Mental health issues should always be addressed and managed by mental health professionals in the form of therapy and possibly psychiatry. That being said, there are several alternative treatments that may complement traditional therapeutic models and can offer additional support during treatment and recovery.
Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils can offer subtle mental health benefits. Scent is closely linked to memory, and the use of certain oils can help to disrupt painful or disturbing emotions and memories. Certain oils possess chemical constituents that are relaxing to the nervous system can subtly ease minor depression or can relieve mental fatigue.
Plant medicine has been used since the dawn of man to treat illness and disease. Certain herbal remedies can relieve symptoms of fatigue, address insomnia, ease anxiety, and help the body combat oxidative stress. Herbal remedies should only be used under the supervision of a professional, and many should not be taken in conjunction with psychiatric medications. Seek the advice of your psychiatric provider before beginning any herbal medicine regimen.
Massage, cranial unwinding, and reflexology are all forms of bodywork. These modalities can support stress relief and rid the body of tension. Bodywork can lower cortisol levels, reduce blood pressure and heart rates, and increase circulation. The physical benefits of bodywork can often impact mental health and well-being as well.
Reiki, polarity therapy, and therapeutic touch are all forms of energy healing. These modalities are based on the idea that the body is made of energy and that that energy can be manipulated to improve overall health and well-being. These subtle energies are directed and manipulated by the practitioner to restore balance to the energetic body. Anecdotally, recipients of these treatments claim results that improve sleep, lessen depression and anxiety, relieve chronic pain, increase vitality, and many other benefits.
Hypnotherapy offers a unique experience in which a trance state is induced using progressive relaxation. The hypnotherapist will guide the client into a deeply relaxed state, then they will use a personalized script to introduce imagery and symbolism that centers on the client’s treatment goals. Hypnotherapy can help to alleviate stress, insomnia, anxiety, and chronic pain. This modality may also support weight management and habit change.
Yoga can be much more than a form of physical exercise. Because the practice is holistic in nature, yoga addresses mind, body, and spirit. Regular yoga practice can ease depression and anxiety, reduce reactivity, soothe the central nervous system, improve mood, and boost mental clarity.
Acupuncture is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This ancient medicine system is holistic in nature and works within the premise that the body is not just physical but energetic in nature as well. The body contains certain energetic pathways that must be cleared of blockages to allow the vital life force to flow freely. Energetic blockages can cause physical ailments. Acupuncture is meant to relieve blockages and encourage balance within the physical and energetic body. Certain acupuncture points are associated with mental and emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression.