We all want to be healthier, but it often seems like doing so robs us of personal entertainment and indulgent consumption. After adhering to a life of austerity for a few days, we break our new year’s resolutions and go on, living and eating and not exercising as before.
Modern technology, conveniences and lifestyles means we’re living longer lives, but not necessarily healthier lives. Or put another way, what’s the use of making it to 80 if you’re suffering a slew of diseases, taking a cocktail of medications and can’t get around on your own? We’ve spent generations seeking to prolong our lifespan, when we should actually be concerned with our healthspan.
Expanding your vocabulary of vigor and broadening your horizons to finding alternative sources of healing is one way to gain access to health. Exploring fitness and diet, naturopathy, bodywork, energy work and therapeutic touch is part of the steps of your journey to physical well-being.
Hawaii supports some of the healthiest lifestyles in the nation, so living in the Aloha State might have some health advantages–if you tap into it. Here on Maui, there are plenty of professionals ready to guide your way to enlightenment, body strength, wellness and spirituality. Our annual Mind Body Spirit issue sheds some light on a few of them.
The Mind Body Spirit practitioners and therapies covered in this section are appropriate in a case by case basis. However specific individual’s reactions may vary. Neither the author nor the publishers can accept any responsibility for claims arising from any remedy or treatment.
Sometimes folks need a little help taking action or changing their behavior. That’s where hypnotherapy can come in and reformat your thinking, kicking you out of a rut. Hypnosis was described in ancient Greek and Roman writings, and is believed to have been used in ancient Pacific, Asian and Egyptian cultures. In the uptight 1700s and 1800s it lost favor for a while–as it was believed to be part of witchcraft–but has made a comeback in modern psychology and medicine. Before the discovery of chloroform and other chemical alternatives, it was even used as an anaesthetic.
Practitioner Maribeth Theisen says she got involved in psychology after counseling for trauma in her own life. She says she wasn’t able to make changes, and felt “stuck.” Hypnotherapy and other experiential methods of psychology snapped her out of it, she says, inspiring her to learn the process and help others.
“I provide hypnotherapy, NLP, EMDR, and PSYCH-K,” says Theisen. “These are all experiential methods that get people unstuck and rapidly resolve their issues. I’ve been in the field for 35 years. I first experimented with it in high school. I had some study in college. In grad school I learned surgical and psychiatric applications of hypnosis at Tulane Medical School. The doctor I studied with used it for anaesthetic in surgery and heals people of third degree burns in a third of the time it normally takes. I [also] studied inner work, dream work and parts work with Dean Schlecht, and learned regression therapy, natal regression and past life regression at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America.”
Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation, similar to meditation except it gets the mind to focus on a channel of communication. Sometimes it’s described as being in an almost state of sleep, but in which you experience a heightened awareness. Within this state, you’re susceptible to suggestion and may also have access to shut-out memories.
“Usually, when people are requesting a description, they want it about hypnotherapy,” says Theisen. “Typically, a person comes in and describes the problem and the desired goal. Once they are in hypnosis, there are a number of techniques I use that can help them create the outcome. For example, if they want to lose weight, we might talk to the ‘part’ of them inside that likes to eat; in that process we can discover at a deep level what purpose the behavior serves and substitute a different behavior that meets the same need. Or we may bring up the sensations that drive them to overeat and use those as a bridge to go back to the moment the pattern began in their lives and shift it in the past—much like taking a time machine and making it as if the person had never overeaten before. Or maybe we will give the person a virtual gastric bypass so they can’t eat much anymore.”
Theisen says hypnotherapy can help just about any emotional issue, like anxiety and depression, but also physical pain, sleeplessness, smoking and many other ailments. Theisen has a free self-hypnosis recording on her website for those interested in that form of stress management. Her offices are in South Maui and you can find more about hypnosis on her online at MauiTransformations.com.
Dancing is hardly new, but how you approach it as a fitness form or an emotional stimulation could be. Lisa Evans discovered beach dance almost by accident in Oregon partly with the help of MP3 technology and Apple marketing.
