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Mental training for stress reduction and emotional and attentional regulation through meditation might help reduce adverse health factors such as stress, depression, anxiety and neuroticism, sleep disorders, and cognition and mental health and well-being (Chetelat et al., 2018). Studies on the impact of meditation practice on brain and cognition in aging are scarce and have limitations, but the findings are encouraging. Results have demonstrated a positive effect of meditation training on awareness, especially on attention and memory, and on brain structure and function, primarily in frontal and limbic structures (Chetelat et al., 2018). All age groups could benefit from regular meditation, especially the elderly. There is no curative treatment for dementia, but it is now acknowledged that several lifestyle factors have an impact on brain aging and the development of dementia (Chetelat et al., 2018). Meditation is a simple lifestyle change and can be incorporated as a routine.     


What is music therapy? According to American Music Therapy Association (2020), Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional. Music therapy can help to: promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication, and promote physical rehabilitation. The limitation to this particular resource is that there may not be a music therapist in your area, especially if you live in a rural area. Populations that may benefit from this specific alternative medicine could be patients with dementia, behavioral disorders, chronic pain, cancer, developmentally disabled, emotionally disturbed, hospice/palliative, etc. Numerous populations could benefit from music therapy. 


 According to Mayo Clinic (2020), Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted treatment and other animal-assisted activities. Pet can be any animal that helps people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer, and mental health disorders. The most significant risk with pet therapy is safety and sanitation.


There are a variety of alternative methods to educate patients about to help prevent illnesses. Preventative health care informs populations, promotes healthy lifestyles, and provides early treatment for illnesses. As Advanced Practice Nurses, we can improve the health of our patients through evidence-based recommendations. For example, music therapy is an alternative method of preventative care that can benefit depression, trauma, emotions, and grief (Moore & Mary, 2020). Clinical examples demonstrate the use of art and music therapies for pain reduction with a variety of hospice patients (Masko, 2016). Music therapy has been impactful on individuals receiving hospice care with “reducing pain perception, muscle tension, anxiety, agitation, heart and respiratory rates, restlessness, and depressive symptoms; enhancing self-esteem, comfort and relaxation; increasing positive mood; and improving and/or facilitating communication with others” (Masko, 2016).The growing role of music therapy in hospice care is reflected in the increased percentage of therapists working in hospice care over the past decade (Masko,2016). The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) noted that 18.4% of music therapists in the United States identified themselves as working with terminally ill patients in 2011, up from 14.68% in 2003 (The American Music Therapy Association, n.d.). The American Music Association (n.d.) website offers resources for the public to find board certified or licensed music therapists.The Alternative Therapies (n.d.) website provides information regarding spiritual healing resources. Spiritual healing aids in the acknowledgement and alleviation of symptoms using natural methods and incorporating the mind, body and soul into the treatment process (Moore & Mary, 2020). The Alernative Therapies (n.d.) website provides a vast amount of information regarding preventative healing resources. For example, patients can learn about Allopathy, Unani Medicine (herbal remedies, dietary practices), and Acupressure. The Therapy Dogs International (n.d.) website provides information and resources about the benefits of therapy dogs. Therapy dogs are noted to provide comfort, companionship and allow patients to combat depression or anxiety with therapeutic touch. A touch can provide a calming effect and ease PTSD symptoms and more. (Moore & Mary, 2020).

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