scary faceHere are some more types of energy therapy:

Reiki: Reiki is a holistic alternative therapy based on Eastern concepts of energy flow and the seven chakras (energy centers) in the human body. It is distinctive among energy therapies in its emphasis on self-healing, its spiritual principles, and its accreditation of healers through a system of initiation. Reiki practitioners participate in the healing of emotional and spiritual as well as physical pain through the transmission of universal life energy, called “rei-ki” in Japanese. It is believed that ki flows throughout the universe, but that Reiki connects humans in a more direct way to the universal source. Reiki is used for the healing of animals as well as people. Although Reiki involves human touch, it is not massage therapy. The patient lies on a table fully clothed except for shoes while the practitioner places her or his hands over the parts of the body and the chakras in sequence. The hands are held palms downward with the fingers and thumbs extended. If the person is in pain or cannot turn over, the practitioner may touch only the affected part(s). Silence or music appropriate for meditation is considered essential to the treatment. Reiki healers practice daily self-healing, in which they place their hands in traditional positions on their own bodies. They may use touch, or distant/non-touch. Reiki healers are initiated into three levels of practice through attunements, which are ceremonies in which teachers transmit the hand positions and “sacred” symbols. Reiki I healers learn the basic hand positions and can practice direct physical, emotional or mental healing on themselves and others. Reiki II healers are taught the symbols that empower them to do distance or absentee healing. In Reiki III the healer makes a commitment to become a master teacher and do spiritual healing.

Polarity Therapy: Polarity therapy, which is sometimes called polarity balancing, is a biofield therapy that resembles Reiki in its emphasis on energy flow, human touch, and the energy centers (chakras) in the human body. It integrates bodywork with diet, yoga-based exercise, and self-awareness techniques to release energy blockages in the patient’s body, mind, or feelings. Polarity theory divides the body into three horizontal and four vertical zones (right, left, front, and back), each having a positive, negative, or neutral charge. Energy currents in the zones are correlated with five energy centers in the body corresponding to the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, and earth) of Ayurvedic medicine. Polarity therapy can be done one-on-one or with a group of practitioners working on the patient. The therapist as well as the patient removes shoes. The patient lies fully dressed except for shoes on a massage table or bed, or on the floor. The practitioner takes the patient’s history, checks reflexes and touches body parts to determine energy blocks. Polarity therapy uses three levels of touch: no touch (hands held above the body, touching only the energy fields); light touch; and a deep, massaging touch. The therapist balances energy currents in the patient’s body by placing his or her “plus” hand on “negative” body parts and vice versa. Polarity therapy involves rocking the patient’s body and holding the head as well as more usual massage techniques. It takes about four polarity sessions.

Breema: Breema is a form of body movement energy therapy that combines elements of bodywork, yoga, chiropractic, and New Age philosophy. The principles of Breema are intended to free people from the conceptual body, defined as “the ideas and images of our body that we carry in our mind.” The aim of Breema “is to increase vitality, not to fight sickness, and to create an atmosphere which allows the body to move toward a natural state of balance.” A person receiving a Breema treatment works with an instructor or practitioner through a series of individualized exercises on a padded floor. Decrystallization is an important part of Breema therapy. According to Breema, decrystallization is a process in which the body is helped to release deeply held, or “crystallized,” patterns of chronic discomfort, tension, or emotional pain. As the body releases its crystallizations, its “core energetic patterns” are balanced and realigned. A decrystallization program consists of one or more Breema treatments per week for a year. It includes a set of personalized self-Breema exercises.  

Electromagnetic Therapy: Electromagnetic therapies cover a variety of treatments that use a source of physical energy outside the body— most often magnets or electromagnetic field stimulation— to treat a range of musculoskeletal disorders. Some forms of magnetic therapy, such as bracelets, gloves, shoe inserts, and similar items containing small magnets meant to be worn near the affected body part, can be self-administered. This form of magnetic therapy has become quite popular among professional athletes and “weekend warriors” to relieve soreness in joints and muscles from over exercise. At present, there are two hypothetical explanations of the effectiveness of magnetic therapy. One theory maintains that the magnets stimulate nerve endings in the skin surface to release endorphins, which are pain-relieving chemicals produced by the body in response to stress or injury. According to the second hypothesis, the magnets attract certain ions (electrically charged molecules) in the blood, which serves to increase the blood flow in that area of the body. The increased blood flow then relieves the tissue swelling and other side effects of over exercise that cause pain. Other forms of electromagnetic therapy require special equipment and cannot be self-administered. These forms of treatment are most commonly used by naturopathic practitioners. One form, called transcranial magnetic stimulation, is used in the treatment of depression. Another form, called pulsed electromagnetic field stimulation, has been shown to be effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Healing EnergyHere are some different types of energy therapy. (Some of them are kind of weird.)

