The words “healing”, “holistic” and “energy” are increasingly cropping on salon and spa treatment menus across the country, after years of being confined to the back rooms of incenseilled shops. “People used to keep their spiritual beliefs under the radar but now it’s the ‘in’ thing,” says Kim Alexis, a psychic spiritual medium, clinical hypnotherapist, crystal healer and past life regressionist, who is based in London. “On one level it’s great because it shows openness and that people are waking up to alternative ways of living; but there are a lot of people now calling themselves psychics or healers after just doing a weekend course,” she says.
And it’s not just a UK trend. Saxon Spa in Johannesburg, South Africa, has seen an uptick in visitors taking part in energy-based healing therapies of late, having added a crystal-healing element to its sound therapy experience when the spa was refurbished in 2016.
“We are one of very few places where you can experience these treatments locally, so we do tend to highlight that in communications, especially as it has become a trend internationally,” says spa manager Tanya Lopes.
As holistic and energy-based treatments have started to find their way into beauty businesses around the world, it is important that salon owners can distinguish between a beauty treatment with a twist and in-depth spiritual work, using the correct terms and making sure practitioners are suitably qualified, whatever the treatment.
“Anyone can give a nice facial using a crystal roller but that isn’t crystal healing,” explains Alexis. “As a qualified crystal healer, you can pick up on a person’s energy and you’ll feel where someone has certain blockages, whether emotional or physical. I’ll be able to go in and take on that energy and release it. There’s a big difference between a beauty treatment and healing; you have to be a trained healer to know what you’re doing, just like you have to be trained to be a proper beauty therapist,” she says.
With first-hand experience of the crossover of these two schools of therapy, energy therapist Sarah Cox has seen big changes in her business. “Over the past seven years, I’ve seen a dramatic change in people’s attitudes towards healing, crystals and natural health – suddenly every magazine is talking about it, but when we started not many people even knew what a chakra was,” she says.
Cox is founder of Zephorium Soul Tonic, a UK-based natural aromatherapy skincare brand created in line with the chakra system. Zephorium started out selling to holistic practitioners such as yoga teachers and reiki healers, but the majority of new stockists now are salons and spas.
When it comes to bringing in practitioners to carry out real energy work on spa guests, Alexis advises that extensive research and consultation with the right professionals should be undertaken seriously. “You need to see qualifications and evidence of where they’ve studied and their insurance to know that they’re authentic,” she says. “There are schools that teach healing and award varying levels of diploma and qualifications, as well as independent practitioners who are recognised as teachers.”
The global movement towards more natural, authentic and sustainable ways of living is evolving all the time; and Alexis believes that spiritual healing could be here to stay in mainstream consciousness. “People are increasingly interested in natural ways of living, so fits inevitable that they will follow on to the next level of seeking spiritual or energy work to heal themselves, and I think it’s only going to spread further,” she says.