ASTORIA — From the float tank to fire-cupping, an array of alternative healthcare options are available at Prana Wellness Center in Astoria.
“We take a more holistic approach,” said owner Leigh Oviatt. “For people that don’t want to take pills and go that route, this the better way to go for healing yourself from the inside out.”
Acupuncture is a popular and versatile treatment.
“It can treat immune and digestive problems. Last year, we got a big influx of infertility patients,” said acupuncturist Hilary Simila. “I do treat children as well — everything from allergies to pain relief. It treats the whole spectrum.”
“I pick the treatment based on their diagnosis in Chinese medicine,” Simila said. ”Each point will be different for each person. Two people may come in with back pain and I’ll treat them a little differently because each person has a different imbalance in their system.” After placing the needles, the patient rests for 30 minutes.
“Once the needles are in, the sensation we’re going for is called the ‘Qi sensation,’” said Simila. “Qi is our body’s energy. It runs like an electrical system in our body, and when it’s blocked it causes imbalance in other parts of the body because the circulation isn’t flowing to that area.”
The float tank is a popular escape on rainy days.
“It’s totally dark, quiet and warm to skin temperature. It’s a totally neutral environment which allows your body to unwind and go into homeostasis,” Oviatt said. ”It’s great for injury recovery. They’re doing a lot of studies with people with PTSD, depression, bulimia and anorexia. A lot of people are afraid they’re going to be claustrophobic, but you don’t really feel a sense of enclosure — more like you’re floating in outer space. You’re a super-relaxed marshmallow after you get out,” Oviatt said. A 90-minute session is $50.
Fire cupping creates a suction which releases stagnant blood, it gets new blood flowing to the area and releasing toxins according to Oviatt. The treatment gained acclaim with Michael Phelps during the Olympics.
“It doesn’t hurt at all — it’s almost like an inverse massage,” said Oviatt. “But it looks like an octopus gave you a hug.”
A half-hour session in the 135-degree sauna burns approximately 600 calories.
“It heats up with infrared heat lamps,” Oviatt said. “It’s the most therapeutically beneficial sauna because it penetrates soft tissue deeper, up to two inches. It’s really good for releasing toxins and joint and arthritis pain.” A 30-minute session costs $15.
A new water filtration system that inonizes and alkalizes water creating “anti-aging” properties is among the new offerings.
“The water is either at a 8.5, 9 or 9.5 PH,” said Oviatt. “Cancer cells can’t grow in an alkaline environment. It’s good to keep your body on the more alkaline side. With all the things that are in our environment and food, it makes our bodies more acidic. This water is reenergizing and is great for detoxifying.” A gallon costs $15 and comes with three weeks of free refills. After the three-week trial you can fill a gallon for $5. “It’s like an anti-aging water,” said Oviatt. “It’s pretty awesome.”