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Holistic therapy addresses the mind, body, and spirit to support the health and healing of children. Peer-reviewed research suggests that holistic therapy can help improve overall mental well-being and may offer benefits for:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • stress
  • cognitive function
  • family communication
  • addiction
  • trauma
  • chronic pain

Different Types of Holistic Therapy

Holistic therapy generally includes complementary therapies that are tailored to a child’s specific needs and goals. After an initial assessment, a holistic therapist will create a treatment plan in collaboration with the client. This treatment plan might use a variety of holistic approaches to enhance the mind–body–spirit connection and improve wellbeing.

Some types of holistic therapies include the following:

Breathwork

Breathwork can help regulate the nervous system, increase lung capacity, decrease anxiety, and improve sleep.

Hypnosis

Hypnosis is also known as hypnotherapy and involves an altered state of awareness and an increase in relaxation and focus. It can help with anxiety, behaviour change, and managing chronic pain.

Body work (acupuncture and massage)

Acupuncture and massage are forms of “body work” that can promote mental, emotional, and physical health. Acupuncture involves inserting tiny needles into specific trigger points of the body, which can help with pain, anxiety, and depression.

Massage uses a mixture of light and heavy pressure to release physical pain, tightness, and discomfort.

Reiki

Reiki is a form of energy healing rooted in Japanese tradition. The client lies on a table or grounding mat, and the practitioner may place their hands gently on, above, or around their body in order to release energy that can get “stuck” during stressful times or traumatic events.

Expressive therapies

Expressive therapies use creative activities to help clients share and process emotions that can be difficult to put into words.

Expressive arts therapy may use a mix of different techniques or select one form depending on the child’s needs and goals. Forms of expressive therapy include music therapy, dance therapy, art therapy, and drama therapy.

Yoga therapy

While the practice of yoga dates back over 3,000 years in Eastern cultures, it has more recently been used as a therapeutic treatment in the West to improve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.

Research has consistently demonstrated that yoga and yoga therapy can decrease stress, improve sleep, alleviate depressive symptoms, improve physical health, and assist in the treatment of trauma.

Recreational therapy

Recreational and leisure activities have consistently been found to promote positive emotions, provide a buffer against stress, and promote general mental and emotional wellbeing.

Recreational therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, uses creative activities such as crafts, sports, dance, music, and community outings to treat a variety of illnesses and disabilities.

Below there are two areas Just4Children does not support

Herbal and vitamin supplements

Claims are made that specific herbal and vitamin supplements can help children with cancer for example. However, they are usually expensive, are not proven to help and may even be dangerous.

Some herbs, vitamins and other plant products can interfere with the medicines your child is taking so they can become less effective or increase the risk of bleeding or side effects. Supplements are only needed if your child has a known deficiency (for example, vitamin D) when they will be prescribed. Your child’s doctor will want to know more about a particular herbal remedy before agreeing your child can take it to ensure it isn’t harmful.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is the use of highly diluted plant and mineral extracts. There is no scientific evidence that homeopathy works and current NHS clinical guidelines do not recommend it is used for any health condition.

Nutritional therapists believe that diet influences the body to maintain balance, promote health and protect against disease. Often, the suggested supplements are herbal-based which may cause problems for a child.

However, there is no medical evidence such diets can help children with and some can even interfere with medical treatment.

Eating well is essential for children undergoing treatment for cancer to make sure they maintain a balanced diet and do not miss out on important nutrients or calories. It is important to talk to your child’s doctor before starting your child on a new diet or nutrition plan so they can advise on any likely effects it may have on your child’s medical treatment.

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