Who uses relaxation therapy?

Authors, artists and musicians because it opens up creativity that stress has been blocking.
Business owners and managers because they accomplish more without feeling stressed or overworked.
Students because relaxation enhances their memory and helps them prepare for stress-free exams.
Parents because less stress means a happier, closer family relationship.
Hospitals because it reduces side effects of treatment and improves patients' quality of life.

In short: regular, everyday people like you are benefiting from relaxation therapy to improve their health, be happier and more efficient, and take a break from the hectic pace of life.

The science of relaxation

What you feel

Warmed jade stones inside the therapy bed soothe your tense muscles

During your session, far-infrared heat (thermotherapy) gently warms your body to a temperature that increases blood circulation to the extremities. This relaxes your body, soothes muscle pain, and gives the sensation of floating. This clean heat source is free from electro-magnetic field radiation (EMF) that is emitted by the type of heating pads and electric blankets sold in stores.

You'll also feel relaxing waves of vibroacoustic sound. This technology calms your central nervous system by using safe low-frequency sound. Vibroacoustic sound therapy is used in many hospitals in Britain and the U.S. to relieve patient stress and has even been found to reduce symptoms of illness and disease (National Institutes of Health study, 1999).

What you breathe and smell

The air in the relaxation centre is HEPA filtered and negative-ion treated to make it refreshing and pure.

Colin uses a blend of exotic Asian and local essential oils

Room temperature, humidity and oxygen levels are computer-monitored and carefully adjusted for optimal relaxation.

Colin has created a calming aromatherapy blend exclusively for the relaxation centre that cannot be found anywhere else. The subtle aroma of Japanese evergreens includes oil extracted from the Japanese hiba cypress. Studies have shown that the oil of this tree contains a substance that promotes relaxation and purifies the air, and may even boost your immune system.

What you hear

Using special noise-cancelling headphones, the outside world will vanish as you listen to Colin's audio programme that guides you into deep relaxation.


Guided imagery helps you overcome negative thoughts and emotions in a deeply relaxing environment

The first part, about 12 minutes long, is a progressive muscle relaxation programme. There is nothing to learn or memorize. You'll be gently guided to breathe deeply while you tense and release the muscle groups of your body. This simple easy exercise resets your body from any muscle tension and prepares you for the next step: guided imagery. Also known as visualization, this is a vivid relaxing imaginary story, a bit like a movie that you are imagining rather than seeing. This will take you into a deeply relaxed condition and lasts from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the length of the session you have chosen. Some programmes also feature high-definition audio recordings of nature sounds or gentle music that is based on biologically harmonious scales and tones.

What you see


The relaxation centre in Halifax has a night sky with moving northern lights

The aesthetic of the relaxation centre is Japanese style, with shoji screens and natural igusa straw mat flooring. This is a simple, peaceful setting where you can feel comfortable and restful. Shoes, mobile devices and watches are not permitted in the therapy room. This is a place to unplug completely from the outside world and your daily routine.

While you're experiencing Colin's progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery, your eyes will be closed. Before and after your session, or if you're relaxing to nature recordings or music, you will be amazed by a night sky northern lights projector system that Colin created exclusively for the relaxation centre.

The night sky is beautiful to see, but also uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate your body's relaxation response even when your eyes are closed. According to Richard Wiseman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire (UK), this particular light spectrum “enhances the production of dopamine in the brain...and turns attention inward away from daily stress”.

What you taste


Gyokuro is a shade-grown Japanese luxury tea that relaxes you without causing drowsiness

In the reception area before your session, you can enjoy a cup of a Japanese green tea called gyokuro. This is a very special luxury tea grown in the shade. It has a delicate taste and aroma, and a beautiful emerald green colour. The fresh subtle flavour of this tea is a delicacy in Japan, and unlike any tea you have tried before.

But there's also another reason why Colin has selected this tea. Gyokuro leaves contain high levels of L-theanine, a naturally-occurring amino acid that has been demonstrated to heighten creativity and soothe anxiety. It will enhance your session and unlock your relaxed mind without making you drowsy.

Colin serves this tea the natural way in traditional handmade pottery cups from Japan. Please arrive a few minutes early so you'll have time to enjoy the experience of gyokuro tea!

Sessions and fees

All sessions are private personal consultations at Colin's office at the Halifax Professional Centre. Group and couples sessions are not possible, as the therapy room is designed for one person only, and the programme and equipment are balanced and customized for each client.

Your first session

Your first session is 45 minutes. Colin will spend a few minutes getting to know you and learning about your general health and your personal wellness goals as well as your own stressors and challenges. Don’t worry; you won’t be psychoanalyzed or judged. The object is to personalize and optimize your relaxation experience so that you’ll get the most benefit out of it. You'll also learn about the science behind relaxation therapy, and what you can do during the day at home or work to be less stressed and more productive. The consultation portion is usually about 15 minutes.

Then, it's off to the therapy room where purified air, calming aroma, vibroacoustic sound therapy and Colin's special audio programme will calm you to a deeply relaxed condition for about a half-hour. You'll arise refreshed, recharged and very relaxed.

As a client, you’ll also receive access to the clients-only section of the web site, with a number of free downloads and relaxation guides.

