When we are sick or develop illness, our first instinct is usually to go to the doctor. While Western Medicine is a fantastic system, there are many cases where a doctor will prescribe a pharmaceutical medicine when natural alternative therapies would be equally or more effective.
Are medicinal drugs always the most effective treatment methods? Why haven’t we looked into other ways of treating our illnesses? There are patients who go through years of doctor’s visits—yet no matter how many medications they take, their conditions do not improve.
Here are ten alternative therapies that can help you or a loved one find the path to health. Each of these modalities is a vast field of knowledge that, when combined, can address nearly any possible health concern.
*Disclaimer: The information provided here is an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
-Hippocrates, “father of western medicine”
Used to treat: nearly all ailments
We are all familiar with nutritional healing: the basic idea of regulating our diet and food intake to promote overall health. This means having a sufficient intake of calories—but not too much—and consuming natural whole foods such as fruits and vegetables.
The Nutritional Research Foundation has compiled a number of case studies for patients suffering from different ailments, who have benefited from nutritional treatment. For example, a 32-year-old patient suffering from a facial rash and joint pain was diagnosed with lupus. She was prescribed medication and drugs. Instead, she decided to become treated with a high-nutrient diet and made a full recovery.
2Sound Healing and Music Therapy
Used to treat: stress, anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping
Sound healing uses drone and rhythm to manipulate our brainwaves so that we are able to alter our state of consciousness and access states of relaxation, meditation, or sleep where healing can happen.
By helping us get in touch with the deeper, energetic part of our body, sound therapy has helps a number of issues, such as sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Jude Ponton, a Certified Acutonics Practitioner of the Senior Acutonics Faculty, presented a case study of a patient dubbed “L”, who suffered from stress and panic attacks. Facing chronic gynecological issues, sinus conditions and low kidney energy, a protocol of sound healing was developed to restore the patient to full health. By the end of six treatments, the client experienced regular sleep patterns, heightened energy, and overall decrease in stress levels.
Used to treat: mental and emotional pain, physical conditions
Reiki is a Japanese healing technique that focuses on maintaining our life force energy at a high level, so that we are less likely to become sick or emotionally stressed. We conduct Reiki treatment by “laying hands”, and classes are taught all around the world to share hand positions for self-treatment as well as treating others.
Reiki can be used to heal mental or emotional pains, such as stress and anxiety, as well as physical conditions. Pooja Arora found herself in an accident that left her partially paralyzed, and was diagnosed to never walk again due to a broken neck. By utilizing the law of attraction and creative visualization, she made a slow recovery in about 5-6 years.
But then she relapsed and found herself hardly able to walk. It was at this point that she turned to alternatives. Reiki teacher taught her the art and how to start self-healing; after only a month, she was able to walk again and has been back at full health ever since. Pooja Arora is now a Reiki Master and helps guide others on the path, which brought her back to health.
4Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Used to treat: low energy, inner organ issues
Like the other healing techniques we have talked about, acupuncture targets our inner body energy flows, and how we can influence them to achieve better health. An ancient healing modality from China, acupuncture uses needle penetration at specific points in the skin to stimulate the body.
One of the most common ailments that acupuncture is used to treat is chronic migraines. A case from the US National Library of Medicine reports the story of a 32-year-old woman who had been suffering from migraines for 10 years. Using a combination of acupuncture, mixed with dietary modifications and Chinese herbal medicine, the patient was treated for 2 months. After this time, the patient reported pain reduction and migraine relief.
Used to treat: pain and tension in the body
Craniosacral therapy is similar to Reiki in the sense that it uses “laying hands” in a light-touch manner to balance your bones, nerves, fluids—essentially, all the parts in your craniosacral (skull and spine) system.
Like many of the other therapies mentioned here, craniosacral therapy gives the patient the ability to relax, let stress leave the body, and create harmony within the internal functioning systems. It can relieve both physical and mental conditions, such as anxiety and stress, migraines, muscle tension, and more.
Leah Mahadeao M.S., CCC-SLP reported a case of a boy with preschool stuttering. It was revealed through therapy that there was stress in his cranial base, as well as other medical complications. After a 5-month period of craniosacral therapy, as well as 12 weeks of speech therapy, the patient’s stuttering has stopped, with only a few symptoms present occasionally.
