Like yoga, this calming, low-impact exercise comes with many scientifically backed physical and mental health benefits. Tai Chi was originally developed as a type of Chinese martial art and a moving meditation, with a focus on attention, breath and mindful movement. The practice is thought to unlock the Chinese concept of qi, the energy force that flows through the body, and encourage proper flow.
Studies have found that Tai Chi can help improve quality of life for breast cancer patients, maintain bone density, reduce pain for patients with severe osteoarthritis in the knee, promote heart health, reduce hypertension and more.
“A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for tai chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age,” Peter M. Wayne, Harvard Medical School professor and director of the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard, said.
According to practitioners of this ancient Japanese art, the power of touch is able to heal a variety of different physical ailments and relieve stress. In a Reiki session, the practitioner places his or her hands over various parts of the patient’s body, with the goal of directing and stimulating the flow of “life force energy.”
“Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing,” according to the International Center For Reiki Healing.
Research on Reiki’s benefits have revealed that Reiki may be helpful in reducing anxiety, stress, and pain, improving symptoms of fatigue and depression, and boosting well-being. The technique has started to become more accepted in the West, and is increasingly used as part of an overall emotional care plan in disease treatment in U.S. hospitals.
As the popularity of meditation and yoga have risen in the U.S., so has interest in Ayurveda, the 5,000-plus-year-old Indian “science of life” that deals with healing through food, lifestyle and herbal supplements. The theory goes that Ayurveda can help heal imbalances in the body’s doshas — the three basic energy types — which include pitta (the principle of transformation), vata (the energy of motion), and kapha (the principle of growth).
Practitioners of Ayurveda believe that each person has some vata, pitta and kapha in them, but that one or two is typically dominant, “Many things can disturb the energy balance, such as stress, an unhealthy diet, the weather, and strained family relationships. The disturbance shows up as disease. Ayurvedic practitioners prescribe treatments to bring the doshas back into balance.”, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. Research has looked at the effectiveness of Ayurvedic programs in the treatment of depression, anxiety, hypertension, Alzheimer’s and other medical conditions.