“I’d been running and dancing on the beach by myself for a few years with different musical devices,” says Evans. “First with a Walkman, then a Discman and then an MP3 player. With the MP3 player, I was able to dance without having to hold onto anything. When Apple came out with iPod shuffles and their cool ads of shadow dancers, I thought it would be fun to get several people together to dance on the beach. I’ve always loved the ocean and dance has been an integral part of my life for the past 14 years. Combining the two together just made sense.”
She moved her Beach Dance movement to Maui in 2012, and now every week there is an event held somewhere. “When you dance for your health, your entire being benefits,” she says.
Amanda Furgiuele combines a different kind of nature, music and movement in her choreographed fitness classes at the Pole Room in Lahaina. Furgiuele led rock climbing, kayaking, caving expeditions and taught fencing in college, but found a love of pole dancing and teaching erotic dance as fitness was the most empowering of them all.
“Ironically, the hardest part about the classes is actually coming to your first class,” says Furgiuele. “There is a lot of stigma about what pole and erotic fitness entail or signify for a woman, but these classes have been the most fun and empowering discipline I’ve ever taught! The Pole Room teaches all levels of pole dancing to everyone, no matter your size, shape, age, even gender. If you’re serious, we’ve got a place for you at the Pole Room. I believe in providing a judgment-free space to empower women, women-identified, and men in their own form of self-expression. There are absolutely NO mistakes in pole dancing, only each individual’s interpretation of the movement.”
Evans says she was introduced to Ecstatic Dance more than a decade ago. Ecstatic dance observes the body movements as sacred and spiritual, and some even describe it as a trance state. At Beach Dance, it’s up to the individual to interpret, and all are invited to share the creative expression dance can offer.
At the Pole Room, Furgiuele says every woman can benefit from her class, and ideal candidates are open-minded and ready to see a change in their bodies, spirit and overall attitude. She says it will train your body in a way you have never trained it before, and above all it is a fitness class.
The next Beach Dance will be Friday, Jan. 25 at 4:30pm at Po’olenalena Beach Park, Wailea (check BeachDance.com for info). The Pole Room has an upcoming workshop on Jan. 27 at 2pm–pre-registration is required, so sign up at ThePoleRoom.com.
Astrology readings can help people find their soul’s purpose. At least, that’s what Ginny Ross, an intuitive astrologer from Kula, says. For people searching or just beginning their spiritual journey, she says her soul-centered astrology has helped.
Put simply, astrology relates celestial events in the heavens with what’s happening here on earth. Where you were born and what time you were born will correspond with certain celestial events. There are also moon signs and sun signs and so much more in-depth analysis of your being. Daily and weekly horoscopes are one familiar aspect of astrology, but disciples of the practice find a deeper connection.Pursued as a science from the third millennium BC through the 17th century, it later was lost as an academic study.
“When I started to work in a more commercial situation, through the spa at the Four Seasons, I met many intelligent and successful people who were also starting to pursue a deeper connection with their inner life and the world of meaning,” says Ross. “That sense of wonder and awakening is the most satisfying part of my work. I approach a new client with respect and curiosity and am thoughtful to solicit their permission to delve into those subtle places that reveal the depth of their true being. I was taught that it’s important to ‘stay a step behind’ so that each person can ultimately reveal themselves to themselves. In that way, I’m like a midwife of awakening.”
Ross does readings on island and via the phone, as well as leading a weekly esoteric study group in Kula. Find her at GinnyRoss.com.
Traditional Thai Massage is branch of Thai medicine. It’s therapy based on an energy work philosophy of healing through flowing “lom” a life force wind, known in other cultures as qi, chi, prana, mana and ki. Thai Massage Therapists manipulate the lom through the “sen,” the meridians along the body where this energy flows. Of course, all this sounds more complicated than it really is, and it’s been practiced for thousands of years as a sacred healing method in Southeast Asia.
