Holistic Treatments and Practices for Anxiety

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Well Researched
Lots of Success Stories

Biofeedback involves using your body and the power of your mind to voluntarily relax, initially with the assitance of a practitioner but with techniques that can be used alone in the future.

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Moderate Research
Lots of Success Stories

Breathing techniques can have a significant impact on the experience and severity of an anxiety reaction and on the perceived degree of control one has over the anxiety. 

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Moderate Research
Lots of Success Stories

Counseling provides an environment where talking can lessen negative feelings, bring relief and offers support to help find answers to the problems creating anxiety.

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Well Researched
Some Success Stories

Guided Imagery is a complementary treatment that focuses and directs your imagination reducing anxiety for people in various situations.

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Moderate Research
Lots of Success Stories

Qi Gong involves gentle meditative movements and breathing techniques that encourage the flow of chi (philosophy similar to acupuncture) to calm the mind, and decrease the body’s stress hormones.

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Moderate Research
Lots of Success Stories

Emotional Freedom Technique® (EFT®) works by looking at the true cause of anxiety and other emotional and physical illnesses and releases them by tapping on meridian points at the same time as using affirmative phrases.

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Moderate Research
Lots of Success Stories

Massage therapy involves kneading, stroking, rubbing, tapping and application of pressure aimed to affect the body’s energetic systems. Decrease in levels of cortisol (hormone associated with anxiety and tension) in the blood is one of the significant effects of the therapy.

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Moderate Research
Some Success Stories

Herbal Medicine uses herbs and herbal preparations in support of a holistic healing strategy for anxiety.

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Moderate Research
Some Success Stories

Hypnotherapy involves deep relaxation (to decrease anxiety and panic), and a focused state and openness.  Hypnotherapy allows you to focus and relax about the areas in their lives that are triggering anxiety so you can change how you react to the anxiety triggers.

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Little Research
Some Success Stories

Gestalt therapy teaches the client how to define what is truly being experienced versus what is merely an interpretation of the events which cause anxiety.

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Some Success Stories

Meditation is thought to create a sense of wellness by clearing the mind and relaxing the body, hence relieving the symptoms of anxiety.

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Some Success Stories

Reflexology is an alternative treatment that can help patient who suffers with anxiety. It works by stimulating the release of body’s natural pain relievers and hormones that promote relaxation, better sleep and reduce anxiety.

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Little Research
Some Success Stories

Tai Chi involves slow, meditative movements which can be used as therapeutic tool to improve memory, posture and flexibility, emotional distress such as anxiety and depression.

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Little Research
Some Success Stories

Acupressure is a healing art that involves manipulation of specific spots on the body with the use of gentle pressure to relieve anxiety.

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Aromatherapy triggers the olfactory senses which in turn are connected to our brains offering a direct method of influencing the production of the feel good hormones, such as endorphins. Aromatic plant oils have the ability, therefore to balance, uplift and calm helping to reduce anxiety.

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Little Research
A Few Success Stories

Flower Essence Therapy works on an energetic level to restore the equilibrium of the body, mind, and spirit. The flower essences effect the realm of emotions and attitudes causing anxiety.

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Little Research
A Few Success Stories

Homeopathy is a therapy that stimulates the body and mind’s natural healing ability, primarily through the production of endorphins, or the natural painkillers found in our body.  There are many homeopathic remedies for a variety of anxieties.

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Little Research
A Few Success Stories

Hydrotherapy or water therapy as it is commonly known is the use of water to promote relaxation; both mentally and physically.

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Little Research
Some Success Stories

Healing touch is a complementary treatment used to energize, restore and balance disturbances in your energy field that are causing you anxiety.

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Anxiety

Summary

Anxiety is a commonly used term that may refer to a temporary state or to a clinical disorder. There are both psychological and physiological components to anxiety, whether temporary or clinical.

Anxiety is a normal reaction to a stressor that triggers certain reactions in the body, mind and emotions, but it often includes feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness and dread. When anxiety is chronic and pervasive it can fall into the classification of an anxiety disorder; particular if it impedes normal life activity.

Symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
  • A diffuse sense of fear about the future
  • Racing thoughts
  • Repeated thoughts or flashbacks of traumatic experiences
  • An inability to be still and calm
  • Nightmares
  • Ritualistic behaviors, such as repeated hand washing
  • Problems sleeping
  • Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • Dry mouth
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness

Anxiety is different from fear (which is triggered by an outside stimulus and is a reaction to a perceived threat); anxiety often occurs without any identifiable triggering stimulus - although it can often be triggered by diffuse thoughts about possible negative future events and outcomes. Fear is defined as being different from anxiety in four main areas; duration of emotional experience (fear is short lived - a response to an immediate threat, while anxiety often continues over time), temporal focus (again, fear is in the now; anxiety often relates to a feared future), specificity of the threat (fear is engendered by a specific danger; anxiety can be much more broad and diffused and relate to any number of perceived threatening or dangerous outcomes) and lastly; motivated direction (fear facilitates escaping from a particular threat while anxiety creates caution and a hesitation to approach). These distinctions come from Sa review of literature related to fear and anxiety ("Differences between trait fear and trait anxiety: Implications for psychopathology" published in the Clinical Psychology Review 31 by Sylvers, Patrick; Jamie Laprarie and Scott Lilienfeld (February 2011)).

Because of the differences between the clinical anxiety disorders and a passing state of anxiety, many of the treatment options will depend on which type of anxiety one is dealing with. Clinical anxiety disorders are commonly treated with medication and/or psychotherapy with a trained mental health professional (cognitive behavioural therapy is one type of psychotherapy that has been shown to be particularly effective for anxiety disorders). Medication does not in any way cure an anxiety disorder but it can reduce the symptoms or keep them under control while one pursues psychotherapy to cure the root cause of the disorder. The principal medications used for anxiety disorders are antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and beta-blockers to control some of the physical symptoms.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in the United States, 18.1% of the adult population suffer from some type of anxiety disorder, whlie 22.8% of these cases (4.1% of the total US adult populate) are classified as severe. Women are 60% more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Sadly, anxiety is even more common in children, with 25.1% of 13-18 year olds suffering from some type of anxiety disorder and 5.9% of 13 -18 year olds having a 'severe' anxiety disorder. The various anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health disorders in the US.

Complementary and alternative treatments for anxiety range from treatments (whether performed by others - such reiki or therapeutic touch -  or by yourself - such as meditation or yoga) that help reduce the perceived stress in your life to treatments that teach you to control and manage your thoughts in more productive ways, to treatments that through physical activity stimulate the production of different chemicals in your brain (which can then reduce the prevalance of your anxiety) to coping mechanisms that allow you to recognize and change the pattern of an anxiety attack to simple 'feel good' strategies that help your mind and body to relax. Although there are significant differences between momentary anxiety and a clinical anxiety disorder, many of the coping mechanisms that are effective for a disorder will also benefit people suffering from temporary anxiety. Relaxation and learning to be aware of and manage your thought processes and your physical reactions are both key components of many of the holistic treatments for anxiety.

Also known as

Agoraphobia, Angst, anxiety disorder, Apprehension, Cold Sweat, Concern, Distress, Dread, Foreboding, Fretfulness, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Misgiving, Mistrust, Nail-biting, Needles, Nervousness, obsessive compulsive disorder, Panic, Panic Attack, panic disorder, Phobias, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Restlessness, Social Anxiety Disorder, Stress, Uncertainty, Unease, Uneasiness, Willies, Worriment, Worry