By all accounts mental health is the crisis of our age. It seems like more and more people are struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD, or poor self-esteem. Why this is happening who knows, but if you’re dealing with these problems it can be very hard to find help. Most people will suggest therapy or medication with holistic treatment centers like Bright Future Recovery – a northern California detox center. But the unfortunate fact is that these solutions don’t always work.
Another unfortunate reality is that very few people can afford to see a high priced therapist or take medication. There are also people who are into alternative health and don’t believe in medication. If you’re one of these people – and you want to try something different – then here are 10 holistic therapies for mental health. By combining one or more of these you should see an improvement in your problems – and may even overcome them entirely.
Essential oils can be classed as a type of aromatherapy. This is essentially a type of holistic therapy which uses scent to promote well-being. Essential oils are basically concentrated plant extracts. Studies have shown they have certain benefits like helping you sleep better. They have also been found to enhance mood, relieve anxiety and improve the symptoms of depression. Basically these oils work by stimulating your body’s olfactory nerves. This in turn affects your limbic system and other parts of your body. The best essential oils for depression include lavender, sage, jasmine or rosemary.
Yoga is immensely popular worldwide. Millions of people perform these ancient movements daily. But there’s a reason for this: it’s simply that yoga makes you feel incredible. This practice has dozens of positive benefits which have been proven by science. These include increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone. Improved respiration and energy. Weight reduction and improved cardiac health. Yoga is also great for relieving stress, anxiety and improving the symptoms of depression.
Meditation accompanies yoga perfectly. After you’re done stretching, simply sit for a few minutes and concentrate on your thoughts. According to researchers at Harvard this does actually work. What they found is that practicing meditation helps to focus your mind. This allows you to concentrate on something other than the negative emotions and thinking which accompany mental illness.
Over time meditation also alters the parts of your brain which are associated with things like depression. After a while these areas stop, “lighting up” and this leads to a rapid reduction in the symptoms of mental illness – as well as a dramatic improvement in your overall mood.
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Massage therapy is one of the best ways to relieve the stress associated with mental illness. Regular massages allow you to relax deeply and this in turn helps relieve things like depression and anxiety. This is proven by science. A study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that cancer patients were less depressed, anxious and stressed after a 20 minute massage. Another big benefit of massage is that it helps improve sleep, which goes a long way towards making you feel better.
Acupuncture is a holistic therapy which has been used for thousands of years. Practitioners claim this therapy works due to the existence of meridian points (also known as acupuncture points) which cover your body. But while scientists are not convinced that these things exist, they do agree that acupuncture is beneficial to your health. Studies have shown that during acupuncture your brain releases chemicals like endorphins. These are natural pain killers which may help to relieve the symptoms of certain mental illnesses.
This is another ancient science which is purported to have health benefits. According to reflexologists this practice heals your body through the activation of points found on your feet. Various points on your feet correspond to different parts of the body. When these points are stimulated those areas are healed. This includes your mind. Reflexologists also claim this practice helps with mental health by reducing stress, releasing negative energy and enhancing self-esteem.
Breath work essentially refers to different types of breathing exercises. Many of these are said to help with mental health problems such as PTSD, trauma and anxiety. And this makes sense. Everyone has had the experience of feeling better after breathing deeply. Whether this is during exercise or simply being out in the fresh air, deep breathing does have its benefits.
Dozens of herbs are scientifically proven to help with various health problems. So shouldn’t herbs help with mental health conditions as well? It turns out they do. Many herbs are already widely used to treat things like depression. These include things like St. John’s Wort – which has been found to increase the amount of serotonin in your body. Not only that, spices like Saffron have also been found to help with the symptoms of depression. Herbal medicine is often accompanied by other supplements. For example, Zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D and the Kava herb are all said to help with depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.
Reiki is another ancient healing art. According to practitioners it works by using a technique known as palm healing which transfers, “universal energy”. Whether this is true or not has yet to be proven. Despite this there are some people who claim that Reiki works wonders for issues like depression. This claim was backed up by a 6 week study which found that Reiki treatments increased feelings of happiness and reduced stress.
Sound therapy can take many forms. In some cases it can be as simple as listening to your favourite songs. After all, uplifting music always makes you feel better. In other cases, sound therapy can involve various high frequency sounds. Sound therapists claim these sounds cause energy vibrations inside of your brain. In turn, this helps to improve your mood and create a sense of vitality. These people also claim that certain frequencies, such as binaural beats, stimulate parts of your brain and this can lead to better mental health outcomes.
Vince Tint is an entrepreneur, creative thinker, and mental-health advocate. He is a passionate digital marketing consultant that specializes digital-first approach for healthcare and medical companies. He regularly contributes his byline to outlets including Entrepreneur, AdWeek, Inc., FastCompany, and many more.
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