Wellness, Greek-Style

Athens has a plethora of quality therapies on offer, yet only a few are based on healing practices dating back to thousands of years ago. We try them out.


If you’re looking for a pampering session that really hits the spot, Athens offers an abundant variety of spa and healing treatments. Most treatments are based on therapies that you can find anywhere else in the world, which is why this article focuses on methods that are uniquely based on local philosophies and techniques.

ANCIENT GREEK MASSAGE

Ancient Greek Massage is a therapeutic approach created by physiotherapist and alternative therapist Elly Tsouknaki. Upon realizing she was practicing massage therapies based on Thai, Balinese, Swedish and other styles from around the world and that there was no massage style based on Greek therapy principles, Tsouknaki carried out research and created the Ancient Greek Massage (which she then trademarked and is now practiced at several health centers and spas around the country and gradually gaining ground abroad). The massage is based chiefly on techniques advocated by Hippocrates in his writings, and some of which were used at wrestling schools and gymnasiums in ancient Greece as well as at Asclepion healing centers.

INFO

Elly Tsouknaki: Tel. (+30) 210.531.0336 and (+30) 697.308.5104.

The Ancient Greek Massage is also available at:
• Ancient Greek & Traditional Chinese Medicine Academy:
24 Sokratous, Kifissia • Tel. (+30) 210.801.0111.
• Hammam: 17 Agion Asomaton & 1 Melidoni, Thissio
 • Tel. (+30) 210.323.1073

GREEK SOUND MEDICINE

Pythagorian wisdom
Sound therapist Kristina Alicia has created a sound healing therapy based on the use of various ancient instruments like crystal singing bowls and Tibetan bowls, combined with manual techniques such as oil massage and hot stones. One of the focal points of her treatment relies on the use of the monochord, a single stringed instrument associated with Pythagoras (ca 500 BC), who, apart from being one of the greatest philosophers and mathematicians of all time, is considered to be the father of music therapy. Indeed, he maintained that music has a dual value because, like mathematics, it enables one to recognize the structures of nature. “The strings of the monochord bring healing harmonics in each cell of the body,” the therapist says. “From head to toe you feel this healing resonance, as our body is 75 percent water.”

INFO

Kristina Alicia is based in Glyfada, southern Athens

• Tel. (+30) 690.733.1518

INFO

GongLove Harmony Center
• 3 Zakynthou, Gr Lambraki Sq, Egaleo (near Aghia Marina metro)
• Tel. (+30) 698.046.0375

Bathing in sound
Used by ancient Greeks at initiations at the Eleusinian mysteries, in Sparta, at the Delphic Oracle and at theatrical performances, the gong is a powerful instrument for sound healing. “With its vibrations and sounds, the gong directly affects the body, emotions, nervous system and cognition,” says Jason Volakis, a physicist and gong therapy instructor who together with gong yoga instructor Konstantinos Perreas established GongLove ArtLab in Athens in 2011. “Its vibrations are so intense that they can be felt from a distance, yet also so delicate that they enter the body on a cellular level and massage it deeply. Gongs are shown to offer relaxation, rejuvenation, and relief from various body aches and headaches, boost circulation and the immune system, clear the respiratory system and balance the nervous system.”

GongLove ArtLab organizes gong “baths” every two weeks at various locations around town and runs gong yoga classes three times a week at the GongLove Harmony Center. At a gong bath, participants do some yoga stretches and breaths, and then lie back for an hour to be “bathed” by a resonant soundscape of waves, first from ethereal cymbals, bells and chimes and next, for the most part, from several gongs that create varying powerful harmonious resonances and tones. The effects for the participant are commonly to dip in and out of deep, restorative sleep, to alternate states of consciousness, the feeling or even vision of traveling in outer space, witnessing the surfacing of hidden realizations and emotions, and physically sensing the sound vibrations in various parts of the body, sometimes like a Jacuzzi massage or light tickling sensation.

FOR MORE THERAPIES …
TOP TWO SPAS IN ATHENS

GB Spa

With an east-meets-west philosophy, attention to gorgeous aesthetic detail that will ease any hint of obsessive compulsive disorder tendencies your stress may have brought on, and devoted to ultra-pampering, the award-winning GB Spa is definitely worth it for those who can afford its beauty, massage and stress-obliterating therapies. Thai, Balinese, Ayurvedic and chakra-rebalancing hot stone treatments are just a few of the tickets to Cloud 9.

Info
GB Spa: Hotel Grande Bretagne, Syntagma Sq 
• Tel. (+30) 210.333.0000

Hilton Spa

With an indoor pool, gym area and thermal treats, the Hiltonia Spa offers a broad range of beauty and relaxation massages, including luxurious Balinese, Tahitian, Japanese and Grecian treatments that will send you floating out the door.

Info
Hitlon Spa: Athens Hilton Hotel, 46 Vassilissis Sofias Ave
• Tel. (+30) 210.728.1803

“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity” – Hippocrates


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