By Sarah Pridgeon
Complementary healing techniques have existed for thousands of years, form the backbone of health care in many Eastern cultures and are now available to the community of Crook County. The Black Hills Holistic Health & Healing Center in Sundance offers a range of treatments as part of a holistic approach to health management.
“The hour that people spend with us is a gift that they give to themselves. We’re so busy taking care of our families, jobs, businesses – everything else but ourselves,” says Katie Allen, Reiki Master.
“For that one hour, they come in, lie on the table and have Chandra or I take care of them and help them feel balanced. They can go away with a sense of peace and well-being and, many times, once you experience it you want to experience it again.”
The range of treatments available at the center includes massage, Reiki, Angel card readings, spiritual coaching and meditation instruction or sessions. Additionally, the center will soon host regular appointments from Holistic Health Coach Jenny Pederson of Newcastle.
Chandra Pollat, Licensed Massage Therapist, offers massage therapy in a variety of styles.
“I do regular Swedish massage for an hour or half an hour, hot stone massage, pre-natal and Lomi Lomi, which is a Hawaiian massage,” says Pollat.
“I also do cupping, which is something that I learned from an acupuncturist and is a detoxifying treatment.”
Lomi Lomi involves long, flowing strokes to clear a person’s body of impurities and allow them to become a clear vessel for God. Cupping is a Chinese technique performed with the intention of mobilizing the flow of a person’s blood to promote healing and, says Pollat, can help to loosen muscles.
Which style of massage is best suited for an individual client is something that Pollat helps them decide as an appointment begins. Digestive problems, headaches or pain, pulling or tightness in the muscles are common reasons for a client to seek the aid of massage therapy.
“People who work outside regularly or, in the summertime, spend a lot of time gardening may come in and get a massage. If you’ve been shoveling snow and your back hurts, massage can help,” says Allen.
Massage is also a useful tool to aid relaxation and stress relief, says Pollat. What the mind has created, it can also undo, and massage can be used to promote this process.
“I would really like to see massage not being viewed as a luxury,” she says. “It’s preventative. People’s blood pressure goes down, their muscles aren’t hurting so much and they have an improved sense of well-being.”
Reiki offers similar benefits, says Allen, which is what makes the two treatments so complementary.
“Reiki is a Japanese treatment for stress reduction and relaxation that promotes healing by restoring balance to a person’s energy centers. The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words: Rei, which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki, which is “life force energy” – so Reiki is actually “spiritually guided life force energy,” she explains.
“When someone comes in for a treatment, I guide them through a brief guided meditation to help relax them and settle them into the space and then, as the energy is flowing, it helps to balance out their energy. When you are more relaxed, this helps your body combat some of those additional stressors that you go through, so suddenly you are able to sleep better, digestive issues are dealt with or you have more clarity to be able to deal with some of life’s stresses.”
There is now scientific evidence that proves Reiki can improve post-surgical recuperation times and reduce pain levels, says Allen.
“One of the interesting things about Reiki is that I can explain it and tell you what it is, but when you’re on the table receiving and feeling the energy it’s completely different,” she adds.
“The person receiving Reiki doesn’t have to believe in it – it has nothing to do with belief structure, it’s again about relaxing and having a healing hour to yourself. If people come in feeling a little more skeptical, nine times out of ten they go away with a whole new thought process about it.”
The holistic treatments available at the center are not intended to replace traditional medical care and the practitioners do not advocate stopping any treatments.
“What we offer is complementary. We certainly aren’t medical practitioners, but we have been trained in our fields and what we can offer is something that can help you feel better,” says Pollat.
“We’re looking at the whole person and their whole well-being, where a lot of the time you may go to a specialist for one particular issue and they’re looking only at that issue. We’re looking at the whole body, spirit and mind.”
One of the main benefits of the holistic approach is maintenance, they say, allowing the two practitioners to keep a client’s rollercoaster of symptoms at bay and relaxation levels high.
The center has now been open for a year, but Allen and Pollat describe 2013 as a soft opening that gave them time to build their business to the levels they were aiming for. Already enjoying the patronage of a number of local clients, in 2014 they hope to introduce holistic healing to the community at large and encourage everyone to take time out to improve their well-being, increase their focus and make themselves a priority.
“Reiki and massage are often together because they’re very complementary. We were both practicing in rooms in our homes and wanted to find a space elsewhere,” says Allen.
“Really, the universe came together when we found each other. The Lenzs made this building available for rent and they have taken such good care of us – we truly believe everything and everyone came together at the right time to make all this happen.”
Pollat is at the center full time and is available for appointments at her clients’ convenience, while Allen remains employed elsewhere for the time being, though her eventual goal is to run her Reiki business full time. In the meantime, she is available for appointments at lunch, in the evenings and at weekends to suit the needs of her clients.
“This [style of health maintenance] has been done for thousands of years and that isn’t because it doesn’t work,” says Pollat, encouraging everyone in the community to try the available treatments for themselves.
To book an appointment or find out more, call Pollat on 290-2184 or email her through [email protected], or contact Allen at 670-0885 or by emailing [email protected] Alternatively, visit the office at 113 S West Street in Sundance or visit the Facebook page by searching “Black Hills Holistic Health & Healing Center.”