Alternative therapies from Asian subcontinent

Alternative therapies from Asian subcontinent

The Asian continent is home to a number of alternative therapies such as yoga, shiatsu, ayurveda, acupuncture, reiki and Chinese medicines, etc. All these offer non-traditional treatments to cure various kinds of ailments. Asian healing techniques have fuelled the global wellness industry and some of the lesser known therapies are also making a comeback in the wellness world.

Resorts and retreats are not missing out these exotic time-tested medicines to offer a fully gratifying wellness experience. If you wish to follow any of these, you have to follow the instructions of the experts in the particular field. Each kind of therapy has its own benefits. If you are considering using one of these, you can consult your doctor and get his advice. This ensures that there will be no adverse results while following the therapy.

Given below are some of the most popular alternative therapies from various parts of Asia:

Alternative therapies from Japan

1. Shiatsu acupressure


Shiatsu is a kind of massage therapy that originated from Japan. It is quite similar to acupuncture but without the use of needles. It relies of finger pressure. The treatment also relies on the energy flow of the body called ‘Chi’. The energy is believed to pass through various channels in the body called ‘meridian.’ At time the energy may get depleted or is blocked. The treatment is meant for releasing the trapped energy to restore the natural balance. The treatment can last for about 30-90 minutes.


  1. Shiatsu massages help to enhance the circulation in the capillaries present in the skin. It improves the overall look and feel of the skin greatly.
  2. This therapy is also known to reduce the symptoms caused by arthritis. The muscles obtain nutrition thereby reducing muscular pain as well.
  3. Migraines are caused when the blood vessels in the head are widened or narrowed. The massage reduces the pain by relaxing the body and improving the circulation and blood flow throughout the body.
  4. Shiatsu is also known to reduce the pain associated with the menstrual cramps. It is used during pregnancy to help babies turn and women can deal with labor more easily.
  5. The massage helps in food digestion and getting rid of waste products.

2. Reiki


Reiki is a technique that originated in Japan. It is used for healing and stress reduction. The treatment is based on the fact that there is an unseen energy flowing through us to keep us alive. If the force of the energy is low, a person may feel sick. When the energy is high the person can be healthy and happy. The treatment is a wonderful feeling where you will experience a wonderful and glowing radiance flowing all around you and through you.


  1. Reiki helps the body to release tension and stress.
  2. It aids blood pressure and helps you to sleep well.
  3. Reiki is beneficial in cases with chronic and acute problems like eczema, asthma and migraines.
  4. It helps the body to get rid of the toxins and reduce the effects of certain drugs used for chemotherapy or surgery.
  5. Reiki enhances your immunity and vibration frequency.
  6. The aging process is postponed and also helps in emotional cleaning and spiritual growth.

Alternative therapies from China

1. Acupuncture


Acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. It dates back to thousands of years. The treatment relies on the fact that an energy ‘ qi’ flows through the body. The energy flows through pathways called ‘meridians’. A person becomes ill when the energy is blocked or gets stagnated. The treatment is done with the help of special needles that are applied to certain points to correct the energy flow and restore the equilibrium.


  1. When the treatment is done correctly it is considered to be very safe.
  2. There are no or very few side effects.
  3. It is very effective in controlling various types of pain. It is also known to be very effective when combined with other forms of treatment.
  4. Patients who do not respond to other medications can use this effectively.
  5. People who do not wish to take pain medications can use it as an alternative treatment.

2. Chinese herbal medicines

Chinese herbal medicine

Chinese herbal medicine is one of the most important aspects of traditional Chinese medicine. It is used for restoring the energy balance of the body and maintain good health instead of curing a particular malady. Various kinds of herbs are used for the treatment. Certain types are also known to prevent cancer and treat other diseases.


  1. Chinese herbal medicine is a natural and gentle way to cure body imbalance.
  2. The use of the herbs can result in lasting results when compared to acupuncture.
  3. The effectiveness of acupuncture can be enhanced with the use of this treatment.
  4. The treatment can be customized according to individual needs. The prescriptions can be easily adjusted according to the body conditions of the patient.
  5. A trained herbalist can safely combine this treatment with western medicine.

Alternative therapies from India

1. Yoga


Yoga is a special kind of treatment that can harmonize the mind, body and spirit. Yoga is more about breathing exercises, postures and meditation. These elements are becoming increasingly popular and are some of the best ways for getting rid of stress. Practicing yoga regularly can promote good health. This therapy originated in India some 26,000 years ago during the Golden Age or ‘Sat Yuga.’ Yoga refers to the union of the Cosmic Consciousness with the individual self.


  1. Yoga is known to have a lot of therapeutic and preventive properties. It provides a lot of physical and mental benefits.
  2. Yoga helps to combat several kinds of illnesses such as arthritis, headaches, anxiety, stress, asthma, blood pressure and various others.
  3. Yoga is a great stress reliever. Practicing yoga after a busy schedule can help you to remove the tension and provide relaxation.
  4. The breathing exercises and various postures can help you to increase your energy, tone muscles, improve the strength, flexibility and blood circulation.