Therapeutic Touch: Therapeutic touch, or TT, is a form of energy therapy that developed in the United States. It is a noninvasive method of healing derived from an ancient laying-on of hands technique. In TT, practitioners alter the patient’s energy field through a transfer of energy from their hands to the patient. The principle behind TT is restoration of balance or harmony to the human energy field, or aura, that is thought to extend several inches to several feet from the body. When illness occurs, it creates a disturbance or blockage in the vital energy field. The TT practitioner uses her/his hands to discern the blockage or disturbance. Although the technique is called “therapeutic touch,” there is generally no touching of the client’s physical body, only his or her energetic body or field. TT is usually performed on fully clothed patients who are either lying down on a flat surface or sitting up in a chair. A therapeutic touch session consists of five steps or phases. The first step is a period of meditation on the practitioner’s part, to become spiritually centered and energized for the task of healing. The second step is assessment or discernment of the energy imbalances in the patient’s aura. In this step, the TT practitioner holds his or her hands about 2–3 inches above the patient’s body and moves them in long, sweeping strokes from the patient’s head downward to the feet. The practitioner may feel a sense of warmth, heaviness, tingling, or similar cues, as they are known in TT. The cues are thought to reveal the location of the energy disturbances or imbalances. In the third step, known as the unruffling process, the practitioner removes the energy disturbances with downward sweeping movements. In the fourth step, the practitioner serves as a channel for the transfer of universal energy to the patient. The fifth step consists of smoothing the patient’s energy field and restoring a symmetrical pattern of energy flow. After the treatment, the patient rests for 10–15 minutes.

Qigong: Qigong is a form of Chinese energy therapy. It is better understood, however, as an ancient Chinese system of postures, exercises, breathing techniques and meditations. Its techniques are designed to improve and enhance the body’s qi(pronounced “chee”) . According to traditional Chinese philosophy and medicine, qi is the fundamental life energy responsible for human health and vitality. Qi travels through the body along channels called meridians. There are twelve main meridians in humans. Each major body organ has qi associated with it, and each organ interacts with particular emotions on the mental level. Qigong techniques are designed to improve the balance and flow of energy throughout the meridians, and to increase the overall quantity and volume of a person’s qi. In the context of energy therapy, qigong is sometimes divided into internal and external qigong. Internal qigong refers to a person’s practice of qigong exercises to maintain his or her own health and vitality. Some qigong master teachers are renowned for their skills in external qigong, in which the energy from one person is passed on to another for healing. Chinese hospitals use medical qigong along with herbs, acupuncture and other techniques of traditional Chinese medicine. In these hospitals, qigong healers use external qigong and also design specific internal qigong exercises for the patients’ health problems.

Energy TherapyEnergy Therapy is a collective term used to refer to a variety of alternative and complementary treatments based on the use, modification, or manipulation of energy fields. Energy therapy is based upon the theory that matter and energy are not opposites; but that matter is simply a denser form of energy that is more easily perceived by the senses. Energy therapies can be divided for purposes of discussion into 2 different groups: those that utilize energy fields located in or around the human body and those that use electromagnetic fields in unconventional ways. Although energy therapies are often associated with either Eastern or so-called “New Age” belief systems, most do not expect people in need of healing to give up mainstream practices or medical treatments. Once again, these two different disciplines can co-exist! The purpose of energy therapies can be broadly defined as the healing of mental or physical disorders by re-balancing the energy fields in the human body or by drawing upon spiritual energies or forces for such healing. Some energy therapies include internal detoxification or release of trauma-related memories as additional purposes.

Some forms of energy therapy may produce unexpected or startling psychological reactions. For example, a type of psycho-spiritual energy present in Indian yoga sometimes produces experiences of spiritual crisis that may be interpreted by mainstream psychiatrists as symptoms of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder. Practitioners of Reiki healing have reported instances of patients feeling tingling sensations, “spaciness,” an “out of body” sensation, sudden warmth.

