Kent Probst, BS, MEd
Kent Probst is the owner of Long Healthy Life Blog
7 Effective Alternative Healing Therapies: Why They’re Important
Healing therapies are the practice of the treatment of health conditions using alternative modalities naturopathically.
Many people pursue these healing therapies because conventional treatments have failed, or they prefer a natural alternative to drugs and surgery.
7 Effective Alternative Healing Therapies: How They Help
1. Mind-Body Therapy
Mind-Body therapy has expanded beyond holistic practitioners as a useful tool for addressing pain management, as well as opioid use reduction.
In a systematic review and meta-analysis, meditation, relaxation, guided imagery, therapeutic suggestion and cognitive behavioral therapy were shown to provide modest pain reduction.
Mind-Body Therapy also contributed to small reductions in opioid use.
You can locate a psychologist who practices mind-body therapy through the American Psychological Association.
An integral part of traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is frequently used for the treatment of pain and other diagnoses.
Fine needles are inserted along pathways known as meridians, which is believed to rebalance the flow of energy, also known as chi or qi.
Western medicine believes that during acupuncture, the body releases natural chemicals to fight the ongoing illness or symptoms.
When seeking an acupuncturist, make sure the person is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
If possible, get a referral from a friend. Check with your insurance to see if it’s covered.
The number of treatments will depend on your injury or illness and severity. 6 to 8 treatment sessions is not uncommon.
The alternative healing therapy of acupressure is the use of the hands and fingers applied at acupoints to maintain energy balance.
Based on traditional Chinese medicine, acupressure can be used to treat traumatic pain, dysmenorrhea, and headaches.
Published scientific literature has shown that acupressure can help with insomnia and improve sleep quality.
Acupressure can be done by a trained acupuncturist. Inform your acupressure practitioner of any current health care conditions to avoid possible side effects or contraindications.
Used for centuries, essential oils are central to the use of aromatherapy. Essential oils are created by pressing or steaming parts of a plant, and then collected into a bottle.
Therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy are derived by inhaling the essential oils, which travel to the brain.
Aromatherapy may help in the treatment of:
- Bacterial infection
Some of the most popular essential oils include lemon oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and lavender oil.
Originating in Japan, Reiki is a hands-on technique that uses energy healing to improve the balance and flow of energy to support healing.
A reiki practitioner places her hands on the body, or just above it.
In addition to being used for pain relief, it may also help with:
- Immune system stimulation
- Tissue and bone healing
- Assisting with meditation
- Parkinson’s disease
Reiki isn’t meant to replace other forms of treatment, but to complement them.
You can find a reiki practitioner at The International Center for Reiki Training.
6. Massage Therapy
The effectiveness of massage on pain reduction has been studied in an acute care hospital setting.
Patients from three different units in the hospital reported significant reductions in pain following massage.
The study participants also reported improved “emotional well-being, relaxation and ability to sleep.
Massage therapy can also be used to treat:
- Scar tissue
- Sports injuries
If you decide to use massage, try to find a therapist who has experience treating your condition.
Hypnosis is an altered state of awareness and relaxation that facilitates improved concentration and focus. Hypnosis should be done by a trained health care provider, and can be used to help deal with pain and anxiety, or to change negative behaviors.
Hypnosis can also be used to treat the following:
- Symptoms of menopause
- Side effects of cancer treatment
- Anxiety from phobias
- Post-traumatic stress syndrome
When done by a trained health care provider, hypnosis is a safe alternative healing therapy. Hypnosis may not be appropriate for some people with mental illness.
Now that you’ve decided to pursue alternative healing therapies, you merely need to determine which combination of treatments will work best for you.
You’ll feel better and be healthier following a holistic or integrative approach to healing.
That’s the beauty of healing therapies.
Are you already using alternative healing therapies?
We’d like to know which ones, and how they’re working.
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