Practiced in ancient China, Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices in the world.
By stimulating specific pressure points on the body using thin hair-like needles, acupuncture can help treat patterns of illness and not just the symptoms. Today, acupuncture is commonly sought as treatment for a variety of ailments including headaches, anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, physical pain (muscular and skeletal) and stress. In a 2007 Survey an estimated 3.1 million American adults and 150,000 children used acupuncture the previous year.1 And with legal regulations requiring all certified or licensed practitioners to use approved sterile, nontoxic, single-use needles, acupuncture is fast becoming a trusted source of treatment for many.
2. Teishin (pronounced “tay shin”)
Teishin is a great alternative to acupuncture for children or people who don’t like needles.2 Using a handheld healing instrument (that looks like a pen) made from precious materials such as gold, silver or jade, light pressure is placed on specific pressure points on the body without breaking the skin to help alleviate a variety of ailments including headaches, anxiety, insomnia, physical pain (muscular and skeletal) and stress.
Reflexology involves a firm massage on pressure points of the feet. However, reflexology is not your regular foot massage and the pressure can be fairly intense. In traditional Chinese medicine, the feet are said to mirror the internal and external structure of the body. By stimulating certain pressure points on the feet, the intention is to increase the flow of communication around the body and remove toxin build-up around specific organs such as the stomach, heart and lungs.
4. Tai-Chi (Taiji)
Tai-Chi is a type of martial art very well known for its defense techniques and health benefits; providing a way for many to alleviate stress and anxiety. Considered a form of ‘meditation in motion’, Tai-Chi requires you to connect your mind and body through slow, low-impact movements. It is a perfect starting ground for beginners to learn the different movements and breathing techniques required to balance body and mind and is practiced extensively around the world to improve health and well-being.
5. Qigong (chee-gung)
Qigong (chee-gung) is a form of Chinese yoga, a flow of movement whilst in a meditative state, designed to balance the body and mind. As a technique it is used to reduce stress, increase emotional happiness and boost the immune system. The technique combines movement or postures, breathing and focus of the mind to bring internal balance and well-being. Qigong can be practiced through static movements and dynamic movements to release stress and encourage a balanced body and mind. Today, 200 million people practice Qigong around the world to promote spiritual growth and happiness whilst boosting circulation and massaging of organs.
Meditation or deliberate relaxation is a tool to train the mind. Just as a muscle is trained by exercise, the mind can be trained through meditation to be calm, or to concentrate or to be creative. Meditation simply means to focus on one thing with all our energy: physical, mental and emotional. So we see it that some meditate on money, others on their house or car, while others focus on their relationships. Importantly, meditation is not another thing to do, it is an invitation to stop doing. The irony here is that when you learn how to train your mind using meditation, you are actually able to get more done and the quality with which you do it is far higher. Meditation can also provide many health benefits resulting from reduced stress and anxiety.
Yoga is a Hindu discipline, involving breath control, meditation and the adoption of specific body postures. Many people think yoga simply involves stretching and while stretching is certainly involved, yoga is really about creating balance in body and mind. Through the development of both strength and flexibility (one study found improved flexibility of up to 35% from 8 weeks of yoga) yoga is said to provide a way to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate; reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. At any level, Yoga provides a natural way to reduce stress, improve physical well-being and sharpen mental acuity.
*Please always consult a healthcare professional, if you wish to safely incorporate alternative or complementary medicine into your wellness plan.
These are only 7 Alternative Therapies – there are many more. Which Alternative Therapy has worked best for you?
Christopher Drummond is the Editor a natural health website and lives in Cape Town, South Africa. For more simple ways to live a naturally healthy life, visit: www.real-wellness.net.