I'll admit it ... I'm a spiritual tramp. I've spent the last few years slutting around, looking for a cure for all my aches and pains. So far the only thing I seem to have cured is my curiosity. This morning, as I rose from my bed, feeling worse than ever, I found myself summing up the total experience of my New Age Vision Quest with one Monty Python line: "Nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition!" For like the Spanish Inquisition, the goal of New Age Therapies is to get you to confess -- for instance -- you're lying on a table, all blissed out, and then suddenly some healer, with a gentle voice sticks a needle attached to an electrode in between your front and second toe, mumbles something about "activating the Chi in your angry liver" and then walks away with a sadistic chuckle telling you"it's all right to scream if you want" while recalling painful childhood memories.
For all of you that are not familiar with the many New Age Tortures out there let me demystify the magic behind some of these healing practices:
Cranio-Sacral Therapy: A healer bids you to lie down on a white-sheeted table. Time to relax? Mais, non. It is time for the Spanish Inquisition! After explaining that the bony plates in your skull are not unlike the shifting tectonic plates beneath the earth's crust, causing all manner of nervous upsets, migraines and general unwellness, the healer cradles your head in his hands and begins to squeeze and squeeze and squeeze until you feel just like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind, (in that scene where Clark Gable tries to physically squeeze the memory of Ashley Wilkes out of Vivian Leigh's head.) While the healer has your head in his vise-like grip he will urge you to confess some deep, dark memory of hidden child-abuse or forgotten head injury (like the time you banged your head on the sharp corner of the coffee table when you were six years old,) When you don't confess, the healer rebukes you by sighing and acting generallydisappointed and requests that you come back for another appointment.
Aromatherapy: "Smell this eucalyptus!" beseeches the pretty aromatherapist. "And these geranium, rose and orange oils." If you pour these scents into this one hundred and fifty dollar aromatherapy diffuser I'm about to sell you, I promise you'll be back in two weeks to tell me how much better you feel!!. Unfortunately, I must confess that my place now smells like a whore house in Morocco and I still don't feel any better!
Positive Affirmations: This is a New Age torture that you can do to yourself in the privacy of your own home! All you have to do is repeat to yourself again and again, a positive affirmation such as "Every day in every way I am getting better and better." until all other thoughts of unwellness are eclipsed by this one excellent statement. I must confess, that after a few weeks of reciting this again and again that I feel that "every day in every way I am getting more and more repetitive."
Rolfing: "Oh, goody. Time for a pleasant, relaxing massage" you think as you enter the pleasant office of the professional Rolfer. No. It is time for the Spanish Inquisition! The next thing you know, the Rolfer has jammed his long sinewy fingers deep into your joints, right into the bones and is pulling, squeezing and stretching every sinew of your tissue out of alignment. You feel like each of your limbs as been tied to fourhorses which are about to run in different directions and while this is happening the Rolfer beseeches you to confess, to cry out, to laugh, to release verbally any memory which has been lurking deep inside your muscular tissues. Soon, you find yourself just making stories up, about the time you were molested by your hillbilly cousin, just to appease the cruel monster if only this torture would please, just, stop. ALL right! I CONFESS! THIS HURTS! Just please make it stop...
Samantha Steven's articles have been published in many high-standing newspapers and she has published several books.