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What are the Different Alternative Treatments for Anxiety?

By Donn Saylor
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many alternative treatments for anxiety, including vitamin and herbal supplements, breathing techniques, massage, exercise, and the elimination of caffeine and alcohol. These forms of natural anxiety treatment help to alleviate the discomfort and fear that accompany anxiety attacks, and many patients have cited their benefits. Since traditional medication may not be a suitable treatment approach for everyone, the options offered by alternative medicine may provide a more holistic avenue to remedying anxiety and panic attacks.

Vitamin and mineral supplements like magnesium, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) have been widely utilized as alternative treatments for anxiety. Magnesium helps to calm the nervous system and reduce overall tension; it is often taken in conjunction with calcium to further bolster its beneficial properties. GABA is an amino acid used by many for natural anxiety relief, and SAMe is a naturally occurring agent with high levels of anti-anxiety properties. Herbal supplements like valerian, passionflower, St. John's wort, and kava kava can also greatly decrease anxiety in the body and mind.

By focusing on the breath and employing various breathing exercises, many anxiety sufferers have found great calm and relief. Deep inhalations and exhalations can aid in regulating the heartbeat and calming the mind. Meditation used in combination with deep breathing has been shown to drastically reduce anxiety levels.

Massage and other forms of holistic bodywork are popular alternative treatments for anxiety. A professional massage by an experienced massage therapist can go a long way in lessening anxiety and panic and creating a feeling of overall calm and well-being. Other types of bodywork, like reiki energy healing, hydrotherapy, trigger point therapy, acupressure, and acupuncture have also been cited as excellent anxiety-reducers.

A moderate amount of regular exercise can help release feelings of anxiety and panic and restore healthy blood flow and heart rate. Patients are typically advised to take this approach slowly and not overdo it. Low impact exercises like yoga, qigong, and tai chi are ideal ways to get the blood flowing again while calming the nervous system.

Caffeine and alcohol are nervous system stimulants and can seriously impede a patient's ability to overcome anxiety. Among the most practical alternative treatments for anxiety is the total elimination of these substances from a patient's diet. Those wishing to eradicate their caffeine or alcohol intake are advised to take it slowly, gradually reducing the intake to avoid headaches and withdrawal symptoms. Once the substances are out of the system, many patients report a previously untapped level of calm.

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