“Holistic medicine encourages lifestyle change.”
There are many approaches to holistic medicines that amplify one’s health & well-being. This blog will address the uses & benefits of 11 different holistic therapies for you to explore. All of these practices may not pertain to you; however, if you do find yourself interested in one, or a few of these therapies, in particular, feel free to experiment with them!
Essential oils derived from plant matter are used for their medical & healing properties to elevate, uplift, & alter one’s mind, mood, & health.
Aromatherapy is a simple form of self-care used in everyday life. After a day of work, I love unwinding with essential oils in the bathtub or rubbing a bit of lavender oil behind my ears/on my pillowcase before bed.
Aromatherapy is also highly soothing and has many healing properties. One of the things I love about aromatherapy is that its use of essential oils is created entirely from plants, making them completely safe and non-toxic. Essential oils also have various uses; for example, I like to use a few drops of lavender oil on dryer balls when I do the laundry to give my clothes a refreshing scent as they dry.
- When using essential oils, always test on a small area to ensure an allergic reaction doesn’t occur; some oils are safe to put directly onto the skin, while others need additional carrier oils to dilute them before use. Fail to do so may result in burns or skin irritation. Always read labels per essential oil before use, and remember to use caution as essential oils are highly concentrated.
- If you have any animal/pet, I highly encourage researching which essential oils are safe to use around them. For instance, certain essential oils can be poisonous to dogs. Some of these toxic oils include tea tree, peppermint, citrus, ylang-ylang, pine, cinnamon, sweet birch, and more. I typically try to avoid using these when around my furry friends.
- Improves health & cognitive functioning
- Reduces anxiety, stress, & depression
- Alters one’s mind, mood, & health
- Enhances energy
- Aids short-term memory
- Relieves headaches
- Improves indigestion
- Helps skin conditions
- Hair loss prevention
- Decreases muscle pain
- Relieves menstrual cramps
- Therapeutic, relaxing, soothing, & calming
- Lavender, orange, myrrh, neroli, vanilla, bergamot, lime, cypress, chamomile, rose, pine, & marjoram.
- Clary sage, lavender, rosemary, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, bergamot, angelica seed, lemon, marjoram, neroli, peppermint, jasmine, patchouli, + more!
- Ginger, lemongrass, basil, thyme, eucalyptus, marjoram, chamomile, lavender, peppermint, ylang-ylang, + more, including a variety of combinations!
- Angelica seed, rose, rosemary, sage, caraway, ginger, chamomile, lavender, + more!
- Lemon verbena, sandalwood, lemongrass, caraway, eucalyptus, ginger, bay, geranium, juniper, patchouli, chamomile, + more!
- Jasmine, vanilla, marjoram, frankincense, clove, lemon, angelica seed, cedarwood, basil, eucalyptus, peppermint, + more!
Lung & Sinus Congestion
- Cedarwood, juniper, fennel, ginger, hyssop, basil, cypress, eucalyptus, clove, marjoram, tea tree, + more!
- Sandalwood, rose, anise, orange, rosemary, lavender, juniper, lemongrass, thyme, fennel, lemon verbena, ginger, basil, + more!
#2 Yoga & Meditation
Promotes health and wellness by implementing engaging poses and breathwork as a form of exercise.
Yoga and meditation are two forms of holistic therapy that I incorporate into my exercise regimen daily. These therapies are my favorite forms of self-care, not to mention the extraordinary benefits received when combining these practices regularly. The relaxing and calming effects it has on both the mind and body alone are among the main reasons I enjoy these therapies so much. Also, my flexibility, strength, and agility have improved dramatically. Yoga is also joint-friendly and is a great way to start the morning or end the night before or after meditation. These practices are unique as you can perform them anytime and any place. Yoga and meditation are also versatile and customizable to the user to progress and modify the exercises at your own pace along your journey. A well-trained teacher should advise yoga and meditation to avoid potential injuries.
Benefits + Uses
Yoga & Meditation
- Lowers blood pressure
- Builds endurance, strength, agility, & flexibility
- Addresses anxiety & turbulence of thoughts and emotions
- Increases digestion
- Allows patients to label myriad emotions to achieve calmness of the mind
- Increases efficient blood flow
- Encourages lifestyle change
- Allows the body to heal itself
- Calms & clears the mind
- Improves blood circulation
- Manages pain
- Increases oxygen consumption
- Deep, controlled breathing helps sort thoughts and emotions that stress the mind.
