Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person: body, mind, spirit, and emotions (in the quest for optimal health and wellness, emotions).
The concept of holistic treatments fosters the understanding of our innate ability to heal. Common activities you might consider in holistic therapy depend on the exact variety you wish to pursue.
Since holistic therapy aims to achieve optimal health and wellness by aligning all parts of a person’s body, mind, spirit, and emotions, if one of these aspects is off, it will affect the other parts. Many healthcare professionals are increasingly opting to use holistic therapies in conjunction with traditional forms of treatment.
The most common holistic treatments include:
Mindfulness meditation is the act of bringing your attention to your breathing in order to connect with what’s happening in the present moment. This simple technique has been shown to decrease stress and pain. But it can also help us feel calmer in everyday life. Meditation may improve sleep, memory, and attention span, and it also helps to regulate your emotions. Best of all, it can be done at home.
This technique involves quieting your mind and focusing on breathing while you flow through a series of physical poses that build strength and flexibility.
“Yoga is a form of relaxation through movement,” notes Dr. Duarte, a Regenerative Medicine Specialist in Woodstock, Georgia.
Studies show that this mind-body practice can help reduce stress and anxiety, enhance mood, improve balance, flexibility, and strength, and even ease chronic pain. By lowering stress and anxiety, yoga can in turn lower your heart rate and blood pressure, which reduces your risk of developing health conditions like heart disease.
Your brain interprets mental images similar to the way it interprets external events. This means that just thinking about something has the power to trigger the same physiological responses as if the thought was actually occurring in the world. Guided imagery is a process in which you are guided to conjure up mental images that trigger peace and positivity.
According to the National Library of Medicine, research shows that just 10 minutes of guided imagery can strengthen your immune system and foster weight loss, as well as fight depression and fatigue. It can also reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils (naturally extracted plant materials) to balance, harmonize, and promote the health and healing of your body and mind.
“Essential oils are highly concentrated, providing a strong aroma. Once inhaled, they activate smell receptors in your nose, which send messages to your brain.
Acupuncture, which originated in China thousands of years ago, involves a trained practitioner inserting needles through the skin in order to stimulate specific points on the body. Studies show that this technique can ease many types of chronic pain, such as neck, back, and knee pain, as well as frequent headaches.
According to Eastern beliefs, acupuncture works by restoring the balance of the body’s circulating life energy which flows along pathways that are stimulated by the needles. Western medicine cites the meaning that the needles activate peripheral nerves to shut the “gate” on (interrupt) pain signals traveling through the spinal cord.
In addition to easing pain, acupuncture may help combat other issues, like insomnia, digestive woes, stress, anxiety, and even infertility.
Whichever form of holistic therapy you try, it just may bring you a daily dose of inner peace, balance, and well-being.