Are healers the new therapists? 10 of the best in London

Witch and healer Semra Haksever  (Matt Writtle)
Witch and healer Semra Haksever (Matt Writtle)

Could those awkward silences of the traditional talking therapist soon become a thing of the past? Might we finally be spared the Kafkaesque headspin of being on the couch in a dowdy room that feels like it’s closing in on you? With spirituality going mainstream, an exciting new influx of healers has brought a breath of fresh air into the business of making us feel better, not to mention a whole new box of tricks to help us address our issues — there is dancing, magic spells and music — even sex toys.

The benefits are plentiful: we still get to offload in a “held” space, though without the expensive expectation to dig up the tough stuff week in, week out. Plus with these new tools, we can also feel like we’re actually actioning our problems, which brings instant relief. We’re calling it — the healer is the new therapist, and these are the best in London.

The man healer

Helping men reclaim their power may not sound like a high priority when the patriarchy is still in rude health, but don’t worry — transformational coach Alexander Cottle promises you’ll be a more balanced, mature, authentic guy, in touch with your purpose, feelings and boundaries. Indeed as his glowing Trustpilot reviews testify, we could all stand to benefit.

His 12-week online programme starts by addressing “mother wounds and father wounds” — as he explains, “99.9% of patterns come from parental conditioning.” You’ll also focus on sexual suppression, addiction, “shadow work” (ie, the repressed parts of your subconscious), and learning to connect to your heart and intuition. To help all that happen, there’ll be breathwork, bodywork (ie, leaning into emotions stored in your body), yoga, meditation, and “psycho drama” — ie, role playing your inner critic. Cottle also runs a fortnightly men’s circle at Fire+Alchemy, Shoreditch, as well as retreats.

£3,300 for 12-week programme;

Alexander Cottle promises to turn men into more balanced, mature, authentic people (Alexander Cottle)
Alexander Cottle promises to turn men into more balanced, mature, authentic people (Alexander Cottle)

The dream healer

Imagine if you could heal yourself in your sleep. That’s the promise from the lucid-dream coach and author Charlie Morley, who’s worked with the Ministry of Defence, Deloitte and Reuters — though it does admittedly take a bit of work to acquire the skill. Lucid dreaming is the practice of directing your dreams at will, and its therapeutic powers are best known for combatting PTSD, but, claims Morley, “anything you can treat through hypnotherapy, you can treat through lucid dreaming, because it goes to the depths of your unconscious, where trauma might be embedded.”

You can also use it for finding answers for, say, career guidance, or for perfecting disciplines that require practice — research has shown that javelin-throwers and martial artists improved while lucid dreaming. Morley offers free workshops at the Kagyu Samye Dzong Buddhist Centre in Bermondsey, Zoom one-on-ones (from £90), and sleepover retreats (from £500) where you’re woken every couple of hours. “It’s more of a bootcamp, really,” he says.

Charlie Morley is an expert in lucid dreaming (Charlie Morley)
Charlie Morley is an expert in lucid dreaming (Charlie Morley)

The kundalini unblocker

“Some of the techniques I use are bonkers,” admits kundalini healer Jayne Ellis, who’s worked with, among others, Chanel, Courtney Love and Lisa Snowdon. Hissing like a snake, opening and closing your hands nonstop for 15 minutes, and “rebirthing” are just some of the strategies her clients will use to clear their “blockages” — usually, she says, around “love, money, marriage, babies”.

Kundalini, a spiritual energy said to be coiled at the base of our spine, is believed to be the source of our creative power — these “bonkers” movements, or “kriyas”, apparently “help to clear the subconscious mind and reprogramme the brain”, says Ellis. “Sometimes you need something a bit deeper to break through the entrenched patterns and open up to new, higher pathways.”

Depending on your blockage, Ellis advises treatment of six weeks to three months (from £1,500), but she also runs open classes at Remedy, Vauxhall (£21.21), and workshops at Fire+Alchemy, Shoreditch (£55).

Jayne Ellis uses movement to clear energy blockages (Jayne Ellis)
Jayne Ellis uses movement to clear energy blockages (Jayne Ellis)

The hands-on sexologist

When Aisha Paris Smith says she specialises in “hands-on” sex coaching, she really means it. If you want to locate your G-spot, or finally achieve orgasm, or get back “in touch with that area” post birth, chemo or abuse, Smith, an accredited sexological bodyworker who’s worked with Cult Beauty and Soho Farmhouse, among others, will help you do all that, at your pace, with a pair of gloves, her gentle touch and a whole assortment of sex toys. Many of us, she says, “are walking around with complete pelvic numbness — my work is about supporting clients to excavate their authentic sexual expression, build their confidence and get their bodies back.” She mostly coaches women, but also couples and people of “all genders”, and also offers her services online, so that “you can switch off your camera, and not need several sessions to get comfortable.”

£220 for online session; £1,250 for in-person day;

Wearing a pair of gloves, Aisha Paris Smith offers hands-on sexology (Aisha Paris Smith)
Wearing a pair of gloves, Aisha Paris Smith offers hands-on sexology (Aisha Paris Smith)

The sound healer

Now that even Spotify features soundbaths, it’s right to expect a little more IRL. The sound healer Jessii Rose, who goes by Elixir, starts hers by “getting a sense of the collective energy” in the room. “I can feel if people need to release trauma or if there’s a lot going on energetically,” she explains. Rose, who is shamanically trained, uses ancient instruments (crystal bowls, gongs, rain sticks, toca shells, percussion, the African kalimba) to activate your delta and theta waves to relax you. She also plays binaural beats, ie, two tones of different frequencies, to activate your beta waves for improved cognitive processing. If there’s a spirit in the room, she adds, “They’ll sing through me — the voice is one of the strongest channels for spirits.”