- Helps control muscle movement with calmness
Meditation – Uses
- Stress reduction
- High blood pressure symptoms
- Attention-deficit disorder
#3 Tai Chi
A form of exercise that promotes well-being as a healing art.
Tai Chi reminds me of a combination between dancing and martial arts. The slow and graceful movements bring peace and harmony into the practice making it a great form of therapy to help relax the mind and body. It’s also a great way to increase awareness of the breath as it requires slow and deep breathing. Always learn the proper movements and methods before engaging in any new practice.
- Lowers lifestyle diseases:
- Coronary artery disease
- Improves strength, balance, & agility
- Improves posture
- Uses a majority of muscles in the body without strain
- Strengthens bones & muscles throughout the body:
- Increases blood circulation
- Decreases risk of injury and accidental falls, especially in elderly patients.
- Lowers pain perception
- Allows the body to experience wellness, calmness, & long life
- Increases endurance & stamina by burning more calories from slow and controlled
- Improves blood circulation through low-impact aerobic exercises
- It helps clear and calm the mind in return for the bodys’ response in harmony
Any method that uses water for healing to combine the therapeutic benefits.
Hydrotherapy is among the most widely practiced and straightforward forms of self-care therapies. I can guarantee that you have already tried it before, without even realizing it! This holistic therapy involves immersing yourself in any form of warm water, including a hot tub, bath, or even a shower. My favorite form of hydrotherapy is diving into a hot tub or warm bath and allowing the jets to pulsate on/around painful and sore areas throughout my body. An excellent idea for showers is a rotating and pulsating shower-head to relieve pressure throughout the shoulders and back. This form of therapy is a cost-effective way to save a visit to the doctor’s office right in the convenience of your own home! Check out this insane version of hydrotherapy, aka the “polar-plunge; Joanna Jinton takes it to a whole different level with this one – someday… I want to face this..” Always consult a doctor before engaging in any new practice.
- Stress Relief
- Physical Therapy
Pressure is applied to specific points along the meridian (life-energy pathways aka Qi) of the body to remove blockages throughout the pathways.
Acupressure is one of my absolute favorite forms of therapy that I partake in daily—this form of therapy aids in releasing stress and tension throughout the body. The unique thing about acupressure is that you can even perform it at home, yourself! I use a lacrosse ball in the mornings to assist pressure on many different points throughout my body; this is an excellent form of self-care and helps loosen tight muscles after a long night’s rest. Medical professionals can also perform acupressure, which I like to combine with a massage! Personally, I feel acupressure has one of the most immediate responses to reduce tension throughout the body. Always consult with your physician before undergoing any treatment.
Boosts the Immune System
- Resistance to disease
- Aids in the body’s detoxification process
- Natural healing capabilities
- Releases muscle tension
- Improves blood circulation
Mental & Emotional Wellness
- Relieves any symptoms of stress
- Improves the development of positive thoughts
- Relaxes the muscles
- Emotional/mental pain can cause physical/emotional imbalances, which leads to tightness & stress in the body. When the body contracts from this stress, it prevents & blocks the flow of life energies & leads to depression, anxiety, and other disorders.
Increased Sexual Drive
- Improves sexual endurance, arousal, & pleasure.
- It helps give a deeper understanding of how to release sexually blocked energies to improve sexual issues such as premature ejaculation, impotence, decreased libido, & infertility.
Youthfulness & Beauty
- Prevents wrinkles
- Tones the facial muscles
- Releases toxins
- Increases circulation by applying pressure with the fingers in circular motions.
- Acupressure triggers the release of endorphins (a neurotransmitter with pain relief properties) in the body by stimulating pressure points that alleviate pain from various medical conditions, for example, headaches & lower back pain.
- Releases congestion in sinuses by decreasing inflammation/irritation through the nasal passage. Expels the virus from the body, allowing symptoms to pass more quickly; in return, symptoms may worsen before becoming better as the virus passes through the mucous membranes.