There are many benefits derived from energy therapies. Normal results for energy therapies include increased physical vitality, lowered blood pressure, a sense of calm or relaxation, improved sleep at night, and a strengthened immune system. Some persons report pain relief and speeded-up healing of wounds from magnetic therapy, Reiki, and Qigong. The main benefits are alleviation or eradication of pain, enhanced immune system funcitoning, improved sleep, need for less medication and increased effectiveness of other medication, promotion of health and well-being, enhancement of spiritual development, energy levels increase and the body is helped to prepare for surgeries or other procedures.

UCMTI figured if I’m going to be writing pages on massage therapy, I should probably try and experience its benefits firsthand, right? I obviously had no problem with this whatsoever. And since Lindon’s branch of the Utah College of Massage Therapy was having a special 2 for 1 Saturday morning deal, my friend and I both got to get an hour long massage for only 30 bucks- 15 each! Not too bad. They have it set up pretty nice back there. There is just a huge room with curtained off cubicles. It is quiet, dark and private allowing for a real relaxing, professional experience. The only problem was I was a little bit cold the whole time. In a professional massage situation, I’m sure the room’s temperature would be controlled. The hour went by quickly for me (probably not for the masseuse) and felt great. My thoughts wandered and I think I almost fell asleep a few times. Afterwards I felt relaxed, healthy and calm. My mind really did feel exceptionally clear and I had a very positive outlook for the rest of the day. I wish I had the time and money to start every day off like this!

(My only experience with a “professional massage” happened in Vegas where the lady chatted in Vietnameese on her cell phone the whole time,  practically fondled my friend, and demanded a tip at the end. I don’t consider that $50 wasted though, because I have never laughed harder in my life 🙂 )

massageMassage is the practice of soft tissue manipulation with physical (anatomical), functional (physiological), and in some cases psychological purposes and goals. The word comes from the French word massage “friction of kneading”, or from Arabic massa meaning “to touch, feel or handle”. In Latin massa means dough.

Massage involves acting on and manipulating the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin,  joints, or other connective tissue as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system. Massage can be applied with the hands, elbows, forearms, fingers, or feet. There are over eighty different recognized massage modalities. The most cited reasons for introducing massage as therapy have been client demand and perceived clinical effectiveness.

In professional settings massage involves the client being treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair or lying on a mat on the floor. The massage subject may be fully or partly unclothed. Parts of the body may be covered with towels or sheets.

There are many different types of massage. Here are just a few:

Balinese Massage: These techniques are gentle which makes the patient feel relaxed and calm throughout. The techniques include skin rolling, kneading, stroking, etc. The massage therapist applies aromatheraphy oil throughout the massage. A patient’s blood, oxygen and energy flow is said to increase as a result of the treatment.

Acupressure: This is a blend of accupuncture and pressure. In acupressure physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points by the hand, elbow, or with various devices.

Deep Tissue Massage: This massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Deep tissue massage is often recommended for individuals who experience consistent pain, are involved in heavy physical activity, such as athletes, and patients who have sustained physical injury. It is also not uncommon for receivers of Deep Tissue Massage to become sore or even bruised over the next few days, though there should be no pain to the client during a session if the therapist is doing the work correctly.

Reflexology massage : Reflexology is based on the principle that there are reflexes in the hands and feet that relate to every organ, gland, and system of the body.

Shiatsu: This massage (“shi” meaning finger and “atsu” meaning pressure) is an Oriental born therapy that uses pressure applied with thumbs, fingers and palms to the same energy meridians as accupressure and incorporates stretching. It also uses techniques such as rolling, brushing, vibrating and grasping.

Stone massage : A stone massage uses cold or water-heated stones to apply pressure and heat to the body. Stones coated in oil can also be used by the therapist delivering various massaging strokes. The hot stones used are commonly river stones which over time, have become extremely polished and smooth. As the stones are placed along the recipient’s back, they help to retain heat which then deeply penetrates into the muscles, releasing tension.

Swedish Massage: Swedish massage uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage. The five basic strokes are effleurage(sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotment (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber) and vibration/shaking. Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness and improving function in patients with osteoarthritis.  It has also been shown to be helpful in individuals with poor circulation. The development of Swedish massage is credited to  practitioner Johan Metzger. The term “Swedish” massage is not really known in the country of Sweden, where it is called “classic massage”.

