As the field of holistic well-being extends its reach into the wider community, places like the Isbourne Holistic Centre in Cheltenham are increasing in popularity.
The idea of cultivating some kind of inner-peace has been around for millennia. The idea of an essence, soul or spirit has developed over time and space and has been indoctrinated, structured and theorised by varying belief systems throughout history. Recently the UK has seen a shift in spiritual healing and it is being re-introduced into society not just as a religious or an alternative form of treatment but as a therapy of relaxation with both psychological and physiological benefits. The changing tide in attitude towards holistic wellbeing can be seen in the mainstream media, with sections devoted to regaining a sense of inner peace challenged by external stressors caused by modern life. As Mind, Body and Spirit are being noticed and nourished, places like Isbourne are becoming very important parts of society.
The Isbourne Holistic Centre, established in 1995, aims to ‘create positive lives through education’. The overall idea is to let go of the outside world and indulge in something new that will make you feel fit, nourished, relaxed or stimulated alongside other people looking for a positive experience. Janie Whittemore, the Centre Manager, explains: “The overall aim is to offer joyful and meaningful experiences to as many as possible, embracing all ages, cultures and creeds with love and understanding”. Offering great feedback, one customer explains they felt the “reverberations of the opening to divine love” during one class, whilst another simply stated they felt blissfully relaxed.
Endeavouring to ‘cultivate a deeper sense of purpose and self-awareness’, the centre reaches out with its Holistic Education Programme that aims to promote healing, social responsibility, compassion, meditation and celebration. Classes are set at an affordable rate to diminish exclusivity. Isbourne has attracted internationally renowned speakers and authors like Byron Katie and Brandon Bays, as well as TV presenters like Peter Owen Jones and Graham Hancock, who have shared their knowledge with like-minded individuals. There are many treatments on offer at the centre from the well-known to the unusual.
Cranio-Sacral Therapy (CST) – now offered at Isbourne – is a treatment focussing on the corresponding movement between the cranium and the sacrum (the head and the very base of the spine). With a basis in osteopathy, it was designed to alleviate the pressures affecting the cranium and spine by re-articulating the body into a state of re-balance. The founder of CST, William Sutherland, was initially criticised by scientists for the lack of empirical evidence, however Sutherland’s treatments took a change in direction when he noticed another dimension to the treatment, an aura he referred to as the Breath of Life. The focus became more spiritual than osteopathic and practitioners no longer needed to be schooled in physiology in order to gain positive results as they focussed upon the emotional and psychological aspects of their patients instead.
Sharon Henshall, founder and editor of Inspired Times Magazine recently visited the Isbourne Holistic Centre in Cheltenham to experience CST at the hands of Claire Seabrook. Describing the therapy as “subtle yet soothing”, Sharon felt nurtured and cared for and enjoyed the atmosphere of the therapy. “Knowing nothing about CST before the treatment, I was unsure what to expect,” she says. “I found it intriguing and the results made me feel peaceful and contemplative. I would recommend the process to anyone.”
CST is an instinctive therapy that attempts to tune into emotional states with subtle touches to the skull and spinal pressure points. Different to a massage or therapies that are very tactile, the peaceful balanced feeling following the treatment and the emotional dialogue throughout helped achieve a sense of soothing and solace that was powerful in its subtlety.
For those wondering how the workshops, classes and talks are chosen, Janie has some simple objectives, it must “help educate, responsibly inform and enlighten without prejudice” and on everything from belly dancing to Shamanic Dreamtime Ceremonies to the more usual Imaginative Writing classes, it really is a positive source of inspiration. A hub of holistic healing in the West of England, it really is a beacon of light against the greys of every day.
For more information visit: www.isbourne.org