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Austin Wellness: Ritual Baths, Healing Colors and More

Ritual baths, crystals, healing colors and more


Bathing Beauty

“A ritual bath is different than a regular bath,” Deborah Hanekamp says. “It’s taking the bath with intention.” The author of the forthcoming book “Ritual Baths” and the driving force behind Mama Medicine, Hanekamp looks to these therapeutic baths as a form of self-healing. While bathing, she recommends focusing on the experience: “Feeling the water on your skin, the sensation of being held, trying to be present with the peace that the bath can bring,” Hanekamp says. 

While she offers some kits for sale on her site, she says that simple natural elements like stones, bath salts and rosemary can be utilized to create a ritual bath. “The stone and the salts bring the love and the nurturing energy of the earth, and the water is cleansing,” Hanekamp says. “Rosemary really helps to protect the immune system, and anything that physically protects you in the herbal world will also psychically protect you as well.”

Rock On

While searching for gifts for one another and other friends, Chrissy Loehman, Ashley Lapin and Carolyn Connolly found themselves routinely giving crystals. “We felt like it was a more meaningful way of telling someone you’re thinking of them,” Loehman says.

In early 2019, the trio formed Quartz Collective, curating 14 collections of stones meant to target intentions including confidence, weight loss and protection. “We want to make crystals accessible and fun,” Loehman says. Their ethically sourced gems come from the U.S., U.K. and India, and Loehman says they’re meant to be kept nearby. “As long as they’re near you, where you can see them and remember the goal you set for yourself — what the rocks are helping you to accomplish — that’s the key.”

To Dye For

After earning a degree in environmental studies and studying fashion design at Parsons, Susanna Taylor wanted to put her expertise to good use. In 2013, she launched Earthen Warrior, a brand focused on eco-fashion. Fast-forward seven years and Taylor’s newest venture is Flower Dye, a natural dye design studio that produces beautiful silk slips, pillowcases and custom dyed goods.

While Earthen Warrior lives on as an eco-lifestyle blog, Flower Dye promotes sustainable practices starting from the stem — generating its colorful dyes from plants grown on a farm in Vermont. “I want to bring intention to people’s lives and the way people shop,” Taylor says. “I want people to feel good with their purchase and feel good in their bodies when they’re wearing the items.”

Good Looking

For more than 100 years, Morgenthal Frederics has specialized in luxury eyewear, but its newest ChromoClear collection is a vision of the future. Crafted by hand from biodegradable acetate, each set of frames contains ZEISS BioChrom lenses in blue, red, yellow or green. Tested in labs in Germany and Italy, the lens color can correspond to specific biological responses, helping the body feel more invigorated (red), refreshed (blue), focused (yellow) or relaxed (green). Three frame styles are available so you can feel like your most stylish self.

Sonic Vessels

Melissa Grogan, a former Texas State University professor, has long specialized in voice and movement. “For 20 years, I’ve taught people how to use sound to heal themselves,” she says. In her home office in Barton Hills, Grogan uses crystal bowls, chimes and other instruments in her private sound therapy practice. While clients lie on a massage table, Grogan employs the techniques of reiki and sonic healing along with sound to help the body feel relaxed and grounded. “Through simple intention and holding space with the person in front of us, we’re inviting the body to come back to that space,” Grogan says. “As a sound therapist … we have the understanding of what the body needs to be in a state of balance.”

All the Pretty Colors

Entering Christina Dietz’s Bouldin “sensory therapy space” is like stepping into a jewel box. A buttery antique armoire stands front and center, its shelves lined with flacons of dual-colored oils distilled from organically and biodynamically grown plants, flowers and minerals. Sapphire, pomegranate, emerald, cotton-candy pink, sky blue — even if you’re a skeptic, the kaleidoscopic array is captivating.

Dietz is the founder of Heart Art Color Therapy, an integrative practice that uses Aura-Soma to help clients seeking to improve their lives. The color- and nature-based therapeutic discipline was developed in England in 1983 by the late surgical chiropodist and apothecarist Vicky Wall. Forced into retirement due to clinical blindness, she began practicing meditation, which she claimed enabled her to “see” waves of color. Inspired, she created a line of color-based, botanical-based elixirs — called equilibriums — guided entirely by feel and instinct. That intuition is the leading principle behind Aura-Soma, which is based on a client’s selection of four equilibriums or wellness combinations.

“Their choices structure and lead a transformative conversation, gifting the client to see themselves, their story and their world in a new light,” says Dietz. “The products are like nature in a bottle and designed as a take-home therapy to be applied daily, calming the mind and harmonizing the energetic system.”

Dietz uses Aura-Soma to help clients tap into their subconscious, allowing them to “instinctively let go of self-imposed blocks,” reframe personal or professional obstacles, and expand their potential.

It’s not as out there as it might sound. Rather, it’s a more playful, less intimidating discipline than traditional therapy. “Life can be rough,” says Dietz. “When you realize healing and evolving can be easy, joyful and profound, you let go of making things harder for yourself.”

An avid traveler and artist, Dietz discovered Aura-Soma after three years of chronic illness that nearly resulted in her death. Exhausted emotionally and physically and frustrated by a lack of a diagnosis and unsuccessful treatments (she eventually learned she had black mold poisoning), she found herself open to trying “just about anything that could potentially lift my spirits.” An Aura-Soma consultation in Sedona, Arizona, in 2012 resulted in an epiphany, which eventually led to Dietz’s becoming a certified Aura-Soma practitioner. “I was able to hear myself clearly, and my life went from a hazy lens to experiencing a total, unwavering power and faith in myself.”

Dietz realized that her yearning for color was her brain and body’s way of healing itself. “I sought colors out: in fresh produce, my art and traveling to places like New Zealand, which nourished my soul appetite for lush green; my doctor later told me that trip was the best thing I could have done, because clean air is the most effective way to detox from black mold exposure. Aura-Soma allowed me to step on the path to be in control of my own healing.”

Initial sessions run 90 minutes and include a guided sensory meditation to assist in your healing.