Have you ever wondered what different types of alternative therapies are out there? It can seem like such a confusing world to step into without some background. Here’s a quick guide to 17 different types of alternative and complementary therapies you may have heard about but not really known what they are. Remember: If you do decide to try any of these types of alternative therapy, always be sure to consult your General Practitioner first.
Aromatherapy – This is probably one of the most well known natural therapies. We all like pleasant scents; many of us use them in our home to great effect. Aromatherapy takes this notion further, exploring how different essential oils can help improve our health and improve our mood. It’s often best done as part of a massage or in an oil burner.
Chiropractor – According to the CAA (Chiropractors Association Australia) Chiropractic is a health care discipline that emphasises the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of pharmaceutical drugs or surgery. The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between the spine and the nervous system and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health.
Yoga – According to Yoga Australia, Yoga cultivates health and wellbeing (physical, emotional, mental and social) through the regular practice of a range of many different techniques, including postures and movement, breath awareness and breathing exercises, relaxation and concentration, self-inquiry and meditation.
Holistic Therapy – This involves looking at all aspects of your life and seeing how they might impact one another. A naturopath may help you do this. Naturopathy is a holistic approach to wellness based on the principle that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself. Using the healing power of nature and gentle therapeutic techniques, the body, mind and emotions are supported during the healing process; according to the Australian Natural Therapies Association
Herbal Medicine – Very popular in China, Herbal medicine is the oldest and still the most widely used system of medicine in the world today. It is medicine made exclusively from plants. Remember that you always need to tell your healthcare consultant about any herbal medicine you are talking as it may interfere with other pharmaceutical medicine. Examples of herbal medicine are St John’s Wort, Ginko and Echinacea, which you might see in the supermarket or pharmacy.
EFT (emotionally focused therapy) – EFT is based on the principle we have emotions caught up inside of us, causing us mental distress. EFT helps people identify which of their emotions they can trust and rely on as adaptive guides and which of their emotions are residues of painful memories that have become maladaptive to the person’s current context and need to be changed.
Acupuncture – One of the best-known Eastern therapies it may now be considered almost mainstream. It works with traditional chakra points on the body. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the patient’s skin at specific points on the body – the needles are inserted to various depths.
Acupressure – Being very simular to acupuncture, Acupressure uses the same philosophy of chakra pressure points on the body but instead of needles, it uses applied pressure.
Reflexology – Much like Acupressure and Acupuncture this alternate therapy is based on the idea that we have pressure points on our body that may be used to reduce pain and discomfort in other areas. The pressure points are primarily focused on the feet, hands and ears and certain points relate to the health of your whole body.
Sauna – There are a number of different types of saunas, which may offer some benefit to your health, but mostly they can be like a delightful way to treat yourself to some much-needed relaxation time.
Indian Head Massage –With its origins in obviously in India, an Indian head massage focuses on your head, neck and shoulders. It is a deep massage, which uses a variety of pressure and techniques that tap into the seven “‘chakras” or paths of energy and encourage “healing and balance”, apparently. If nothing else, it is really relaxing.
Homeopathy – The British Homeopathy Association states that Homeopathy is a natural form of medicine used by over 200 million people worldwide to treat both acute and chronic conditions. It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’. In other words, a substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes if taken in large amounts.”
Reiki is based around the idea that we each have a life force that flows through our body, and this can sometimes be diverted or interrupted. It is Japanese in origin with the main aim of stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive.
Flower Remedies – Not to be confused with Aromatherapy, Flower remedies incorporates the use of chi energies within living organisms such as flowers. The remedies have no aroma and are prepared by soaking blossoms in purified water and diluted.
Hypnotherapy – Working with a hypnotherapist, the client is put into a state of hypnosis (a trans like state) where you are relaxed but aware. Hypnotherapy can be used to improve, and in many cases remove symptom or challenge that is caused by emotions, habits, behaviour or psychological issues.
Ear Candling – There are different types of alternative therapies out there and this is one of the most alternate. Ear candling is where a thin candle is placed in the ear. Supporters claim that the flame creates negative pressure, drawing wax and debris out of the ear canal, which appears as a dark residue, supposedly clearing pathways in your head, although it’s main purpose is to clear the ear from wax. You should definitely talk to people who have had this done, before you give this a try as it could be harmful if things go wrong, and always go to someone who has had training and done it many times before!
Magneto Therapy – You’ve probably seen infomercials that incorporate Magneto Therapy late at night. Magnetic therapy is an alternative medical practice that uses static (i.e. unmoving) magnets to supposedly alleviate pain and other health concerns. So-called therapeutic magnets are typically integrated into bracelets, rings, or shoe inserts, though therapeutic magnetic mattresses and clothing are also on the market.