Matthew Galena, who teaches at the Thai Massage of Maui, says an apt description is as “Lazy Man’s Yoga.” He says the recipients of Thai massage are pushed, pulled, bent and twisted through a one-way partner session. The recipient is clothed, no oils are used and they allow themselves to be positioned, supported and moved about by the therapist. Galena says he got hooked for life when he was introduced to Thai Massage in his professional massage training in 2003.
“Arthritis, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and nerve entrapment all are effectively treatable in the long-term with massage and acupressure to release contracted muscle knots, and with stretching to lengthen the muscles, reducing strain on tendons and restoring needed space within the joints to prevent further unnecessary wear and tear using nothing more than fingers, palms, forearms, elbows, knees, feet and toes,” says Galena. “No medications dispensed or provided, no scalpels or lasers necessary. All you have to do is prevent the problems from happening in the first place by providing space. A little elbow room on the inside!”
Thai Massage Therapists are also considered healers, and Galena believes there are not enough of them on Maui to service all of the people who could benefit. Galena has created the Thai Massage Institute because he says one of his biggest challenges is having enough practitioners to get to new clients. His answer to this are workshops and an internship program where, once you’ve attended any class, you may return to experience that class again for free. He hopes that by allowing students to return he will cultivate more healing hands in the community.
“It’s important to remember, however, that Thai massage is not a cure,” he says. “It’s a treatment that encourages the body to move in the right direction, especially by loosening and lengthening your muscles. Once relaxed and long, however, your muscles will still contract, shorten and clench because that’s exactly what they are designed to do! That’s how we move around! The body, however, is organic and ever-changing (for better or worse), especially when you’re working and playing hard with it. Here on Maui, we have surfing, windsurfing, stand-up paddling, outrigger canoeing, kite boarding, long distance biking, hiking, running, and dancing, just to name a few of our common high-impact hobbies. That’s what we do for play, so what about the rigors of work? All of these activities are wonderful for the adventurous soul, but it’s important to recognize that all this positive energy in ‘getting out’ can have long-term negative effects within, unless we intentionally keep them in check.”
To find out more about workshops and the internships go to Thaimassageinstitute.com. For more info on Thai massage, go to sabaimaui.com.
Sexual Empowerment & Love Offerings
Sexual sickness is a big taboo, and people who suffer from it are at a loss to describe it, much less heal what’s ailing them. Amrita Grace embraced her own sexual addiction to heal herself, then wrote about the process in her book Reclaiming Aphrodite. Now she shares her experience to help others overcome their own issues. In the book, Grace says she was sexually molested as a young girl and then spent 20 years in terrible relationships. She details her journey to wellness with personal stories and philosophies.
“My motto is ‘Empowering Women From the Inside Out,’ and my intention is to give people the tools and practices that they can use to access their own inner wisdom and authority without needing to seek it outside of themselves, even if that means they never come to another one of my workshops,” says Grace. “I’m passionate about sovereignty and the idea that we are each whole beings, and when we bring that to a relationship, it pretty much eliminates most of the co-dependency, power struggle and drama. I also believe that we are the creators of our lives, through the choices we make, whether they are fully conscious or not.”
Her next free talk comes up on Feb. 17 at the Temple of Peace, and her book is available as a free download at Reclaimingaphrodite.com.
“My ideal client is a woman who has some sexual dis-empowerment, shame, abuse or wounding in her past, and who is ready to clear that away so that she can draw in healthy relationships,” she says. “She has tried therapy, various spiritual paths, and all kinds of healing work, but remains stuck around the area of her sexuality. She has the energy, time, and money to invest in a program of deep introspection and is ready and willing to face difficult emotions that she has been stuffing away for most of her life.”
Custom Personal Training & Jazzercise
I totally thought Jazzercise was dead, killed off by the workout fads of the ‘80s, but Nicole Ayala brought it back to Maui. Specifically, to the personal training studio called The Reps Training Center, located in Wailea. The center has an interesting set-up, and takes up three units in the Wailea Town Center. Unit 101 has weights, cardio classes like Jazzercise and yoga. Unit 109 contains the uniquely named Limeheart boutique cycling studio and Unit 110 is the Pilates studio.
