WEST TOWN — Finding peace and relaxation isn't easy, but those seeking an escape from the "concrete jungle" might find it inside a new alternative healing studio in West Town.
"When you get so many people in such a small area, everyone has a distinct personality, it can get hectic. People need more places where they can get away from the city and the stress and the hustle and bustle," said Neale Baldyga, 27, owner of Urban Escape Healing Studio.
Baldyga, who works a day job as a green space coordinator for Columbia College, is in the process of getting Urban Escape Healing Studio at 1049 N. Ashland Ave. up and running and said he hopes to officially open in August.
On Saturday, the studio, just south of the Ashland Avenue and Division Street intersection, will offer a sneak peek of its services during Learnapalooza, providing free workshops in "Creating Sacred Spaces," and "Essential Oils and Stress Relief," among others.
According to Baldyga, who's been practicing the alternative healing art of Reiki for nearly three years, natural therapies offer "a sensory approach" to healing and "use things that already exist on this planet as opposed to having to depend on companies that don't have your best interest at heart."
Baldyga, a West Town resident, said he chose to bring his first practice to the area because "the neighborhood is ready for something like this, it's not super built up yet. I'm excited to build a community and send [people] out in a better state than when they came in."
Baldyda plans to invite other holistic healers to the studio, such as Glenn Romans, who will offer essential oil therapy, and Yvonne Esther Nieves who "does Reiki and shamanic work and candle dressings and energy and crystals."
In addition to healing through plants, aromas and touching during 60- to 90-minute sessions, Baldyga said he will incorporate individual and group sound therapy sessions into Urban Escape Healing's offerings, too. Baldyga plays drums and percussion for an acoustic band, Grapheme.
"Sound can invoke emotions and feelings and re-tune your body. Playing special notes and pitches can bring different parts of the body into harmony and balance. We create soundscapes and allow people to go into a deep state of relaxation," he said.
Those interested in learning more about Urban Escape Healing Studio can visit its Facebook page or email Baldyga at email@example.com.