Complementary and alternative medicine has been around for a very long time. In fact, many of the modern medical treatments we know today have their roots grounded in what might be considered an “alternative healing" method. While the advent of modern medicine has helped humans become able to live longer, healthier lives, long before it was developed into what we know today, cultures and communities all over the world have used holistic medicine systems to help treat illness, heal wounds, and heal “dis-ease” throughout human history.
Some of these practices are very closely tied to philosophy, belief systems, and other theoretical ideology. Although some argue that alternative or complementary medicine lacks the scientific evidence-based findings of more conventional medicine, one of its boons is that it tends to be associated with natural substances or integrative and holistic approaches. As such, alternative healing tends to to have fewer side-effects, and it is very well-suited to preventative care. And the research is ongoing: increasing amounts of studies are looking to prove the benefits of meditation, sound therapy, yoga, acupuncture, massage, hypnotherapy, homeopathy, chiropractic, Ayurveda, and naturopathy, to name just some. Despite the barriers between "alternative" and conventional healing ー many of which have cultural ties to non-Western medical systems ー these practices can offer a unique yet inspiring perspective through which to view healing, giving us a holistic approach to understanding health and wellness, and improving the mind-body connection.
For many people, meditation is a balm for the mind, body, and soul. For many others it is a minefield. In our relentlessly busy modern world, we are bombarded with information, images, emails, a 24-hour news cycle, and a non-stop stream of social media updates一it’s no surprise that our brains can feel utterly fried on a regular basis. But in the current-day culture that often perpetuates “doing” over “being”, which celebrates achievement above all else, the idea of spending quiet time with nothing but our thoughts can be, quite frankly, terrifying. We get it.
Pablo Picasso once said that art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. Everyone has their own “dust”. Yours could be the unpleasant news you read on the internet, or a micromanager who never leaves you alone. Perhaps yours comes from within – that tiny little voice that doubts your worth, or exhibits your lack of self-confidence. No matter what you’re struggling with that’s weighing you down, Picasso's metaphor suggests that art can serve as a therapeutic tool, helping you to feel better when you’re going through difficult times – that’s the healing power of art.
The term ‘adaptogen’ is a modern label for nature’s performance enhancers. They are properties found in plants that have been used for millennia to boost the functioning of the human body, specifically when it comes to managing the nervous system’s stress response. Different adaptogens are believed to either calm or energize the physiological system towards becoming more resistant to stress, so they are used to improve energy, focus, and stamina, among other things. The difference between adaptogens and other herbal or pharmaceutical medicines is that they work to bring the body back into its natural homeostasis needed for optimal wellbeing, rather than stimulating, depressing, or intervening in any specific chemical processes. For this reason, they are reported to have few adverse side effects.
One of the first questions most people ask about alternative or complementary healing methods is “Does it work?” or “How effective is alternative healing?” The answer lies within an ideal upon which many of these systems were founded on: a philosophy or ideology that claims it will help you if you do it right. Confused? First, it’s important to understand that holistic wellness doesn’t typically take a rapid-fix approach towards its cause-and-cure treatments, but rather, it’s a lifestyle. It takes into account that one must simultaneously heal the root cause of a problem, as well as its symptoms. So for it to work, or be considered “effective”, one must first embrace a broader definition of a treatment system, and what constitutes healing.
What are some examples of alternative healing? Meditation is a big one, as is sound therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathy, massage, and acupressure. Within each, there are more questions: What is homeopathy used for? How does sound healing work? What are the benefits of massage? Is Astral Projection Real? What Is Quantum Healing? What are the healing frequencies? What are the side-effects of alternative medicine? Is it just a placebo? As we explore the answers, countless people all over the world are finding paths to increased well-being through alternative healing approaches ー whether they are based in ancient rituals or modern practices ー and using them to find the happiest and healthiest versions of themselves.
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