Seeking relief through alternative means
photo by Rana Faure
Numb and exhausted to the bone, my body ached after a night spent crumpled in a nursing home chair. My father had passed away just hours earlier after a long illness. “A person who doesn’t shed their tears, weeps from within,” a therapist friend once told me.
My heart throbbed and my energy waxed and waned. There were intermittent sharp pains in my gut. A few days later, I considered phoning the family internist to ask for something in tablet or capsule form. The image of silvery hair and a crisp white coat felt as comforting as a soft cloud. But I wasn’t sick. I was sad. I felt it in every cell of my body.
And that is how I found myself at the home of Gene Krackehl, an experienced empath and energy healer in Katonah. “I’m really good at fixing broken hearts,” he’d told me. His book, You Are the Healer, describes energy fluidity as the main factor that determines how one feels at any given time. “If you allow heavy issues to drag you down, your energy will tend to contract and solidify,” he writes. “Solid energy doesn’t move through our body, causing feelings of sadness and depression.”
During the healing session, I lay, fully clothed, on a massage table under a warm blanket. Krackehl performed a series of movements akin to shaking out a bed sheet in the air. “Rearranging energy molecules” throughout my body, he circulated around the table, keeping up soothing conversation.
“You actually look pretty good,” Krackehl announces after two hours. “Really, the only thing I see is in your liver,” he said, making eye contact.
“By any chance, is it a few glasses of chardonnay?” I whispered, and a smile took over his whole face.
“No, this is lots of little energy balls bouncing around. I don’t know what they’re from but we’ll release them.” Krackehl told me he would then fill up the empty spaces with love, pure love.
“I could use a little love sent over here,” I said, pointing to my right hip. “I think I have some arthritis.”
Krackehl nods. “You’ll let me know tomorrow if the pain is gone,” he says.
And later, when I heaved myself up off the table, I did feel a little lighter. The hip didn’t cry out as it usually did.
The arthritic hip had driven me to a host of alternative therapies—spiritual healing, supplements, herbal preparations, magnet therapy, and massage therapy were just a few of the practices I’d tried to ease the pain. The most beneficial had been a regimen of pressure therapy at Oriental Foot Reflexology in Mount Kisco.
Focused pressure delivered to certain reflex points located in the foot is thought to cure or prevent disease. A session can lead to relaxation of joints and muscles, improved circulation, and a general increase in energy. A quiet, open room with soothing lighting provides a remarkably relaxing intimacy. It is a delight even if there aren’t any presenting medical issues.
The open setting also appealed to me when I got “salted” at Breathe Easy, a dry-salt therapy facility in Katonah. The non-invasive, holistic approach to wellness is “an old treatment in a new world,” according to owner Ellen Patrick, who is also a yoga therapist. Suffering for years with serious respiratory allergies, Patrick finally experienced restored health after only a few sessions in a salt chamber. She soon made a correlation between breathing in the antibacterial-antiviral-antifungal mineral and a decrease in her symptoms.
Breathe Easy appeals to the senses from the very first step into the ankle high dunes of coarse salt that cover the floor. Shimmering pink salt tiles are shaped in mosaics up the walls. The lighting is low. Reclining in an easy chair with a blanket for further relaxation, clients simply sit back and breathe. This is an opportunity to meditate or dream, especially since the room is device-free.
My heart is still mending after the loss of my father. There is no magic bullet for grief. But treating myself to these remarkably affordable services has eased the pain. In some cases, they work out to as little as a dollar or two a minute, which leaves a little left over in the budget for that end-of-the day glass of Chardonnay.
Gene Krackehl embarked on his career after discovering that most of his chronic childhood illnesses were a result of internalizing the energy of those around him.