Break out of the norm and try something different, by trying some alternative therapies. For centuries, people have turned to unique local rituals and recipes to give their lives and health a boost. From crystal healing, to aromatherapy, acupuncture and hypnosis - I felt maybe it was time for me to explore some of these different therapies and see if their benefits could enhance my life. Here are 7 alternative therapies to give your life a boost.
The Chinese art of sticking lots of needles in your body to alleviate tension and promote healing probably doesn’t sound too appealing for a relaxing Sunday morning. However I surprise myself by admitting that I am actually a firm believer in the mysterious wonders of acupuncture. Several years ago I took part in the London marathon, and the next day my mum offered to pay for me to see our local acupuncturists. Suffice to say I hobbled in clinging onto my mum for support and hour or so later strolled out a new woman. Now similar to most alternative therapies, there is in fact no accurate evidence to suggest that acupuncture is nothing more than a fad, but the art of acupuncture stems right back to the Shang Dynasty of 1600-1100 BCE. Surely an art form that has lasted this long, must provide some element of truth?
2. Crystal Healing
From Hawaiian Islanders, to Hindus, and Native Americans, many people believe that the body is made up of chakras, which are our life force or the wheel of energy that runs through our body. If one of our 7 chakras becomes blocked, then this blocked energy can lead to illness. Crystal healing employs the use of different crystals placed on different parts of the body to heal our corresponding chakras. Crystal healing can also be incorporated into every day life; for example many people believe that Emerald will strengthen and increase intelligence and choose to fashion this stone into jewelry for this purpose. For the sake of improving my grey matter, I would be more than willing to try out a emerald bracelet, and I wonder what the other stones and crystals do?
Hypnosis is often used in comedy sketches and magic tricks, but away from the world of entertainment, hypnotherapy can be used to help individuals overcome fears, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, smoking and other addictions. There is varying evidence to suggest that hypnotherapy works. Individuals who undergo hypnotherapy attend a series of sessions in which they are put into a trance, and are then encouraged to change their existing patterns of behaviours. I am divided on whether hypnosis actually works or simply takes advantage of the placebo effect, but this is a great option to explore if you are struggling to beat a bad habit, and are keen to try something new.
Aromatherapy is the use of distilled essential oils to make fragrances that are for medicinal benefit. Aromatherapy oils can be used for fragrance, disinfectant, massage, baths or skincare. Some popular essential oils you might want to try are Tee Tree Oil, which is used as an antiseptic, Lavender Oil or Peppermint Oil, which reduce anxiety and stress, and Lemon Oil, which is used to boost your mood. I personally love a few drops of Eucalyptus Oil whilst in a sauna - it makes me feel fresh and invigorated.
Now the great thing about meditation is that this alternative therapy is completely free and you don’t need anything except yourself, a quiet space and some time to practice. Meditation is the art of training the mind to relax and keep a single focus of concentration, banishing any other negative thoughts from your mind. It's perfect if you are having trouble turning off from a hectic lifestyle and just want to make some space for yourself. Meditation is practiced by numerous religions and can be used to manage stress, improve concentration and lower blood pressure. Practitioners also use different postures and breathing techniques which help them achieve a restful mind.
6. Light Therapy
As someone who is from London, a very grey city, I really like the idea of light therapy. Light therapy is the exposure to daylight or specific wavelengths of light to improve overall well-being. Light therapy may include polarized light, full spectrum lamps, florescent lights or dichroic lamps used to certain intensities or for a set amount of time. Light therapy has been used to improve numerous skin conditions and to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder. I imagine that basking in a glow of light whilst dreaming of the tropics is bound boost your mood.
Homeopathy is a system of medicine which involves using highly diluted substances to trigger the body’s natural resilience and healing. It is used to treat a wide range of long term illnesses such as allergies, dermatitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome as well as minor injuries, like cuts, bruises and sprains. You might want to try Arnica to treat bruises and sprains or Calendula massage balm for muscular tension. Homeopathy is great to use alongside traditional medicines.
If you are feeling a little under the weather and need to put the spring back in your step, hopefully trying one of these alternative therapies will give you the boost you need. Although they are not all scientifically proven, most of these practices have existed for hundreds of years and been used by millions of people, so what’s stopping you from giving them a try? Have you had any success with any other alternative therapies?