Alternative medicine was once a practice that many Americans and Western society had turned away from, not believing in the benefits that many of the medicines involved contain. Nowadays, society is slowly but surely making their way into the alternative medicine and holistic healing trends - becoming increasingly more interested in the health assistance and aid they contain. When focusing on holistic medicine practices, it is important in understanding exactly what holistic medicine it. These practices are considered to be any form of healing and medicine that is not deemed "traditional" by Western medicine. Any of these practices can include medicinal practices like hydrotherapy, Reiki, acupuncture, and more. When one actually blends together Western medicine with alternative medicine, it is often referred to as "complimentary practices," - and is truly only consider "alternative" when did alone over Western medicine.
The National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health assess every five years how Americans are increasingly more responsive to these approaches. One of the most recent studies have found that over 33.2% of all adult Americans have practice some form of alternative medicine and holistic practices. The study also shows that Americans are willing to spend more out-of-pocket money to afford these tools, meaning that they are relying more and more on these holistic medicine practices.
If you haven't gotten into the holistic medicine bandwagon, it may be time to at least learn more about what it is all about. From treating anxiety, to relieving headaches and muscle tension, not only are the benefits of holistic healing important to know, but the vast history behind it even more so! Here is our guide and inside look at holistic medicine:
A Brief History
Within holistic medicine, there was once a time when healers believed in the the importance of emotional health and spiritual health in balance with physical health. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda were two of the most common and earliest recorded practices that have been well documented in Ancient History. TCM has been around for almost 5,000 years, continuing to expand into modern day history and Western Medicine practices that are often practiced. From the very beginning TCM viewed the human body as a small "universe" in which every system has become interconnected. These systems relied on energies and forces such as "qi" - meaning your life force - and "shen" - meaning your spiritual force.
The three most common practices of holistic medicine from Ancient History that are still being practiced today are:
- Ayurveda : Ayurveda is a technique from Ancient India, dating back to the 6th Century. It was documented in texts written by Sushrata, known as the "father of surgery." The healing practices incorporated the five elements of the universe, the seven primary constituent elements of the body, and the three biological energies. Ayurveda generally focuses on eight different techniques and healers tend to highlight the importances of balance and moderation.
- Herbal Medicine : Herbal medicine puts an emphasis on holistic balance through the use of extracting the medicinal benefits from plants and other herbs to be applied for the body. It is a critical elements to both TCM and Ayurveda practices.
- Western Herbalism : Western herbalism had originated in Ancient Greece and Rome, then had spread out to the rest of the Europe. It had eventually spread to North America and South America through imperialism and globalization.
Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, had argued the importance of healing through nature. He believed in the self-healing efforts and quality of the body, while other physicians had argued over stepping in to heal the body immediately to correct the illness. These two approaches - support versus intervention - were discussed and fought over for years almost up until the 19th Century, during the Scientific Revolution.
Holistic Healing Today
Our lives and society, whether we want to admit it or not, can be full of imbalances. Within our world, we constantly keep finding more and more ways to pollute our environments and our foods, creating a major issue within our global carbon footprint. We have dealt with massive reports of chronic illnesses and obesity, and while these may be small, we often deal with poor diets and poor exercise regimes. More often enough, within our fast-paced, often chaotic society, we deal more and more with stress and other mental illness that can throw our lives off course.
While many people believe in the power effects in therapy and talking about your mental health with others, some still believe that they can heal their bodies and minds through holistic healing and "complimentary practices." People are looking increasingly on ways to improve their spirit and well-being, finding holistic medicines and techniques to perfect match for them. The wellness industry alone as conduct numerous studies and research in discovering benefits that come holistic healing and alternative medicine. More so, many practitioners are getting properly trained and certified within these practices, creating more safe spaces where they medicinal advantages can be performed.
Popular Alternative Medicine Practices Found Today
There are many holistic and alternative medicine practices that are still being practiced today and even increasingly being expanded on into new and brilliant ways! Some of the most popular ones included:
- Acupuncture - Acupuncture was founded in China several hundred years ago and continues to be a popular practice being used today. The technique targets key areas in the body by placing a needle in the spot to release energies. The treatments can treat anything from headaches and migraines, to more serious ailments like chronic pain in cancer patients.
- Acupressure - Acupressure applies pressure from their fingertips on certain points of the body to enact similar techniques found in acupuncture. A 2011 study had found that acupressure is effective in treating those with mild traumatic brain injuries, especially when used with the technique known as jin shin, which pressure is applied to special spots in the body that are linked to energy pathways.
- Aromatherapy - Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years and contains many different benefits! You can read more about aromatherapy on our previous post by clicking here: Soothing Benefits Of Aromatherapy
- Balneotherapy - Balneotherapy is a lesser known technique that involves soaking in hot and cold baths to heal ailments. These treatments often require you to bath in salty waters, such as those found in the Dead Sea or sulphur springs. The idea behind it is that the body will absorb the minerals in which it will be used to treat the body.
- Reiki - Reiki is a Japanese method for relaxation that revolves around the idea of "life force energy." It often is believed that when our life force energy is low, we are weak and unhealthy. To read more about reiki and its benefits, please click here to read one of our previous posts: The Healing Power Of Reiki
If you are interested in holistic medicine, definitely take the time to research and refer to texts in order to find more information! The world and science behind its practices are growing more than ever, so take advantage of it! Then, share with us what holistic practices you are interested in by following us on Instagram @itouchwearables and Facebook @itouchwearables and by dropping a like and comment! Also, be sure to check out our new articles published daily!