One friend swears by alternative medicine for maintaining her health. Another is always talking about complementary therapies and getting away from pharmaceuticals. And you’ve been thinking about trying holistic practices like yoga to combat chronic stress. When you all sit down to talk, you’ll find that you’re all interested in the same things, just using different words to describe them.
No matter what term you use, holistic practices include a wide array of wellness therapies that fall outside the mainstream pharmaceutical and invasive treatments of conventional medicine. In addition to yoga, some other examples include functional medicine, meditation, acupuncture, float therapy, and infrared sauna therapy.
It used to be that these practices were shunned by mainstream medicine, but that’s not the case anymore. Many holistic practices are now offered in clinics and hospitals and their acceptance is increasing rapidly. In fact, these practices are now being called “integrative therapies” in many healthcare settings. Here’s a look at several holistic practices you can incorporate into your everyday life and why you should.
Yoga is a mind-body practice that promotes self-awareness through breathing exercises, posture work, and meditation. It can be used every day to combat chronic stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and more. We recommend signing up for a yoga class with a professional instructor so you can learn how to do the poses correctly when you’re just starting out.
According to practitioners at the Rahav Wellness Functional Medicine clinic, “Functional medicine, rather than targeting individual symptoms, focuses on the optimal functioning of the entire body and its organs. It addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach in partnership with understanding the conditions and history in which the disease manifested. Genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors all have a direct influence on long-term health and chronic health issues.”
A functional medicine treatment plan may include nutrition, detoxification, lifestyle strategies, and more to support the body’s ability to heal itself. It can be used as a preventive strategy in addition to treating specific health conditions.
Meditation can be used to quiet your mind, reduce stress, and put you in a state of calm throughout the day. It’s also a great way to end your day and prepare for sleep. Many people find meditation helpful for managing anxiety and depression, and it can be done almost anywhere, from your office at work to a park bench on your lunch break.
Acupuncture is a form of energy medicine that uses ultra-fine needles to stimulate various acupuncture points throughout the body, which correspond with various organ systems. The procedure triggers the release of pain-relieving chemicals in the body, making it an excellent holistic practice for relieving chronic pain and headaches. It can also be used to optimize body function to prevent and treat illness.
Float therapy is a type of sensory deprivation therapy that involves floating on water in a special tank that eliminates outside distractions. It induces relaxation and boosts recovery, which makes it useful for relieving chronic stress, strengthening the immune system, and improving your sleep. It can also be beneficial for treating chronic pain, lowering blood pressure, and improving mental health.
Infrared sauna therapy is highly effective for boosting circulation, improving sleep, relieving chronic pain, and rejuvenating the skin. Hitting the infrared sauna regularly is a fantastic way to maintain overall health. It reduces inflammation and supports detoxification to boost the immune system and increase energy.
Holistic practices encourage healthy lifestyle habits and support the body’s natural ability to heal itself. They also help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which can contribute to a host of other health conditions, not to mention having a negative impact on your quality of life. Here are some other reasons to incorporate holistic practices into your everyday lifestyle and wellness routine.
Conventional medicine sees illness as an entirely separate thing from the person being treated. But holistic practices take a different approach by emphasizing mind and body care for the whole person. They focus on improving physical health as well as emotional health because one can’t thrive if the other is compromised.
One of the first things you’ll notice about holistic practices is that they lean toward natural methods in their treatment plans. Approaches may include herbs, nutrition, detoxification, exercise, lifestyle strategies, and other non-invasive techniques.
Choosing natural remedies over pharmaceuticals equates to a gentler approach with fewer side effects. Pharmaceuticals and other conventional treatments often result in side effects like nausea, fatigue, digestive problems, and even dependency issues. Not only do holistic treatments produce fewer side effects, but they also leave you feeling more alert and aware of what’s going on in your body.
Since holistic practices focus on the whole person, it only makes sense that holistic practitioners provide personalized care. Conventional doctors are often rushed and don’t have time to focus on individual patients. But holistic practitioners are more likely to prioritize each patient with one-on-one attention and personalized treatment plans.
Holistic practices can be used to treat a range of general health concerns, from insomnia, anxiety, and depression to chronic pain. They can also be used to treat and relieve the symptoms of conditions like cancer, Lyme disease, IBS, and much more. Many advocates of holistic practices like yoga also report improved mental focus and boosted energy. The beauty of holistic care is that it improves your overall health and treats your current health concerns at the same time.
If you’re new to holistic practices like yoga, we recommend trying one or two at a time to see which ones work best for you. You could start out by signing up for a yoga class a few times a week or practice meditation at home in the evenings. Or you could sign up for one or two sessions in the infrared sauna or the float tank if that interests you. A visit to a functional medicine practitioner could also offer some valuable insight into which practices would benefit you most.
Keep in mind that the benefits of most holistic practices are cumulative. You will probably notice some fantastic results after one or two sessions, but they will be even greater with consistent practice over time.
The beauty of incorporating holistic practices into your everyday lifestyle is that it puts the focus on preventing illness, rather than simply treating it after the fact. Holistic practices can be used to improve your overall health and immune function so that you don’t become ill in the first place. And if you do get sick, holistic practices can treat the illness, relieve the symptoms, and improve your overall health at the same time.