More Therapies to Ease Anxiety

Amy Hendel Health Guide
  • To continue the discussion of natural therapies that help to ease anxiety, let's look at certain vitamins that can help.  Pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium and the B vitamins can all help to balance your system - so deficiencies can be considered a risk factor for ongoing anxietyMagnesium assists with muscle relaxation and a deficiency can kead to anxiety as well as restlessness, insomnia, and depression.  B-complex vitamins are important to nervous system functioning, and a lack of these vitamins can lead to nervousness, insomnia and depression.  Calcium can help with insomnia, agitation, and irritability.  The use of caffeine, nicotine and over-eating sweets (which can cause mood swings) can also contribute to a risk of developing anxiety.

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    Bodywork in the form of massage therapy and shiatsu can also help to diminish muscle tension, alleviate stress and even improve sleep (if insomnia is one of the by-products of your anxiety).  There has been specific research demonstrating the beneficial effects of massage therapy as a treatment for stress and anxiety.  EEG testing done before and after a series of chair massage sessions performed on participants in a 26 week study at the Touch Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida, showed significant "frontal delta power" (signifying relaxation) when compared to a control group.  Aromatherapy massage combines the use of an infuser filled with essential oils while a practitioner massages you.  Reiki massage involves resting the hands on the body in a certain pattern without applying pressure, in order to evoke "universal life-force energy."  Meditation and yoga might also be approaches to wellness that can help to alleviate anxiety. 


    Music therapy is another technique available to help individuals cope with anxiety.  It's not just about cranking up a tune on the radio, though we have all experienced the positive impact of a good song.  Music therapy involves a trained therapist who uses his or her knowledge and skills to create personalized music menus that specifically address a patient's assessed needs and issues.  It can be used to reduce the anxiety of hospital patients undergoing painful or difficult procedures and treatments; to lessen pain and improve mood; to keep Alzheimer's patients calm; and in the case of "anxious infants," music can become a calming ritual.  Therapists should be board-certified which means they've attended 4 years of college as well as completing a supervised internship and passing a national exam.


    Visit a neighborhood hospital or nursing home and chances are you will see a dog or cat on the bed of a patient.  Animal-assisted therapy involves interaction betweenpatients and a trained animal, along with its human owner orhandler.  The aim is to facilitate patients' progress towardtherapeutic goals.  A June 1998 study examined the impact of animal-assisted or pet therapy on a group of psychiatric patients.  The pet therapy specifically helped to reduce the patient's levels of anxiety.  (Psychiatr Serv 49:797-801, June1998).  Pet therapy has been the subject of serious study for nursing and other healthcare disciplines concerned with the emotional well-being of patients.  It specifically addresses stress reduction and reduction of feelings of isolation and lonliness. 


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    Anxiety can be treated and a health professional can help you to map out a personalized treatment plan that may involve some of these therapy options.

Published On: March 11, 2009