A look at the benefits of holistic healing on our body and soul.

What is Holistic Healing?

Did you know the work appraisal you are dreading could be causing your backache? Or your insomnia might be due to a row you had with your sister? Holistic healers believe that, sometimes, physical ailments can have an emotional or spiritual cause. Holistic healing means treating your mind, body and soul as a whole. It's the idea that each aspect of you is connected so if one aspect becomes out of balance, this can cause illness. For instance, if you are neglecting your spiritual side, then this can manifest itself as a physical problem, such as a headache or a toothache. Or if you are burying an emotional issue and not facing up to an emotional problem - this can also manifest as a physical pain, like indigestion or muscle soreness. So your aches and pains are sometimes symptoms of a deeper issue.

A holistic practitioner will talk to you about the deeper issues that may be affecting your health. You'll be asked about diet, stress factors, sleep and lifestyle habits. Instead of dishing out pills to alleviate symptoms, holistic healers believe in treating the root cause of those symptoms. The idea is that you are in charge of your own wellbeing. You have a potent power to heal yourself. A holistic treatment is intended to trigger this self healing process.

Try holistic therapies

Here are some of the most popular techniques

Aromatherapy

The essential oils used in aromatherapy have the ability to transform your mood and general wellbeing. The power of scent can take you from downcast to uplifted, or from stressed to relaxed. Aromatherapy harnesses the potency of natural fragrances, using them to heal mind, body and soul.

Aromatherapy is the practice of using oil derived from 100 per cent natural plant materials to increase your health. The use of these fragrances can help to treat emotional or nervous disorders, especially when combined with massage. Research has shown that the scent of essential oils can help combat conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, depression and mental fatigue.

Essential oils are extracted from flowers, herbs, trees, fruit, vegetables or spices. The oil is called ‘essential’ because it is a concentrated version of the plant or flower's essence. You can dilute essential oils and apply them directly to the skin as perfume or apply them through massage. The oils are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, or when you breathe in the aroma. Add a few drops of essential oil to your bath and inhale the fragrant steam, or dilute the oil in water and heat it in an oil burner to release the aroma into your home. Essential oils can be used to scent bed linen, or put a drop on a cloth and leave it in your wardrobe for fragrant outfits. Adding a dab to your pillow can help you have a deep and peaceful night's sleep.

Acupuncture

This is a technique from ancient Chinese medicine that has become widely accepted in modern western medicine for its healing benefits. It's based around the idea that your chi (life force energy) can become blocked. This blockage manifests itself as physical ailments. Trauma, emotional issues and poor lifestyle choices can all cause your chi to become blocked. In acupuncture tiny needles are inserted into the skin to unblock your chi. This sounds painful but when performed by an experienced acupuncturist, you should not feel pain when the needles are inserted.

In fact, acupuncture can be a powerful natural pain reliever, treating conditions such as painful menstruation, arthritis, back pain and the symptoms of substance addiction.

Reflexology

In reflexology, gentle pressure of massage is applied to the soles of the feet to heal. The method is based on the idea that different zones on your feet correspond to different organs of your body. By massaging the specific zone on your foot, energy and tension in the affected part will be released and the body's natural healing mechanism will be triggered. It is also thought that endorphins may be released through foot massage which further promotes healing within the body.

Indian Head Massage

Healing and relaxing, Indian head massage is part of the ancient Ayurvedic medical system, which is a holistic system based around balancing energies in your body.

This head massage is relaxing yet revitalising, too. It is used for the treatment of stress, insomnia, anxiety, tension headaches, chronic fatigue and sinus problems.

The therapist uses gentle compression movements on your scalp, neck and shoulders. It's a good massage for those who are new to holistic treatments as you can remain seated and fully clothed. Sometimes oil is used but this is not necessary. The massage will help your body to eliminate toxins and make you feel more mobile. It is said to encourage the free flow of chi energy around the body - this is your life force energy.

Choosing a practitioner

Trusting your health to a practitioner is a big step so be sure to choose carefully

*Research online to get a feel of the practitioner's style and specialities

*Check their professional qualifications with their regulatory organisation

*A personal recommendation from a regular customer is the best way to find a good therapist

*You should feel comfortable and at ease with your therapist

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