Alternative Therapies to Heal Trauma


Listen to “Alternative Therapies to Heal Trauma”.

The ancient Greek word for wound is trauma. Simply defined, trauma is a deeply disturbing experience that can cause extreme stress and overwhelm the mind and body. 

Physician Gabor Maté, a trauma expert, says that with trauma, “we lose the connection to our own essence.” He suggests that trauma is less about what happens to us and more about losing connection to ourselves; feeling as though we have lost our wisdom, strength, and joy in life.

From a holistic point of view, healing from trauma means learning to come back to feeling our sense of self and the full range of our emotions and physical experiences.

Dealing with trauma and finding the right type of treatment is a very personal decision. Alternative Medicinal approaches may provide relief for patients who cannot be helped adequately by other methods. Here are some of the alternative treatments available for dealing with trauma. 

Holotropic Breathwork 

Holotropic Breathwork is a powerful approach to self-exploration and personal empowerment that relies on our innate inner wisdom and its capacity to move us toward positive transformation and wholeness.

Broken down, the word holotropic comes from the Greek holos, which means whole and trepein, which means to move toward. So, holotropic can be translated to mean moving towards wholeness.

The process itself uses straightforward means. It combines accelerated breathing with evocative music in a unique set and setting. The process involves lying on a mat with your eyes closed and using your breath and the music in the room to enter a non-ordinary state of consciousness. This state activates the natural inner healing process of the individual’s psyche, bringing the seeker a unique set of internal experiences. With the inner healing intelligence guiding the process, the quality and content brought forth are unique to each person, time and place. While recurring themes are common, no two sessions are ever alike. Despite it being an intense practice, holotropic breathing has excellent benefits for those who want to try. Since it was developed as a way for patients to deal with trauma, it’s been proven useful as a form of psychotherapy.


Ayahuasca is an Amazonian plant medicine that has been used for centuries, possibly thousands of years, by indigenous ayahuasca shamans across the upper Amazon in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. Shamanic healing techniques have been practiced within ancient wisdom traditions across the planet for many thousands of years, and we are now experiencing a renaissance in this ‘spirit assisted healthcare’ reemerging in the modern world. Shamans view illness as disharmony in a person’s life on energetic and spiritual levels. This disharmony can lead to mental, emotional, and physical illness if left unresolved.

Ayahuasca is a South American tea containing the potent psychedelic chemical (DMT), which is a human neurotransmitter. The ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) is combined with the leaves from the shrub Psychotria viridis (or other DMT containing plants) to create the tea. 

Fundamental to ayahuasca’s appeal is that, unlike western medicine, it is believed to address the true causes of illness and make no distinction between mind and body. Ayahuasca practitioners see the physical manifestation of some mental, emotional, psychological or energetic disorder.

Reports of successes are common, particularly with depression, traumas and addictions.

The word ‘ayahuasca’ translates to ‘vine of death’ or ‘vine of souls’. This powerful tea induces intense hallucinations and introspection. The entire ayahuasca experience lasts for approximately 8 hours, with the strongest effects lasting 1-3 hours. Vomiting and occasionally diarrhea, which the natives call ‘la purga’ (the purge), are considered part of the experience. This purging process is medically beneficial, as it clears the body of worms and other parasites.

Ayahuasca has exploded in popularity over the last few years, slowly making its way to the mainstream. The reason for this trend is that near the core of all of us wounded human beings, there is an emptiness we seek to fill. We fill it with an artificial self-image, with compulsions and behaviors that try to conquer the gap by gaining love, attention, value, power, meaning, etc. Once we are able to remove the false substitutes with which we seek to obliterate that aching emptiness, space opens up for who we are; for the true self that is for love, belonging, and relief. 

They call it “Vine of Death” for a reason, as near-death experiences aren’t uncommon. In his famous 2005 Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs talked on the matter in detail:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.”