More and more people are turning away from Western medicine and looking for alternatives to healthy living. Here are a few alternative therapies you may want to consider. Just knowing what they are and generally how they work will help you to make a decision as to whether or not they would be good for you.
Acupuncture – Considered a mainstay in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture uses needles so fine you barely feel them to treat many illnesses and maladies. Acupuncture treats illnesses as varied as headaches, hot flashes, anxiety, digestive problems, chronic pain, and stress. Millions of Americans now use acupuncture as an alternative therapy.
Reflexology – This modality focuses on foot massage, but with very particular attention paid to specific portions of the feet depending on your symptoms. Again, the basis for this is Traditional Chinese medicine and it is believed that the feet mirror the structure of the body, both internally and externally. When certain pressure points on the feet are massaged, communication changes with the various portions of the body. The next time you notice when your feet are tired, how drained and tired your entire body feels? Try reflexology.
Tai-Chi – I first saw a Tai-Chi demonstration at a community center holiday presentation. On stage a group of middle-aged women performed their slow meditative movements, almost like a dance. Tai-Chi is a form of martial arts that is considered to be a meditation in motion. Another mind-body connector, Tai-Chi helps people new to alternative therapies to begin to understand how the connection between their body and the various breathing techniques they use help to restore balance in both the mind and body.
Qigong – A form of Chinese yoga, this is another meditative movement technique designed to balance the mind and body. It reduces stress, makes us feel better, and boosts the immune system. The practice combines movement, postures and breathing, focusing the mind.
Meditation – As a tool to deliberately train the mind, meditation becomes easier with practice. At my first class on meditation the instructor, who was considered to be a master, said that the longest most people can continuously meditate is for just a few seconds. Then a thought comes into our mind and we have to usher it out in order to return to our meditation. Most beginners to meditation are taught to simply notice their breath. No judgment. No changes. Just notice it. My first time was awful. My thoughts simply would not stop. Over time, and through the use of other meditative techniques, I’ve become more practiced at it. The good news is that meditation doesn’t require you to do anything. Your only job is to NOT do or think anything.
Yoga – More and more people are turning to yoga for relief from things like chronic pain, joint stiffness, hot flashes, headaches, chronic stress, and more. An ancient Hindu tradition. Yoga is a mind-body meditation that combines various poses with particular breathing techniques. Even western doctors are now recommending yoga for their patients with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, even diabetes to help them lower their stress response.