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 Anxiety  Holistic-online.com
 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies are helpful both for relieving the anxiety of OCD and for diminishing the compulsions themselves.

Acupressure

The combination of Liver 3, Pericardium 6, Spleen 6, and Stomach 36 helps to relax and strengthen the nervous system.

See Also:

Acupressure for Anxiety Disorders

Acupressure for Stress Management

Acupressure Infocenter in holisticonline.com

Aromatherapy

Take the following extracts twice per day on brown sugar tablets until condition improves and the patient is relaxed.

Lavender 4% 
Rosemary 4% 
Valerian 12%

Aromatherapy baths made with essential oil of chamomile can help you to relax.

Lavender, orange, and rose oils are simultaneously uplifting, calming, and centering.

Use any or all of these oils as inhalants, diffuse them into the air, or use them in baths or massage oil. 

See Also: 

Aromatherapy for Anxiety Disorders

Aromatherapy infocenter in holisticonline.com

Aromatherapy for stress management

Autosuggestion

Affirmations are helpful in treating OCD sufferers. If the patient is too depressed or is unwilling to repeat the affirmations by himself or herself, record them on a tape recorder cassette. Then listen to this cassette twice per day, twenty minutes each morning and evening. The affirmations are:

bulletFrom day to day I am better and healthier in every way.
bulletI love myself unconditionally--for myself.
bulletI am in full control of my body, mind, and spirit.
bulletFrom day to day I am stronger and happier in every way.
bulletI release the past. I am living peaceful and secure.
bulletI can express myself freely and peacefully.
bulletI relax into the flow of life and let life flow through me with ease.
bulletI feel tolerance and compassion and love for all people and myself.
bulletFrom day to day I fulfill myself in every way.
bulletFrom day to day all my personal problems dissolve until they disappear.

Also the following personal affirmation twenty times.

bulletI have all I need.
bulletMy needs are secured, and all I need is secured.

Bach Flower Remedies

White Chestnut is helpful if you are troubled by obsessive thinking and repetitive thoughts that seem to go around and around in your head long after they should have been forgotten. Use it as directed on the product label.

See Also:

Bach Flower Remedies for Anxiety Disorders

Bach Flower Remedies for Stress Management

Biofeedback

Obsession and compulsion are often the mind's way of controlling such feelings as anxiety, anger, or sadness. OCD can be reduced by helping the brain reduce the intensity of these feelings. Studies have shown that EEG (brain-wave) biofeedback (also known as neurotherapy) is a good tool for reducing the intensity of unwanted feelings. Between 30 and 60 EEG-biofeedback training sessions are needed to treat OCD effectively, but the sessions may bring about permanent change, and this technique has the advantage of giving patients control over their treatment.

See Also: 

Biofeedback for Anxiety Disorders

Biofeedback for Stress Management

Biofeedback Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

Color Therapy

Radiate the following colors one after the other, twice per day:

Blue for thirty minutes
Green for ten minutes
Yellow for ten minutes

See Also: 

Color Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Color Therapy for Stress Management

Color Therapy Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

Diet Therapy

Maintaining a stable blood-sugar level is very important. Avoid refined sugar (and anything that contains it) and stimulants such as caffeine, which cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar.

Consider the possibility that food allergies may be aggravating symptoms. Use an Elimination Diet to uncover possible sensitivities.

See Also:

Nutrition and Diet Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Diet Therapy for Stress Management

Nutrition Infocenter in holisticonline.com

Exercise

Exercises of all kinds, particularly those such as yoga that stretch and flex many of the body's muscles, relieves anxiety and reduces the urgency of compulsions.

See Also:

Exercise for Anxiety Disorders

Exercise for Stress Management

Herbal Medicine

Bupleurum and dong quai combination is a Chinese herbal combination that restores the blood, strengthens the spleen, and helps to regulate the liver. In Chinese medicine, obsessive- compulsive disorder is due to liver stagnation and a weak spleen. Take 300 to 500 milligrams three times daily.

Oat straw is high in silica and aids in the utilization of calcium. Take 500 milligrams twice a day.

St. John's wort has shown some usefulness in mild cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Select a standardized extract containing 0.3 percent hypericin and take 300 milligrams two or three times daily.