- Relieves nausea & vomiting due to surgery, chemotherapy, motion sickness, & spinal anesthesia.
- Shown to be effective in eliminating stress, increasing energy levels, and reducing cancer-related symptoms.
#6 Guided Imagery & Visualization
Focus on a particular object, image, or concept that takes you on a journey; this allows the individual to flow through the meditative process & feel at ease & calm, while detaching from the rest of the world.
Guided imagery is a form of meditation that comes in handy when constant thoughts are running through the mind. I personally enjoy getting creative and visualizing a place that takes me on a journey and brings me peace of mind. While meditating, it may often be challenging to allow thoughts to pass and focus on the present moment, so having an object or a specific place or journey to think about will enable you to shift your focus during this practice and relax into a calming, meditative state. This therapy is often an excellent option for beginners or whenever it may be challenging to focus.
- Studies have shown that individuals who partake in visualization activities such as guided imagery have the same brain activity as those who perform that specific activity.
- Overall wellness & well-being
- It helps stroke patients relearn basic actions
- There are hopes to ease cancer treatments & individuals with psychological & stress-related conditions through visualization techniques, according to MayoClinic.
#7 Medical Qi Gong
Treats symptoms of certain chronic diseases and specific illnesses through a gentle form of exercise.
Medical Qi Gong is a form of therapy that is incredibly intriguing. This holistic therapy’s unique approach involves gentle movements of exercise to increase energy’s natural flow throughout the body. Qi Gong reminds me of yoga in a similar way that Tai Chi also does. I love this therapy because it’s a great way to stay active without impacting the joints, keeping you and your body happy! Qi Gong treats an array of chronic conditions and helps diminish and even remove symptoms of certain diseases by allowing vital energy (Qi) to flow and balance the body once again.
This form of therapy is for individuals who suffer from medical conditions, muscle or joint pain, and find the impact of other exercise forms too intense; it is also an excellent option for a lower resistance exercise regimen. A Certified Master should only teach Qi Gong; always consult with your doctor before engaging in any new practice.
- Uses exercise routines to treat symptoms of disease and specific illnesses.
- Clears energy pathways through gentle movements to remove symptoms of disease & discomfort.
- Low-impact exercise maintains a healthy heart, tone muscles, & loosens/relaxes the body’s muscles.
- Promotes inner strength
Depression – Qi Gong:
- Improves performance in cognitive tests
- Reduces depression symptoms
Diabetes – Qi Gong:
- Reduces fasting blood sugar levels
- Helps teach new self-care activities
- Improves one’s quality of life
Hypertension – Qi Gong:
- Improves cholesterol levels
- It helps lower blood pressure
A weakened immune system – Qi Gong:
- It helps rebuild the immune system to fight against certain diseases
Arthritis – Qi Gong:
- Improves pain, fatigue, & stiffness
Parkinson’s disease – Qi Gong:
- Improves overall functional capacity
Fibromyalgia – Qi Gong:
- Significantly improves mood irregularities, chronic pain, & sleep problems.
Chronic fatigue syndrome – Qi Gong:
- Improves mental component scores
- Reduces symptoms of fatigue by up to 39%
Uses a variety of techniques to connect the mind & body to promote healing.
There are many misconceptions about this therapy; however, I can confidently tell you that you will not be forced into the state of hypnosis to say and do things out of your control. When an individual reaches an altered state of consciousness and has sharp mental focus, the ability to connect the mind and body plays a significant role in promoting the healing process. Hypnotists use breathing exercises, guided imagery, and deep concentration to achieve this level of consciousness in a patient—hypnosis is effective in people with vivid imaginations and varies per individual. This form of therapy is also similar to daydreaming with a specific goal in mind instead of mindless wandering. Practicing hypnosis should only be done by a licensed or certified mental health specialist specializing in this therapy.
Promotes Brain Activity
- Accesses the unconscious mind
- Allows individuals to be more open to altered perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, & therapeutic suggestions.
Alters Brain Activity
- Decreases in areas of the brain that are associated with pain response or are directly engaged in the making of physical pain sensation.
*Alleviates a host of symptoms and disorders, treats pain, and a host of psychological and medical problems.
