Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Awakening the derisive sniggers of yoga. I'm researching an article about the pregnancy industry, and I've been looking on the website of this alternative therapy place in Notting Hill called The Life Centre. As you can imagine, my eye was drawn to a workshop held by the S&M-sounding Rod Stryker. It's called Awakening the Power of Yoga. Here's what Rod has to say:

Tantra is an ancient approach that uses asana as a way to unfold the soul's greatness. The action of twisting rotates the outer body, freeing limitation in the neck, shoulders, hips, and vital organs. The inner life of twists opens us to our core's pulse, inviting us to merge into pure intelligence and limitless aspiration.

Cool! Sixties dancing brings on the smarts and the ambition! There were some other therapies that I had never heard of, and after reading the descriptions, I was still none the wiser…

Cranio-Sacral Therapy

The body experiences subtle rhythmic tidal motions, which can be measured with delicate scientific instruments, and which are thought to be a direct expression of the health of the system, both physical as well as mental and emotional. Palpation of these tide-like motions allows craniosacral therapists to facilitate change in areas of restriction.

This sounds like something out of The Skeptic, which thanks to cynical old Sandor, who is a member of Australian Sceptics, I used to read regularly.

Then there was "Seiki Soho" which is not, after all, a cool new London club, but a "Japanese body psyche therapy with roots in the zen shiatsu tradition, a powerful, detoxifying therapy for mind and body. Facilitating relaxation at the deepest level, it encourages rediscovery of natural ease and vitality of mind and body while strengthening the immune system." There were also some things called "Quantum Xeroid" and "Zero balancing" which had no descriptions at all. They sound like something out of a Philip K. Dick story.

Now yoga is cool, and I love lying on towel-covered tables in varying states of undress and having quacks manipulate my body to varying degrees of pleasure and pain as much as the next person, but really - I have grave doubts about the therapeutic benefits of any of these procedures, except perhaps to the wallets of the Life Centre people.

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