Alternative Medicine / Therapies for Stress
Practitioners recommend that you identify the cause of your stress, which is essential for any therapy to be truly effective. Create a strategy to manage stress by choosing to support all three modes of being: a body therepy, a mind therapy, and a spirit therapy, such as through a combination of exercise, meditation, and energy work. Click on the links below to find practitioners in your area for the therapies described.
Alexander Technique - The connection between anxiety states and muscle tension is now generally accepted. In particular, chronically contracted muscles are associated with mental and emotional imbalances. The Alexander Technique enables a redistribution of muscle tension throughout the body, which seems to go hand in hand with an improvement in mental functioning. Patients may also learn to react to life's challenges and stresses in a positive way, avoiding overreactions and distress.
Aromatherapy - Many plant essences can help to bring on a calm, relaxed state of mind. Aromatherapy is simple to do: just a dip cotton in the essences and inhale. To treat stress, anxiety, tension, or mental fatigue, try any one or a combination of the following by smelling all the following essential oils and choose the one or combination of aromas that appeals to you the most. Lavender relaxes and relieves stress.
Biofeedback - Biofeedback operates on the notion that we have the innate ability and potential to influence the automatic functions of our bodies through the exertion of will and mind. Stress affects your muscles by causing them to tense and tighten. This, in turn, can produce other aches and pains, such as headaches or backaches. By helping you to become more attuned to your internal body functions, biofeedback teaches you to control certain unhealthy conditions.
Chiropractic - Anxiety and stress frequently attack the weak spots of the spine, and it is the spine that can cause general muscular tension, headaches, migraine, neck pain and back pain. This pain can then aggravate the stress and anxiety and so chiropractic treatment is aimed at relieving any physical complaints which will in turn help with the mental conditions.
Color therapy - Color therapy helps to alleviate stress by utilizing the colors of the rainbow through visualization, colored oils, colored glass or colored silk in a therapeutic environment. Or just pick your clothes for the day to include colors that relax and please you.
Crystal and gemstone healing - Under the guidance of a qualified practitioner, crystal healing may promote a feeling of relaxation and facilitate a release of stress. Crystals may be placed on or around the body or held in the hand during the session.
Diet/ Nutrition -Balanced nutrition is essential to maintaining overall good health, but it also can affect your capacity to cope with stress. When you are going through a period of stress, you need more of all nutrients, particularly the B vitamins, which affect the nervous system, and calcium, which is needed to counteract the lactic acid your tense muscles produce. Likewise, if you are lacking nutrients, your body will not be equipped to handle stress effectively. Certain foods and drinks act as powerful stimulants to the body and hence are a direct cause of stress. This stimulation, although quite pleasurable in the short term, may be quite harmful in the long run.
Herbal Therapy - Siberian ginseng tones the nervous system and increases your resistance to stress. Infusions of lime blossom, catmint, lemon balm or chamomile have a calming effect. A herbalist may suggest taking skullcap, valerian or cowslip as stronger relaxants than the above, or the restoring herb St. John's wort. Oats should be included in the diet. Perhaps the most important herb that helps in relaxation is Kava Kava. This herb is used for anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, stress and restlessness.
Hypnotherapy - Hypnosis involves entering an altered state of consciousness in which all concentration is focused on a single objective or image, with all other stimuli blocked out. Many people think that hypnosis is something that a hypnotist imposes on his or her subject, or they confuse it with a sleeplike state. Others think they cannot be hypnotized. Anyone who can lose him or herself totally in an engrossing book or movie or become so absorbed in a task that they are oblivious to their surroundings is actually practicing a form of self-hypnosis. Once a person learns self-hypnosis, he or she can use it to relieve tension and feelings of stress or anxiety.
Kinesiology - There are specific techniques for stress reduction, emotional stress release and relief from anxieties, fears and phobias. Treatment offered may include:
Massage - Stress results in tense neck and shoulder muscles, leading to stiffness, headaches and even more stress. Massage helps to relax the mind, body and spirit, providing time and space for self, and a feeling of peace, calm and well being. It allows the nervous system to normalize itself, and may reduce many stress-related conditions, such as palpitations, negative emotional feelings and raised blood pressure.
Meditation - Meditation and Relaxation Response can help combat stress and revitalize the mind. First choose a word or phrase-such as, peace or one. Then sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, relax your muscles, and allow yourself to breathe slowly and naturally. As you exhale, repeat the word or phrase. After doing this for 10 to 20 minutes once or twice a day, you may notice your stress drifting away along with your exhalations.
Naturopathy- Naturopathy is excellent for treating stress, including psychotherapy, relaxation techniques, herbal and homeopathic support, and osteopathic soft tissue treatments where appropriate. Supplements of vitamins and minerals may be advised as these are used up more quickly when the body is under stress.
Reflexology - An overall reflexology session, touching all of the major points of the hands and feet, will help relax you and ward off stress. To deal with extra tension, pay special attention to the diaphragm, the spine and the pituitary, parathyroid, thyroid and adrenal gland reflexes.
Rolfing - Rolfing may be very useful, since when the muscles are encouraged to move more appropriately, energy which has gone into unnecessary contraction is available for other purposes.
Yoga - Yoga is very good for stress. It offers gentle asanas, relaxation, pranayama, meditation, shat kriyas and hand mudras. The complete breath exercise, can be done at your desk, in the car or anywhere else when you start to feel stressed out. Meditation helps calm your mind, teaching you to relax at will and giving you a quick mental vacation whenever you need one. And daily practice of three or four yoga poses will help ease knotted muscles. Try varying the poses daily to keep your interest high and to strengthen different parts of your body.
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