Born out of necessity, ai chi ne combines elements of movement reeducation, touch, and focused breath to assist clients in their therapeutic process. Just like traditional bodywork, ai chi ne creates an immediate energy connection between client and practitioner, but with one big difference — although it can be modified for land use, ai chi ne is done in the water.
Humankind has always turned to the ocean for balance and well-being. Ancient Egyptians understood the power of long soaks in seawater. Greek philosophers Euripides, Hippocrates, Plato, and Herodotus praised its therapeutic value. The Greeks and Romans used seawater for general hygiene and physical care, and they even built temples in seawater where soldiers retreated to recover after battle or during celebrations to receive underwater massage. Today, we still desire this stress-free experience of relaxing at the seashore while our worries melt away.
Cradled in his arms, children who rarely find a moment’s peace find a sea of calm, Jeff Bisdee has offered the aquatic body therapy known as Watsu at The Children’s Institute in Pittsburgh since 1997. As the manager of recreational therapy there for the past 17 years, Bisdee was impressed the first time he saw Watsu. “It was an epiphany,” said Bisdee. “I was always interested in doing aquatic therapy with patients and when I saw this being done, I knew right then and there it was something I should be doing.”
It’s been dubbed the spa of the future, but the medical spa is as old as “taking the waters.” According to Hannelore Leavy, founder and executive director of The Day Spa Association, European spas have always been medical, centered around mineral springs and waters. “Treatment was and still is prescribed and monitored by a physician,” said Leavy in an interview from her office in West New York, N.J.
Taking the Waters. It’s a phrase that holds mysterious connotations from a simpler, ancient time. Just as with water therapies today, Taking the Waters was, and is, a physical venture into healing, cleansing and rejuvenation. What has been significantly lost from the Taking the Waters experience of old is the integration of domains. Art, socialization, nutrition, honest leisure, discussion, music — these interdisciplinary elements were all part of the spa culture of which Taking the Waters has historically been a part.
Skin is an amazingly complex organ and, by weight, the largest of the body. It covers some 22 square feet and weighs around 9 pounds (roughly 7 percent of body weight).1 Its integumentary system provides the front line of defense for the body, as well as being expressive of physiological conditions and emotional states. Skin is the extension of our nervous system to the outside of the body. Often referred to as our third lung, it is involved in processes of exchange between the internal and external environments — respiration, absorption and elimination.