Owners Marjo and Hannu Selin have been in the bodybuilding and fitness industry since the height of Jazzercise in the 1980s, competing in international bodybuilding circuits and doing events and shows. They moved to Maui about 20 years ago and later opened their private studio in 1995.
“The Reps Training Center is perfect for busy professionals who need to schedule and keep regular exercise sessions to maintain good health,” says Marjo. “We help clients improve their fitness level, and combine sessions of weight training with aerobics and indoor cycling in a safe manner.”
Ayala says Jazzercise has been around for 40 years and has perfected its own approach to aerobics, making it great for any age or level of fitness. The corporate headquarters for Jazzercise creates the choreography for the workouts that are planned to specific songs and music, and everything is reviewed for effectiveness and safety before being sent out to franchise teachers. You will find combinations of dance, strength training, kickboxing, pilates and yoga in the 60 minute workouts.
“I first started taking Jazzercise as a contest for my sorority back in college,” says Ayala. “The sorority with the highest attendance in the Jazzercise classes gained the money raised from the classes for their philanthropy. After taking one class, I fell in love with the workout. The instructors recruited me to be an instructor and I have enjoyed every day that I get to teach. My start into Jazzercise led me to my current profession as a Personal Trainer. I love helping people through fitness related goals.”
Another private studio atmosphere for classes and training is Passion of Movement, located in Napili and run by Megan Torres. There you can take yoga, mat and machine pilates,TRX and dance classes.
“When I was in high school, I got injured and couldn’t workout for a couple of months,” says Torres. “I realized at that moment how important fitness was to me. All people can benefit from my studio. We offer classes and personal instruction for athletes, children, injured, elders and everyone else.”
You can find their class schedule and pricing at PassionofMovement.com. You can also sign up for Pilates, yoga, Jazzercise and spinning classes at Repsfitness.com, where you can also set up a personal training appointment.
Reprogramming the body and mind using energy work–known as Kinesiology–seems to bring about profound changes in individuals in a relatively short time. Counselors who apply Kinesiology use a method of manual muscle testing–they touch an individual’s outstretched arm, which helps them identify issues that could be related to stress, injury, diet and so on. New goals can replace any unhealthy patterns they detect.
Debra Greene, author of Endless Energy, says she uses her knowledge of Kinesiology, combined with other forms of study, to provide counselling called Inner Clarity (IC). Greene says the process is “like cleaning out the cobwebs of the mind and our internal junk drawers of limiting beliefs.” She says she taps into body energy using just a light touch on a person’s arm.
“Energy testing acts as a feedback mechanism that opens up new channels of communication,” Greene says. “It allows us to go behind the scenes and get to the core of an issue. Using this powerful tool we can bypass automatic defenses so that questions can be asked and new answers revealed. Once that new information is brought into conscious awareness, insights abound and profound change is catalyzed. This deep-seated change is reinforced by balancing the body’s energies according to the newly upgraded frequency. Our entire system, including the brain, is reconfigured. Then a reprogramming phase involves affirming and anchoring the changes into the system kinesiologically, right down to the cellular level.”
Greene got her PhD from Ohio State in Communication and Somatics, and says she was fascinated by humans and the paranormal. Her website YourEnergyMatters.com has many free videos and a toolbox for tapping into both your energy and that around you. Her book also acts as a guide to the science of energy medicine and how to utilize it to maintain your health.
“I knew there had to be another way for us to overcome life obstacles that didn’t involve spending 10 years in therapy dealing with our mother issues, followed by another 10 years dealing with our father issues, only to perhaps have a life 20 years later,” says Greene. “We don’t have that kind of time anymore! Life is accelerating; we are accelerating along with it. It’s time for new technologies of the self that utilize the power of our subtle energies. Once that energy is accessed and consciously worked with, lasting change can–and does–happen quickly and easily.”
Greene offers sessions at the Four Seasons Resort Spa in Wailea. To contact her, go to her website, or find her on Twitter (@DrDebraGreene). She will also be teaching a practical application of intimate relationship skills (PAIRS) course Feb. 9-10, which you can sign up for online.