Natural Therapies

What are holistic therapies?

A therapy is a health-related practice, which has the intended outcome of improving your wellbeing. Therapies come in all shapes and sizes, and you can use many different aspects of life in a therapeutic context. For example, you may be familiar with speech therapy, physiotherapy, exercise therapy, psychotherapy, nutritional therapy, and so on... So, what about holistic therapies?

Holism is an approach to wellbeing which takes into account  all the aspects of life which impact health. Holistic therapies are practices which improve the relationship and coherence between the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your wellbeing. 

When we are in a state of good health, we often take this natural flow for granted. But when we experience dis-ease of any kind, we usually become much more aware of the disconnect between these aspects of our wellbeing.  Perhaps our mind is overactive, or we feel overwhelmed by our emotions, or disconnected from a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Each of these things can be improved by integrating regular therapeutic practices into our lives.

With this in mind, here are a few examples of mind-body therapies which you can learn to use at home:

  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Acupressure and reflexology
  • Healthy living practices - exercise, diet, work-life balance
  • Aromatherapy and relaxation techniques
  • Massage for chronic pain relief 
  • Nutritional and dietary interventions
  • Somatic awareness & emotional regulation

How therapies can improve your health

There are many different types of mind-body therapies, and so they will each work in ways which are specific to the individual therapy.  Let's have a quick look at a few of the main ones now...

Massage

There are many different types of massage available. Generally speaking, holistic, aromatherapy, Swedish, and hot stone massage are more relaxing, and help with stress relief.  Whilst therapeutic, remedial, deep-tissue, myofascial release, and sports massage work the muscles more intensely, and are focused on pain relief. However, there is always a cross-over between how these are used, plus individual therapist variability.

Massage uses mechanical manipulation of the muscles and tissues to break down tension, ease pain, improve range of movement. It also improves the circulation, and increases feelings of wellbeing.

Health coaching

The way that you live has a significant impact on your long-term health. It is well-known that lifestyle choices such as poor diet, smoking, alcohol, stress, and lack of exercise, have a negative impact on health, and are directly correlated to problems including cardiovascular, immune, and exhaustive conditions.

Unfortunately, whilst most people have a theoretical understanding of healthy choices, it can be difficult to put this knowledge into practice. Coaching can help you to bridge this gap, and make healthy living a normal part of your life.

Mindfulness

 Mindfulness is popular in mainstream healthcare at the moment, but it has long been a central practice of many wisdom-based traditions such as Buddhism or Hinduism.

Mindfulness works through increasing your awareness of what is happening in your mind and body at any given point in the day. So, as you become more self-aware, you also become more able able to create changes in your life. Like letting go of thoughts, controlling your mind,  processing difficult emotions, and changing patterns of behaviour.

Energy therapies

This group of therapies is based on restoring the flow of life energy, chi, or prana, in the body. When there is a longstanding disturbance in the subtle energy flow of the body (often due to emotional factors) it can be associated with related ailments to that meridian or energy line.

Therapies in this group include acupressure, reiki, chakra healing, and reflexology. Each of these practices focuses primarily on restoring optimal flow to energy lines and centres within the body, in order to promote good health. However, there is an overlap between energy flow and all types of therapy. 

Integrating therapies into your life for better health

Natural health therapies can be used at home to help you with several wellbeing concerns, including:

  • Stress and anxiety reduction
  • Management of chronic pain or fibromyalgia
  • Improved emotional wellbeing and resilience
  • Increased levels of energy and vitality
  • Reducing headaches, insomnia, or inflammation
  • Creating a healthy and balanced life

If you would like to learn how to use mind-body therapies at home, or if you would like individualised guidance about which therapies would be most suited for you, then you may find my 1-1 programme healpful.

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