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From meditation and Reiki to acupuncture and herbal medicines, students are finding holistic methods to heal and energize.

Common side effects such as headaches and depression are turning people away from traditional medicine and that, combined with the rising medical costs, is leading more students on the hunt for a natural and less costly way to treat pain and illness.

“I’ve been using meditation for about a year now to get rid of my migraines,” said Amanda Ortiz, a junior business major. “I sit on my bed and listen to a recorded healing meditation that I picked up at the bookstore. I’ve taken so many different prescription medications for years with no improvement. I thought to myself, ‘What do I have to lose?’”

For those looking for a boost to the immune system or a quick pick-me-up, there are guided meditations that can be found on YouTube.

Another natural healing method that has Shannon Riliey,a senior hospitality management major, buzzing is Reiki healing. Riliey sustained an injury last spring, and when physical therapy ran its course and insurance declined to proceed, Riliey said she decided to take a more natural route.

“I saw something on TV referencing Reiki, and I went on a search,” she said.

Reiki is a Japanese technique for healing, Rei meaning “God’s wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki meaning “life force energy.” Reiki masters administer the technique by laying their hands on the subject for direct healing.

Another ancient healing technique is acupuncture, which has been practiced since 6000 B.C., according to News Medical. Most commonly used for pain relief, acupuncture is considered to be another form of alternative medicine.

Senior Philip Lee said he has been exposed to acupuncture for most of his life.

“It’s just a way of life for family,” said Lee, a film major. “I remember in high school when I had a baseball injury to my shoulder, acupuncture was the only treatment I wanted.”

Holistic or homeopathic medicines now have a place on the shelves at local grocery stores. All natural versions of pain relievers, allergy medicine and ointments can be found just about anywhere.

“I’ve committed to a vegan lifestyle and want to live completely all natural,” said Amy Juker, a junior early education major. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve taken Aspirin for a headache. Instead I reach for a bottle of herbs.”

Juker said she can count on the fact that she’s not putting chemicals in her body and doesn’t have to think about dangerous side effects or long-term effects.

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Stephanie Gross is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.

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