We live in a world where health is a growing concern, given the fast-paced stressful lives we lead. While physical fitness is often integrated into one’s lifestyle, emotional and mental wellbeing, too, needs to be paid heed to. Depression, sadness, high stress and anxiety levels are only some of the rampant issues we face. Adopting alternative healing therapies is an excellent way to heal oneself.
Studies have found that sound therapy has helped with healing and stress reduction to a great extent for years now. By finding the appropriate sound wave to match the deep levels of the brain and auto-create chemicals that enhance its immunity levels, this healing process induces a state of relaxation, thereby
From gongs and chimes to tuning forks and singing bowls, these sound frequencies work on revitalising weak points of the mind as well as the body by balancing neuro-chemicals, thus lowering blood pressure, calming hyperactive brain cells and arousing a reposing slumber.
Music therapy in particular forms a key part of sound therapy. There are trained music therapists who can be consulted to ensure improvement in mental health—by listening to soothing rhythms as well as engaging in active music-production sessions such as singing, drumming, guitar and piano lessons among several others. These aid in lowering anxiety, loneliness and depression, and lead to an overall positive impact on one’s wellness. Playing instruments further helps in curing insomnia, as well as enhancing one’s immunity, creativity and productivity.
This is considered to be one of the fastest and most effective ways of relieving stress, feeling relaxed and enriching one’s lifestyle. Research has also shown that art therapy not only helps in curing mental health issues, but also with a number of chronic physical ailments.
Art therapy leads to a greater sense of self-awareness and clarity of the external world within an individual. Since it involves a fair amount of emotional expression, it also helps with enhancing one’s self-esteem. This is because with the ability of art to address traumatic situations via imagery, the individual can express better and deal with it accordingly, especially with facilitation provided by a well-trained art therapist.
Art therapy involves various forms, such as doodling, free sketching, splash colouring and mandala colouring, each of which helps with de-stressing and an increase in attention span. Mandala colouring, in particular, is known to be a great meditative experience for the individual that— it not only corrects all imbalances in one’s body and mind, but also eases mental and emotional disturbances, and deepens concentration levels.
Another effective way to overcome distress and encourage physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is dance therapy, a.k.a. movement therapy. This form of creative therapy persuades the brain to release endorphins, i.e. happy hormones, and activates pleasure responses.
Over the last few years, this form has become immensely popular due to its ability to heal emotional wounds, which tend to get converted to physical discomforts, such as joint pain, stiffness and muscle tension. It also leads to an increase in self-confidence, improvement in interpersonal communication and social skills, as well as developing a better body-image perception.
A unique form of dance therapy, called Sufi Whirling, which includes spinning and whirling movements, is known to aid in self-discovery along with improving concentration powers, and according to many, paves the way to a mystical connection with the divine.
Yet another creative form of healing, drama therapy involves the intentional use of emotive expressions and different theatre processes like storytelling, improvising, theatre games and enactment to achieve gradual therapeutic healing.
This form is regularly practiced in common arenas such as educational institutes, hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters among others. Being an active and experiential approach, it provides an opportunity for individual expression of stories, feelings, goals, and catharsis.
This is considered to be an interesting form of healing, wherein the person gets a chance to reconnect with one’s pleasant childhood memories, as it involves the use of building blocks, miniature toys and coloured sand. These enable a person to reflect on one’s own life and thus provide scope for the resolution of internal conflicts. Sandtray therapy also helps one in becoming more self-accepting by delving into the subconscious, and conceptualising non-verbal thoughts.
There is nothing like de-stressing amid the tranquillity of nature, which is exactly what one can experience with wilderness therapy. While it involves talk therapy to a certain extent, the overall experience is better as the backdrop is scenic, and not a dull interior space. With activities such as hiking and camping being part of the healing process, wilderness therapy is gradually emerging and gaining favour among professional therapists.
Pinky Daga is the CEO of Thriive Art & Soul, an alternative and holistic health service