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What Are the Different Types of Alternative Medicine for Anxiety?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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The use of alternative medicine for anxiety issues is a relatively common practice that often requires a bit of trial and error in order to find a treatment method or combination of methods that work for the individual situation. Some of the most common forms of alternative medicine for anxiety include the use of herbal remedies, yoga, and meditation. Additional alternative treatment methods include acupuncture, aromatherapy, and dietary modification. Patients who are under the care of a physician for a diagnosed anxiety disorder should not use alternative medical treatments in the place of those prescribed by the doctor. Any questions or concerns about implementing alternative medicine for anxiety in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Herbal remedies are perhaps the most popular form of alternative medicine for anxiety. These herbs are frequently available without a prescription at most pharmacies. Passion flower, kava, and valerian are among the most commonly used herbs for the treatment of anxiety. Those with certain medical conditions may not be advised to use these herbal treatments, and some herbs may have a negative impact on prescription medications. For these reasons, a doctor should be consulted before taking these supplements.

Yoga and meditation are commonly used types of alternative medicine for anxiety treatment. Meditation involves training the mind to relax and often incorporates controlled breathing techniques. Yoga combines some of the relaxation techniques used for meditation with gentle exercise in an effort to relax both the body and the mind. While the stretching exercises used during yoga are considered safe for most people, a doctor should be consulted if there are any individualized concerns.

Acupuncture is widely used in many cultures as a method of alternative medicine for anxiety. Small, hollow needles are gently inserted into various areas of the skin in an effort to balance the energies of the body and reduce stress levels. Possible complications include infection or tissue damage, especially if the practitioner is not properly trained. Aromatherapy involves the use of fragrant herbs such as lavender to promote relaxation and lower anxiety levels and is generally considered to be safe, although those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma may want to check with a doctor.

Dietary modification is an often overlooked tool used in alternative medicine for anxiety management. Common triggers, such as caffeine, artificial food dyes, or other food additives, may increase anxiety levels in some people. If these foods seem to cause problems, a doctor or nutritionist can help the patient devise a healthy eating plan designed to assist in reducing anxiety issues.

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