The modern day rise in stress and disease has more of us seeking out alternatives to western medicine; different kinds of therapy. Wellness Coach Tamra Mercieca takes a look at the therapies on offer.
ACUPUNCTURE may appear somewhat exotic, but the Chinese have been sticking fine needles into the body for more than 3,000 years to ease all sorts of ailments from insomnia and back pain, to acne and infertility. Acupuncturist Adam Davidson says the needles stimulate key points along the body’s vital energy channels. “Acupuncture harmonises the flow of energy both in the area of illness and in the body generally to accelerate the patients natural healing ability.”
BOWEN TECHNIQUE relieves all kinds of physical pain and can be used on anyone, from newborn infants to the elderly. Thumbs and fingers are used to gently move muscles and tissues. In between each set the practitioner leaves the room to allow the patient space for deep relaxation and time for the adjustments to be absorbed.
The modern day CHIROPRACTOR uses a range of treatment modalities from soft tissue procedures to joint adjustments, stabilisation exercises and taping techniques to improve the overall function of the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. Peter Garbutt, the chairman of Sport’s Chiropractic Australia, says while chiropractic work is often called upon to fix lower back pain and headaches, many patients use it to keep their health at an optimal level.
DREAM THERAPY is the process of learning how to decipher your own dreams to help you overcome fears and emotional dilemmas. It involves recalling your dreams then looking at the symbols and what they mean to you. Dream therapy is a means of confronting your subconscious and finding a way to live a healthier life.
ENERGETIC HEALING looks at the human energy system and identifies the emotional or psychological cause of any particular ailment, rather than focusing on the physical symptoms as a GP does. It is a gentle and painless process, which takes only a few minutes. Medical Intuitive Carmel Bell says it works by uncovering and removing the mental blocks or issues. “As each block is shifted and released, physical symptoms alter.”
FLOWER ESSENCES are the creation of mystical English Dr Edward Bach, who believed that psychological negativity was the root of all illness. The antidote was something that could hardly be purer and sweeter: the essence of flowers, extracted with distilled water. There are 38 essences, each correcting a different emotional imbalance. The most popular is a combination called Rescue Remedy.
GEMSTONE therapy or crystal healing has the power to ease illness and break bad habits. The theory is that gemstones carry vibrational rates. By placing these vibrational rates within a person’s aura, you are able to change the aura’s vibrational rates. The easiest way to do gemstone therapy is to wear high quality crystals as jewellery.
HYPNOTHERAPY involves exercises that bring about deep relaxation and an altered state of consciousness, also known as a trance. Hypnotherapist Matt Catling says we often experience a trance-like state, while we’re watching television. “Hypnotherapy it is good for installing new beliefs, and can be used to help promote weight loss, eliminate phobias and stamp out migraines.”
In IRIDOLOGY the practitioner looks at the characteristics of the iris (colour, patterns, etc) to discover any organs that are not functioning properly. Iridologists see the eyes as the windows to a body’s state of health, with the information used to demonstrate a person’s susceptibility towards certain illnesses, reflect past medical problems or uncover developing health problems.
Some psychologists prescribe JOURNALING as therapy. Taking the story out of oneself and putting it onto paper allows a person to reach the deepest recesses of their mind, changing painful confusion into poignant clarity.
KINESIOLOGY is the science of human movement. Muscle testing is used to identify imbalances in the body. Kinesiology bypasses conscious thinking to isolate casual factors in the subconscious body. It can help reduce stress and pain, improve mental performance and promote health and wellbeing.
BRIGHT LIGHT THERAPY involves sitting in front of a light box and is most commonly used to relieve seasonal affective disorder or depression. It works by suppressing melatonin production.
Medical practitioners around the world are now using MUSIC THERAPY in their pain management programs to help reduce stress. The Royal Melbourne is just one of the hospitals where musicians perform. “Live music takes patients out of that scary mind-set and improves the quality of their experience in hospital,” Events manager Debra Adamidis says. Music is also used in heart disease and stroke cases, and to promote weight loss.
NATROPATHY is a medicine system based on the healing power of nature. There are two main areas: one is supporting the body’s own healing abilities, and the other is empowering the client to make the lifestyle changes necessary for the best possible health. Most Naturopaths use a variety of therapies and techniques, such as nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture.
OSTEOPATHY is based on the theory that disease comes about from a loss of structural integrity, which can be restored to harmony by manipulation. The manipulation then allows for the body to heal itself. Osteopaths use manipulation for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.
PRANIC HEALING is a simple yet powerful and effective system of no-touch energy healing that works by increasing the life force or prana. The practitioner, believing that disease first appears in the energy body before rooting itself in the physical body, works with the person’s aura.
QIGONG uses breathing techniques and slow graceful movements to stimulate the flow of qi along the body’s energy channels. It is practised to gain strength, improve health or reverse disease.
REIKI is an ancient Japanese technique used for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. Reiki practitioner Natasha Tay says she places her hands lightly on or just above the person, to get their life force energy flowing. “It is a deeply nurturing and relaxing experience that is an invaluable treasure in our modern world of busyness and stress, as it enables us to restore balance in the body.”
SHIATSU is often referred to as finger pressure massage. It too originates from Japan, with the therapist using finger and palm pressure to improve the flow of energy or qi. To explain it scientifically, shiatsu calms an overactive sympathetic nervous system, which improves circulation, relieves stiff muscles and alleviates stress.
TIME-LINE THERAPY is used to make fast and long-term changes in behaviour by uncovering the root cause of a problem. The practitioner then guides the client to their own learnings by building rapport between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. It releases the effects of negatives experiences and is often used to overcome fear, grief, phobias and depression.
ULTRASOUND THERAPY uses high-energy sound waves to help ease painful joints and muscles.
VISUALISATION is the process of focusing your concentration on an image of what you want and seeing it as already manifested. This positive thinking technique is often used by athletes to enhance their performance.
According to alternative medicine advocates, one form of WATER THERAPY involves consuming a gutful of water as soon as you wake in the morning. Normally a litre to a litre and a half is drunk to cleanse the bowel and improve a person’s overall health.
EXERCISE THERAPY is prescribed for a range of conditions including obesity, diabetes, depression and is used to prevent the onset of disease. Studies show it can also improve muscle strength and mobility in people with multiple sclerosis.
As you’re probably aware, YOGA involves contorting your body into strange shapes. The basic philosophy is that it unites the body, mind and spirit and aims to bring them into harmony. Over time yoga strengthens and tones the body and calms the central nervous system.
ZEN THERAPY encourages self understanding through long periods of meditation.
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