So yeah, obviously massages feel great, but are there really any medical benefits?

Peer-reviewed medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced trait anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state anxiety. Theories behind what massage might do include blocking nociception (gate control theory) activating the parasympathetic nervous system which may stimulate the release of endorphins and seratonin, preventing fibrosis or scar tissue, increasing the flow of lymph and increasing sleep. These effects are yet to be supported by well designed clinical studies.

After just one treatment, some potential benefits are:

Pain relief: Relief from pain due to musculoskeletal injuries and other causes is cited as a major benefit of massage. In one study, cancer patients self-reported symptomatic relief of pain.

Anxiety: Massage has been shown to reduce anxiety in a number of given situations.

Blood pressure/heart rate: Massage has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate as temporary effects.

Attention: After massage, test results indicate enhanced performance and alertness on mathematical computations, with the effects perhaps being mediated by decreased stress hormones.

Immmune System: Massage also stimulates the immune system by increasing peripheral blood lymphocyes. However, this immune system effect is only observed in aromatherapy massage, which includes sweet almond oil lavender oil, cypress oil, and sweet marjoram oil. It is also unclear if these benefits last over time.

 After many treatments, these results were observed:

 Pain relief: When combined with education and exercises, massage might help sub-acute, chronic, lower back pain.Furthermore, massage has been shown to reduce pain experienced in the days or weeks after treatment.

Trait anxiety: Massage has been shown to reduce trait anxiety; a person’s general susceptibility to anxiety.

Depression: Massage has been shown to reduce subclinical depression.

Diseases: Massage, involving stretching, has been shown to help with spastic diplegia resulting from Cerebral Palsy in a small pilot study. The researchers warn that these results should “be viewed with caution until a double-blind controlled trial can be conducted”. Massage has been used in an effort to improve symptoms, disease progression, and quality of life in HIV/AIDS patients, however, this treatment is not scientifically supported.

acupuncture

Acupuncture originated in China and can be traced back at least 2,500 years. The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow (a.k.a. “chi”) throughout the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease. Acupuncture supposedly corrects these disruptions/imbalances at identifiable points close to the skin, by the insertion of thin solid metallic needles. Sometimes these are manipulated manually and  sometimes by electrical stimulation.

The practice of acupuncture in America was pretty rare until President Richard M. Nixon visited China in 1972 and became a fan of this practice. Since that time, acupuncture’s popularity has exploded in the United States and Europe. It is now considered a major alternative therapy in Western medicine.
There have been many studies of its potential usefulness. Acupuncture has been proved helpful in treating adult post-operative nausea and vomiting and in post-operative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke, rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma. Acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Program supports acupuncture as a legitimate therapeutic intervention. (This organization was established to assess health technology and the validity of emerging therapies).

So, how exactly does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture increases the circulation throughout the body which in turn increases oxygenation of the tissues which will help flush toxins, waste products, and other accumulated particles and chemicals from the tissues improving their overall function. Therefore, the small electrical currents generated by the insertion of a needle into the fascia or connective tissues can indeed have beneficial effects. And because of the nature of the connective tissues, it is quite plausible that these effects could occur both locally at the site of needle insertion or at a distance from the acupoint. According to one scientific study on pain relief induced by acupuncture it was concluded that acupuncture works by stimulating nerve fibers in the muscles, which send impulses to the spinal cord, midbrain and hypothalamus-pituitary. These centers in turn release endorphins and monamines which block the pain impulses. Some research has indicated that patients’ expectations of the benefits play a large role in their experience.

Acupuncture has been shown to be very effective in treating chronic pain, helping in 55% to 85% of the cases. This compares favorably with the effects of morphine which helps in 70% of the cases. However, acupuncture has the distinct advantage of having very few side effects in comparison with drugs. Once again, this remedy isn’t necessarily something that should be used to replace traditional medicine, but it can definitely doesn’t hurt to try!

So just for fun, and as promised, I’m going to write a little bit about my own experience doing yoga.

I have actually been going to yoga class at the gym for a year or so now. I originally started going because I got a yoga mat for Christmas and felt like a poser every time someone saw it in my room and asked how I liked yoga. After only one time, I definitely became a fan.

