Additional therapies for mental health
Many people have found additional therapies (which can be used alongside traditional medicine) very helpful, particularly in reducing stress levels. Examples are acupuncture, aromatherapy and reflexology.
It is widely thought that these therapies can provide a sense of relaxation and increased wellbeing which can contribute positively to a person’s mental health. Always consult your doctor first to make sure that any therapy you wish to use is appropriate for your health status.
Research has shown that:
• Massage can reduce levels of anxiety, stress and depression in some people.
• Reflexology can aid relaxation, relieve stress and restore energy.
• Transcendental Meditation, hypnotherapy, yoga, exercise, relaxation, massage and aromatherapy have some effect in reducing stress, tension and anxiety and in alleviating mental distress.
Relaxation can help reduce tension, stress and anxiety. Most relaxation techniques involve deep breathing and awareness of muscle tension; and gradually allowing any tension to escape. Relaxation is a skill and needs to be practised. There are guided relaxation tapes that are available, and people do find these useful. Experiencing this deep state of relaxation even for a short time can often give people a sense of wellbeing.
Reflexology originated in China thousands years ago and has since been used by many cultures throughout history. It uses pressure on points in the feet and hands which correspond to all parts of the body. Reflexology produces a profound sense of relaxation, significantly reducing stress and tension.
Aromatherapy is the direct application of diluted essential oils, mainly through massage. Aromatherapy helps to enhance wellbeing and also relieves stress.
Massage involves soothing manipulation and kneading of the body’s muscles and joints and is widely recognised as an effective way to induce deep relaxation; especially when administered by an expert.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of talking treatment that is thought to be one of the most effective treatments for anxiety or depression. It aims to help you manage your problems by changing how you think and act.
CBT encourages you to talk about:
• how you think about yourself, the world and other people
• how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings
By talking about these things, CBT can help you to change how you think (‘cognitive’) and what you do (‘behaviour’), which can help you feel better about life.
For more information see the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ information on CBT
You should always consult your doctor or haemophilia centre before you start taking any herbal remedies, vitamins or over the counter medication. Even medicines considered as 'complementary' can contain active potent ingredients that can interfere with other medication, so it is important to seek the appropriate advice first. It should also be noted that whilst the Internet can be a valuable and convenient source of information, it should not be used as a substitute for speaking to a medical expert.