- Weight loss
- High blood pressure
- Chronic pain
- Sleep disorders (Insomnia)
- Treats psychological & medical problems
- Phobias, fears, & post-traumatic anxiety
- Smoking cessation
- Linguistic stuttering
- Grief & loss
- Studies also claim the exploration to treat behavioral disorders such as ADHD & autism.
A practitioner applies pressure to specific body points consisting of the ears, feet, and hands to relax and alleviate stress throughout the body.
I find this holistic therapy to work wonders. I don’t partake in reflexology as much as I feel I should, but I’ve felt some dramatic changes in my body’s daily functions when I have. By releasing muscle tension throughout the body, an instant feeling of relaxation is the gratifying reward following the practice. Reflexology has a similar approach to acupressure and massage. This alternative form of medicine excludes any lotions or oils, one of the main differences from other therapies. These specific reflex points along the body correspond to many different organs and enhance an individual’s healing process and overall well-being. Only licensed professionals such as physical therapists, chiro practitioners, and reflexologists are advised to perform this technique.
- Restores balance & equilibrium in the body
- Boosts energy levels
- Releases pain-relieving hormones into the bloodstream to alleviate aches & pains
- Boosts the body’s healing process
- Reduces Stress
- Has beneficial effects on the body’s organs
- Manages Pain
- Improves overall well-being
- Cardiovascular issues
- Enhance sleep
- Helps with depression & anxiety
- Thyroid imbalance
- Planters fasciitis
- Respiratory problems
- Neck problems
- Muscle tension
- Multiple sclerosis
- Bowel disorders
- Back problems
- Ankle Injuries
- Hormonal problems
- + more
A drug alternative, similar to acupressure, in which needles are inserted into the meridians of the body, which are traceable from the head to the soles of the feet, where Qi flows. This stimulates the balanced flow of Qi.
I have actually never experienced acupuncture before, but it has been on my list of top forms of self-care therapies to try! Unfortunately, acupuncture should not be performed yourself at home and is advised to be conducted by a licensed professional or specialized practitioner only; otherwise, injury to the Central Nervous System may occur.
- Qi flows through meridians, aka energy pathways in the body. When Qi is affected by pain, stress, infection, lack of exercise, poor nutrition or sleeping habits, as well as a variety of other lifestyle factors, this disrupts nerve pulses and creates imbalances throughout the body that interrupt:
- Rebalances pathways of Qi to return to a harmonious flow
- Stimulation of nerves releases hormones and boots the immune system
- Promotes healing by increasing blood flow in areas affected by injury or disease
- An alternative method of pain release
- Digestive Orders
- Neuralgia (nerve pain)
- Migraines & tension headaches
- Treats chronic lower back pain, neck pain, & osteoarthritis
- Treats the underlying cause of illness & relieves symptoms of the illness
- May address the effects of polio
- Therapy for stroke & paralysis post-injury
- Urogenital Disorders (male impotence/erectile dysfunction)
- Studies performed as to whether it may be an effective treatment for the discomfort of menopause and the pain & discomfort of chemotherapy.
A spiritual, vibrational practice designed to heal any pain and discomfort throughout the body in the purest form.
Reiki is an entirely natural treatment that can be performed by any Reiki professional, friend, family member, or even yourself! This therapy reminds me of a form of meditation as it also requires deep breathing and connection to the body. I find this practice to be a great alternative to enhance well-being and promote balance in the body, especially with low energy levels throughout the day when feelings of fatigue kick in. Not only does this practice heal you of daily stressors, aches, and pains, but it also allows you to get in touch with your inner spirituality. This practice helps individuals feel calm, comfortable, and at ease while executing light touch around the body’s vibrational field.
- Allows individuals to get in touch with one’s self on a spiritual level
- Designed to heal the body of all discomfort and pain in the most natural form
- Re-connect with inner energies
- Enhances well-being
- Improves immune system
- It brings peace & calmness to the body
- Therapeutic effects
- Promotes health and wellness
- Fatigue & low energy
- Physical & mental wellness
- Relentless pain
- Ease when coping with chronic symptoms
- Chronic illness including cancer, lupus, & other auto-immune disorders
- End of life transitions
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