Four Natural Therapies You’ve Never Tried (But Should)
You've been Rolfed and Reiki-ed, done deep tissue and rebirthing, and sampled every offering on your naturopath's menu. But we'll bet you've never tried these—and you should. Check out these four science-backed tools, techniques and therapies, designed to change your brain, restore your body, soothe your senses and transform your life.
Want to look, think, and feel better? These cutting-edge natural therapies may be just what you’re looking for.
1. Reboot your brain
Think of your brain as a computer; once the hard drive gets too full, it’s sluggish and unpredictable; it freezes, crashes and loses performance. Access Bars is a natural therapy that’s like rebooting the brain’s hard drive, clearing out clutter, deleting negative thoughts, freeing up space and allowing you to operate with calm, efficiency and ease. The practice works by activating 32 points—or Access Bars—on your head that are said to store the sum total of your thoughts, ideas, beliefs and emotions. When they’re lightly touched, these points instantly release any blocks, restrictions or obstructions that stand between you and an effortless life. During a session (sometimes called “having your Bars run”), you’ll lie fully clothed on a table, and your therapist will gently touch each point on your head. It’s relaxing, restorative and deceptively powerful; afterward, you’ll have a sense that everything is somehow just…easier. Other benefits: mental clarity, more creativity, better focus, calm (not hyped-up) energy and a quieting of all that meaningless chatter. Imaging studies point out measurable changes before and after an Access Bars session, with effects similar to those experienced by advanced meditators. Other research shows Access Bars prompts an increase in brain wave coherence, associated with communication between brain regions and linked with intelligence, learning ability, alertness, reaction time and creativity. In one study, a single 90-minute Access Bars session significantly decreased severity of depression and anxiety, by as much as 84 percent. For details, science and a practitioner near you, visit AccessConsciousness.com.
2. Activate your natural healing powers
Better than external, temporary fixes: a natural therapy that uses wearable patches designed to harness the body’s own ability to shift and transform. LifeWave patches are infused with a homeopathic solution of crystals that work through phototherapy—low level light therapy, known to trigger specific biological responses. They’re easy to use; just stick the patches on like a band-aid. As the ingredients are activated by body heat, they stimulate points on the skin, transmitting messages to initiate cellular changes. You’ll find them in a variety of options to minimize aches and pains, improve skin elasticity, enhance energy, promote restful sleep and more. The most comprehensive: LifeWave X39 patches, designed to turn on stem cells, reboot their capacity for repair and speed the body’s natural healing process. They’re thought to work in part by elevating levels of GHK-Cu, a naturally occurring peptide shown to boost stem cell activity; it belongs to a group of “emergency response” molecules released by the body to repair injury and damage to tissues. In one study, participants who wore LifeWave X39 patches for one week showed improved production of and significant increases in blood concentrations of GHK-Cu. Besides the X39 version, you’ll find LifeWave patches designed for energy, muscle aches and pains, sleep and more. In studies, they’ve been shown to boost energy, reduce pain, improve organ function, enhance skin, minimize signs of aging, and increase flexibility, strength and endurance. Find all the options, plus studies, at LifeWave.com.
3. Face your fears
Exposure—a gradual and repeated exposure to fear-inducing stimuli—is a natural therapy that has long been used to treat anxiety disorders, and dozens of studies show its effectiveness in easing fears and phobias. The idea: when patients imagine or visualize threatening situations, thoughts or memories in a safe, controlled environment, the repeated exposure lessens the intensity of the stress response, and allows the brain to rewire its conditioned reactions and habituate over time. But it’s hard to adequately recreate a triggering event—for example, a terrifying plane flight—in your brain alone. That’s where virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) comes in. Using virtual reality technology instead of imagination, VRET can realistically, but safely, recreate triggering situations and enhance healing. VR can be used in a variety of ways in a therapeutic setting. For example, if you’re fearful of flying, you might wear a VR headset with 3D images and sounds that recreate being inside an airplane, and vibrations that mimic takeoff and landing. Afterward, you’ll download your experience with the therapist and determine length and frequency of subsequent sessions. Research shows the benefits of VRET in treating phobias, panic attacks, social anxiety and PTSD, and a number of studies suggest those highly immersive techniques are more effective than regular exposure. Sessions typically last as long and cost about as much as regular therapy session; visit PsychologyToday.com for a VRET therapist in your area.
4. Shut down your senses
On the flip side of exposure therapy: sensory deprivation tank therapy, or “floating,” gives your brain a break from non-stop input. Also called restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST), it’s done in a dark, soundproof floatation or isolation tank with about a foot of saltwater. Weightless, gravity-free floating, combined with utter dark and silence, creates a calm, meditative experience that eases stress and anxiety, soothes aches and pains, improves sleep quality and enhances well-being. In its earliest iterations, sensory deprivation has been around since the 1950s; early controversy sent it briefly underground, but continued research and well-run commercial flotation centers have prompted its resurgence in popularity. And dozens of studies confirm its benefits. Research shows REST-floatation can significantly reduce anxiety, muscle tension, depression and negative outlook; it’s also linked with a greater sense of optimism, significant increases in serenity, relaxation, happiness, and more mindfulness in daily life. Other studies suggest flotation therapy enhances imagination, intuition and creativity, improves concentration and focus, and increases mental clarity. Sessions typically last from one to two hours. Most people find flotation tanks infinitely restful and soothing; if you’re sensitive to enclosed spaces or anxious about light and sound deprivation, start with a shorter session to see how you react. Visit FloatationLocations.com to find one in your area.