COVID-19 UPDATE: This story was written before the pandemic hit locally. As the coronavirus continues to affect life in metro Detroit, please reach out to each business for the most up-to-date information about services, hours, and availability.
As people continue to seek natural methods to improve wellness, alleviate symptoms of injury or illness, and add relaxation to their daily routines, alternative medicine spaces are becoming popular choices for metro Detroiters looking to add something different to their overall health plan.
Alternative medicine is nontraditional medical treatment that can be used instead of or alongside mainstream treatments or practices. More than a third of Americans have used some form of alternative medicine at some point in their lives, according to surveys conducted by the National Institutes of Health.
Many services make up the alternative medicine world, including flotation therapy, cryotherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and more. Even yoga, when used as a form of treatment, can be considered alternative medicine. But alternative medicine can encompass more than that and may be as simple as choosing to focus on self-care and taking time to recharge.
Like following a healthy diet, exercising, and enjoying hobbies, alternative medicine, when added to an overall wellness plan, can have both physical and mental health benefits. With alternative medicine on the rise, there are new options opening locally. Here are six spaces in metro Detroit that you might want to check out.
Billing itself as a “21st century mental health gym,” Farmington Hills-based Inception offers a three-phase therapeutic approach that includes brain training, float therapy, and a “Magnesphere.” The center attempts to personally tailor its regimen to each guest’s needs.
Inception’s “brain training” involves monitoring brain waves through EEG technology. When the brain shows signs of not operating at an optimum level, a system called NeurOptimal claims to provide noninvasive feedback that teaches the brain to reorganize itself. This could help ease anxiety and improve athletic performance, proponents say. In “float therapy,” guests float in lukewarm water with highly concentrated levels of magnesium, which is known to help calm the mind and body. The Magnesphere is a system that exposes users to low-level electromagnetic fields that can enhance feelings of relaxation. Inception also offers salt therapy, which involves the ancient tradition of breathing in Himalayan salt, which is said to alleviate symptoms of asthma, allergies, and even the common cold. For more information, visit inceptionep.com.
With four locations in metro Detroit — in Clarkston, Troy, Wixom, and West Bloomfield — the Live Cryo group offers cryotherapy services inside gyms and wellness centers. Also referred to as “cold therapy,” cryo involves either targeted or full-body exposure to extreme cold for a few minutes. Many athletes swear by the treatment to promote healing and relief for strains and sprains. It also can soothe sore muscles and relieve symptoms of arthritis or joint and muscle disorders.
Live Cryo offers full-body cryotherapy in three phases. The first involves users entering a minus-240 degree chamber for up to three minutes, which causes blood vessels to constrict and blood to flow to the body’s core. In the second phase, clients exit the chamber and return to a room temperature location, allowing the blood to recirculate through the body, which warms the skin and muscles. The third phase is experienced at home over the following 48 hours when the body goes through a restoration process, the proprietors say. What’s more, the cooling and warming of the body is also said to burn as many as 800 calories. For more information, visit livecryo.com.
Curewell IV Haus
Hydration is one key to improved sleep, decreased depression and anxiety, strengthened joint function, healthy skin, and the removal of toxins from the body. Royal Oak’s Curewell IV Haus offers IV infusions of essential vitamins and minerals in sessions lasting up to 45 minutes. Guests can choose IVs aimed at boosting the metabolism, combating the common cold, and enhancing athletic performance, among other treatments. Some of Curewell’s IV therapies are made to battle jet lag and headaches, as well as symptoms of fibromyalgia, asthma, and Parkinson’s disease.
After taking the guest’s vital signs to ensure they are healthy enough to handle the infusions, a staff member administers the drip. IV therapy can hydrate the body more adequately and immediately than drinking water by bypassing the digestive system and going directly into the bloodstream, the proprietors say. Those looking for customized treatment can pick a range of additives, including Vitamin B12, magnesium, and the anti-nausea medication Zofran. Curewell also offers drips a la carte that feature single-vitamin infusions of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and glutathione. Main menu prices range from $100 to
$275, while injections and a la carte items cost $40 to $50 each. For more information, visit curewellivhaus.com.
Metro Detroit Acupuncture
This traditional and ancient Chinese medicine involving the insertion of thin needles into the skin at strategic points throughout the body has been popular in the U.S. for decades as a potential treatment for a wide range of conditions, including chemotherapy-induced nausea, allergies, dental pain, high blood pressure, stress, and headaches.
At Metro Detroit Acupuncture in West Bloomfield, service options include treatment for pain, cold symptoms, anxiety, and smoking cessation. This Eastern medicine staple includes a diagnosis and recommendation for a customized treatment plan, as well as nutritional and support counseling.
Some patients may even notice unexpected benefits unrelated to the issue they’re seeking treatment for, Marino Moutafis of Metro Detroit Acupuncture asserts. “Many patients have experienced improvements in other symptoms associated indirectly to their primary concern,” he says. “Benefits like better sleep and healthier digestion are most common. Other unexpected improvements are often clearer skin, better overall mood, and increased energy.” For more information, visit metrodetroitacupuncture.com.
Motor City Float
Those who want to try flotation therapy can visit Clawson’s Motor City Float, where guests may float in total darkness and silence or choose various lighting and sound options, such as meditative music or their own playlists. Earplugs and a neck rest are provided.
When time is up, lights inside the tank will either flash or come back on, signaling the end of a session. Visitors will then shower and have the option to relax in the lounge, which has water, snacks, and fresh fruit, plus books and journals for those who leave inspired or feeling creative.
The Detroit Pistons’ team doctor, Dr. Bernard Condevaux, is an enthusiast whose players float regularly. “There are many benefits to float sessions beyond the decrease in pain, tension, and stress,” he says. “Studies have shown improvements in HRV [heart rate variability], a scientific measure on the level of recovery or stress in an individual.” For more, visit motorcityfloat.com.
The proprietors of Hooky Wellness (coming to Detroit this summer) say they plan to encourage visitors to do just as the name suggests — play hooky for their wellness.
Billed as a “no-work” space, Hooky Wellness aims to help metro Detroiters take a day off — whether from work, family, or other daily responsibilities — to practice self-care. Certified life coaches will help visitors determine how to achieve personal goals; massage therapists will provide rubs; and classes in yoga and meditation will be offered. For those who want to simply unwind, Hooky Wellness will have decompression lounges where they can write, read, or draw, as well as a “mindfulness library” of self-care books to browse. Hooky Wellness also will host member-only events. Erayna Sargent, the retreat’s founder and CEO, says there’s a waitlist to sign up for a membership. For more information, visit hookywellness.com.
A First-timer’s Guide to Alternative Medicine
Interested in adding alternative medicine to your wellness plan? Before booking an appointment, consider these four tips to help you make the most of your experience.
Talk to a doctor. Always speak to your primary care physician to weigh risks and to discuss side effects. The severity or extent of an injury or illness may determine if alternative medicine can help, and some conditions benefit the most from mainstream medical approaches.
Do your research. Once you decide which type of alternative medicine to try, research locations to see which is the best fit for your needs. Also, ask around! Your contacts will often have good recommendations.
Keep an open mind. There is a reason alternative medicine is called “alternative.” Oftentimes, it involves a more spa-like setting where overall relaxation is as much a goal as improving your health.
Plan accordingly. You may not want to schedule anything immediately after a visit to an alternative medicine space. It’s often recommended to take the rest of the day off to allow your body time to recover.