7 CAMs Worth Considering
7 CAMs Worth Considering
Your Life in Alignment
Integrating a holistic lifestyle into your every day may seem like a daunting task. But is it? Many methods of Complimentary Alternative Medicines (CAMs) are fairly easy to incorporate into your routine, and some, may even be covered by your health insurance. CAMs are a great way to disrupt the widespread social mentality that there’s "a pill for every ill", and they allow you to take a more active role in your own health and healing. While some CAMs require locating a practitioner, many give you methods that can also be done easily at home. Explore the methods and potential benefits of these 7 CAMs to see if you can enhance your life experience from further exploration and use. Find what works for you and leave the rest.
In the rush of typical American lifestyle, the individual mind is rarely quiet. In a “go-getter” social mentality, the mainstream has lost touch with the importance of keeping in touch with inner mind and emotion. However, it is the “quiet” that brings clarity to the state and experience of the world around you. For skeptics, it’s important to recognize that meditation is not a “hocus-pocus” idea, in fact, recurrent meditation practices can measurably reduce stress, tension, and anxiety, as well as lowering blood pressure and more. Finding a meditation practice, or practices, that work with your own personality and preferences can make meditation an enjoyable part of your daily routine. From guided meditations, to daily readers, to joining a group; no matter what you're looking for, meditation comes in many forms, all of which yield the same potential benefits.
If you’re open to mediation but want to increase your benefit by incorporating mild exercise and strengthen the prowess of your mind-body connection, yoga is an excellent conduit. Common misconceptions about yoga include that it’s a “yuppy chick” thing, but in reality, yoga is historically an originally male practice, thus is a perfectly modern unisex activity. Although scholars indicate that yoga originated as an Indian practice and does play a role in some Eastern religious practices, it is fully adaptable to your intrinsic views, despite religious orientation. In fact, Christian Yoga has recently become a “thing” to infuse and encourage universal participation in yoga activities to make the benefits accessible across the board of beliefs.
3. QI GONG
For thousands of years, this Chinese practice has been used as a means of finding and maintaining a centered "balance" through focusing individual intention through a series of breathing techniques and physical posturing. While the practice is considered exercise, it is gentle enough to be utilized by all age populations and stresses the importance of the mind body connection that is so often overlooked in American society, but has been an integral point of emphasis in many traditional medical and holistic practices from around the world.
4. CHIROPRACTIC CARE
Chiropractic is the practice of correcting misalignments (called subluxations) of the human spine. Research indicates that Chiropractic adjustments improve the natural functioning of neurotransmitters in the body. In terms of recovery, Chiropractic care has shown positive outcomes for addressing anxiety, depression, chronic pain and the craving experience. Kenneth Blum, et.al. explore the spine as a “natural extension of the limbic system, which plays a role in both emotions and pain reduction,” making Chiropractic an excellent treatment modality to augment traditional recovery and relapse prevention plans.
Not to be confused with the Vegas-show, mind-control variety of hypnosis most frequently associated with the term, Hypnotherapy has a long-standing research history in the area of addiction and recovery. Shown to decrease reactivity to addictive impulse and cravings for short periods of time, provider-directed Hypnotherapy can be helpful in accessing and addressing core issues in early recovery. Self-directed hypnosis, on the other hand, can be a helpful tool in continued recovery as it aids in creating a relaxed state of awareness (mindfulness). With this tool, the person in recovery has improved long-term coping for anxiety, triggers and cravings.
(*Author’s note: When seeking a provider for Hypnotherapy, it is important to verify that they are fully credentialed to practice Hypnotherapy)
Aromatherapy and music immersion (discussed next) are two of the most accessible techniques, that can yield nearly instantaneous results. The reason for their effectiveness is simple; sensory diversions spur immediate changes in the brain. In the same way that people experience immediate disgust and displeasure at certain smells and sounds, purposeful use and placement of positive smells and sounds are a recipe for instantaneous delight. In aromatherapy studies, certain smells are regarded as useful in improving concentration, relaxation, etc, but perhaps it can be as simple as a particular candle thats scent reminds you of baking cookies with your grandma, and WHOALA!, you’re mental state is improved because the positive memories of the scent subconsciously transport you back to that timeless feel good moment of childhood.
7. MUSIC IMMERSION
Highly dependent upon personal music taste, but effective once you identify how to use music to your individual advantage. For example, if your mornings are particularly stressful, perhaps the gentle sounds of some smooth jazz can ease your tensions and uplift your mindset as you prepare to tackle your day. Music assists with mental focus, and the migration through emotions both consciously and subconsciously. Additionally, it can also be used as an intentional mental distraction and catalyst for rest and relaxation as it tangibly changes the rhythm of your brain waves.
Recovery IS Possible!
Meg Glidden, MS, NCC
Blum, K., Braverman, E. R., Holder, J. M., Lubar, J. F., Monastra, V. J., Miller, D., ... & Comings, D. E. (2000). The Reward Deficiency Syndrome: A Biogenetic Model for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Impulsive, Addictive and Compulsive Behaviors. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 32(sup1), 1-112.
Feuerstein, Georg (ND) A Short History of Yoga. Traditional Yoga and Meditation of the Himalayan Masters. Self-Realization through the Yoga Sutras, Vedanta, Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra. http://www.swamij.com/history-yoga.htm
Johnson, Cathy (2012) Meditation: what’s it all about? In ABC Health & Wellbeing. http://www.abc.net.au/health/library/stories/2012/10/25/3617494.htm
Madden, S., Fogarty, S., & Smith, C. (2014). Alternative and Complementary Therapies in the Treatment of Eating Disorders, Addictions, and Substance Use Disorders. In Eating Disorders, Addictions and Substance Use Disorders (pp. 625-647). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
The QiGong Institiute (2014). Introduction. http://www.qigonginstitute.org/html/GettingStarted.php
Wong, Cathy (ND) 4 Benefits of Music Therapy. About health. www.altmedicine.about.com