Talk-therapy may be the best choice for some people, but not for everyone. Do you know about some of the amazing alternative options such as Eco therapy, Laughter therapy, Dance therapy, Heat therapy, and Culinary Art therapy?

In our previous article, we told you about some amazing non-traditional (aka alternative) therapy options. We discussed art therapy, sand play therapy, play therapy, aquatic therapy and animal assisted therapy. You can find the link to that article here: Play As Therapy?  . In this article, we’re going to give you five more therapy options to discuss some more interesting choices!

 

Eco Therapy (Nature Therapy)

What it is:

Eco therapy, also known as nature therapy, is therapy which involves connecting with nature. Eco therapy is also called green therapy and earth-centered therapy. Eco therapy stems from the belief that people are part of the web of life and our psyches aren’t separated from our environment.

Benefits:

In 2007, researchers at the University of Essex found a group of people who were suffering from depression. 90% of participants felt a higher level of self-esteem after a walk through a country park and about three-quarters felt less depressed. Another survey, from the same researchers, found that 94% of people with mental illness believed that contact with nature put them in a more of a positive mood.

Eco therapy also has these other benefits:
• Lifting depression
• Releasing stress and anxiety
• Stimulate the senses
• Improve sleep
• Reduce pain
• Diminish mental fatigue
• Counter isolation
• Lessen eating disorder symptoms
• Strengthen the immune system
• Enhance mental and physical recuperations from surgery
• Lessen post-traumatic stress

Access to therapy option:

Since nature surrounds us 24/7, this option is extremely accessible. However, if you are someone who needs an eco-therapist, you can check out http://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/find-a-guide.html to find an eco-therapist, or forest therapist, in your area.

How much is it:

Just being surrounded by nature isn’t necessarily associated with a cost. However, if you’re someone who needs an eco-therapist, a typical session can cost you around $250. However, the price will vary depending on the therapist and the location.

Insurance coverage:

Insurance may cover eco therapy but it’s important to check with your insurance provider. This will depend on if the therapist is licensed, your insurance plan, and if your insurance provider deems it medically necessary.

 

Laughter Therapy

What it is:

Laughter therapy, also known as humor therapy, is the usage of humor to promote your overall health and wellness. It aims to use the natural physiological of laughter to help relieve physical or emotional stress or discomfort.

Benefits:

Tons of research has been conducted on the potential therapeutic release that laughter may have. There are a ton of benefits to laughter therapy. Some of the benefits include:
• Boost in immunity
• Decrease in pain
• Prevention of heart disease
• Easing anxiety and tension
• Overall mood improvement
• Stress relief
• Strengthening of relationships
• Promotion of group bonding
• Helps to defuse conflict

Access to therapy option:

Laughter therapy has amazing access. Grab a few of your friends and tell some ridiculously funny stories or watch the silliest movie you can think of. If you are someone who might like a bit of control, you could try laughter yoga. Laughter yoga mixing laughter and yoga. To find a laughter yoga professional near you, check out https://laughteryoga.org/finder/find-ly-professionals/.

How much is it:

Laughter is free. However, if you’re interested in laughter yoga the cost will vary depending on the person giving the class and the location. An example cost is $25 for one class, $60 for 3 classes, or $35 for 2-3 people.

Insurance coverage:

The cost of laughter yoga will depend upon if the teacher is licensed, your insurance policy, insurance provider, and if its deemed medically necessary.

 

Dance Therapy:

What it is:

Dance therapy is a psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual for the purpose of improving health and well-being. Dance therapy emerged in the 1940s and has become increasingly popular since then. Dance therapy is great for just about anyone.

Benefits:

Many studies have been done to show the effects of dance therapy. Some benefits include:
• Reduction of anxiety
• Stress relief
• Increase in physical fitness and gross motor skills
• Improved confidence and self-esteem
• Encouragement of creativity and imagination
• Overall improvement in mood

Access to therapy option:
To find a dance / movement therapist in your area, check out https://adta.org/find-a-dancemovement-therapist/.

How much is it:

The cost will vary depending upon the location, therapist, and if you have an individual or group session. An example of cost is $60 – $100 for an individual one-hour session.

Insurance coverage:

Insurance coverage of this option depends on your insurance provider, insurance coverage, and if the company deems it medically necessary.

 

Heat Therapy:

What it is:

Heat therapy, also known as thermotherapy, is the usage of heat for therapeutic reasons. Heat therapy can involve the usage of saunas and hot water bottles or patches.

Benefits:
Often, heat therapy is used for those suffering from some sort of physical pain. However, there have been benefits for those with mental health issues. The usage of saunas have been studied and the benefits are as follows:
• Improvement of mood
• Reducing depression
• Reducing anxiety and stress
• Increase of endorphins and relieve of pain
• May be able to help those with ADHD
• Reduce the risk of dementia
• Reduce psychological symptoms of anorexia
• Reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue

Access to therapy option:

Since heat therapy can require different heated objects, it’s always available. Saunas can be found at gyms and you can even take warm baths or use hot water bottles.

How much is it:

If you’re interested in the sauna option, it would depend on the gym and your membership. Bubble baths are free and hot water bottles or heat patches can cost you $5 – $20.

Insurance coverage:

Believe it or not, you can try to get your insurance company to pay for your infrared sauna. This can happen if you’re doctor recommends it as part of your health care. You can learn more about that here http://www.mindshiftweightloss.com/insurance/.

 

Culinary Art Therapy:

What it is:

Culinary art therapy is a relatively new method. Culinary art therapy can be used to help those with eating disorders, depression, addiction, anxiety, autism, learning disabilities, and ADHD. Classes are led by a trained counselor or a professional chef. This method is a branch off of Natalie Rogers, Carl Rogers daughter, expressive arts therapy.

Benefits:

Due to this being a new method, there has been studies done on it. Some of the benefits are as follows:
• Reduction of stress
• Increased self-esteem
• Brain development due to usage of senses
• Improvement of social skills

Access to therapy option:

Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of access to this option. If you’re an individual who lives in Miami, FL, Michigan, or Sandy Springs, GA you won’t be able to find anything. However, it is possible that a clinic in your area that offers creative art therapies may have culinary art therapy.

How much is it:

The cost will depend on the therapist, or chef, and the location.
Insurance coverage:
Since this is a relatively new therapy option, it’s unclear if insurance coverage is provided. It’s important to check with your insurance provider.

~ Angela Tilghman

What do you think about these interesting, amazing therapy options? Do you find it worth trying? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!