According to two recent studies from the National Institute of Health, 38% of Americans now seek health treatments somewhere other than their usual health professional. That’s over a third of Americans – a huge proportion!
For the most part, the people surveyed were looking for help with pain management, stress relief, and general health. Yet for those who have already dipped a toe (or two) into the world of alternative therapy, you’ll know that the benefits brought by the more unusual of healing modalities can span a huge range. From the healing of physical disease to emotional trauma, to increasing spiritual connection, there’s something available to serve every level of your being. But if what you’re looking for is deep healing and soul-level transformation, here are 10 less well-known alternative therapies you need to try:
Modern breathwork is based on very simple circular breathing techniques. Practiced correctly, breathwork promises to bring clarity, energy, and joy! Your breath IS your connection to the divine, so using it consciously is a powerful way to tap into the life-giving source of All. That. Is.
Regular practitioners of breathwork report feeling more alive, more energized and not so much free from the stresses of life, as able to face them head-on!
Reiki has been around in its current form since the 1920s, when it was developed by a Japanese Buddhist called Mikao Usui. Since then, tens of thousands of people around the globe have been attuned and are now practicing this unique form of energy healing. It works by the practitioner channeling universal life force energy through the palms of their hands, into the patient.
The main premise is that Reiki serves to infuse the body with surges of pure energy so that it can better heal itself.
3. Sound Healing
Also known as “vibrational medicine” and “sonic massage” the field of sound healing incorporates anything from gongs and crystal bowls to tuning forks, and song.
Promoted as an effective way to treat relieve pain and treat many common ailments, sound healing can also induce profound relaxation, which in itself is a powerfully curative state to achieve.
Because sound waves are felt as well as heard, the vibrations are able to reach parts of the internal body. Many people, for example, report chronic aches and pains disappearing on the application of tuning forks to specific acupressure points.
4. Horticulture Therapy
Since scientific research discovered that time in nature is connected to better health and wellbeing, family doctors in the UK have started prescribing gardening as a non-medical treatment for anxiety and depression.
More than simply growing flowers and vegetables, horticulture therapy is a bonafide therapeutic treatment. From increasing levels of appreciation and gratitude to facilitating social interaction and rehabilitation, this a fast-growing area of the alternative healing world. And it’s largely free, just find yourself a community garden and get growing!
5. Melatonin Therapy
A big one for those with trouble sleeping, melatonin therapy can be transformational.
Naturally secreted from the pineal gland, melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s natural circadian rhythms. It has long been used to combat jet-lag and help people with sleep disorders, however, melatonin is also known to be a powerful antioxidant and have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
Biofeedback is a fast-growing area of the alternative therapy field. It works via a therapist hooking up the patient to electrical sensors, which track how the body responds to certain stimuli. In this way, ‘automatic’ functions such as heart rate, breathing, and even muscle tension can be observed, and then consciously controlled.
Biofeedback has proved to effectively manage pain, stress levels and even help with concentration. A number of wearable devices and apps are currently being developed, to enable biofeedback to be practiced at home.
A combination of organic movement and dance, Biodanza is so much more than the sum of its parts.
Using movement, song, and community, it aims to return the practitioner closer to their natural state of presence, connection, and peak biological function. With so many modern humans living predominantly cerebral lives, the physical and emotional bodies can tend to be neglected. Biodanza offers a lively, accessible and integrative approach to return to wholeness.
Spend a week on the beach, and you’re likely to have a taste of the benefits of thalassotherapy. This alternative healing approach holds the belief that seawater and shore climate can have a hugely beneficial effect on overall wellbeing.
Closely related to thermalism, thalassotherapy can be traced back to antiquity when thermal spas were all the rage.
As well harnessing as the trace minerals found in seawater – calcium, magnesium, and potassium, for example – thalassotherapy extends to using algae, mud and even inhaling sea fog as a means to heal and soothe the soul.
9. Laughter Therapy
There’s nobody who can’t indulge in a little laughter therapy!
Benefits include lowering stress, releasing endorphins (known to tackle pain and increase happiness), relaxing muscles and reducing wrinkles! A Japanese study also found that laughter reduced the incidence of dust-mite allergies and skin inflammation.
Find a local club (search “laughter yoga”) to get chuckling, or simply head over to YouTube and see what tickles your fancy!
Often overshadowed as a stand-alone healing treatment, aromatherapy is more often combined with other treatments – with great effect. Yet careful and considered aromatherapy can be used to treat disease and illness with profound results.
Oils are used either topically (always diluted first in a carrier oil) or used as a scent, to stimulate the body into a physical reaction.
For best results with aromatherapy, see a trained professional who will be able to tailor-make you a remedy for your personal needs.
Have YOU tried any of these therapies? Or have one of your own to share? Let us know in the comments below!
About the author:
Katherine Anne Lee is a UK-based writer and ritualist.
She is an initiate into an ancient European lineage of Shamanism, whose practices engage deeply with the Spirit of the honeybee as a living symbol and ally. The central belief (and living embodiment) is in the womb as first-brain, and the axis of feminine wisdom and power.
Alongside this work, she is a long-time moon maven and has been apprenticing in the rhythms and Mysteries of la Luna for over 10 years.