In college it seems as though a new type of illness goes around every month, and both students and professors get the bug. For most people, resting for a day or so may be all they need to do in order to feel better, but some may go to the doctor and hope that medicine is the solution to their sickness. However, sometimes it's not just our physical state that needs to be healed but rather every aspect of ourselves.
Holistic healing is a type of healing that focuses on the mind, body, spirit and emotions to improve a person’s wellness. For thousands of years, holistic healing has been incorporated in different cultures and has taken part in the wellness field way before modern medicine or technology were invented. Some of the known forms of holistic healing — or holistic therapy — are the Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine methods.
Ayurveda originated in India almost five thousand years ago and focuses on the influence of foods, seasonal changes, relationships and mental-emotional states, which all affect a person’s health. Similarly, traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, focuses on harmonizing the body by treating it as a whole rather than targeting a specific area. Both methods of holistic healing have been beneficial to myself as well as others I know. On top of the advanced health methods in our world, holistic healing can be beneficial and act as an additional health technique that can be incorporated in your everyday life.
Holistic medicine has many benefits from helping with conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, trauma and chronic pain. While there are many modern medicine techniques that do wonders for these conditions, some may not want to take that specific route, or they want an additional approach to aid in the process. A study involving 230 adolescent females showed that individuals that underwent a month of holistic-based stress management — which focused greatly on fear of success or failure, performance anxiety and focusing on one’s future — showed less anxiety or depression than those who did not undergo the same holistic methods.
Every day I feel the stress of school, work and life, as I am sure many others do as well. Finding ways to help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and other conditions would make life so much easier and would be very worthwhile if used in daily life.
I believe food plays a major role in our health as a whole. Whether a person is recovering from a sickness or trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, what we put into our body acts as a major factor to feeling better and being at our best. Holistic healing promotes foods that can aid in reducing inflammation, immune function as well as also giving our body the necessary fuel it needs to function.
There are many foods that are beneficial when it comes to holistic healing. Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach and arugula are rich in antioxidants and high in vitamin C. Eggs are also a great source of protein, especially for people who have undergone surgery or anyone looking for holistic healthy meal ideas. Nuts and seeds, berries and sweet potatoes also all have amazing health advantages that play a role in our bodies ability to heal naturally.
Another part of this natural healing is herbal medicine, which are herbal supplements in pill form or — more commonly — tea. Herbal teas have different benefits based on the type of tea. Chamomile tea has calming properties, peppermint tea is used to aid in relieving the digestive system, ginger tea helps with nausea and hibiscus may aid in high blood pressure and stress. I have found that drinking spearmint tea in large quantities has aided in lessening my breakouts. Herbal medicine has been used for a wide variety of conditions, however, for people who don’t like tea, this may not be a route to embark upon.
There are many other holistic approaches besides herbal medicine that can be used to heal the body such as cupping, acupuncture, massages, yoga, tai chi, reiki, sound healing and many more. While some are more relaxing than others, these focus on the well-being of a person outside of conventional medicine.
When I was a competitive dancer, I dealt with a series of injuries. I could have taken over-the-counter pain medication to subside the pain for a while, but many of us dancers went to holistic methods to aid in our recovery. One of the top methods was the traditional Chinese medicine approach to cupping. Cupping increases blood circulation in the areas where they are placed and can promote cell repair which is vital to healing injuries.
Cupping wasn’t the only traditional Chinese medicine approach that I have used. The social media trend of gua sha is nothing new. Gua sha promotes the flow of blood and energy, or one’s qi (pronounced “chi”), throughout the body to improve well-being. There are gua shas for both the body — which targets tissues — and the face — which aids in relieving tension, inflammation and reducing sinus pressure. Learning how to properly use both tools can allow you to heal yourself in a natural way.
Holistic healing is very beneficial to anyone who wants to feel better or wants to take a new approach in their health journey. Holistic healing cannot solve every issue that is presented in modern medicine today, but it can be a supplemental approach to enhance one’s health. It is not for everyone, but if the steps taken to incorporate it into your life show benefits, then holistic healing is the perfect solution for you. It’s time to take charge of your healing.
Alexis Goeman is a journalism and ADPR double major. Reach her at email@example.com.