10 Alternative Mind Treatments That Heal

View as:|
1 of 11

More studies support the idea of complementary and alternative medicine to help treat a range of physical and mental ailments. Here are some therapies that could help your health and well being.


MBSR or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is used to treat stress, depression, chronic fatigue, and to help boost memory and learning abilities.  This practice involves slowing down your busy brain and focusing all of your attention on the present moment.  Research suggests  that MSBR is linked to  changes in the white and gray matter of the brain, which affects  learning, memory and emotion regulation.


Aromatherapy is used to improve anxiety, sleep disorders, and depression through aromatic essential oils extracted from plants.  It works by inhaling natural scents, which triggers neurotransmitter activity that stimulates regions of the brain responsible for emotion and behaviors. Some believe this can help bring an enhanced mood and relaxed body.


Yoga provides many benefits, including its ability to relieve stress, improve sleep, boost mood, and even to reduce chronic pain.  This ancient practice uses deep breathing exercises combined with balance and flexibility poses to help the mind and body achieve a state of relaxation. It also can improve muscle strength.


This technique helps alleviate anxiety, depression, and urinary incontinence by training people to use their body signals to target specific ailments.  Biofeedback uses sensors attached to the body to record feedback on heart rate, tissue temperature, blood pressure, and muscle tension.  The data is then reviewed by a therapist who provides mental and physical exercises to treat the affected areas.


Meditation is a broad practice which includes the mindfulness technique as well as mantra repetitions, guided imagery, and balance poses.  Meditation works by reducing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, leading to slowed breathing, lower blood pressure, and relaxed muscles.  Meditation also can help sharpen memory, focus, and consciousness.

Craniosacral therapy

This therapy is used to treat sleep disorders, asthma, and urinary tract infections through gentle massaging of the bones on the skull, lower spine, and pelvis.  Chiropractors and massage therapists pinpoint sources of stress and help the body eliminate tensions by working out any fluids and air trapped in the soft tissue.

Music therapy

Music therapy is used to improve symptoms of depression and to reduce blood pressure.  The technique harnesses the emotional impact of music to help calm the mind and reduce physical tensions.


Reflexology is massage targeted at points on the feet to trigger therapeutic changes believed to correspond to organs or bodily systems.  Because feet stretch, move, and have sensitivity to pressure, they are receptive to nerve stimulation which can help release pain-altering endorphins in the body.  Reflexology has been used to assist treatment for depression, anxiety, post-operative pain, and PMS.

Tai chi

Tai chi is often used to relieve pain, improve mood, manage glucose levels, and balance symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.  Tai Chi is considered a moving meditation designed to balance the two mythical opposing life forces (yin and yang), the imbalance of which is believed to result in illness. Setting spiritual origination aside, the focus and balance this practice requires can help calm the body and mind.

Western Medicine

Used to treat depression, sleep disorders, and even poor circulation, western herbal therapy uses plants and plant materials, such as seeds, roots, bark, and berries to treat various illnesses.  Some herbal therapies are quite common, such as St. Johns Wort, which is sometimes used to treat depression. Even aspirin can be counted in this group, as it uses bark-derived salicylic acid to reduce pain.