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The Way Back: Alternative Healing Therapies

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When Susan Kullman, a lifelong athlete, competitive swimmer, personal trainer, and dancer, was pregnant with her son, her body “fell apart.” She underwent multiple surgeries, and nearly died in the process. “Then, I mentally fell apart,” says Kullman, founder of Intentional Wellness & Yoga Center in Katonah (914-401-9449; www.intentionalwellnessandyogacenter.com). “I could not understand why my body would let me down like that.”

Looking for a way to heal herself and stay healthy, she dove into yoga, holistic nutrition, and body ecology, becoming certified in a long list of restorative practices, as well as in life and health coaching. In September 2013, she opened the wellness center, which focuses on “modalities that honor the energetic body” through practices like restorative and strong-flow yoga; meditation; spiritual coaching; touch therapy; Reiki; and her Bodyology System, a mind-body-soul approach to nutrition for healthy weight. 

When coming back to fitness from an injury or illness, Kullman recommends assessing one’s limitations regarding range of motion. Discuss with an instructor whether it would be more beneficial to work privately, semi-privately, or in a class setting. She also recommends slow-flow yoga for people with physical limitations because it increases awareness of the body, which, in turn, can increase one’s chance of healing. 

For Joy Jacobson, self-participation is critical in healing injuries. Jacobson, who has decades of experience in the Alexander Technique (a practice of freer, less stressful everyday movement), has incorporated the MELT Method into her array of services. MELT is a highly adaptable self-treating method developed by manual therapist Sue Hitzmann that focuses on rehydration of the body’s connective tissue, a fluid-based system that surrounds every joint, muscle, bone, and organ in the body. Aging and repetitive movements dehydrate this tissue, causing low-grade inflammation, resulting in achiness, pain, and fatigue. 

In her MELT classes, conducted in six- to eight-week sessions at the Scarsdale Adult School, the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Center for Continuing Education, and Sage Yoga in Armonk, students use small balls and soft foam rollers to rehydrate the connective tissue and work pain from their bodies. Students are then encouraged to MELT at home for 15 minutes, at least three times a week. Jacobson says the method can be practiced by anyone—athletes returning from injury or older people looking to decrease pain and increase their quality of life. For more information on introductory MELT classes, visit www.joyjacobson.com.

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