I like yoga because you actually get a good workout without realizing you’re working too hard. Afterward your body is tired, shaky and drenched in sweat. However the workout is so peaceful and enjoyable, it goes by really quickly and doesn’t feel like this awful, long painful workout. The music helps a lot too. The new age/relaxing melodies really distract you from the fact that you’re working hard.  I have since become quite flexible and have definitely noticed improvements in my muscle tone; especially my core and upper body. And after each class, without fail, I feel on top of the world. My mind is always clear and I feel rested,invigorated and healthy.

With yoga, you get out of it what you put into it. If you pay close attention to your form and make sure to do each position correctly, you’re going to benefit much more than if you just go and kind of hang out and lay there. However, sometimes it is nice to go a little easier and treat it more like a relaxation/meditation hour. That is the beauty of yoga; you can modify it to meet your individual needs and expectations.

KrishnaLast week I went to yoga at the Hare Krishna temple at Spanish Fork. They hold free classes in the upstairs of their temple three times a week. I really liked the class. The instructor was this really nice guy with a shaved head/ ponytail, cutoff shirt and rockin’ body. We held each pose for a really long time, which I’m convinced helped my flexibility. Afterward, we did this weird chanting/swaying/singing/bead fondling thing that was supposed to bring inner peace. I’m not gonna lie, I was trying not to laugh the whole time, so I’m not exactly sure how that works.  Next time I’m going to take it seriously, I promise 😉 I would definitely recommend this class. It is held Monday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm and Saturdays at noon. If anyone goes, let me know how it is!

Yoga is one of the better known practices in the holistic medicine sphere. Yoga is a healing system of theory and practice. It is a combination of breathing exercises, physical postures, and meditation that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. While yoga evolved as a spiritual practice in Hinduism,  in the Western world, most just use yoga purely as a form of physical exercise; to most here in the U.S., it is simply viewed as a good way of keeping fit and healthy.

Here are some of the basic benefits of yoga:

Increasing Flexibility:

Yoga has positions that act upon the various joints of the body including those joints that are usually neglected. Bodies that start out as rigid and un-flexible, start experiencing a remarkable flexibility in even those parts which have not been consciously worked upon. Seemingly unrelated “non strenuous” yoga positions act upon certain parts of the body in an interrelated manner. When done together, they work in harmony to create a situation where flexibility is attained relatively easily and quickly. In one study, participants had up to 35% improvement in flexibility after only eight weeks of yoga.

Massaging of Organs of the Body :

Yoga is perhaps the only form of activity which massages all the internal glands and organs of the body in a thorough manner, including those that hardly get externally stimulated during our entire lifetime. Yoga acts in a wholesome manner on the various body parts. This stimulation and massage of the organs in turn benefits us by keeping away disease and providing a forewarning at the first possible instance of a likely onset of disease or disorder.

Complete Detoxification:By gently stretching muscles and joints as well as massaging the various organs, yoga ensures the optimum blood supply to various parts of the body. This helps in the flushing out of toxins from every nook and cranny as well as providing nourishment up to the last point. This leads to benefits such as delayed aging, increased energy, weight loss and an overall sense of wellness and cleanliness.
Excellent toning of the muscles: Muscles that have become weak are stimulated repeatedly to increase strength and endurance.

Improved Posture:

With increased flexibility and strength comes better posture. Most standing and sitting poses develop core strength. That’s because you’re counting on your deep abdominals to support and maintain each pose. With a stronger core, you’re more likely to sit and stand “tall.” Another benefit of yoga is the increased body awareness. This heightened awareness tells you more quickly when you’re slouching or slumping so you can adjust your posture.

More than these basic benefits, however, yoga has also been proven to help combat chronic diseases and other disorders. It also helps alleviate their symptoms. Yoga is especially helpful in treating:

Heart disease: Yoga reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, keeps off weight, and improves cardiovascular health, all of which lead to reducing your risk of heart disease.

Osteoporosis: It is well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. Additionally, yoga’s ability to lower levels of cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.

Alzheimer’s: A new study indicates that yoga can help elevate brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels. Low GABA levels are associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s. Meditation like that practiced in yoga has also been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Type II diabetes: In addition to the glucose reducing capabilities of yoga, it is also an excellent source of physical exercise and stress reduction that can serve as an excellent preventative for type II diabetes.

Arthritis: The slow, deliberate movement of yoga poses coupled with the gentle pressure exerted on the joints provides an excellent exercise to relieve arthritis symptoms. Also, the stress relief associated with yoga loosens muscles that tighten joints.