Used to treat: physical pain, moodiness and low cognitive function.
Aromatherapy involves inhaling the scent of natural, essential oils to improve mental and physical health. This treatment is growing as each individual essential oil has a function or treatment. Pain reduction, stress management and improved brain function are a few of the most common conditions treated by aromatherapy.
Shining Sun Aromatherapy cites a number of testimonials from patients who have had success with this treatment method. These cases range from treating breast cancer diagnoses to working with hemorrhoids patients.
One example reports a 76-year-old woman who had a persistent cough. The treatment involved an inhaler (like the ones asthma patients might use), with lavendula latifolia (lavendar) oil. The patient experienced immediate chest relief, and the cough ceased after two days.
Used to treat: skin conditions, anxiety, stress, low energy, depression
Using essential oils for healing is very similar to aromatherapy in the sense that it calls for natural oils extracted from plant matter such as leaves, roots, or bark. These extracts are extremely potent, and can provide amazing healing benefits.
Depending on your ailment, different oils and administering methods can be used, such as lavender for wounds or oregano oil for the common cold. Researcher C. Blamey from the Oxford Radcliff NHS Hospital Trust reported a case of using essential oils to treat infected eczema. The patient had an itchy eczema patch on her leg, and five essential oils were used for treatment: tea tree, lemon, bergamot, naouli, and lavender.
After just over a week, the eczema patch looked much less irritated, and the infection was visibly relieved.
Used to treat: mental blockages, impurities, restlessness
Many native people around the world use incense as a way to purify the space, send away negative energies and welcome in the good ones. Some of the most common indigenous incenses are copal, cedar, sage, palo santo, eucalyptus, and amber.
Though it is commonly used as an air freshener, incense comes with a number of healing powers. It aids concentration, creativity, increase motivation, and can help relieve tension, depression, headaches, insomnia, and more.
This is because our sense of smell is directed to nerve paths in our brain and other body systems; the smoke from incense also acts as a healing agent alternative to direct application to treat an infection or wound.
The University of Leicester conducted a study in which frankincense was showed to target ovarian cancer cells and kill them. Due to these encouraging results, it is now being investigated as an additional treatment to ovarian cancer.
Used to treat: emotional issues such as depression, stress and anxiety
Color therapy utilizes the energy in color wavelengths to balance our inner energy levels and drive overall wellbeing. Each color in the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet), correlates with each of the energy centers in our bodies. The therapy can be administered through solarized water, light boxes, silks, etc.
Luna Online Home Studies reported a case of a client who was suffering from dental problems, which eventually led to heart palpitations. While the treatment could not act as dental care, color therapy was used to target her emotional and stress problems.
The patient was treated with her favorite colors—blue, teal greens, and purple. By the end of the treatment, the client stated that she felt stronger and more confident.
Used to treat: imbalances in the self, energetic blockages
Shamanic healing targets spiritual ailments. It focuses on soul retrieval (bringing back parts of the soul that have been lost) and removing energetic blockages. Revisiting traumatic events which have had a significant impact on the patient is one of the keys for healing in the shamanic tradition.
The US National Library of Medicine reports a case study of twenty-three middle-aged women in Oregon, diagnosed with TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorders). Shamanic treatments including soul retrieval and meditation were performed on the patients to encourage healing. After each visit, the patient was asked to report a rating of their pain through questionnaires.
By the end of the treatment, pain levels and influence of the disease showed significant decrease. Follow-up investigation also showed that the therapeutic benefits lasted at least nine months following treatment.
As you can see, prescription drugs might not always be the answer.
Before you fill in that prescription the doctor gives you, try looking into other forms of treatment instead. If those pills and medications haven’t been working for you, it might be time for a change.
What alternative healing modalities have worked for you? Share your story in the comments section below.
Jose Leon is a Reiki Master Teacher and Registered Massage Therapist based in Vancouver, BC. He has over 16 years of experience as an educator and practitioner of energy healing and healthy lifestyle living. Jose currently runs Reiki sessions and classes at his own practice, which you can learn more about on his website: http://joseleon-reiki-rmt.com