As more and more people seek a more comprehensive and practical approach to medical care, holistic health gains in importance over the years. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, for example, to relieve back pain with a massage, to ward off colds with supplements, or to meditate to overcome anxiety, about 30 percent of American adults use some form of alternative medicine. NCCIH).
Holistic health is generally defined as medical treatment that is not part of conventional medicine. However, many people use alternative treatments along with traditional care. This practice is often referred to as “complementary medicine”.
Despite existing conventional medicine, many alternative treatments around the world have a long tradition. In fact, certain treatments are the cornerstone of traditional medical systems. For example, acupuncture is a key element of traditional Chinese medicine, while herbal remedies are a pillar of Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India).
Why do people turn to holistic health?
There are countless reasons why people use alternative therapies to improve their health. For example, people with disorders that cause pain, such as arthritis, sometimes rely on alternative treatments to reduce the use of painkillers. Others use alternative treatments to help treat common, difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression. In many cases, people add holistic treatments to improve their energy, promote deeper sleep, improve their mood and reduce daily stress.
Although some forms of holistic medicine are being promoted to treat cancers, there is little scientific support for such claims. Research suggests, however, that some alternative treatments (such as acupuncture and massage) may be beneficial for cancer patients by alleviating side effects associated with cancer therapies, such as radiation and chemotherapy.
Types of holistic treatments
Alternative treatments vary greatly in their approach, from professionally managed therapies such as chiropractic to DIY techniques such as meditation. Read on to learn more about today’s most used holistic treatments.
It is believed that acupuncture aids healing through decades of use in traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating the flow of vital energy of the body (also called “chi”). In acupuncture, doctors use very thin needles in certain parts of the body. Following the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, these points are located along invisible lines of energy flow (“meridians”) that connect our organs to other parts of our body.
As one of the most widely studied alternative treatments, acupuncture has been found to help treat various types of pain (including back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis pain and chronic pain). There is also evidence that acupuncture can help reduce the incidence of tension-type headaches and prevent migraines.
Aromatherapy involves inhaling the aroma of essential oils derived from certain plants such as lavender and rosemary. It is believed that breathing these aromas may affect your health partly through certain brain chemicals.
While few clinical studies have demonstrated the health effects of aromatherapy, some studies have shown that this approach can help relieve stress and alleviate common health problems such as menstrual cramps and insomnia.
Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between the structure of your body and its function and focuses on the manual manipulation of the spine and other body parts. These manipulations are commonly referred to as “adjustments” and aim to correct alignment problems and, in turn, promote the recovery of various health conditions.
Chiropractic, which is widely used to treat pain-related health problems (such as back pain, headaches, and even fibromyalgia), may also be useful in combating conditions such as asthma and insomnia.
Perhaps the most common type of holistic treatment, supplements include a variety of products, including herbs, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics and natural substances such as fish oil. The most widely studied supplements include fish oil (which improves heart health) and vitamin D (which strengthens bones).
5) massage therapy
Massage therapy is not only a popular spa treatment, it can also have a significant impact on your physical and mental health. In fact, studies have shown that massage can help treat back pain, arthritis, tension headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, anxiety, depression and many other health problems.
As an alternative treatment that has been practiced for thousands of years, the massage includes approaches such as Swedish massage (with long movements, kneading and deep circular movements), deep tissue massage and shiatsu (which aims to exert pressure on the same body points) acupuncture) and others popular massage styles.
6) mind-body techniques
With their proven ability to relieve stress, mind and body techniques such as meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, tai chi, and guided imagery can provide a wealth of health benefits. When you are in your everyday health, these techniques can help prevent stress-related problems such as high blood pressure.
As more and more research shows a strong correlation between stress and pain, there is also evidence that some techniques of the mind and body can benefit people with pain-causing illnesses. To this end, studies have shown that Tai Chi can help reduce arthritis pain, while meditation can help with headaches.
7) nutritional therapies
Another type of holistic DIY treatment, nutritional therapy, is adapting your diet to achieve certain benefits or to control chronic diseases. This includes the growing tendency of juices to improve health and increase energy.
Other examples of widespread nutritional therapies: Take green tea to boost the immune system, eliminate dairy and / or sugar to reduce acne, and follow an anti-inflammatory diet to fight diseases like arthritis.
Are holistic treatments safe?
Since only a few alternative treatments have been extensively studied, little is known about the safety of these treatments. To minimize the health risk of alternative treatments, it is important that you talk to your doctor before adding these treatments to your health plan.
It is also important to know that “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe”. For example, many herbal or nutritional supplements can trigger unwanted effects as well as interact with medications or other natural remedies.
It should also be borne in mind that the use of alternative treatments rather than the therapy prescribed by a doctor can have serious consequences and a significant impact on health.
Should you use alternative treatments?
With safe and careful use, many alternative treatments can be an excellent supplement to your medical care. Be sure to do your homework alongside alternative treatments with your doctor by reading the latest research on your alternative treatment method (including your potential risks).
Your doctor can also help you find a qualified professional, an essential element to get the maximum benefit from any alternative treatment you choose.