Complementary and Alternative Medicines

Complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) are widely used across the world as a compliment to conventional treatments in the mental health field. CAMs can range from individual practices such as meditation and prayer to massage, acupuncture, and dance therapy. Some of these require a trained professional’s guidance, but there are so many options that can be helpful to incorporate as you begin a journey of emotional healing. Options and benefits are listed below!


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese tradition that involves stimulating the body’s “energy points” through the insertion of needles, finger pressure, application of heat, or a combination of all three. This has been shown to assist traditional treatment in addiction, fibromyalgia, and low back pain.


Ayurveda, an approach connected with the roots of yoga, is based on the notion that disease in the body stems from an imbalance in one’s awareness. This imbalance causes individuals to make life-style choices that often exacerbate their illnesses. Ayurvedic approaches have shown promise in assisting the improvement of psoriasis, hypertension, and chronic headaches.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy involves the manipulation of the body’s soft tissue and muscles to produce relaxation and relieve muscle aches. There are many different schools of massage to choose from, and it has been shown to reduce anxiety, musculoskeletal pain, and possibly improve sleep patterns.


Though it has gotten a bad rap in the past, hypnosis can be an extremely helpful CAM when used correctly. Under hypnosis, an individual enters into a state of focused concentration and disregards their surroundings and intrusive thoughts. It has been shown to assist reducing anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia. It can be a wonderful complement to more traditional cognitive-behavior therapy in the treatment of phobias as well.


Biofeedback includes monitoring one’s physiological responses while concurrently doing daily activities. This technique has been shown to produce positive responses in the body and may help to relieve chronic pain and migraine headaches.

For more information on any of these practices, visit some of the links below:

Written by Kathryn

2021 Graduate Intern


Mamtani, R., & Cimino, A. (2002). A primer of complementary and alternative medicine and its relevance in the treatment of mental health problems. Psychiatric Quarterly73(4), 367-381.

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