‘Shake it off’

Alternative healing options used to reduce stress

After losing her sister to a car accident, Annelise Latini turned to alcohol. She said she ran from the pain, and that running led her to years of alcoholism.

Until she found healing in yoga.

“The opposite of addiction is connection,” she said. “One of the many ways to translate ‘yoga’ is ‘connection.’ “

Latini was one of several vendors and program representatives who participated in a recent event meant to educate community members about local healing alternatives. The event, a fundraiser for Saving Lives for Zachary, showcased healing alternatives such as yoga, massage, sound healing, herbal therapy and more.

Saving Lives for Zachary is a grassroots, non-profit effort to educate the community about drugs, founded by Carolyn Miele after she lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2016.

Miele said she planned the event to “show the community what’s available.”

“Instead of using pain medications, use acupuncture or massage,” she said. “I’m not saying it’s a cure-all. But my hope was just to provide this education to the community.”

Latini explained that yoga isn’t just about the physical movement, but also about breathwork.

“It’s so funny that we teach that to pregnant women, but not to others who experience pain,” she said. “It’s free, you have

access to it anytime and there are many types.”

She said that yoga helps people “shake off” stressful events.

When a mother bear senses a person is close to its cub, it rears up on its hind legs, Latini explained. When the supposed threat leaves, she doesn’t immediately get back onto all fours as if nothing happened — she literally shakes off the stress of the moment.

“Animals know how to shake it off. Humans don’t,” she said.

She said people tend not to fully process a traumatic or stressful event. Instead, their brains might freeze up, insisting, “It’s OK! I’m Ok!”

“Pain is part of life. Pain is a teacher,” Latini said. “Yoga gives you the quietness of the mind and helps us process stored energy and experiences.”

Miele’s sister, Angela Miele, also participated, offering a sound healing demonstration using crystal singing bowls alongside engineer Kathy Stillings, who played a crystal harp and a steel drum called a hang (rhymes with long) drum.

Stillings has over a dozen years of music education, and puts together drum circles for children, seniors in local homes and other groups. For her, getting people together is another factor in the healing process.

“I want people together,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Angela Miele explained sound healing, saying the vibrations of sound can heal pain, improve people’s mental, physical and emotional energies and more.

“I don’t like to pigeonhole it,” she said.

She said she started down the path of alternative healing as a journey of self-discovery, to be happier and to heal herself. She started with reiki, a healing technique based on the principle that a therapist can channel energy into a patient by means of touch.

Then the path led her to sound healing.

When dealing with people who are unwilling to believe such a thing could be helpful, or who don’t understand, she said she refers to radio waves, electricity and magnetism. They’re all invisible, but they exist, she said.

“Expand your concept of what you are. Sound is invisible, but it’s vibrational, and we are vibrational beings,” Angela Miele said. “I encourage people to go within themselves more deeply. There’s more to life than what you see.”