Cancer: Those fighting or recovering from cancer frequently take advantage of the benefits that yoga provides. Cancer patients who practice yoga gain strength, raise red blood cells, experience less nausea during chemotherapy, and have a better overall well-being.

Scoliosis: Yoga can straighten the curvature of the spine associated with scoliosis.

Chronic bronchitis: Exercise that does not elevate respiration, yet increase oxygen levels in the body is ideal for treating chronic bronchitis. Luckily, yoga can do this, as well as aerate the lungs and provide energy.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Studies of people with OCD have shown that practicing yoga has lead to a reduction in symptoms–resulting in less medication or medication no longer needed.

Constipation: Due to the practice of yoga and overall better posture, the digestive and elimination systems work more efficiently. If the practitioner also has a healthy diet, any constipation will be eliminated with yoga.

I fully support the treatment of these diseases/disorders with traditional medicine. However, the healing process may be sped up or enhanced by incorporating yoga as well. Although these physical benefits are wonderful, they are just a “side effect” of this powerful practice. Yoga harmonizes the mind with the body and this is where the real benefits kick in. Yoga works remarkably to achieve this harmony and helps the mind work in sync with the body. How often do we find that we are unable to perform our activities properly and in a satisfying manner because of the confusions and conflicts in our mind weigh down heavily upon us? Moreover, stress affects all parts of our body systems- physical, digestive, immune, endocrine etc. The problems that arise from problems with these systems can be corrected through yoga. This works because of a principle called  “detachment”.  Yoga creates conditions where you are not affected by the happenings around you. This in turn creates a remarkable calmness and a positive outlook, which also has tremendous benefits on the physical health of the body.

Namaste.

(This, pronounced “namas tay”, means “I bow to you” and is often what yoga instructors end classes with.)

Oh, and here is an example of some good music to do yoga to. I have some favorites I will post later as well. Enjoy!

Yoga Music

tia chiaFrom now on, I am going to dedicate each post to a different holistic therapy.  Some are commonly used, such as yoga and vitamins. Others aren’t commonly practiced in our culture, like Tai Chi and Magnetic Field Therapy. Whenever possible, I am actually going to try out the remedy myself so I can give a firsthand account of their effects. It will be a fun little experiment, and hopefully I won’t be disappointed with the results! If anyone has any suggestions as to what I should try, leave a comment. I would love ideas!

yoga_websilbeachHolistic health practices have always seemed to get a bad rap. By most people, they are associated with quackery and scams promoted by creepy  medicine men wanting to earn a quick buck. Then there is the ongoing battle between the mainstream medical community and the believers of alternative cures. I will be the first to admit it- I used to be very skeptical of the validity of many of these holistic claims. I mean, how could sticking needles in your back possibly treat sinus conditions? And could strategically using magnets really help you lose weight?

After some research however, I have become a believer. Here is the definition of holistic medicine:

“Treating the whole person, helping the person to bring the mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual dimensions of his/her being into harmony, using the basic principles of holistic healing which place reliance on treatments that foster the self-regenerative and self-reparation processes of natural healing.”

There are many problems associated with traditional medications. Side effects can often be worse than the actual symptoms of the illness itself. Not everybody is eligible for every type of treatment, due to existing complications.  Sometimes the drug masks other arising symptoms that may need to be noted. Immunities can be developed when drugs are taken for too long. In no way am I discouraging the use of traditional medicine. I think there are many circumstances that require the aid of  scientifically developed drugs. We are blessed to live in a time when we have the knowledge and technology to solve so many problems with medicine. However, we shouldn’t discount our own regenerative abilities. Our bodies really are amazing. They naturally have the ability to do miraculous things on their own. Sometimes situations arise when holistic therapies may be just as effective. Since they are done in a natural manner that works with the body, instead of against it, they are much easier on the body and present no risks or side effects. Holistic therapies also target other aspects of health, not just the physical. When we treat a physical problem, our emotional, mental, and spiritual health may also benefit. These other states of wellness are just as important, as these can also have effects on our physical health.

There does not have to be a battle between mainstream, traditional medicine and holistic remedies. These two can actually work hand in hand to achieve the best results possible. Holistic therapies can be tried before the harsher, unnatural drugs. They can also be used in conjunction to accelerate and accentuate the results. Taking a holistic approach to our health allows us to experience a higher level of wellness and overall happiness.