Behind the scenes: The therapy room

Secrets of the Relaxation Centre

Part 2: Inside the Therapy Room

(This article originally appeared in the Stress & Wellness Newsletter, May 2016)

When you’re lying on the therapy table, feeling so incredibly relaxed, you’re probably not thinking about all of the science at work behind the scenes. The fact is, this is like no other room on earth. Everything in the room is working on your brain to help you slip into a relaxed state. Here are a few of the secrets behind how the relaxation centre “hacks” your brain for total relaxation!


Here’s a strange bit of trivia. One of the aromatherapy oils I blend is from 1,000 year old fallen trees. The oil was extracted from unused wood chips after the wood was used to build temples (hinoki wood is considered a sacred wood in Japan because it kills germs and never rots). Japanese scientists have found compelling evidence that this oil has a relaxing effect on the brain’s limbic system, connected with emotion and feelings of security and peacefulness. I diffuse my essential aromatherapy oils in medically sterilized water so that there are no carrier oils or impurities, and no smoke.

You’re breathing ionised air during your session. Ionised air is refreshing and pure, and some researchers believe it enhances mood and may even have antidepressant properties: http://www.cet.org/therapy/negative-air-ionization/

Sobagara makura - the Japanese pillow that keeps your neck at the perfect angle
Sobagara makura – the Japanese pillow that keeps your neck at the perfect angle

On the therapy table, your head rests on a sobagara (buckwheat) pillow. It’s filled with organic buckwheat hulls grown in Ontario and gives the perfect amount of support and the proper angle for your head and neck. (I use a big version of this in bed at home!)

The heated stones that warm your body on the therapy table were imported here from South Korea. Natural jade and yellow deep-sea clay come from the ginseng-growing region of Hwangto Village. Germanium comes from the low mountains of Gyeongju. These stones are used in traditional Korean therapy. The far-infrared heat generated is being researched for beneficial effects and healing properties.

My table can raise your legs slightly if you prefer. No bolsters needed – that means your legs are always in contact with the warm Korean stones. That’s important for circulation and soothing the large muscles in the legs.

Plants chosen to purify the air on space stations are also used in the relaxation centre.
Plants chosen to purify the air on space stations are also used in the relaxation centre.

The plants in the relaxation centre are golden pothos. NASA studied these plants and found they were among the best natural air cleaners for use on space stations. They produce lots of fresh oxygen and eliminate toxins and pollutants from the air.

The flooring is igusa grass straw mat, a traditional flooring material in Japan. It’s a completely organic floor that naturally regulates humidity. Walk on it with bare feet next time you’re in; you’ll love the feeling!

The frequencies that the sound therapy table uses were discovered by Norwegian sound therapy pioneer Olav Skille in the 1980s. The table doesn’t have speakers inside, but large magnetic transducers that effectively turn your body into a big speaker. Skille even had success in using sound to treat a variety of medical conditions and calming symptoms of asthma, autism, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, constipation, insomnia, pain and Parkinson’s Disease.

If you’ve ever seen the real northern lights, you probably noticed that my northern lights projection isn’t really an “authentic” aurora borealis. The colours in my system were specifically chosen for their relaxing effect on the brain. The light spectrum that I use has an effect your brain’s pineal gland even when your eyes are closed.

I’ve been interested in relaxation music since my teenage years and have incorporated a lot of research into the music that you hear during your session. It uses A=432Hz pitch, a scale that Dr Masaru Emoto and other music researchers believe has a greater effect on emotions than standard concert pitch. My music is also sonically designed to mimic relaxed breathing and heart rates, making your brain naturally slip into a relaxed state. The music sounds simple, but there’s a lot going on.

The audio equipment I use is top-drawer audiophile quality. The amplifier is built in the USA by ART Pro Audio, the headphones are Bose, and even the cabling in the sound therapy table is braided copper pro audio cable by Tara Labs in California.

I haven’t even mentioned the audio programme – the muscle relaxation and guided imagery that trains your mind to become more relaxed. That’s another subject that I’ll go into in another article.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on while you’re in a relaxation session. I’ve cared for every detail so that all you need to do is relax and enjoy your session. So if it’s been awhile since you were in for a session, now would be a great time to book an appointment!

 

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Author: Colin Stone

Professional Relaxation Therapist (MASC, BSYA) and founder of the Relaxation Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Using guided imagery, therapeutic music and aromatherapy to relieve stress in the most relaxing room on earth!