Alternative Therapy

Mental Health and Wellness
Alternative Therapy

While traditional treatments for mental health include therapy and medication, alternative therapies emphasize the interrelationship between mind, body and spirit as a role in recovery and healing.

Alternative therapy methods Include:

  • Reiki
  • Art therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Hypnosis

What is Reiki?

“Rei” means universal spirit and “ki” means life energy — so Universal Life Energy. Reiki is a spiritual healing art originating from Japan. It is a specific form of energy healing that uses life force energy to reduce stress and promote healing by “laying-on-hands.” The practitioner uses 12 to 15 different hand positions hovering for about two to five minutes over the body. Reiki is commonly used to treat fears, panic attacks, bereavement, emotional pain following an adjustment period, anxiety and depression. People engage in Reiki to increase energy levels, reduce stress and pain relief. 

What is art therapy?

Art therapy defined itself as a therapeutic treatment method in the 1940s across America and Europe using drawing, painting, and sculpting. This method is based on the belief that the artistic and creative process helps people resolve inner conflicts, release deep emotions, create self-awareness, manage behavior and achieve insight. Art therapy is used to help treat disorders such as depression, trauma-related disorders, conduct disorders in children and schizophrenia.

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy dates as far back as ancient Egypt and Rome, but really originates from a French chemist who studied the effect of oils on the body. Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils to alter mood and cognitive, psychological or physical well-being. Most commonly, aromatherapy is used to help treat anxiety and sleep-related disorders.

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis, also called hypnotherapy, uses guided relaxation, intense concentration and focused attention to achieve a state of consciousness in which the patient is highly responsive to suggestion. Western scientists began work with hypnosis in 1770 after the investigative research performed by a German doctor led to its discovery. The hypnotic state allows people to discover what is often hidden from their conscious minds. It can improve symptoms for mental health conditions such as phobias, anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, stress, trauma-related disorders and OCD-like and/or addictive behaviors.

While this list just barely brushes the surface of the vast variety of alternative therapy treatment methods, it is a good introduction to the unconventional but effective forms of healing.

Blog author Sarah Ruckstuhl is a student at John Carroll University working on her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is doing a summer internship at PsychBC.