With the explosion of research into illness, healing, and other forms of help, a huge number of therapies have been developed. Some of them are ancient, such as mindfulness from the Buddhist tradition, which after research has been revamped and accepted by the medical profession. Some are old, such as certain forms of psychiatry, which have recently been superseded by newer forms based on modern research. Others are new.

Hypnosis counts as one of the older ones, and many people suspect that it is an ancient tool. How it works has been poorly understood, although a lot of research is being done on it. For example, MRI scans have shown that certain changes happen in the brain while hypnotised.

NLP, or neuro-linguistic programming, was developed over a period of time in the early and late 1900’s, and continues to be refined. The name is a fancy of way saying, “fix up the thoughts and behaviours in your brain,” and borrows tools from a number of different disciplines. Other disciplines, in turn, borrow tools from NLP. NLP has helped to mix and merge (in a good way) aspects of different therapies and tools.

EFT, or emotional freedom technique, was developed as a refinement of TFT, or thought-field therapy, which was added as a tool to NLP.

CBT, or cognitive behavioural therapy, is a popular talking therapy used by medical professionals.

There are too many different therapies to name them all, and some of them are amalgamations of others. They include everything from activities not normally associated with therapy, although they can be therapeutic, such as a spa, to medical interventions such as psychiatry including medication.

Spa, meditation

Just some of the therapies and other therapeutic activities that you could look at include spas, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, Reiki, craniosacral therapy, family systemic constellations, hypnotherapy, NLP, massage therapy, CBT, EFT or TFT, matrix imprinting, counselling, clinical psychology, aromatherapy, psychiatry, tai chi, and many more. Life coaching, which isn’t a therapy but can be therapeutic, can also be helpful.

Some of these have solid research behind them, and some of them work (probably) only through placebo. (Placebo is a powerful effect in its own right. Once much maligned, it is now the subject of solid research.)

It’s important to bear in mind two things:

  • First, that each therapy has its area of speciality. A spa will deeply relax you, but probably won’t fix a phobia.
  • Second, that there is no such thing as a therapy that works for everyone. Even the most common and researched tablets that GPs hand out will sometimes not work.

For example, some people find that meditation helps them gain control over their thoughts and emotions, while others might find that meditation just makes them agitated.

The important thing is to see what your doctor can offer, and to experiment with other therapies and activities to find which ones work for you. Please don’t experiment with medicines (including recreational drugs, medical herbs, supplements, etc.) — instead, listen to the advice from your GP or pharmacist to find what is healthy and safe for you.