As World Mental Health Day swings around once again, we’re reminded that year on year thousands of people are signing up for meditation, mindfulness, massage and other complementary therapies and practices.
The market is being saturated with everything from Aromatherapy to Zen, but do these approaches work, and how can you choose the best approach to suit you?
Out Founder, Lyz Cooper explores more in this week’s post…
Why do people turn to complementary medicine for mental health conditions?
Millions of people worldwide benefit from managing their health and wellbeing with alternative approaches, many of which are thousands of years old. I have been involved in holistic therapies for over 30 years and it is wonderful to see how the interest has grown over this time. I have worked with many therapies in my time but in 1994, following an illness I experienced clinical depression and chronic anxiety. At one point I was afraid to go out of the house.
I knew I had to do something but not wanting to go out my options were limited. I had done a singing workshop the year before and started toning and overtoning (an ancient technique now used by many sound therapists). I was amazed how much better I felt and was hooked! Sound therapy helped me to come back from what could so easily have been the end of my life at only 29 years of age.
Which is the best option for your mental health?
If you have tension in the body then a massage may be the thing for you, to stay flexible there is Pilates, Tai Chi, Chi Gong or Yoga and there are a whole host of different complementary therapies but the main thing is preventing the illness from happening in the first place.
When you feel the signs coming on – muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, unhelpful thoughts running through your head, night sweats, heart palpitations, panic attacks, skin rashes, weight increase or loss – all of these are signs that something is out of balance. If you are worried, go and see a doctor.
Remember that there’s always help available
As soon as you feel ‘off balance’ then do something. Don’t waste time, do something as soon as possible without delay. When you are depressed or anxious the temptation is to go into your shell, but before this happens just make small changes each day.
For example, five minutes of therapeutic sound in a day will help reduce anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate . Ten minutes helps release muscle tension and improve mood state. Twenty minutes of singing boosts your immune system.
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Kreutz, G., Bongard, S., Rohrmann, S. et al. J Behav Med (2004) 27: 623 Effects of Choir Singing or Listening on Secretory Immunoglobulin A, Cortisol, and Emotional State
Beck et.al (2000) Choral Singing, Performance Perception, and Immune System Changes in Salivary Immunoglobulin A and Cortisol. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 18 No. 1, Fall, 2000; (pp. 87-106) DOI: 10.2307/4028590