See Also:

Herbal Medicine for Anxiety Disorders

Herbal Medicine for Stress Management

Herbal Medicine Infocenter in holisticonline.com

Homeopathy

Homeopathic practitioners have specific prescriptions for OCD, which can be tailored to the individual. Among the remedies that may be used by an experienced homeopath are:

bulletArsenicum album
bulletHyoscyamus
bulletMedorrhinum
bullet Nux vornica and 
bulletPulsatilia

See Also: 

Homeopathy for Anxiety Disorders

Homeopathy for Stress Management

Homeopathy Infocenter in holisticonline.com

Massage

Massage is useful for reducing the physical rigidity in the neck, shoulders, and back that many OCD patients suffer. By loosening the musculature, massage relieves anxiety and reduces the urgency of compulsions.

See Also: 

Massage Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Massage Therapy for Stress Management

Massage Therapy Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

Mind/Body Medicine

Many mind/body practices may help relieve the anxiety associated with OCD. Meditation and other relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, t'ai chi, and qigong all may be helpful. Find one or two you prefer and use them daily.

Since anxiety is almost always accompanied by shallow breathing, deep-breathing exercises are very helpful.  Alternate nostril breathing, which specifically is thought to stimulate different areas of the brain, is also good for relieving anxiety.

See Also: Mind/Body Medicine for Anxiety Disorders

Nutritional Supplements

Calcium and magnesium help to strengthen the nervous system. Take 600 milligrams of calcium and 300 milligrams of magnesium twice a day.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid that acts as a calming neurotransmitter in the brain. Taking 500 milligrams one hour before bedtime improves sleep and helps to restore the nervous system.

Taurine is another amino acid that assists in improving brain function and reducing anxiety. Take 500 milligrams two or three times daily, between or before meals.

The B vitamins are essential for a properly functioning ,nervous system. Take a B-complex supplement containing 50 to 100 of each of the major B vitamins three times daily.

See Also:

Vitamin and Supplements for Anxiety Disorders

Vitamin and Supplements for Stress Management

Vitamin Infocenter in holisticonline.com

Prayer and Spirituality

For many people, the compulsions and the anxiety of OCD originate from their worry that they have broken some law; or they have sinned; or that they need to be punished for their transgression. The frequent rituals they do like washing the hand etc. is the manifestation of their efforts to provide restitution. Catholics call this scrupulosity. (Scrupulosity signifies "habitual and unreasonable hesitation or doubt, coupled with anxiety of the mind, in connection with the making of moral judgments.") The definition of scrupulosity is very similar to the definition of OCD as provided in DSM III of American Psychiatric Association.

Very often the "so called sin" the person believed to have been committed could be quite trivial. For example, Ignatius Loyola ( 1522 to 1523) wrote about the sin committed thus:

After I have trodden upon a cross formed by two straws, or after I have thought, said or done some other thing, there comes to me from "without" a thought that I have sinned, and on the other hand it seems to me that I have not sinned; nevertheless I feel some uneasiness on the subject, in as much as I doubt yet do not doubt.

Little is known about other faiths and OCD. In India, Hindus conduct ceremonies of expiatory rites that relieved the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive like subjects. 

Judith L. Rapoport, MD in the book "The boy who couldn't stop washing - The experience and treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder," described the case of a boy named Daniel, an obsessive- compulsive patient, whose obsessions were finally healed when a rabbi provided important help as a religious figure. Daniel's remarkable story included a formal religious ceremony that enabled him to annul his vows. This step was pivotal for Daniel. Judaism provides a method of annulling a vow which, due to circumstances beyond the control of the individual, could not be fulfilled. 

To Freud, obsessions and compulsions were private and often idiosyncratic. On the other hand, religious rites were public and more uniform. In that sense, OCD could be seen as a travesty of religious practice. Freud saw both religious ceremonials and obsessive-compulsive rites as protections against fear, as affirmations of belief. In one, a public, common belief; in the other, a private fear or wish. The important theme was the symbolic expression common to both. 

Ritual means safety, purification, and order. Ritual washing affirms integrity and acceptance. Thus religious leaders such as rabbis, priests, etc. can play a key role in the healing of OCD, by annulling the oaths, making sure that the patient know that God is a loving God and he won't make you accountable to some vows the patient made under unique circumstances that cannot be kept. This discharging of the oaths and the ceremonials rites such as washing away of the sins and oaths can go a long way to the healing process.

