Many District residents are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress due to the coronavirus pandemic, a rising homicide rate and economic uncertainty but some experts say alternative healing could calm people down and help them to focus on their life’s purpose.
“We are very much in need of healing,” Dr. Ivy Hilton, a wellness expert, said at the Ward 8 Community Awareness Healing Retreat that occurred on Aug. 14 at the Douglas Knoll Apartments in Southeast. “People need alternatives to manage stress without using drugs. We shouldn’t have a drug way of life but a wellness and holistic way of being.”
Stressful living has apparently become a way of life in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. A May 2014 article in reported the District as the most stressed-out city in the country. The website Zippia reported in January 2020 the stress level of every state in the country (D.C. wasn’t included) and District area states Maryland emerged as the fifth most stressed and Virginia as the eighth.
The website defines meditation as a set of techniques that are intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. Meditation has been practiced by cultures all over the world for thousands of years.
At the start of a session, Hilton encourages people to go to a personal space, sit quietly, free your mind and breathe deeply to start meditating. As the meditative process continues, she said the body will tend to droop. As the deep breathing continues, Hilton tells people to get a mental picture of themselves.
“Picture yourself smiling, being happy and loving,” she said.
Hilton said positive affirmations such as “I am a powerful soul all by myself” and “I am at peace with myself” serve to fuel the mind and the body. Closing the session, Hilton urges people to wiggle their fingers and toes and roll their heads around a few times while their eyes are closed.
Charnal Chaney works as a yoga instructor and owns Bold Yoga, a firm that promotes the technique. Yoga serves as a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline which includes breath control, simple meditation and the adoption of specific bodily postures for health and relaxation.
Chaney said “people need yoga because these aren’t normal times.”
“In this society, we are taught to keep moving no matter what happens,” she said. “The trauma we are experiencing stays with us physically and mentally. Yoga helps to release the stress.”
Chaney instructs people to start with simple exercises such as stretching. After stretching, she said people can move into bodily positions that both relaxes and exercises them.
Chiropractic serves as a system of integrative medicine based on the diagnosis and manipulative treatment of misalignments of the joints. Dr. Alison Parker has been a chiropractor in the District for 25 years. Parker said after many years of prescription drugs to alleviate physical and mental pain, physicians and other medical professionals should try alternative treatments.
“I encourage people to try naturals first,” she said. “For example, magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer. Witch hazel and CBD [cannabidiol] are good in dealing with pain. Oftentimes, pain comes from emotional issues that linger.”
Parker said people should try to avoid surgery to heal, Instead, she said massage and physical therapy in many cases can be just as effective as surgery.
She also said a good mental health state will keep people from being depressed and in physical pain.
“Find time to exercise,” she said. “Find a body of water and just sit by it for a while. Drink pure water and stay away from fast food and processed food.”

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James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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1 Comment

  1. I’m dubious about the label “experts” here, but Chiropractic is a pseudoscience that is known to cause injury to people. You should go to a physical therapist if you have pain/injury issues, since they use evidence-based medicine, not foo foo hokum. Meditation and Yoga really can be relaxing, but beware as charlatans are common.

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