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Six Low- or No-Cost Alternative Therapies to Calm Mind & Body

Feeling overwhelmed and disconnected from a world of perpetual stress and digital overstimulation? It may be time to rediscover your rootedness through the intimacy of alternative mind-body therapies. Immerse yourself in the calming vibrations of sound baths; Explore the subtle chills and tingles of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR); and Bask in the scented serenity of aromatherapy.

More than just the latest wellness trends, these holistic practices tap into our primal need for multi-sensory connection. Requiring little more than mindful presence, they offer refreshing oases of affordable self-care anyone can sample.

Let’s explore further:

1. Sound Baths

Lie back, close your eyes, and allow the resonating vibrations of crystal singing bowls, gongs and chimes wash over you during a sound bath. As the rich tones envelop your body, you may feel your blood pressure lower, stress hormones reduce, and a profound state of meditation arise. Although you can find a great sound bath on You Tube, experiencing one in person will help you connect with various sound frequencies and vibrations. It’s also a great time to meet others seeking the same healing therapy.

“Sound has a profound impact on our nervous system, with certain frequencies and rhythms having the power to induce a relaxation response,” says Dr. Ryan C. Warner, clinical psychologist and founder of RC Warner Consulting. “For clients struggling with anxiety or chronic stress, incorporating sound-based practices into their daily routine can be incredibly beneficial in fostering a sense of calm and equilibrium.”

Across the U.S., sound baths are free if experiencing them on video or podcast. In person sessions range from about $20-$50.

2. Grounding/Earthing

As part of a morning or afternoon routine, step outside onto a grassy patch, kick off your shoes and wiggle your bare toes into the cool earth beneath you. Breathe deeply as your body discharges built-up positive electrons and soaks up the grounding, revitalizing negative ions and energy from Mother Nature. Grounding, or earthing, has been found to reduce inflammation, improve sleep, and normalize the body's biological rhythms.

“There is a natural sense of calm that spreads through me when I walk barefoot in the grass,” says Radha Metro-Midkiff, Executive Director for the Integral Yoga Institute New York. “I used to think it was just about ‘communing’ with nature, but now science is showing that grounding can have an actual effect on your nervous system, circulation, inflammatory response and more.”

Grounding only requires natural dirt or grass that you feel comfortable walking or laying in. That’s 100 percent free. You can also find grounding materials such as mats and shoes online, ranging from $50 or more. Those, however, are not needed for the experience.

3. Green Space Therapy

This is also known as the Japanese practice of "Shinrin-yoku" which allows you to mindfully reconnect with nature in its purest form. Find a local forest preserve, and commit to a slow, mindful walk along the wooded trails. Breathe deeply to take in the rich, grounding scents of soil, grass and vegetation. Run your fingers along the sturdy, reassuring bark of ancient trees towering overhead. Listen to the whispers of leaves rustling in the breeze. As you immerse yourself in this tranquil refuge, feel the anxiety melt away. Spending time in nature has been linked to reduced stress, improved mood, and increased cognitive function.

The cost of spending time in a natural, serene setting is free.


Put in your headphones and cue up an ASMR video to experience the tingling, euphoric chills of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. As you tune into the soft whispers, paper crinkles and gentle tapping sounds, you may feel a pleasant, calming wave of endorphins wash over you. If you enjoy personal touch and connection, seek out an AMSRtist near you who combines ASMR with other therapies like scalp massage or gentle face brushing.

“All true ASMR-inducing sounds are created by humans, whereas other relaxing sounds are not created by humans (ie, nature sounds, binaural beats, and white noise),” says Dr. Craig Richard, author of the book Brain Tingles and founder of ASMR University. “The benefit of ASMR-induced relaxation compared to other relaxation techniques is that it is probably more likely to stimulate the release of the neurohormone oxytocin and result in a deeper and different form of relaxation.”

You can find ASMR podcasts by searching for “ASMR” in any podcast player, or by searching for specific podcasts such as the “Sleep Whispers” or “Calm History” podcasts. All these are free.

5. Aromatherapy

Transform your daily shower into a spa-like experience with a eucalyptus sprig hung from your shower head. As the steam rises, the invigorating scent of eucalyptus fills the air, clearing congestion and refreshing your senses. Meanwhile, brewing a cup of herbal tea infused with your favorite herb or mint leaves offers a soothing elixir to unwind and revitalize. You can also enjoy the soothing floral notes of lavender or the bright, citrusy aroma of bergamot wafting from an essential oil diffuser. Certain essential oils, such as lavender and bergamot, have been found to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.

A eucalyptus sprig and the herbal tea can be enjoyed at little to no cost. The cost of aromatherapy can vary. On average, a 10 ml bottle of essential oil typically ranges from $5 to $20. Diffusers, which are commonly used to disperse essential oils into the air, can range from $20 to $100 USD or more, depending on features and brand.

6. Red Light Therapy

In spas, red light therapy is utilized as a non-invasive treatment aimed at enhancing skin health and overall well-being. It's commonly incorporated into skincare regimens to promote collagen production, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and address acne concerns. Red light therapy sessions offer clients a relaxing experience, helping to alleviate stress and promote a sense of calm.

The price of red light therapy can vary depending on factors such as the type of device used, the duration of treatment, and whether sessions are conducted at home or in a professional setting. For at-home devices, such as LED light therapy masks or panels, prices typically start at $50. Professional red light therapy sessions at spas or clinics may cost anywhere from $25 to $100 per session.

Whether you want to de-stress, boost your mood, facilitate meditation or just treat yourself to an indulgent multi-sensory journey, consider giving one of these unique alternative therapies a try. Medical Disclaimer: As with any new treatment or therapy, always consult with your doctor before use.

About the author

MIXEDGREENSFORTHESOUL.COM is a wellness company offering products and services to enhance your self-care journey. We offer an online class to help you create your own self-care plan, as well as guided journals. FREE resources include challenges, recipes, blogs, videos, and podcasts.