Body-Mind Therapies

The good, the bad and the highly questionable

Movement is good for us. A lot of the health problems on the rise today can be traced directly to lack of movement. We sit in our cars, we sit at our desks, we sit on our couches; our muscles grow feeble, our range of motion limited, and our hearts weak.

Many of the body-mind complementary therapies listed here seek to correct this lifestyle imbalance. That's good. What's bad, though, is that too many of them have an underpinning of baseless, spiritual claims about energy channels and life force pathways.

It's hard to see how therapies that focus on moving your body and learning correct posture could be anything but beneficial. Hanna somatics, Hellerwork, yoga and movement education - all of these get sedentary, unhealthy people moving and thinking about the ways they move.

So take tai chi or qigong, Rosen classes or somatic therapy. You'll almost certainly feel better. But the truth is you'd probably get almost the same benefits from a brisk walk on a beautiful morning, followed by ten minutes of gentle stretches.

A couple of so-called therapies, however, aren't going to get off quite so easy. There's a lot of talk about reiki these days. The fundamental point of this appears to be that positive energy can be transmitted to others through light touching. Look, there's nothing special about the fact that it feels good when you lie in a dimly lit room, with mellow music, and someone places their hands lightly on you. That's common sense. But to call it a therapy and charge a lot of money for it?

And vibrational therapy has about as much basis in fact as lightning spirits and volcano demons. Holding a tuning fork against your head will do precisely nothing for your health. Of course, if you think we're wrong, perhaps you'd be interested in a new product we're offering here at Internet Somatic Vibration Therapy. Please read below, believe unconditionally, and follow all of the instructions:

"You are reading this message. Our energy is traveling through your mouse and unblocking your chakra channels. Your life force is coming back into balance. Illness is leaving as your magnetic polarity arrives at a centered state. And now, remaining in a state of blissful ignorance, use PayPal to send us fifty bucks."

This is a joke, of course, but you get the message - buyer beware!

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