See Also:

Prayer/Spirituality for Anxiety Disorders

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety With Prayer and Spirituality

Keys to Overcoming Worry and Anxiety by Spirituality

Healing Words: Bible Verses Useful in Warding off Anxiety

Prayer and Spirituality to Manage Stress

Prayer/Spirituality Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

 

Reflexology

Use a two-part session for your hands or feet. On one day, work the solar plexus, diaphragm, chest, lung, shoulder, arm, neck, heart, pancreas and thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal gland reflex points as well as all of the points on the tops and bottoms of the toes, paying special attention to the brain and pituitary gland. Also work the hypothalamus points on the feet. The next day, switch to the shoulder/arm, neck and throat points. Also work the breast/chest and thymus points on the feet.

See Also: 

Reflexology for Anxiety Disorders

Reflexology for Stress Management

Schuessler Tissue Salts

For obsessive-compulsiveness, take twice daily, ten tablets each:

Ferrum phosphorica 30X 
Kali phosphorica 200X

Yoga

Yoga can be very effective in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. Use yoga postures along with breathing techniques.

Khalsa and co-workers from the University of California, San Diego had been studying the effectiveness of Kundalini yoga on treating OCD. They have used Kundalini yoga system taught by Yogi Bhajan.

The yoga included eight primary techniques (including a yogic breathing technique for treating OCD) and three nonmandatory techniques. The specific yogic technique for treating OCD required blocking the right nostril (a thumb tip or secure plug can be used), with slow deep inspiration through the left nostril, breath retention, and slow complete expiration through the left nostril, followed by a long breath-holding out period. This pattern is continued for a maximum of 31 minutes. The patient is instructed to make every effort to maximize the four phases of the breath cycle until the complete breath cycle equals 1 minute, with the four respective phases each lasting 15 seconds, thus perfecting the technique.  It required approximately 1 hour to complete. The patients were asked to do it for 1 hour daily.

This yoga system was claimed to be developed specifically for OCD. It is one of many meditation techniques in the Kundalini Yoga system taught by Yogi Bhajan that are claimed to be useful for treating specific psychiatric disorders. Some of the other techniques in this protocol are also claimed to be useful for treating anxiety disorders, as well as anger and fear.

Yogis have long claimed that specific breathing techniques can be used to influence a specific part of the brain. Breathing through the left nostril is suggested to stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain. And yogis suggested that right hemisphere controls various psychiatric functions. 

Modern studies evaluating subjects on the basis of electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography (MEG), cognitive performance, and mood all demonstrated that left-nostril breathing techniques selectively stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain. Other studies identified right- hemispheric abnormalities with OCD, suggesting that the efficacy of this yogic technique may be due to a related effect and as claimed by the ancient yogis! Other researchers (based on clinical evaluation using MEG) have suggested that a strong effect on the frontal and prefrontal right hemisphere may help to compensate for the OCD related defect. 

In a 1996 article published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, Khalsa and co-workers from the University of California, San Diego described results from clinical trials they have conducted to determine the efficacy of yogic techniques in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. A small uncontrolled trial was employed to demonstrate that kundalini yoga techniques are successful in improving OCD symptoms. Five of eight patients completed a 12-month investigation, showing a mean improvement of 54% in their OCD. In these five participants, OCD was previously stabilized with fluoxetine for more than 3 months prior to the start of the study. Of the five, three were completely free of medication for at least 5 months prior to study end, and the need for medication in the remaining two was significantly reduced. One year later, four of the five patients had remained off medication for periods ranging between 9 and 19 months, with lasting improvement. 

Encouraged with the results, Khalsa and coworkers devised a clinical trial to verify the results. The results were reported in an article published in the December 1999 issue of CNS Spectrums. They have compared the efficacy of two meditation protocols for treating patients with OCD. Patients were randomized to two groups-matched for sex, age, and medication status-and blinded to the comparison protocol. The study was conducted at Children's Hospital, San Diego, California. Group 1 included 11 adults and 1 adolescent. They performed a kundalini yoga meditation protocol. Group 2 included 10 adults and they used the Relaxation Response plus Mindfulness Meditation technique. Seven adults in each group completed 3 months of therapy. At 3 months, Group 1 demonstrated greater improvements in OCD. They had significantly improved on all six scales used by the investigators. Group 2 had no improvements. Both groups performed Kundalini yoga for an additional year. At 15 months, the combined group improved from 71% to 23% depending on the scale used to measure the OCD. The researchers concluded that kundalini yoga techniques are effective in the treatment of OCD.

See Also:

Yoga for Anxiety Disorders

Yoga for Stress Management

Yoga Infocenter in holisticonline.com

See Also: Alternative Therapies for Anxiety Disorders

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