The Ways We Heal – TheRoanoker.com

The story below is a preview of our July/August 2022 issue. For more stories like this, subscribe today. Thanks very much!


A look at five types of therapies that are on the rise today.



Healthcare has played a paramount role in all of our lives for more than two years.

From public health announcements to PCR tests, from confronting chronic pain to deep grief for our losses, the global pandemic we are still battling has engulfed a tremendous chunk of our minds, bodies and hearts.

As grateful as we are to modern medicine, the quest to stay healthy has led some to seek therapies they might not have considered a few years ago. As a culture we are stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed.

We can feel that we need more than diagnoses and prescriptions to calm us down.

Where can we find it? Sometimes we fall back on old traditions. Sometimes we look for leaders to help us. Sometimes we don’t understand how therapy helps. We just feel like that’s how it is.

In our pain we seek healers. We hope to find the practices that will help us come out stronger than before – physically, mentally, emotionally.

“It’s so important to be able to go back to understand our resilience and power. What is this ancestral knowledge that we need to move forward,” asks Dr. Deneen Logan Evans, therapist and co-owner of Mosaic Counseling Services.

“Because we’re at a time in our country where we need to look back to see what kind of skills our ancestors used if we’re ever going to be able to pull through.”

Below is a tour of the variety of therapies that are on the rise today. See if they talk to you. See if healing occurs when you try them.

Because we all seek comfort.

“It can be life-changing when you’re no longer in pain,” says yoga teacher Erica Austin.

MOVE

Yoga • Qoya • Pilates • Tai Chi • Qigong

“Yoga is considered an exercise for the mind and body, part of holistic well-being,” explains Erica Austin, founder and owner of Roanoke Yoga, who has taught yoga on rooftops, retirement homes, vineyards and at home, among other places, for the past seven years . “It’s not about breaking the body down into parts, but looking at it as a whole — physical, mental, emotional, and for some, spiritual, too,” she says.

What yoga, Qoya (dance-centered therapy), Pilates (low-impact, core-focused training), Tai Chi (Chinese, martial arts-based), and other movement practices have in common is an emphasis on training the body to use techniques that relax, Changing perspectives and revealing inner truths – techniques such as breath control, focusing concentration and meditation.

“Yoga is about 5,000 years old,” says Austin, who started classes to lose 100 pounds. She chose yoga as a form of movement open to all body types. As she picked it up, she discovered much deeper. “Through yoga you are able to see the root of the problems in your life. It gives you tools and strategies. You can start noticing the stress as it happens.”

Austin says she teaches her students as she guides them through poses. “We’re talking about the energy that comes from positive thinking and intention setting,” she says. “We ask: What emotions do we feel? What are we going to do about it? We want to choose those who serve us best and let go of the others.”

For Austin, yoga is a way for many people to improve their quality of life.

“I really consider yoga to be the original cognitive-behavioral therapy,” she says. “When you practice, you can really look inside yourself.”

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Talk Therapy • Social Justice Training • Support Groups

“We try to go through their pain and trauma with our clients,” said Deneen Logan Evans, founder and co-owner of Mosaic Mental Wellness and Health, the only African American counseling practice in Southwest Virginia. “We want to be in this room with them so they can find healing.”

With the social isolation, racial justice and economic stress of 2020 came a flood of people who were coping – albeit imperfectly – and suddenly realized they needed professional help to cope. The result has been a precipitous increase in demand for talk therapy and other mental health services. In response, clinicians added hours, sought new types of training, and created services. Mosaic opened in 2019 with the goal of “having clinicians to represent our clients,” says Evans. That meant seeing color therapists, transgender therapists, and clinicians who identify as disabled.

At Mosaic, Evans says therapists often work in unconventional ways, accompanying clients into their living spaces to advocate for them. Therapists have called meetings with school officials, transgender students and their families to address injustices. They have escorted clients into courtrooms and doctors’ offices to ensure fair treatment.

“I was able to put together a team that I knew would put social justice first, how they practiced mental health,” says Evans.

Evans believes that for mental health treatment to be effective, doctors need to understand the stories their patients share with them. You need to have the background and perspective to know why an event might trigger or why some people face a barrier to care.

“If you don’t understand how people fight, you’re failing your community,” she says.


Interested in learning more about healers, including the arts, alternative therapies, and energy therapies? Get our latest issue at the kiosk now or read our digital guide linked below!


The story above is a preview of our July/August 2022. For more stories, subscribe today or check out our FREE digital edition. Thank you for supporting local journalism!

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