Features Health Special Issue

From electrical currents to essential oils, students share tips for natural healing

To alleviate stress and relax, sophomore screen acting major Deanna Faour doesn’t turn to traditional methods. Instead, she scans her body with a biofeedback machine.

This measures the “electrical impedance,” or the reaction of the bodily organs to alternating electrical currents, she said.

“From there, I know what my body needs, and sometimes what it needs is a lot simpler and more natural than medication,” said Faour, a sophomore screen acting major.

Faour is one of many students at Chapman who have turned to alternative forms of medicine to cure their ailments. There has been a 17 percent increase in 12- to 20-year-olds who use alternative medicines – such as peppermint tea, essential oils and naturopathy, which focuses on natural and holistic healing procedures, according to a 2016 medical journal.

“Some products I consume that aren’t medication actually have an effect on the way I feel emotionally and mentally, beyond just physically,” Faour said. “I really think that’s an approach more people should take to medicine and to getting a healthy lifestyle.”

Faour sees a naturopathic doctor to help with her stress, but sophomore business administration major Kelsey Adams uses natural medicine.

“Because of my gluten intolerance, I do a lot with ‘natural medicine,’ you could say, to help myself out,” Adams said. “When I eat gluten, I mostly just have a huge digestion problem, so I have to drink a lot of tea to help settle my stomach.”

She drinks ginger tea because it helps reduce her inflammatory response to gluten, Adams said.

“I’ve also definitely done weirder things to help with my gluten intolerance,” Adams said.

“I’ve taken activated charcoal (coal, wood or other substances that have been exposed to high temperatures), after eating something with gluten, which I read you’re supposed to do.”

Adams, though a self-proclaimed advocate for natural medicine, is still skeptical of the actual legitimacy of her homeopathic remedies.

“I think (taking activated charcoal) worked decently, but since I don’t have a full-blown allergy and I don’t get internal damage from eating gluten, I can’t speak about how useful doing these things actually is,” she said.

However, Faour believes natural medicine is a better alternative source for most people’s health and well-being.

“(Naturopathy) really can help for everything, but since I have an abundance of stress, that is what I get helped with, and for other people, it could be anything,” Faour said. “That’s what’s cool about naturopathy, is that it’s a way of acknowledging how mind and body are connected.”

Faour takes several supplements, like fish oil to increase omega-3’s, a natural medication called L-theanine,which is an amino acid found in green tea that activates calming neurotransmitters, and lavender oil extract to reduce stress.

L-theanine, historically used as a relaxing agent, was found as effective in aiding anxiety as standard anti-anxiety medications, like benzodiazepine anxiolytic and alprazolam, according to a 2004 medical journal.

Sophomore political science major Maddy Buss uses essential oils, like lavender and eucalyptus, to help her stress and anxiety, as well as to cure some minor physical illnesses, she said.

“I know they have the ability, sometimes, to actually cure infections, or wounds, but I’ve never used it for that,” Buss said. “I mostly use them to help me calm down. Eucalyptus and lavender oil specifically help me when I am congested or have a cough, and it’s not bad enough that I have to take medicine.”

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