Mind Therapies

Blue makes me sleepy, and green makes me laugh

The physical effects of a negative state of mind are undeniable. The link between stress and high blood pressure, for example, is well established. So if a certain massage therapy makes you feel good then, in a sense, it is good. But surely this logic has its limits. For example, imagine if you suffered from anxiety attacks and someone gave you a sugar pill, telling you it was a tranquilizer. You took the pill and became calm. Would that mean sugar pills are an anti-anxiety medication?

No, of course not. It was just an effective mind over body experience.

Virtually every one of these complementary therapies has been surrounded by some controversy. For instance, most of the mind "therapies" you'll find here don't work on skeptics. That's because you have to truly believe in the power of a therapy for it to work.

Brennan healing, chakra balancing, energy healing, integrated energy therapy, *jin shin jyutsu[/massage-techniques/jshin-acupressure.aspx], moxibustion and body-mind centering all require you to believe in mysterious energy forces that can be harnessed by energy healers through gentle touch or other mystical healing techniques. Do they work? Well, that's up to you.

Feng shui, more of a type of interior decorating than a therapy, has gotten a surprising amount of play in popular culture. Color therapy holds that the body can be balanced through exposure to, or mental imagery of, colors. Aboriginal healing traditions vary, of course, but unless you buy into the power of the spirit guides, you're not going to find much healing prowess there, either.

It does seem possible that listening to classical music, via sound therapy, might have an effect on your mood or the way your mind works. In addition, breathing exercises may help you learn to more effectively oxygenate your blood during moments of peak stress. And at least integrative imagery acknowledges that it relies upon the power of your imagination for its effect.

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