Using essential oils to promote healing is a centuries old method for treating a wide variety of ailments. The oils can be inhaled, massaged into the skin, or taken by mouth for a specific purpose. Studies have shown that the scent of lemon has a positive effect on mood and levels of stress hormones are reduced in response to lavender.
This ancient Asian technique is similar to acupuncture but without any needles. Practitioners use their hands to apply pressure to points on the body that open “energy flows”, which trigger the release of endorphins. It’s used to treat chronic pain – and some studies have verified that there is some truth to the claims.
While some of the benefits of yoga sound airy-fairy, like ‘improved concentration’, and ‘increased relaxation’, one benefit is backed by science. A recent study of 313 back pain patients showed that a 12 week yoga programme proved effective in reducing pain and increasing mobility and strength.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation uses magnetic pulses to alleviate depression, showed that after a year of treatment, 68% of adult patients had improved depression symptoms and 45% had complete remission. The treatment consists of a large magnet placed on the left side of a patient’s head, and magnetic pulses stimulate the under-active areas of the patient’s brain that are involved in mood regulation. The patient is awake the entire time, and there are few reported side effects aside from headaches in some.
Practitioners of reflexology apply pressure to specific areas on the feet, hands, or ears. These points correspond to different body organs and systems; pressing them is believed to affect these organs and a person’s overall health. (For example, applying pressure to a spot on the arch of the foot is believed to benefit bladder function.) According to the University of Minnesotahave found that benefits include increased blood flow to kidneys and the bladder, induced relaxation, decreased blood pressure, and eased anxiety. Twenty-seven studies also found that reflexology reduced pain in patients suffering from AIDS, chest pain, peripheral neuropathy of diabetes mellitus, kidney stones and osteoarthritis.