What is Holistic Therapy?

Sandra Koehler

Holistic therapy is a branch of complementary medicine known as alternative medicine. In other words, these treatment options do not fall into traditional conventional medicine practices. These therapeutic techniques use alternative methods to treat the body as a whole for the purposes of treating and preventing a variety of ailments and injuries.

Massage therapy is considered holistic.
Massage therapy is considered holistic.

Known as therapy for the body, mind and spirit; holistic therapy, also known as CAM – complementary and alternative medicine – assists in regaining the physical and energy balances of the body. There is a wide variety of therapy options out there that fall into this holistic therapy blanket. Some examples include acupuncture, aromatherapy and reflexology. Chiropractors and massage therapists are also considered holistic practices since they often treat more than just the site of injury or impairment.

A chiropractor practices a type of holistic therapy.
A chiropractor practices a type of holistic therapy.

Many holistic therapy techniques are not widely accepted as they cannot provide enough scientific background to prove their worth. Herbal therapy, for example, uses herbal remedies to help heal the body and regain or maintain the body’s balance. However, herbal therapy can be dangerous to some individuals with certain conditions or ailments.

Reflexology is a therapeutic massage technique that applies pressure on places such as the hands in order to stimulate other sections of the body.
Reflexology is a therapeutic massage technique that applies pressure on places such as the hands in order to stimulate other sections of the body.

Physical therapy, pilates, and yoga are common, widely accepted practices of holistic therapy. These therapeutic venues utilize physical movement in conjunction with proper body mechanics and breathing techniques to increase overall wellness,and treat and prevent ailments or illnesses. They also provide a safe avenue for stress relief. Techniques such as hypnotherapy and psychotherapy are also forms of CAM therapy widely accepted. These techniques are often used to assist with the emotional or mental problems associated with certain disease processes or illnesses.

Aromatherapy falls under the category of holistic therapy.
Aromatherapy falls under the category of holistic therapy.

Other forms of holistic therapy, such as crystal therapy, stone massage and raindrop therapy are therapeutic techniques commonly used in spa treatments. There is no scientific evidence to prove their worth, yet many people opt for these techniques for their relaxation benefits. In many cases, these types of therapies have no detrimental effects to overall health.

Holistic therapy can sometimes be used safely when in conjunction with traditional medical practices. These forms of therapy can enhance overall health. Tai chi, a soft martial arts technique, for example, can improve physical health by providing a low impact workout to improve balance, flexibility and strength while enhancing stress relief through the use of focused breathing and movement techniques.

Since certain holistic therapies should not be used in certain circumstances, when considering a holistic approach to your overall health, it is important to discuss options with your primary physician. This will assure there is some medical relevance to your treatment program. It also ensures the holistic therapy of choice will not interfere with your current traditional treatment protocol.

Tai Chi is a low-impact exercise program that reduces stress.
Tai Chi is a low-impact exercise program that reduces stress.

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