2020 has been a trying year for most of us, with many of us facing job insecurities and money worries. Coupled with the inability to see friends and family face-to-face, many of us face stressful, uncertain, and potentially lonely times. What the pandemic has taught us, however, is the importance of our health. There’s been a global shift in recognising that alternative and holistic therapies might hold the key to physical and mental wellbeing.
What are alternative and holistic therapies?
Unlike traditional western medicine that seeks to treat the symptoms, complementary therapies treat the cause. Whilst many Eastern cultures have understood the power of holistic and alternative therapies for millennia, in the west we are starting to see their benefits.
Whether we’re choosing yoga over HIIT, or reiki over paracetamol, even the NHS has started to incorporate holistic therapies into treatment plans. With many proponents claiming to suffer less from stress and have an overall improved quality of life, there are many reasons to give holistic therapies a try.
So, whether you’re worrying about your financial situation, or you just want to control the nagging worries and doubt, here are some of our favourite holistic therapies you should try.
Yoga has been used in Indian cultures for centuries to help restore mind-body balance. Whilst in western societies we tend to prefer the hatha style practice which involves postures and flows, yoga is actually a practise of stillness. Helping to reduce stress and restore the flow of energy, the meditative practice and concentration required means you’re able to stay present on the mat. And the savasana at the end is like taking a mini-nap!
60 minute classes can range from anywhere between £10 – £20, so make sure to keep track of your finances before signing up to a long course.
Unlike Swedish massage that uses firm hand pressure to break down tension in the muscles, aromatherapy massage uses various essential oils that are absorbed into the blood stream to help promote relaxation, and rejuvenation.
Essential oils are renowned for their healing and restorative properties, and when combined with an aromatherapy massage the effects can be quite astounding. Shown to reduce blood pressure and provide pain relief, aromatherapy massages can cost anywhere from £20 for a 30-minute treatment, to £70 for an hour-long full-body treatment.
Acupuncture is a technique that stimulates specific points on the body by inserting thin needles through the skin. According to ancient Chinese philosophy, energy flows through the body in meridians that are connected by the major organs. When energy is disrupted, both physical and mental problems arise. By inserting the needles into the skin aligned with particular meridians, the flow is restored – resulting in improved health.
Whilst not an unpleasant experience, acupuncture isn’t for everyone. Prices vary greatly depending on where in the country you live with treatments costing anywhere between £30 – £70 per session. Remember, it’s important to only go to a qualified acupuncturist.
The great thing about meditation is that it can be done by anyone without the need for any additional equipment, or training. All you need to do is find a space where you won’t be disturbed and tune in to your body.
If your mind wanders, there are plenty of apps available to help you get started and keep you focused. If practised regularly, mediation can help lower blood pressure, and provides you with the tools to keep you calm, even in the most stressful situations.