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The best alternative wellbeing and far-out therapies in London

We gave treatments including reiki, meditation, sound baths and astrology a go to find out why London is turning to high-vibe, spiritual therapies

Alternative wellbeing, Wolf Sister
Photograph: Lila Valentina
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We’ve mastered tricky yoga poses, have mindfulness apps on our phones and we’re suckers for a new wellness fad. So how’s about astral projection, shamanic healing, tarot readings, natal charts, gong baths and blocked chakras? Time to open your mind and try some of these out-there London therapies.

Why is it that we’re prepared to try out weird treatments? A lot of it comes down to the low-level anxiety many Londoners feel, thinks Tamara Driessen, aka Wolf Sister, healer and author of ‘The Crystal Code’. But what are these experiences like? And where can you find them? Here’s our guide to alternative wellbeing in London. 

Crystal healing

Crystal healing

Crystals can be more than glittery mineral chunks. The gemstones are said to have healing properties, with different crystals giving off energies that can help you with specific areas of your life. Black tourmaline is purportedly useful when setting boundaries, for example. People use crystals to set intentions, and also carry them around so they can be near their energy. 

Try crystal healing with Charlotte Wald. In the incense-scented basement of The Refinery in Homerton, Wald will place different crystals on your seven chakra points while you lie on a bed and listen to vibrations and sounds. Throughout the treament, you’ll be taken through a guided meditation. The aim? To unblock and rebalance your chakras, so you can get out of a rut and heal. At the end, you’ll be taken through what Wald has unearthed. Some of it might seem a little strange – her visions of an orange being peeled and a male lion were, er, unexpected – but the messages behind it all definitely rang true, and an hour spent being still and truthful definitely felt like an hour well spent. 

Charlotte runs events and one-to-one sessions in London. Find out more here

Re:Mind Studio
Re:Mind Studio

Meditation

Tried and failed to meditate? Sat cross-legged on your sofa in silence only to end up mentally making a shopping list? We feel ya. The concept – carving out time to be still and present on a regular basis – makes total sense, but in practice it’s not so simple. 

Try Re:Breathe at Re:Mind, one of the only drop-in meditation studios in London. It’s kind of like a fancy gym studio, only when you book into a class, you change into something comfy and recline on a cushion, instead of sweating it out doing circuits. Each session is led by a meditation practitioner, who guides you through the process of focusing on your breath until you’re so zen you won’t notice the traffic zipping past outside the window. 

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Reiki

Don’t know what reiki is, let alone how to pronounce it? That might be because it’s quite hard to pin down. It’s to do with energy that practitioners believe is passed from their hands into a person’s body, the aim being to encourage emotional and physical healing. Sessions have a similar vibe to a massage but they can be totally hands-off, with the reiki practitioner just moving their hands around and near your body to soothe or clear energies.

Try reiki with Welford Wellbeing. The session starts with a short, warm chat about your energy levels and whether you’re struggling with anything physically or mentally. Then you lay fully clothed on a bed, the lights are lowered and mesmerising music is played while Rachael works on your physical body. That can mean she’s hands-on, but the majority of the time her hands will be near your body rather than touching it. Some people report feeling sensations or twitching feelings, but what’s guaranteed is being blissed-out by the end of the session. It’s 100 percent more restorative than an afternoon nap. 

Rachael runs events and one-to-one sessions in London. Find out more here

Moon rituals

You might pay attention to a blood moon or a solar eclipse but the rest of the time the Moon is just doing its thing, right? Well, not any longer. Moon rituals are popping up all over London at the moment, whether it’s gong baths or meditations scheduled to coincide with a specific lunar moment or events inspired by the cycles of the moon. 

Try Moon ceremonies with Wolf Sister. Tamara Driessen, aka Wolf Sister, runs all kinds of events, often connected to the Moon. At a ritual, expect to meet on the evening of a new or full moon and sit in a cosy circle with other attendees. She’ll talk about how to work with and harness the power of the moon cycles. You’ll explore different rituals and set intentions for the coming period using crystals, mantras and more. Whether your efforts manifest anything or not, Tamara’s optimism and soothing nature are totally infectious. 

Wolf Sister runs events and one-to-one reiki, tarot and crystal healing sessions. Find out more here 

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Sound baths

Good news: there’s zero water or bathing with strangers involved in a sound bath. Instead you wallow in vibrations and waves of sound created by gongs, bowls and tuning forks. Sometimes sound baths are a part of a yoga practice, while at other times there’s no heart-rate-raising effort required. 

Try a full Moon gong bath with Liver Happy Life. Join Steph in the cosy, intimate space at She’s Lost Control in Hackney for an otherworldly evening. The best thing about sound baths is that all you need to do is let go. You’ll lie back under a blanket in a room filled with a few likeminded Londoners and listen to the building sound Steph creates. If you’ve tried and failed to meditate in silence, the creation of the sound will help you tune out of city life and spend a dreamy hour in a relaxed state. No judgment here if you have a little soundtracked snooze, either. 

Steph runs events in London. Find out more here

Natal reading

Astrology readings

Religiously read your horoscope? You’re still missing out on the full picture. Your star sign is just a tiny part of your cosmic make-up. Through events, workshops and one-to-one sessions with astrologers, Londoners are tuning into the stars above them to discover how the different planets affect them, find out when they should be open to change and when the stars might make us feel a little wobbly. 

Try soul astrology with Zoe Hind. After a hug and a warm welcome, Zoe will use your date, time and place of birth to draw up your unique natal chart. That’s where all the planets were positioned at the precise moment you were born, and it can be used as a kind of guide to your life and its potential. In an initial reading, using tarot cards and your natal birth chart, Zoe will tell you how the movement of the planets in the coming months might affect your life. There’s no fortune-telling here, it’s more about helping you figure out what vibes might come up for you and where best to place your energy at certain times. Saturn return, we’re talking about you. 

Zoe runs events, one-to-one appointments and workshops in tarot, astrology, empowerment, yoga, fitness and more in London and online. Find out more here

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