Subsequent sessions

Relaxation therapy is unique in that you'll get instant results the very first time. You don't need to sign up for any membership or commit to any “package”. Booking your personal sessions is entirely up to you, according to your own individual circumstances and lifestyle. Colin's approach is that everyone needs some regular maintenance, but you know better than anyone else when your body is telling you it's time for another session. You'll find that with each session you will gradually learn how to relax all by yourself. Through repeated experience you'll effortlessly learn and remember how to activate your body's own relaxation response.

Sessions can be from 15 to 60 minutes. Each session starts with muscle relaxation, and may incorporate guided imagery (visualization exercises) or high-definition audio recordings of natural sounds or music. Aromatherapy, vibroacoustic sound therapy and northern lights phototherapy are used during your session unless you prefer otherwise.

Here are some examples of session formats (sessions are personalized for each client):

45 minutes: Relaxation for self-esteem
A specialized programme for developing confidence and self-assurance, particularly useful before public speaking, an exam or other potentially stressful situation
Muscle relaxation (12 minutes)
Guided imagery - self-esteem (20 minutes)
Ocean waves - HD sound (13 minutes, awake or asleep)
Far-infrared heat thermotherapy
Japanese aromatherapy
Vibroacoustic sound therapy


30 minutes: Rest under the stars
No matter what time of day it is, enjoy a powerful relaxing rest or drift off to sleep under Colin's custom-designed night sky projection
Muscle relaxation (12 minutes)
Northern lights / night sky with night-time HD sound (18 minutes)
Far-infrared heat thermotherapy
Japanese aromatherapy
Vibroacoustic sound therapy


15 minutes: Tea-break relaxation
Rapid relaxation and Japanese gyokuro tea fits perfectly into any work day
Muscle relaxation (12 minutes)
Biologically harmonious music for relaxation (3 minutes)
Far-infrared heat thermotherapy
Japanese aromatherapy
Vibroacoustic sound therapy

Sessions usually include a Japanese gyokuro green tea before, and warm face towel (oshibori) after, if your time permits.

Fees

Payment is made at the end of each session by Interac debit, Visa, Mastercard or cash. You will be provided with a detailed receipt for your records.

Colin's rate for 2017 is $140 per hour, pro-rated to the quarter hour:

45-minute session$105
30-minute session$70
15-minute session$35

HST is applicable. Please note that unlike massage or spa therapy, a relaxation therapist does not accept tips.

Insurance coverage

Relaxation therapy is not covered by MSI. There can be some instances where your sessions may be reimbursable by an extended benefits package, however as a non-medical expense it is best to consider your therapy as something you are paying for out of pocket. Just like natural food and personal fitness, relaxation therapy is one of the best investments you can make - an investment in yourself and your future.

A note from Colin: Relaxation therapy should be for everybody. Some of the people who need my therapy the most are vulnerable and marginalized people who can least afford the out-of-pocket expense. I reserve two reduced-rate slots on my calendar each month for clients who are referred through community agencies. If you are a social worker, please contact me to discuss the waiting list and procedure for reduced-rate referrals.

Designed for you

Colin believes that every detail can contribute to your relaxation experience. Here are some of the things he has done to make sure your session is the very best it can be.

Colin pre-records his audio relaxation programmes in a studio for the best sound quality, and he will leave the treatment room during your session so that you can be alone to experience your programme privately while he prepares some notes and information for you to bring home. If you feel any discomfort at any time, you can stop the session by simply removing the headphones and sitting up. Remember: you're in control. You are never “hypnotized” or tranquilized. Although some clients fall asleep during relaxation, it is generally better to stay awake to receive the maximum benefits - unless you're specifically on a sleeping or napping programme. If you fall asleep, you'll gently wake when the lights come on. So don't worry.

Allergies and sensitivities

Colin asks that clients be considerate regarding scented products. However, rather than trying to enforce a “scent-free” policy (which is practically impossible anyway) Colin schedules sessions so that the air is completely cycled in-between clients. If you have environmental sensitivities, you'll be delighted to find that Colin's office is a haven where you aren't likely have a negative reaction.


The traditional sobagara pillow keeps your neck properly aligned during your session

The typical aromatherapy Colin uses has no known allergic effects; it's a gentle blend of evergreen wood oils which has no pollen. Colin uses undyed cotton linens laundered in a gentle, natural unscented detergent. Cotton allergies are extremely rare, but if you have an allergy to cotton, please indicate this when you book. All cleaning products used in Colin's office are natural, but do contain citrus, lavender and evergreen extracts.

The pillow used on the therapy table is a sobagara makura, a traditional Japanese pillow filled with buckwheat hulls. Sobagara is natural, hypoallergenic, and provides air circulation around the head while providing optimal neck support. Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat.

Earth-friendly

Colin’s office is furnished with tropical woods that are both beautiful and ecologically responsible. For example, the reception area chairs are made from mango tree wood, which is cultivated once the fruit tree has finished its productive life.

In addition to using low power consumption computers in his office, Colin’s web site is 100% carbon neutral. The energy consumed by the web server is returned to the grid using earth-friendly renewable energy through Bullfrog Power.

Related articles

Blog: What happens on your first relaxation centre visit

10-minute Intro to Relaxation audio download