Are you familiar with “holistic” or “natural” remedies? These labeling terms are used to describe a wide array of nontraditional health and wellness practices that fall outside of conventional care, like pharmaceutical or surgical treatments. Some common examples of holistic and/or natural care are acupuncture, massage and meditation.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (nccih.nih.gov), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, more than 30 percent of adults and about 12 percent of children use health care approaches developed outside of mainstream Western medicine. Most integrate as “complementary” versus “alternative” treatments, meaning in addition to conventional methods rather than in place of. Here are some holistic therapies to know:
Chromotherapy (also referred to as color therapy) uses color and light to treat physical and mental health by balancing the body’s energy centers, also known chakras. The body has seven chakras that connect with colors: root (red), sacral (orange), solar plexus (yellow), heart (green), throat (blue), third eye (indigo) and crown (violet). Interestingly, Egyptians first used chromotherapy with sun-activated solarium rooms constructed with colored glass. Try it with colored-tinted eyeglasses, artistic applications like painting, room design and colorpuncture (colored light frequencies applied to “acu-points”).
Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, massage-style technique used to reduce the tension and stress of the craniosacral system, which is comprised of membranes and fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Craniosacral therapy may be associated with energy medicine, a form of healing that restores or balances the flow of energies within the body. Live Strong (livestrong.com) recently published that, according to craniosacral therapists, “the treatment may relieve pain, joint problems, chronic fatigue, depression, hyperactivity and various diseases affecting the nervous, immune or endocrine systems.”
Aromatherapy uses essential oils distilled from various plants. According to the Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.org), it stimulates “smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system ─ the part of the brain that controls emotions.” Studies have shown that aromatherapy might reduce anxiety, depression, headaches, pain (especially for people with kidney stones or osteoarthritis), and also improve sleep and quality of life.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy exposes the body to 100 percent oxygen, whereas the air we normally breathe contains 21 percent oxygen, says Alternatives for Healing (alternativesforhealing.com). This non-invasive technique is administered in a large pressurized chamber. It may treat wounds, infections and stimulate circulation.
Laughter therapy is no joke! Laughing stimulates hormones called catecholamines, which in turn release endorphins that positively aid happiness and relaxation. So, could laughter really be the best medicine? Perhaps, as possible benefits include stress reduction, muscle relaxation, lowered blood pressure and strengthening of the immune system.
Neurofeedback, as defined by the Bcenter (bcenter.org), “is a method of exercising the brain in order to change its function and eventually its structure over time. Individuals are connected up to a computer using sensors to detect the small electrical impulses (brainwaves) that make their way through the skull to the scalp.” Essentially, neurofeedback brings balance to the brain and the central nervous system, says Associated Counseling & Neurofeedback (feedbackcounseling.com). It may benefit many aspects of cognitive abilities, movement, energy and mood.