Getting Relief From Tinnitus May Be Mind Over Matter

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Other mind-body interventions include biofeedback, deep breathing, tai chi, guided imagery, relaxation, prayer and writing in a journal. These are all techniques that help relieve stress and bring about healing.

"Most people find that these are skills," said Dr. Lawrence Taw, assistant clinical professor at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, part of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "They require practice, and people feel that when they practice, they can apply these skills on their own when they experience warning signs."

The purpose of these mind-body therapies is to help the body to relax.

"These stress management techniques can shut off the stress response and thus minimize the negative effects on the body that come with it," Taw said.

Experts say more and more people are embracing these and other alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, massage and herbal medicines.

"There are many reasons they are becoming more popular," Taw said. "People find they can't tolerate medication or they tried conventional treatments and they didn't help, or they may have introduced another problem."

Many people consider nontraditional therapies safer and more effective as well.

Gans, who led the study on using a mind-based strategies to help with tinnitus, said although data are preliminary, numerous participants have found relief from a condition that is difficult to treat.

"Doctors don't always know what causes it, and there's no cure for it," she said. "With this intervention, people can learn to notice the noise and let go of it and end their suffering."

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