When it comes to relieving chronic pain, most of us think of prescription medication. Medication is appropriate in most cases, but there are complementary options you can use as well. Holistic, or alternative, treatments can be used either as a supplement to medications or alone.
What are Holistic Methods?
Holistic medicine is best described as healing methods that consider a person’s overall mind, body, and spirit, as well as their emotions. Holistic treatments are ways of seeking relief for chronic pain without the use of medications. Some holistic methods can be done on your own; some include a holistic practitioner. There are numerous options for holistic treatments.
Holistic practitioners search for any underlying causes of your disease, rather than just treating the symptoms alone. According to the American Holistic Health Association, holistic health practitioners view illness as a “manifestation of a dysfunction of the whole person,” not as just an isolated event.
Holistic Treatment Options
Some of the holistic options available that require a practitioner of some kind, at least initially, include:
- Tai chi – a form of exercise designed to improve balance consisting of slow, flowing movements
- Feldenkrais – a form of therapy designed to improve the efficiency of movement
- Pilates – a popular form of exercise that uses the body’s weight as resistance to build and strengthen core muscles
- Acupuncture – a holistic treatment involving the placement of tiny, painless needles and release natural pain-relieving substances in target areas of the body
- Acupressure – the application of finger pressure to specific pressure points along the meridians of the body to balance and increase the body’s flow of energy
- Massage – a relaxing treatment in which a practitioner applies oil and works target muscle groups to release pain and tension
- Reiki – an energy-focused healing method in which a practitioner moves their hands over a client’s energy fields to restore flow and balance
- Biofeedback – a natural treatment that uses a special machine, device, or computer program to improve alertness to your body’s processes and how to control them
- Qigong – exercise techniques that involve the coordination of the body, mind, posture, and breathing to correct the flow of energy
- Yoga – a relaxing form of exercise that includes meditative posing and stretching
If you’d like to try supplements or herbal remedies, there are endless options to try such as fish oil, willow bark, kava kava, turmeric, skullcap, and cloves. Be sure to check with your doctor before you add supplements or remedies of any kind to your daily routine. Your doctor can determine if alternative treatments are safe and if supplements will interfere with any medication you’re taking.
There are some natural healing methods you can try on your own. Many doctors recommend walking 30 minutes a day, every day, and biking. Using an elliptical, swimming, and other low-impact aerobic exercises are also found to be beneficial in the management of chronic pain. Another important method to try, whether you’re interested in holistic treatments or not, is getting deep sleep. Your body needs its REM sleep, and it’s important to get enough rest to provide your body with ample time to rest and rejuvenate.
Although holistic methods are generally safe, it is important to get the okay from your doctor before trying any holistic treatments.
Jennifer McGregor has wanted to be a doctor since she was little. Now, as a pre-med student, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream. She helped create PublicHealthLibrary.org with a friend as part of a class project. With it, she hopes to provide access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When Jennifer isn’t working on the site, you can usually find her hitting the books in the campus library or spending some downtime with her dog at the local park.
Images via Pixabay by rhythmuswege