ELLE (UK)

THE BIG CLEANSE

ENERGY CLEANSING HAS MOVED BEYOND THE FRINGES OF CALIFORNIA­N BOHEMIA TO BECOME A MAINSTREAM PROPOSITIO­N FOR THE STRESSED-OUT MASSES. BUT, ASKS KATY YOUNG, IS A ‘BATHED AURA’ REALLY THE SOLUTION?

- PHOTOGRAPH by BEN HASSETT

We live in a world where crystals, energy healing and a host of other new-age therapies have become the norm. Beauty Director Katy Young investigat­es whether they’re actually worth the hype

Late last autumn I found myself sat with a woman I barely knew talking about breakdowns. She had just hit 4O, her career was plateauing and she had called time on a decade-long relationsh­ip. She felt ‘heavy’, she explained. A bit lifeless. It was almost as though her ‘life motor’ had got jammed. She had tried therapy. It didn’t work. Rest just made her antsy. And then she tried crystals. She told me how a woman would come to her house every few weeks to lay crystals – rose quartz, sometimes clear quartz – on her body before cleansing her energy. She felt lighter afterwards, as though things were unblocked. She had spent her life cleansing her body with green juices and episodic fasting, she said. But she had never cleansed her energy before… and never felt so transforme­d as a consequenc­e. The following week, I starting noticing things. There were people at yoga sipping from water bottles filled with amethyst, colleagues with a shard of pyrite on their desk. One disclosed how she kept a small piece of rose quartz in her bra at all times. And I felt like the last person on earth to give my soul a spring clean. Many of us have spent decades trying to cleanse our bodies. Once upon a time, it was seen as the extreme tip of the dieting industry, but now the benefits of cleansing are well known (if you’ve ever done the 5:2 diet, you have essentiall­y cleansed). But cleansing your energy has, for many years, been the preserve of the far-reaching bohemian brigade or the neophytic Goopster set. Until now. Practices such as chakra healing, emotional freedom techniques and energy-focused body work are now part of the general wellness lexicon. Emma Lucy Knowles, healer and author of The Power of Crystal Healing, has never been busier: ‘Energy healing has become the new normal. Just as we may have a cleaner to regularly blitz the dust in our house, we are now having someone in to cleanse the energy in our homes,’ she says. ‘People seem to understand a lot more about the benefits of energy cleansing and how it feels,’ she says. If the past couple of years have been about clearing out your wardrobes – thank you, Marie Kondo – then 2O2O is all about clearing and bathing your aura. While you won’t be surprised to hear there is zero science to back it up, many of us are on board with the notion of fluctuatin­g energy. ‘We tend to rely on our subconscio­us for help when something isn’t right with our energy,’ says Knowles. ‘Your body often tells you first that you need to shift your energy – such as that longing for a long soak in the bath to get the crap off after a horrible day in the office, a walk to clear your head or time to make some space in your home. It’s rarely about actually wanting to physically wash off dirt;

it’s about cleansing your energy. We are a lot more intuitive than we think.’ We talk about falling prey to ‘energy vampires’ or about spaces or situations where the sense of flow feels ‘off’. That unsettling feeling of walking into a room where two people have just had an argument is a good example.

Crystals were the first wave of this trend, with celebritie­s including Kate Hudson and Victoria Beckham waxing lyrical about the sparkly nuggets. It helps, of course, that they look beautiful, almost objets d’art. They’re now so popular, they’ll soon be stocked in John Lewis. Even one of ELLE’s alternativ­e therapy sceptics admits to having a crystal stashed in her handbag, a gift she’s ‘too scared’ to throw away. But if crystals aren’t quite cutting it, you can always call in the energy healers. Soul coach Jacqueline Smith-Leonardini works from her LA home, ‘to help clients find their unique frequency’, a service for which she charges $225 (£17O). She works face to face, but also over the phone, apparently able to tune into our vibrations as we speak and clear any blocked chakras. Let’s hope it’s a good line. ‘We all radiate energy and receive energy,’ she says. ‘If I feel something is askew in someone, I ask the spirits to show me any trauma so they can move into the pain and release it, allowing energy to be pure, light and flowing again.’ Disproport­ionate reactions to a situation – when we lose the plot over a minor injustice, for example, are caused by a build-up of energy within us, according to Smith-Leonardini. According to one of UK-based healer Katie Light’s clients, ‘An hour of energy work is like being plugged into the Indian Ocean for a week.’ Crystal clear? Maybe not, but it sounds nice. Light, who uses reiki, the Japanese therapy that involves the practition­er holding their hands lightly over the client’s body to release energy, says that most of her clients tend to have their energy flow stuck in the throat, ‘which makes it harder to speak our truth. I unblock that energy by placing my hands on that area to bring in positive energy, putting you back into the right frequency of all the things you want to attract. When you’re in sync with yourself, you feel so much lighter – you just feel great.’ Alternativ­ely, you could try some DIY energy healing and practise self-protection. Knowles says, ‘It’s easy. Protecting our energy is about holding our space lovingly. It sounds crazy, but try simply visualisin­g bubblewrap around you. Protection is about ‘self’ and trusting your energy. We don’t have to resonate with everyone.’ Still not convinced? Perhaps that’s because you already have a healthy aura. Apparently, even jogging can keep your energy in check. The best form of energy releasing is the one that works for you, whether it’s running or meditation, ‘just as long as you’re present enough to laugh or cry in that space,’ according to Knowles. ‘Try a few things so you have several tools in your kit.’ Keep them alongside the rose quartz we suspect is already in your handbag.

”IF I FEEL SOMETHING IS ASKEW in someone, I ask the spirits TO SHOW ME ANY TRAUMA so they can move into THE PAIN AND RELEASE IT ”

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