“It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark said after a very long day of attempting to reclaim the prize he was after. All of us know people to whom time has not been kind, and then we come across those who seem to defy the so-called “ravages of time” and have seemingly discovered the mythical Fountain of Youth. Most of us relish the thought of rolling back the personal odometer of the aging process.
Mention alternative treatments and holistic medicine, and a lot of us may conjure up visions of being immersed in weird, bad-smelling potions as medicine men perform tribal voodoo you’re your rituals. Rest easy. Like the sands of the hourglass, the days of our lives can be enriched and extended with a number of widely embraced alternative treatments that will do wonders for your overall health and appearance.
Are you looking to revitalize your mind and your body? Alternative therapies may be exactly what you need to rejuvenate yourself. Whether you are in physical pain, have mental stress or you just want to continue a healthy lifestyle, alternative therapies can provide you with a gentler and long lasting remedy. First, it is beneficial to know the history of alternative therapies before looking at different types of treatments available.
Alternative therapy and holistic medicine employ an exceptionally large range of practices and can be traced back thousands of years to all different parts of the globe. With everything from acupuncture to yoga, these practices each have their own unique history. Alternative therapies have not always been acceptable in the U.S. In fact, alternative medical studies have only recently been offered in traditional medical colleges but still in limitation. Today, the practice of alternative therapy has become more commonplace in the U.S. In many cases, holistic medicine is used in conjunction with conventional medicine. In addition, some insurance companies are covering a portion of the costs.
The list below includes some of the most popular alternative therapies. Each has its own distinct characteristics and provides different benefits. The following alternative therapies have both physical and mental effects.
When people say “follow your nose” they are saying that this sense guides us through life, helping us to avoid sewers, makes stays in locker rooms short, and also huddle close to ovens baking chocolate chip cookies. It is clear that as one of our five senses, smell can often be a warning sign and a mood-changer. It also can send calming, healing messages to our brain, which then distributes the good vibes to the rest of our body.
Essential oil extracts from plants are used to alter a person’s mood, cognitive function or overall health. Typically inhaled through the lungs, the natural oils stimulate the brain. This stimulation has a therapeutic effect. One example of an aromatherapy benefit is through the inhalation of eucalyptus oil in order to ease congestion. One of the key things to remember is that there are absolutely no artificial ingredients used in aromatherapy. Everything is completely natural and in its purest form.
Aromatherapy is not meant to cure illnesses or diseases. In fact, it may not work for everyone. If you only expect it to help a little bit with a physical condition, stress or other psychological factors, you may be pleased with the outcome. When used regularly, aromatherapy can have a more profound effect. Although aromatherapy can not cure diseases such AIDS or cancer, when used properly, it can ease nausea, calm fear and enhance mood. For instance, many cancer centers will provide cancer patients with aromatherapy which prevents discomfort after surgery.
Whether your goal is to treat allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, headaches or rashes, homeopathic remedies are used by millions of Americans regularly. These remedies follow three distinct principles:
Like cures like – whatever is the cause of the problem may also be the cure for it as well.
Minimal Dose – the remedy is taken in extremely diluted form.
The single remedy-even if you have multiple symptoms, only one remedy is given to cure it.
The treatment for each person depends on their own personal health history, body type and current symptoms. The best part about homeopathic remedies is that each is completely individualized for the patient. All remedies are completely natural, so side effects are very rare and addiction is impossible.
Yoga is not Pilates, or aerobics. It is not just for Hollywood types. It will not turn you into a human pretzel, even though over time you will be amazed by the flexibility you might gain as a result. Yoga is an activity that centers a person, which in these days of our “always being on” Blackberry culture is highly beneficial.
If you have not taken a yoga class, you are missing out on an amazing experience. Not only is it great for your bod, but it truly enhances your state of mind and spirit. In fact, many of the poses are meant for your body and for your mind. One of the best examples of this type of pose is called Sava Sana. Sava Sana is performed at the end of a strenuous routine to completely relax the body, especially the mind. Sava Sana is one of the most difficult poses to master because it requires you to completely clear your mind of all thoughts and feelings. You are supposed to drop every thought that enters your mind and fall into complete relaxation. It sounds easy, but blocking every thought from entering your mind is actually a very difficult feat.
The core intention of yoga is to achieve balance; physically, mentally and spiritually. The beginning poses may seem strange at first but when you continue with a routine yoga class your body will notice a variety of benefits, including:
Be more toned
Have more flexibility
Achieve greater balance
Diminish stress and anxiety
Although yoga may not be a fast beat cycling or aerobics class, you should never leave a yoga workout feeling tired. If you do not leave with more energy than you went in with, then it is said that you spent time “fighting” yourself and forcing yourself into poses.
Anything with the word “puncture” in its name sounds like something to avoid at all costs. Not so with acupuncture.
Acupuncture has been around in various forms since The Stone Age, but it erupted into the mainstream American consciousness in 1972 when then – President Richard Nixon visited China. Nixon’s delegation was led on a tour by the government’s hosts, and one demonstration featured a patient undergoing major surgery while fully awake using acupuncture instead of anesthesia. Later this incident was discovered to be a ruse. However, New York Times correspondent James Reston, who was one of the reporters covering Nixon on this trip, underwent acupuncture treatment for pain after an emergency procedure. He later wrote about his experiences in his newspaper, to much acclaim. Acupuncture received additional legitimacy in the West when the Internal Revenue Service permitted it to be deducted as a qualifying medical expense.
Who would have thought that sticking tiny needles into strategic points all over your body could actually provide health benefits? As it turns out, acupuncture can help with a variety of problems such as back pain, headaches, labor pain and much more. The purpose of acupuncture is to balance the flow of energy or Qi through meridian pathways of your body. By placing very thing needles in selected pathways, it is believed that you can rebalance your energy flow, as well as facilitate healing and wellness. There are minimal risks involved with acupuncture so make sure you use a certified acupuncture practitioner.
Alternative therapies offer another way to proceed with healthcare. As with all medical procedures and remedies, there may be risks. So, it is important to check with your physician about any remedies you plan to take. You should also inform your physician about any drugs, holistic remedies, over-the-counter products and supplements you are taking several weeks before any medical procedure. Certain remedies may need to be stopped at least two weeks before surgery. Yet, now that the first step in your research is done, don’t delay. Check with your physician about holistic remedies, so you can have a chance to reap the benefits for the rest of this year!