com or call 087 132 8579

Natural Facial Rejuventaion

What is it? Practised by Mairead McHugh, the origins of this technique lie in Ayurveda and it is thousands of years old. Rejuvenation involves massage techniques, acupressure points, lymphatic drainage, energy balancing and facial exercises, all of which help to lift the face, smoothing out fine wrinkles.

What does it do? It increases circulation to the face and relieves tension. It is relaxing. This would be good for sensitive skin as no products are used.

What actually happens? The treatment involved the most thorough massaging my face has ever had. The areas around my eyes, that are almost always dark, benefited from the lymphatic drainage.

What are the drawbacks? A few sessions are needed before a long-term effect can be noticed.

What it costs? A one-hour session costs €50. Buy two sessions and get a third free.

Call 086 873 5053

Chakra Balancing Treatment

What is it? This is based upon the knowledge that the body has seven chakras. Chakras are energy centres along the spine located at major branchings of the human nervous system that govern aspects of our emotional health. This treatment diagnoses which are out of balance and aims to regulate them.

What does it do? Using kinesiology, a way of pushing on a muscle, the therapist diagnoses which areas are out-of sync. Treatment uses healing crystals and aromatherapy to direct healing energy towards the body.

What actually happens? I laid down on my front as oils and crystals were placed on certain points on my back. I felt relaxed and, strangely, as one crystal was placed on my solar plexus my whole body heated up and it almost felt uncomfortable. I was then turned on to my back and the treatment continued. I left feeling very weary but, after one of the best night's sleep I ever had, I felt fully charged up.

What are the drawbacks? This treatment is highly effective and should not be undertaken lightly. It can be quite emotional and for some people this could mean tears or feeling low initially as the repressed feelings are released.

What it costs? 90 minutes costs €190.

www.fourseasons.com/dublin/spa or call 01 665 4000

For more information and other therapies available see www.dublinholisticcentre.com

For information on Rebecca Singleton please see www.mettahealing.com