9 Unique Therapies To Try For Improved Mental Health
Updated on July 3, 2021 by Amber & The Team
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When you think about therapy, the first thing that likely comes to mind is traditional talk therapy. While there’s no question that this type of therapy is extremely beneficial for many, it isn’t a one size fits all solution that works for everyone.
Sometimes it’s hard to talk about traumatic events from your past. And sometimes, you’re simply looking for a way to stay grounded and relieve day to day stress. The fact is, everyone’s lives have been impacted in some way by current events and taking care of your mental health is more challenging than ever.
It’s always a good time to prioritize your mental health, but you may not know where to start. These unique, or fringe, therapies might just be the answer you’re looking for. Consider incorporating one or more of them into your daily or weekly routine. They can all be beneficial on their own or used in conjunction with traditional therapy.
9 Unique Therapies To Try For Improved Mental Health
Practicing mindfulness is a simple lifestyle change that can have a positive impact on your mental health. There’s strong research to support its effectiveness for depression, anxiety, and daily stress. But, how do you practice mindfulness exactly? It’s actually easier than you might think.
It’s all about living in the present moment and having an attitude of acceptance and openness. The idea is to pay attention to your emotions, negative perceptions and self-talk, as well as your anxieties before they take root. Then, accept what you’re feeling and deal with it in a positive way.
If you want to give it a try, the next time you feel stressed and your thoughts and emotions are racing out of control, try slowing down and taking a deep breath. Observe your feelings, thoughts, and body. Center yourself and be open and accepting of the possibilities before you proceed.
It’s kind of like stopping a train before it begins rolling away too fast. Guided imagery, meditation, prayer, and breathing exercises are all excellent mindfulness techniques to consider trying that also relax the mind and body.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are ancient practices that many people find extremely useful for improving mental health. TCM recognizes that mental health and physical health are deeply connected, meaning that stress and other negative emotions can have a physical impact on your health.
During an acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist inserts ultra-fine needles into specific acupuncture points that run throughout the body and correspond with specific organs. This process releases the body’s natural mood lifters and pain killers, called endorphins. According to TCM philosophy, activating specific acupressure points also corrects imbalances and blockages in the organs.
A licensed acupuncturist will often incorporate other aspects of TCM into an overall treatment plan for mental health. These may include massage/bodywork, Chinese herbs, aromatherapy, soothing music, and positive changes to diet and lifestyle. The experience itself can be very pleasant and relaxing.
Yoga is a wonderful tool for reducing anxiety and stress while improving flexibility and focus. It promotes an overall sense of peace and improves sleep. Many people find it to be a wonderful accompaniment to traditional talk therapy.
Yoga has been shown to calm the nervous system, leaving you feeling less anxious and putting you in a state of relaxation. Many people also find that yoga builds self-trust and self-confidence as you become more in touch with your mind and body.
IV Drip Therapy and Nutrition
Many people don’t realize it, but nutrition and mental health go hand in hand. For example, vitamin D is essential for producing serotonin. Deficiencies in serotonin can lead to depression, negative thoughts, tension, and irritability. And, B vitamins are key for dopamine production, which can also affect mood and sleep patterns.
Functional medicine experts at Rahav Wellness, an NYC-based IV therapy clinic, recommend vitamin therapy for helping the body cope with stress, anxiety, insomnia, and more. An IV infusion that includes vitamin C, B complex, calcium, magnesium, and zinc can be especially helpful for mental health.
Art therapy is a unique therapy that is especially helpful for fear, anxiety, and stress. It calms the nervous system, encourages focus, boosts self-esteem, and provides a healthy outlet for relieving stress and expressing emotions.
During an art therapy session, the therapist will guide the patient through exercises like drawing, painting, creating a collage, or mind mapping. The therapist will offer prompts to help the patient explore their feelings and emotions. Many people find expressing themselves through creative activities much easier than talking it out.
Music can have a dramatic effect on emotions, evoking feelings of joy, sadness, and everything in between. Music therapy is a relatively new therapy that’s proving to be very beneficial for mental health. The style of music chosen is based on the patient’s preferences and goals.
A typical music therapy session might include writing a song, re-creating music through playing an instrument or singing, analyzing song lyrics, or improvisation. Music therapy teaches coping skills like breathing techniques, grounding, relaxation, and distraction. It can also help you work through frustrations and emotions.
Many people find music therapy useful for boosting self-esteem and awareness, too. It can give you insight into yourself and your behavior so that you can look forward to more positive feelings in the future.
Dance/movement therapy uses movement to help the patient express emotion. It’s particularly useful for stress reduction and mood management, as well as decreasing tension and anxiety. This unique therapy is very versatile and has also been used to benefit individuals with PTSD, eating disorders, communication issues, and dementia.
Dance therapy differs from regular dancing because the movement becomes a language. It can be used to communicate conscious and unconscious feelings, and the therapist is trained to assess non-verbal behaviors, expressions, and body language. Mirroring may also be used to demonstrate empathy and validate the patient’s feelings
Wilderness therapy is often recommended for teens, but it can be beneficial at any age. It works by providing a supportive and secure environment for self-discovery. Sessions can be as simple as hiking through the woods and talking about your feelings and experiences with the therapist in an environment that’s free of negative influences.
However, there are also wilderness camps that offer expeditions and teach primitive skills using team-building exercises. These experiences support the development of healthy relationships and help participants learn to accept feedback while building self-esteem.
Reiki is a healing touch therapy that’s becoming popular in a variety of settings, from hospice to private practice. Many people find reiki useful for relieving depression, anxiety, stress, and chronic pain, which can often contribute to or be a symptom of mental health issues. This form of energy healing uses spiritually guided life force energy to treat a variety of conditions and evoke feelings of peace.
Taking care of your mental health is important every day. Many of these alternatives to traditional therapy are easy to incorporate into your daily or weekly wellness routine. And, they’re all part of making positive changes in your life, which is something you can truly be proud of!
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