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Take the stress out of life

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Cyprus’ annual Mind, Body and Spirit exhibition, a celebration of all things alternative, complementary, holistic, and health-related offers the chance to try a new therapy or treatment

 

During Covid, everyone became a health expert. Practically overnight, people who’d never heard the word ‘wellbeing’ were touting teas, tinctures and herbal what-have-yous as an aid to prevention and recovery!

In Fiji (where there were rumours that the virus was caused by cell towers were rife!), pure vodka was rumoured to be the cure for Covid. In Tunisia, the antiseptic Betadine was widely supposed to heal all symptoms. And a government agency in Nepal urged people to try a combination of turmeric and garlic to inhibit the spread of the virus!

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, viral messages claimed sunbathing was the answer. South Korea saw a wave of Facebook posts promoting anti-static clothing as a Covid panacea. And when Donald Trump endorsed chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and azithromycin as a cure for the virus, Google searches for these unproven treatments peaked at 1167 per cent the previous rate – even after reports of fatal poisonings!

Much of the nonsense out there was clearly just that: nonsense. Nobody had ‘the cure for Covid’! But in the furore, helpful information got lost. A 2022 medical study proved that some traditional Chinese medications were effective in the management of Covid-19 symptoms. The NHS began suggesting mindfulness, meditation, and yoga as an aid to those suffering from pandemic-induced stress. And diaphragmatic breathing (recently shown to ease the symptoms associated with long-Covid) fell by the wayside.

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Clearly, the last few years has brought a myriad of health concerns to the fore. But with this availability of information and misinformation, where can the curious go for trusted help on wellbeing and good health?

The answer, says Marilena Angelides, is the Mind, Body, Spirit Festival: Cyprus’ annual celebration of all things alternative, complementary, holistic, and health-related. As the organiser of the MBS for the last decade, Marilena is familiar with a wide range of complementary and alternative treatments and practices, and ensures that all of the festivals’ speakers, practitioners and exhibitors are promoting healthful, helpful alternative methods of healing.

That’s not to say the festival holds the answer to the world’s Covid woes, but if there’s any aspect of your mind, body or spirit that could do with a bit of a cleanse, this might be the place to find an alternative to a handful of pills. Western medicine certainly has its benefits. But among the hundreds of alternative therapies touted at the MBS, you could just discover a practice worth checking out…

“We’re always searching for unique presenters and practitioners,” explains Marilena, “people who are advocating new therapies or alternative forms of treatment. Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve seen stress, fear and anxiety rocket, all of which are proven to negatively impact health. And more people than ever are now looking to alternative forms of healing to help deal with the fallout.”

dsc 6390Many of the practices on offer at the festival are backed by science, and are regularly utilised by those with chronic illness. Yoga, tai chi and qi gong are known to calm the nervous system and help with all sorts of ailments. Similarly, you’ll find experts in the techniques of diaphragmatic breathing and heart rate variability – both methods of healing that are increasingly being advocated by medical practitioners. And there are any number of workshops on meditation (once considered ‘alternative’ but now a proven aid to stress-related illness) that may benefit.

There will also be nutrition specialists providing information on how our diet affects everything from our nervous systems to our emotional wellbeing. And several wellness coaches and therapists who can help us manage the issues and problems that are proven to cause everything from emotional to physical distress.

Beyond that, there are a great number of less proven therapies you could consider. Alternatives such as crystals, angel readings or reiki healing may not be for everyone, but there’s something to be said for giving things a go.

“Over the past few years, the participatory activities have become more popular than the exhibitors,” explains Marilena. “Now, we’re finding that people want to actually experience new practices and therapies, try them out for themselves…

Sound healing, she adds, is an alternative therapy that’s really gained in popularity over the last few festivals. “In part, that may be due to its ease,” Marilena acknowledges. “This isn’t a practice like yoga or meditation that requires discipline; it’s effortless! Sit down, close your eyes, and take in the beautiful sounds of Tibetan singing bowls and you’ll feel an immediate sense of relaxation and release. I’m predicting sound healing will be one of our most popular workshops!”

1Many of the myriad festival activities are free of charge, but they’re first-come first-served, Marilena reveals. So it’s best to check the programme and ensure you’re there in good time to beat the inevitable crowds. “Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve seen huge interest in actually trying new and alternative methods of wellbeing,” she adds. “It’s been a time of great stress; we’ve had to cope with huge amounts of fear and anxiety. And many of us have used this time to take a good hard look at how we handle our health and wellbeing.”

While nobody’s suggesting the MBS holds the cure to Covid or other ills, there’s certainly something to be said for trying alternative practices in a safe environment. “I know so many people who once sneered at alternative therapies, but thanks to our festival classes, have taken up regular yoga or tai chi. They’re now reaping the benefits. We’re a place of information, not misinformation,” she concludes. “And we’re giving you the space to come along, try safe therapies and practices, and make up your own mind.”

 

The Mind, Body, Spirit Wellbeing Festival takes place on November 19 and 20 at the St Raphael in Limassol. For a full programme of activities and exhibitors, visit https://www.mbscyprus.com/ 

 

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