The Nature of Holistic Healing

Holistic healing is becoming a more popular way to treat illnesses, pains, and afflictions.

Why are people turning to holistic healing to help them with their medical problems?

There are a couple of different reasons why this is a growing phenomenon. Let’s dig a little deeper into what holistic healing is, common practices of holistic healing, and why people are turning towards it in the modern age.

What is Holistic Healing?

Holistic healing is a healing practice that involves the entirety of an individual. This includes their mind, body, spirit, and emotions. It takes a deeper look into why you’re having specific ailments and what you can fix within yourself to resolve the issue.

Here’s one of the most important parts of holistic healing:

It is believed that someone’s entire person is made up of interdependent parts. This means that if one part is out of balance, the rest of the body will be affected. Thus, affecting your overall health.

Some people also focus on the flow of energy, sometimes called chi or chakras. Creating a better flow for your energy will prevent blockages in your spiritual, emotional, and physical health.

Holistic healing focuses less on prescribing medication and more on achieving that necessary balance.

Common Holistic Practices

There are many holistic practices that work for different people. Some practices are more common than others and some are still practiced but are less common. Here are some of the most common holistic practices today.

Meditation and Relaxation

Meditation and relaxation is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety.

Someone involved in holistic healing might try to meditate before they go to the doctor to receive anti-anxiety medication.

Meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety after all.

In fact:

In one of Dr. Elizabeth Hoge’s studies, she concluded that a mindfulness-based, stress-reduction program calmed the symptoms of patients with generalized anxiety disorder (1).

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has been used for as many as 6,000 years! Many people use aromatherapy for a wide range of symptoms and conditions.

Did you know?

Aromatherapy has been known to help with nausea, body aches, anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, circulatory problems, and respiratory problems.

It’s important to note that aromatherapy is a complementary therapy. It cannot cure any diseases, but it can help with many symptoms of several conditions.

Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils that are typically used through inhalation with a diffuser or through absorption by the skin.

Massage Therapy

A lot of people see massage therapy as a luxury or an extra treat that’s unnecessary, but nice to get.

However, there are some people that use massage therapy as a way to reduce pain and help them function normally.

Massage therapists use their hands to massage achy muscles and sore spots. Correct pressure in tense muscles helps them relax and become more elastic. This releases pressure and tension which creates a softer, and healthier muscle.

The massaging of the muscles also helps with blood circulation because blood can more easily flow through relaxed muscles than it can with tense muscles. More and more people are turning toward massage therapy to help improve their general wellbeing.

This might shock you:

75% of individuals surveyed by the American Massage Therapy Association in the last 12 months said that they received a massage for medicinal purposes (2).

The above included aches and pains, injury recovery, injury prevention, migraines, soreness, and stiffness.

Massage therapy has also been known to reduce stress, improve flexibility, improve sleep, reduce fatigue, and decrease swelling.

Visiting a Chiropractor

Chiropractors are doctors that specialize in neck, spine, and back adjustments. Unlike massage therapists, chiropractors focus less on massaging muscles and more on the proper alignment of bones and joints, specifically in the back and neck.

Chiropractors help patients by realigning their neck and spine to help with other symptoms that may be caused by being out of alignment. They focus on realignment instead of medication prescription.

Common things that a chiropractor visit has been known to help include:

Back pain, headaches, ear infections, neck pain, blood pressure, and bowel regularity.

Yoga

Yoga is another popular method of holistic healing.

Yoga focuses on bringing together the mind and body. Breathing, stretching, meditation, and certain yoga poses are all important aspects that yoga incorporates to further bring together the mind and body. This mind and body union has a lot of benefits, although some are not scientifically supported.

Believe it or not...

There are actually a lot of benefits of practicing yoga that are backed by science.

Yoga can fight depression by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol. One study used participants enrolled in an alcohol dependence program and after two weeks, their cortisol levels had decreased with the use of yoga. They also had fewer symptoms of depression (3). 

Get this:

Yoga can also improve your quality of life!

One study took 135 seniors and assigned them to a yoga group, a walking group, or a control group. The yoga group showed a significant improvement in their quality of life as well as an improved mood and less fatigue (4).

Misconceptions of Holistic Healing

Oftentimes people think that holistic means natural. That’s not necessarily true. Although holistic healing tries to focus on the overall health of a patient and achieving balance, it’s not exclusive to natural remedies.

Many people will be prescribed medication in addition to more natural remedies for health.

But here’s the thing:

Some health issues can’t be fully treated with holistic means alone.

This is why striking a balance between holistic and western medicine is so important. That way, someone can be taking medication but not rely on it completely to improve their overall health.

When you know you have the option to positively affect your health without surgery or pharmaceuticals, you can take a more active part in your healing.

To help you sort out the good from the bad when it comes to holistic medicine, there are a few misconceptions you should avoid falling prey to.

Holistic Healing is a Fad

Although holistic healing is increasing in popularity, it isn’t a fad.

Typically fads are things that appear out of nowhere and have no scientific evidence to support them. This is not the case with holistic healing.

Many holistic healing approaches have scientific evidence to support them.

Holistic healing is also growing in popularity as people see real results with it.

In fact:

The use of yoga by adults 18 and over increased from 9.5% to 14.3% from the years 2012 to 2017. The use of meditation increased from 4.1% to 14.2%, and chiropractic care increased from 9.1% to 10.3%. Women were more likely to use a holistic approach (5).

Holistic Healing Can Totally Replace Western Medicine

Although holistic healing is good for a lot of ailments and conditions, it cannot completely replace modern medicine.

There are many things that holistic healing will not be able to fix.

Broken bones will not be able to heal no matter how much yoga or aromatherapy you do. Western medicine would be necessary in this case. Other diseases such as measles, cannot be prevented or cured without the help of vaccinations and other modern medicines.

Medical Doctors Will Never Recommend a Holistic Approach

This is simply not true.

In fact:

It is often medical doctors that will refer you to someone that specializes in holistic healing that might be able to help you with certain conditions.

Medical doctors recommend chiropractors, meditation, and yoga, along with other holistic remedies. As previously mentioned, some things holistic healing cannot help. However, if a doctor believes a holistic approach will benefit you then they are likely to help you find something that works for you.

Why the Holistic Approach?

Why are there so many increases in the use of holistic healing?

There are two reasons:

The first is that people like the idea of healing without the emphasis on the use of prescribed medications. Medications often come with a long list of side effects. People would rather try a holistic healing method than try to deal with annoying side effects that medications come with.

Prescribed medications can also be addictive which turns a lot of people away from them. The last thing they want is to become addicted to a medication when they’re trying to fix another problem by taking the medication in the first place.

The second reason why more people are turning toward the holistic approach is that there is a growing mistrust in the medical profession.

75% of patients had “great confidence in medical leaders” in 1966, while only 34% have confidence today. Only 25% of Americans say that they feel confident about the health system (6).

The Bottom Line

Holistic healing is growing for a reason.

People are seeing real results without as large a reliance on conventional medicine.

Talk to you doctor if you’d like to try a holistic approach for a certain condition. They’ll let you know if that’s something you could benefit from. Your medical doctor and alternative practitioner can help you strike a balance between western medicine and holistic healing.

Although some sicknesses, illnesses, and diseases require medication there are a lot of things that can be helped with common holistic practices.

So, give it a try! What do you have to lose?

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