In this age of increasing medical costs and drug-resistant diseases, alternative therapies are gaining ground fast. Alternative therapies are medical treatments and therapies that are outside the purview of western medicine.
Including energy healing techniques, meditation and mindfulness-based therapies, ancient traditional healing techniques like Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, body-based techniques like yoga, tai chi, chiropractic medicine, and more. We explore some alternative healing therapies you should know about
Sound healing is an alternative healing practice that uses a form of sound (music, gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, tuning forks) to relax the mind and body. This healing technique is gaining popularity now, but it has been used for centuries by the Aboriginals in Australia and by Tibetan monks. The premise is that the vibrations caused by certain frequencies of sound create a resonance with the mind and body, which promotes relaxation and healing.
The concept of sound healing is based on the belief that every cell of our body has a healthy vibratory frequency, and if any part of us is not at that optimal frequency, it causes dissonance and thus, health issues.
During a sound healing session, vocal sounds or tools like tuning forks, Tibetan singing bowls, quartz crystal bowls, monochords, or other sound healing instruments are used to create the healing frequencies thought to help with relaxation.
There is not much scientific research on this subject, but sound healing is believed to help with certain ailments like anxiety and insomnia. Other benefits include that it lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, and reduces respiratory rates.
Kinesiology is an alternative therapy that involves the study of muscle movement and coordination. It is based on the science of energy balancing and combines the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine with modern principles of chiropractic, nutrition, and psychology. It is a holistic therapy focusing on health as a whole. It addresses physical concerns but also considers the environment and psychological state of each person.
Kinesiologists believe that each muscle group is interconnected with other body parts and this results in an internal feedback system that can be read through muscle responses. When the body is under stress, it blocks energy flow in the body and the muscles reflect this stress through specific movement patterns.
Kinesiologists use a process of muscle monitoring to understand these patterns, which helps them assess how the body is functioning and locate imbalances. Once these are identified, treatment methods aim to clear the energy blocks by stimulating the body’s healing capacity. Various such methods can be used like tapping, massage, oils, crystals, acupuncture, emotional release, nutritional advice, affirmations, and more.
Kinesiology is said to help treat a wide range of issues including stress, allergies, nervous disorders, muscle, bone and joint pain, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, hormonal imbalances, and emotional issues like anxiety.
Reiki is a Japanese energy healing technique that emerged in Japan in the late 1800s. The form of reiki that is commonly practiced today, called Usui reiki, was created by a Japanese monk, Mikao Usui in 1922. It is a complementary alternative healing technique that is believed to help stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities using energy fields around the body. It has not been proven to directly cure diseases, but it can be used to manage symptoms of medical illnesses, provide relief, and improve general well-being.
The word “reiki” comes from the Japanese words “rei” (meaning universal) and “ki” meaning “life’s energy”. It is based on the premise that energy can stagnate in parts of the body where there is physical injury, disease, or emotional pain and these energy blocks are what cause illness or prevent healing. Reiki aims to remove these blocks to help the flow of energy, which can enable relaxation, reduce pain, and speed up the healing process.
During a reiki session, the practitioner places their hands directly on or just above the injured or painful region of the body (or other specific parts depending on the illness) to bring about healing through the transfer of energy.
Although it is hard to prove the effectiveness of reiki through conventional scientific means, people who receive Reiki report feeling relief and a reduction of symptoms after the treatment. Studies have shown that Reiki helps to reduce pain, anxiety and fatigue. Reiki is proven to assist in the treatment of depression and enhance overall well-being.
Biofeedback is an alternative therapy that involves the use of sensory feedback to gain control over involuntary body functions like heart rate, muscle tension, blood flow and pressure, and pain perception. It uses sensors attached to the body to measure key bodily functions, which can help develop better control over body functions and address health concerns.
Biofeedback is based on the concept of “mind over matter”. The belief is that being mindful of how the body responds to stressors can help people change and improve their health. The technique helps people learn how their body works and thus gain control over their bodily functions and improve their health.
During a typical biofeedback session, a therapist places electrical sensors on a patient’s body. These sensors measure signs of stress by monitoring breathing, heart rate, muscle tension, or body temperature, which provide feedback about how the body responds to different stimuli. The treatment involves using breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and other mental exercises to lower heart rate. The results of these techniques can be seen on the monitor, which provides further encouragement.
Biofeedback is thought to help with several physical and mental health issues, including asthma, digestive disorders, side effects of chemotherapy, high and low blood pressure, chronic pain, stress and anxiety, and other mental illnesses like depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Biofeedback can be used as an alternative to traditional medicine as it is non-invasive. It is also often used with traditional treatment methods to improve overall well-being.
The therapies described above, while popular, only scratch the surface of the vast subject of alternative therapies. There is a wide variety of therapies available, all used either as an alternative to medicine or in conjunction with them to improve quality of life.