Photo: 123rf 

You’ve tried meditation, pledged a week of your life to hot yoga (only to emerge angrier – true story) and even scheduled regular massage appointments – and yet the chase to lock down your Zen has proven elusive.

Before you think there’s something wrong with you, try these alternative therapies instead – and if that doesn’t work maybe do some sage smudging for a good measure.


1. Gong Meditation


Photo: House of Ascend

Best For: A weekly tune in & up 

Scoff all you want but paying someone to hit a gong and bathe you in all that theta goodness can do loads to steady the nerves. If you haven’t given this a go just yet, think of it as elevated meditation designed to relieve tension and quiet the mind.

Sessions start with pranayama (breathing exercises) before the gong meditation portion kicks in (yes, you do have to meditate) and while reactions vary from emerging relaxed to being visibly more emotional, the common denominator seems to be a deeper sleep experienced for the following 48 hours. Best experienced first hand, regular sessions are held weekly.

$37 at House of Ascend, 79 Chay Yan St, Level 1-18, Singapore 160079; visit


2. Sound and Floatation Therapy

Photo: Palm Avenue Float Club

Best For: Individuals who aren’t claustrophobic

Tune out the naysayers, when it comes to locating your Zen and go with whatever floats your boat – and seeing how popular this experience has been on AirBnb, there’s quite a few takers.

Going further than the standard 60-minute bliss-inducing float, a sound meditation segment is added in post float using ambient and instrumental music composed by sound curator Jean Tay.

Original pieces composed from her own 3-D field recordings, they’ve been designed to trigger the vibrations experienced by one’s own body by test oscillators in the music software, be it through binaural beats or the rhythm sounds of crickets and rainfall. If done right, it’ll facilitate a deeper dive into one’s consciousness which then kickstarts the meditative experience. Longer term, the aim is to break up stress patterns for a heightened state of relaxation.

$145 per person at Palm Avenue Float Club, 66 Kampong Bugis, #05-01, Singapore 338987, tel: 9151 6004; visit


3. Chi Nei Tsang


Photo: Shutterstock

Best for: The emotionally repressed 

Modern life = modern day stresses, and if you hold in a lot of emotions, your stomach may be on the receiving end of unnecessary tension and negative emotions that need release. This Taoist healing modality does exactly that through careful, targeted massage movements blending Chinese and Thai massage.

A trained therapist will manipulate and maneuver the abdomen to detoxify and strengthen internal organs to improve digestion and boost the immune system, ultimately restoring balance to the entire body. While it sounds a bit far fetched, the results don’t lie — you’ll emerge feeling a lot lighter emotionally and you may feel the same physically as well once you’re in the comfort of your own bathroom.

$185 for the first session at Therapeutics Aroma, 583 Orchard Road #03-01 Forum The Shopping Mall, tel: 67377039; visit


4. Jin Shin Jyutsu


Photo: Shutterstock

Best for: Anyone looking for a gentle form of self care

Don’t confuse this 3,000-year-old ancient healing art with Reiki, however there are some similarities. Working off the concept of harmonising the body through gentle touch of one’s fingers, Jin Shin Jyutsu sees a practitioner use their hands to respond to one’s pulse and support re-balancing its harmonious flow through 52 main points on the body.

Depending on one’s sensitivities, you may feel some sensations (a warm heat, a involuntary twitch) during the treatment. Don’t be alarmed: It’s part of the process and proof that a deeper level of relaxation is happening. Post treatment, it’s not unusual to feel a bit lightheaded and a sense of tranquil calm; longer term it works to bring relief to chronic internal imbalances.

$150 at Terra Luna Yoga, 611A Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 269713, tel: 9658 3611; visit


5. Watsu Therapy


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Photo: Instagram / @inspiremum 

Best for: Expectant mums and anyone feeling a overwhelmed by stress

We hate to break the bad news to you but there will never be a more relaxing time than in one’s mother’s womb. While this sounds disheartening, Watsu (or aqua) therapy aims to re-create that weightless feeling to address issues such as insomnia and muscle tension to bring on a deep relaxation state.

Developed by Harold Dull in 1980, it combines water-based shiatsu massage with the stretching of one’s meridians (energy channels) to stimulate the flow of energy. The therapy does require one to get wet but props like leg floats ensure you’re not sinking under and the added plus is that it takes place in a heated pool. Post therapy, expect to feel a sense of deep relaxation or even a spontaneous release of emotions, almost as if you’ve had a good cry.

$150 at Inspire Mum & Baby Fitness, Birth and Swimming Centre, 188-2 Tanjong Katong Rd, Singapore 436990, tel: 9234 1866; visit


6. Craniosacral Therapy

massage head

Photo: Shutterstock

Best for: Children and trauma recoveries

This is another form of light touch (no more than 5 grams of pressure is exerted) bodywork. While Carniosacral Therapy remains classed under alternative modalities, its effectiveness is the real deal. Using gentle touch to palpate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium, spine and pelvic bone, a trained therapist releases embedded tension in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system.

In layman’s terms, what you may feel is a knot releasing or even a tense muscle relaxing after just one treatment. Depending on the individual, a varying level of SomatoEmotional Release – a way of ridding the mind and body of the residual effects of trauma by anatomically freeing the central channel of the body – may be felt, which can’t be a bad thing, ever.

$149.50 with GST at OzWorks Therapy, #10-01/03 Forum Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road, Singapore 238884, tel: 6836 4560; visit