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Eric Thunder Crow Shatz, a shamanic healer, poses with some of the tools he uses for healing, including musical instruments. 

Athens offers an assortment of holistic and nature-based health treatments

Eric Thunder Crow Shatz can facilitate healing with the power of musical vibrations.

Shatz has been a shamanic healer for more than 20 years and over time has combined the use of a variety of musical instruments and his voice to put his own spin on music therapy.

“I basically surround the person in sounds and vibration and create a kind of journey for them,” he said. “It’s a time to relax and focus on healing parts of their body while I’m playing to certain areas of the body.”

Shatz’s “healing tones” is one example of a complementary and alternative medicine practice. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in three Americans uses some form of complementary and alternative medicine. Those practices include using methods like massage therapy, acupuncture and yoga to treat pain or illness, and many of these have shown recent increases in use.

Shatz starts his sessions by playing a drum for his client while they sit in a reclining chair. The rest of the session includes the use of a variety of other instruments, including a didgeridoo, two separate Chinese gongs, Tibetan healing bowls and a Native American flute.

Shatz said many of his clients come to him to be treated for emotional pain or “blockages.” He said although people have told him his treatment works even better than psychotherapy or painkillers, he intends for his practice to work along with modern medicine to achieve the best results.

“There’s just a lot of stuff that’s going on in the world, and I find that a lot of people come ... to just get away from that,” he said.

Shatz said he is not acting as the healer, but his intentions are to remind people of their capability to heal themselves.

“The vibrations and the intention I’m putting into the session (are) just a reminder of how the body can heal itself,” he said. “We all have the ability to heal ourselves, but sometimes we forget how to do that.”

Those in Athens looking for complementary health services based in nature may look to Hopewood Holistic Health. Hopewood is run by Rebecca Wood, who was inspired to start the center in 1986 by her work in environmental science and her grandmother’s love of nature.

She decided to name Hopewood after her grandmother, and there she offers a variety of holistic and nature-based services and treatments including yoga, qigong and pranassage body alignment, along with workshops on topics such as aromatherapy.

Wood, who taught at Hocking College for 22 years, said Hopewood’s services have a strong educational component, too. She strongly believes in the idea that “food is medicine” and educates people on eating wild foods and herbs, along with ways to be fit and healthy through outdoor exercise.

Wood also immerses people in nature by coordinating excursions to Central America. She said those trips focus on sustainable living and a healthy lifestyle while integrating culture.

“I think the world is at our fingertips, and it’s about us taking personal responsibility to take good care of our world,” she said. “And that goes a long way towards being healthy and well."

For those looking for a source of pain relief, Reiki could be a helpful holistic treatment option. Reiki, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, is “a complementary approach in which practitioners place their hands lightly on or just above a person, with the goal of facilitating the person’s own healing response.”

Michelle Kerns is a Reiki healer and massage therapist at the Athens Wellness Cooperative. She co-founded the cooperative in 2009 with a fellow massage therapist.

“(Reiki) is the healing touch that flows through every human being (and) acknowledges love,” Kerns said. “I kind of like to call it the mother touch. Like it’s the way a mother would soothe her child.”

She said using alternative medicine practices like massage therapy and Reiki differ from modern medicine practices because alternative methods focus on acknowledging pain and finding the cause rather than simply treating the symptoms.

“We have such a fast-paced society. I think when people slow down, and you give yourself that moment to love yourself, and treat yourself to a massage or a reiki session … it puts you back in your body,” she said.

Sarah Felder, a senior studying specialized studies focusing on human sexuality, has been a certified Reiki healer for about three years. She said she has always been drawn to alternative medicine practices.

“I’ve just always been very interested in healing in a holistic way that isn’t just addressing the immediate physical body but also addressing that the physical body is connected to the mind and the spirit,” she said.

Felder said she does not have regular clients and does not charge money for her sessions because it is a healing experience for her, too.

“If I feel like I have bad energy, and I’m feeling depleted, I’ll just ask my friends if they want a Reiki session,” she said. “Through healing them, it heals me.”


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