Panic attacks are characterised by a sudden intense rush of physical and emotional symptoms, which tend to be triggered by a stressful event. Around one in 10 people have the occasional panic attack, but for some they are a regular occurrence and can cause a lot of stress and unhappiness.
Learning to manage anxiety is crucial to ensuring panic attacks do not take over your life. While medication and counselling are conventional methods of treatment, more people are turning to alternative therapies such as aromatherapy, herbalism and massage to help them cope with panic attacks and feel more at ease.
Aromatherapy oils have been used for thousands of years to help combat anxiety. Lavender in particular is very calming, and when inhaled directly can provide instant relief when feelings of panic strike. Smelling familiar scents that remind you of happy times can have the same effect, such as your mum’s perfume, or baby powder. For a relaxing treatment, aromatherapy massage combines the benefits of two complementary therapies in one.
In between panic attacks, practising yoga or pilates can really help to relax the body and free the mind from the build-up of anxiety. Many people who suffer frequent panic attacks will spend a lot of time worrying about when the next one will strike, but the breathing and stretching techniques of body work can help to ease this concern.
A professional herbalist will be able to recommend herbs that can help to soothe anxiety and aid better sleep – a rested body is better able to deal with emotional situations that can trigger panic attacks. You can also try drinking special teas such as Valerian tea or lemon balm tea to make you feel calmer.
Massage therapy is considered highly effective for combatting stress and anxiety, as it eases the tightness in the muscles that become tense when feelings of anxiety arise. You can try your own massage techniques, but seeing a massage therapist will ensure you get the right treatment for your specific needs.