The Outside In
Finding Balance, Improving Health
Healthy. What does that even mean? Hit the gym hard each day and do a monthly juice cleanse? Not necessarily. Turns out the hottest new word in health is “balance,” and it comes from sources as old as Chinese medicine. I decided to explore this ongoing trend by discovering some of the less traditional paths to wellness Fairfielders are choosing.
My first undertaking led me to Purest Float (purestfloat.com), a floatation and sensory deprivation center located in Trumbull. According to the website “floatation therapy involves lying in a tank filled with ten inches of water concentrated with 1000 pounds of Epsom salt; the high concentration of salt makes the body perfectly buoyant.” This is supposed to have many health benefits—from helping headaches to improving sleep, to reducing blood pressure. A UC Irvine study found floatation to be a “long-lasting and versatile treatment” for a variety of ailments.
Once alone in the small cubicle where my private float would occur, I turned off a light and opened the door to the temporarily illuminated tub room then slipped into the silky, semi-warm water. I like a hot bath, and this was not that. Part of the therapy is to have water and air in the room maintained at 93.5 degrees Fahrenheit. As I lay in the water, meditative music soothed me, I pressed off the light and was enveloped in utter darkness. Then, the music stopped. I laugh even now as I think back. Me. The Queen of the multitask, the girl who gets stuff done, just floating in a pool of water in the dark for 60 minutes?
As I floated, I tried to quiet my whirling mind. Everything from the mundane (grocery lists, redecorating ideas) to the unsavory “is this what solitary confinement is like?” went through my head. In the end, I settled a bit. My feelings about the float vacillated: the productive side of me felt I had lost an hour, yet the dreamer inside loved it. My advice would be, give it a try.
Continuing on my wellness exploration, I took a friend to visit Fairfield’s Center for the Soul (mypersonalwellness.com) during a free energy healing night. Modeling her technique after a healer named John of God, co-owner Sage Osa claims she uses her body as a vessel to channel powerful healers from the past. Osa goes into a trance-like state and passes the healing energy to those willing to accept it. My friend and I both left the center feeling better than we had before.
My next visit was to an acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese medicine—the Healing Point (hpacupuncture.com). Owner Cindy Lawrence, who has many fans locally, is moving and handing off her practice to a protégé. I was leery about trying Chinese medicine with a person that I thought of as a “newbie,” but once I met with Melissa Morone Sommer, I knew she was an old soul with a healing touch. She took a long time to understand me before she began treatment.
Although the idea of having tiny needles inserted in one’s body may inspire fear, acupuncture felt wonderful. I have a minor shoulder issue, and after she inserted needles into certain areas of my back, neck and arms, Sommer moved onto the ancient practice known as cupping and used small cups as suctions to pull out toxins. It felt like a gentle
tugging when she applied them to my back. When my treatment was over, I felt relaxed and the shoulder pain had lessened, if just a little. The next day, I had some discoloration and small circles on my back. What was most remarkable to me was the fact that the areas where the circles were the darkest were the areas where I had complained of pain. “Don’t work on a schedule of deprivation,” she told me. “Your diet and exercise routine has to make you feel good.”
Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food,” and no one understands this better than holistic health coach Jeannine Swaim. When her son was diagnosed with diabetes, Swaim made it her mission to understand how food affected his health. From there, her passion for nutrition grew. Most adults are aware that how we fuel our bodies impacts our health, but, living in the real world can sabotage our best intentions. “Help from a health coach can be transformative.” Swaim explains.
Her company, TriEmbrace (triembrace.com) is one of many options in town offering health coaching services. Her program includes body boost smoothies, family coaching, pantry consultations, and guided shopping trips. She also believes in the energetic properties of foods. For example, if you are feeling scattered, eat root vegetables to ground you, if you are feeling down, choose leafy greens and food that lift towards the sun. “Solid nutrition will help you feel better. My ‘no judgement’ approach is all about finding balance and helping people understand what works for them.”