Going natural in alleviating mental illness

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Michaela Roman

A student meditates on open grass at Centennial Plaza.

Julia Hettiger, Staff Reporter

There are many natural ways to cure and treat mental illness, such as meditation, dieting and the use of acupuncture and special herbs.

Meditation is the act of training the mind to achieve different modes of consciousness to realize a benefit or to find contentedness without attributing it to a particular object or person. Meditation has been used to relieve stress, find inner peace and alleviate illnesses.

The Healing Center of El Paso offers private meditation sessions based on scheduled appointments. The goal of these sessions is to help participants become content with their surroundings and situations and overcome any mental illnesses they may be facing.

Shanti Bhum, a meditator and healer, said meditation may help to change lives drastically.

“When you are meditating, you pay attention to your breathing and your body, and you allow your conscience to enter your body,” Bhum said.

There is a wide range of meditation types, and depending on which is chosen, it can help alleviate anything from stress to insomnia.

“Every type of meditation is different,” Bhum said. “It’s like a recipe; the flavor depends on the different ingredients you add to the mix.”

Meditation can also be used to analyze an emotion, state of being or illness, and it is one of the many natural to diminish mental and physical issues.

Marina Flores, senior organizational and corporate communication major, said she always tries to use natural ways to alleviate stress and other mental issues such as anxiety.

“Although many believe natural remedies are only effective in giving a placebo effect, I believe that natural methods are effective in preventing many mental issues,” Flores said.

Flores began meditating a year and a half ago, and she attributes many positive life changes to it.

“Sometimes when my life feels turbulent or out of control, it’s best to go inside myself,” Flores said. “I now have this overwhelming peace in my life, I may not live a perfect life, but I know who I am and I know that a positive outlook makes all the difference.”

There are multiple videos online that can help guide beginners through the process.

“I would advise anyone who has not tried meditation to take 10 minutes and look up guided meditation on YouTube,” Flores said. “You don’t have to do it every day, but a few times a week will make all the difference.”

Another alternative way to alleviate mental illness is by eating healthy and choosing different diets to help alleviate certain problems. Dieting can have a tremendous impact on mental health.

Monica Saldivar, senior pre-nursing major, believes diet is important and has been a vegetarian for nine years.

“If you’re not eating healthy, you probably won’t feel great,” Saldivar said.

Acupuncture and the use of special herbs have also been used to treat neurological disorders, addictions, depression and anxiety.

Acupuncture and natural medicine may help neck and shoulder pain, neurological issues such as dizziness and vertigo and offer anxiety and stress relief.

“Acupuncture works on the whole person, and it doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not,” said Adrianne Ortega, an acupuncturist. “It taps into the body’s natural resources for the mind and body to heal itself naturally.”

Acupuncture is based on the idea that Qi, a fundamental energy needed for life and health, circulates throughout channels in the body. Acupuncture accesses these channels to release Qi throughout the body whenever there is a buildup or absence in the body.

“Acupuncture reduces cortisol, the hormone that causes stress, levels, resets the fight or flight response and helps the body to be more grounded,” Ortega said.

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]