Rose practises out of The Mandrake Hotel, Soho House, 180 The Strand and Fire+Alchemy (from £20 for a group sound bath; from £100 for one-on-one).

Jessii Rose is shamanically trained (Karolina Wielocha)
Jessii Rose is shamanically trained (Karolina Wielocha)

The out-of-body healer

We all know that a little perspective on life can bring clarity and understanding. Imagine, though, if you could actually view yourself while out of your body. The astral projection practitioner Jade Shaw, who consulted on the Netflix thriller Behind Her Eyes, says this “exceptional human experience” has numerous healing benefits. “The big one is reduced fear of death,” she says, but it also gives an opportunity to reassess relationships, gain new life perspectives and increase self-awareness. Shaw compares it to astronauts’ “overview effect” of seeing the Earth as a whole — a transformative state prompting major shifts in the observer’s value systems. “People realise, ‘Oh my God, I am not my physical body’ — it lessens anxiety.” But it takes practice to get to the necessary “mind-awake, body-asleep” state in order to separate from the body — Shaw estimates about a month of weekly training, on average.

Workshops, from £45 at She’s Lost Control;

Jade Shaw hopes to offer her clients the gift of perspective (Jade Shaw)
Jade Shaw hopes to offer her clients the gift of perspective (Jade Shaw)

London's OG energy healer

The fifth-generation energy healer and bestselling author Alla Svirinskaya has been running her London practice since the early 1990s — before most of the capital’s healers were even born — and is tight-lipped about her many celebrity clients (if word has slipped out, it’s been because of “paparazzi spying in the bushes or bribing someone”). With a medical degree behind her, Svirinskaya says she is less “woowoo” and more “how how” — “it’s a practical approach; it’s about creating the best synergy between orthodox medicine and energy medicine. They don't exist in isolation.”

Energy is an organ of transformation, she explains: she’s less interested in “soothing and making you feel energised”, and more about “changing deep-seated patterns”. If you can’t handle the four-month waiting list, she also hosts a women’s brunch club, Wellbeing Conversations A La Carte (from £80), at Claridge’s, with, of course, high-vibrational food and “deeply nourishing connections”.

From £200 for one-on-ones at her Notting Hill clinic;

Alla Svirinskaya is London's OG energy healer (Alla Svirinskaya)
Alla Svirinskaya is London's OG energy healer (Alla Svirinskaya)

The psychic

Within the first ten minutes of a session with the fourth-generation psychic Estelle Bingham, she will have received “psychic notes” from your own personal spirit guides that help her identify your blockages. These may be “old patterns from your childhood, or a bad relationship, or the fact that you always end up with a narcissistic boss, or you’re that person that never seems to meet anyone,” she explains. Bingham, whom Goop has called “utterly transformative”, then uses her healing hands and crystals in order to channel “the divine feminine” to clear those blockages. The divine feminine, she explains, is an “energy we all hold inside us — a frequency of love and compassion, and one that really shifts the heart vibration.” Her clients tell her, she says, that her retreats are “more intense than plant based medicines”.

From £150 for a one-on-one in her Kensal Rise practice, or from £80 with one of her trained team members.

Psychic Estelle Bingham describes herself as a 'heart whisperer' helping to shift energetic blocks (Estelle Bingham)
Psychic Estelle Bingham describes herself as a 'heart whisperer' helping to shift energetic blocks (Estelle Bingham)

The witch

Banish any preconceptions of pointy hats and revenge spells. The Hackney-based witch and author Semra Haksever is all about “feel-good, empowering magic and raising our cosmic vibrations”. So when people ask her for spells to win back their exes, she guides them towards more positive outcomes: “Let’s not waste magic on a scumbag — let’s use it to call in someone who’ll treat you like a goddess.”

As well as offering bespoke spells and manifestation rituals over “cosmic tea” in her by-appointment shop, Mama Moon Candles in east London (which sells potions, crystals and spell kits), Haksever also hosts free monthly magic gatherings there, with moon-based rituals around the fire, guest tarot readers or healers, and lots of “sisterly energy”. Haksever identifies as an eclectic witch, taking inspiration from lots of different areas of witchcraft, as well as “psycho spirituality” — “so there's a practical element to it — it’s really about enabling people to step into their inner power to shift their energy.”

From £111 for 1.5 hours.

Tamu Thomas uses somatic therapy to release tension and deep feelings (Tamu Thomas)
Tamu Thomas uses somatic therapy to release tension and deep feelings (Tamu Thomas)

The body wisdom healer

Our bodies are a warzone, according to the somatic coach Tamu Thomas, who’s worked with Ralph Lauren, Stylist and Bloomberg. Many of us, she explains, are holding rage, fear and sadness in our bodies, mostly without realising it. Somatic therapy is, she says, about “sensitising people to their bodies, so that we can be in touch with our inner moods and identify where we need healing, or which parts we can tap into for wisdom”. Clients can expect to get into a cat/cow yoga position, moving into where they feel tension in order to release feelings. Thomas uses guided meditation, breathwork, shamanic sounds and music to move them through any resistance that may exist (often from childhood) — but, she adds, what’s great about somatic therapy is that “you don't have to go to the root of your problems, because this offers healing in the present.”

From £47 a month for group work; £5,555 for her one-year programme.