2. Ayurvedic treatment


Ayurveda is meant for improving the overall health of the person instead on just dealing with the physical body. It believes that you can achieve a perfect body when there is psychosomatic integration. It provides you with a special physical purification technique called panchkarma and several other herbal remedies for good health. Ayurveda recognizes the human body to be a part of the nature. According to ayurveda, the three doshams are formed with the five natural elements. The balance between the doshams is very important and is responsible for the proper functioning of the body.


  1. Ayurvedic treatments are very useful for patients suffering from certain chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer a
    nd diabetes.
  2. Certain difficult diseases can be easily controlled using ayurveda.
  3. Detoxification using ayurvedic medicines can make the body respond to treatments and medicines.
  4. Ayurvedic massages are beneficial for providing a calming effect and enhancing the spiritual health.

Alternative Therapies from Bali

Traditional Balinese healing involves body massage, herbal remedies and energy work. In Balinese philosophy, humans dwell in two worlds – the sekala (the conscious world that can be seen) and the niskala (the psychic world which is unseen). To heal a patient, both these elements are addressed.

Traditional Balinese therapies may involve some weird activities from the practitioners known as Balian that may not give you a pleasant experience. It might hurt you as well. However, you need to maintain a respectful attitude and will feel better after the treatment.

Popular Therapies:

  1. Loloh: Leaves of specific herbs are crushed and mixed with water for drinking.
  2. Boreh: Crushed roots and foliages are smeared all over the body. 

Taksu Massage:

Taksu Massage

This traditional Balinese massage is passed down through generations. It features long and medium strokes applied with pressure according to your preference. Herbal oils and other ingredients are used to give the guests a complete rejuvenating experience.

Balinese Blessing:

Balinese Blessing

In Bali philosophy, treatment or therapy is not just a procedure but a journey to set all elements of our life body, mind, spirit and surroundings in a harmonious manner. Balinese blessing is a common ritual that sets the spiritual connection of the visitor by offering tribute to the sun god. This help in purging the negative energy.

Water Blessing is another ritual done in the holy water of natural springs to detoxify your mind, body and feelings. You feel yourself a transformed human being re-energized and rejuvenated.

Alternative Therapies from Thailand

Thailand’s traditional medicine dating back more than 3000 years has principles borrowed from traditional Chinese medicine, Indian Ayurveda and other indigenous healing techniques. It follows the philosophy that earth, wind, fire and water represent a specific bodily function and must be in a balanced state. Popular therapies are:

Traditional Thai Massage (TTM):

Thai Massage

Practiced by approximately 20% of the Thai population, this massage has earned world wide popularity. It is not only a part of healing but a spiritual practice for overall wellbeing.  Before starting the massage, the practitioners perform a ritual known as Wai Khru to pay tribute to Jivaka, the father of the Traditional Thai Medicine and also the personal physician of Lord Buddha.

The massages do not involve any oil or lotion. Therapists use hand, elbows, knees, forearms and even feet to flex the muscles and restore the balance in energy lines of the body.

Thai Herbal Remedies


One of the popular Thai herbal remedies is indulging in a traditional herbal steam bath. Herbs used in these baths depend on the visitors’ requirements like getting rid of congestion or treating body pains. Lemongrass, lime, turmeric, kaffir, basil, galangal and camphor are commonly used.

Several herbs are ground with a mortar and pestle and the mix is placed in a cloth bag which is put in a water tub allowing it to soak for some time. It is then massaged on the body.  In Thai herbal steam rooms, selected herbs are boiled and the steam is inhaled by the visitors. It is known to provide many benefits including improving skin health. 

Alternative Therapies from the Philippines

Alternative therapies in the Philippines have gone through an interesting evolutionary phase influenced by culture, folklore, mysticism, herbalism and western medicine. The practices differ widely from one another covering a wide spectrum of physical and mental issues. Alternative medicines of the Philippines got recognized by the Department of Health (DOH), Philippines in 1992 to promote effective and safe practices.



One of the traditional healing techniques stands as a strong pillar in Filipino culture till date. It takes a hands-on approach where the practitioner known as Manghihilot applies a combined therapy of massage, herbs, mind-body connection and above all intuition to address various issues of patients.

The intent is to heal the person not only the disease. The inherent energy combined with the strong will power of the healer facilitates healing.

Alternative therapies from Korea


Alternative therapies in Korea have a strong influence of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Herbal medicine, acupuncture and Moxibustion are common healing practices in Korean traditional medicine. While herbal medicine and acupuncture are similar to that of other traditional formats Moxibustion is something different. In this practice, heat is applied to the body with a stick or cone of burning mugwort.


Moxibustion is said to be effective in reducing pain, hypertension, constipation, ulcerative colitis and treating stroke and cancer.

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