Complementary Therapies

Many complementary therapies place no boundaries between physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, where every aspect of self is relevant, whether that be your lifestyle, relationships, belief system or even the work you do, they all play a part in your health.  Often, we turn to these modalities and philosophies when we feel we need additional or alternative support to conventional approaches which are focused solely on individual complaints, rather than understanding or encouraging the root cause of ill-health.

As a holistic health and wellness coach there’s nothing more I love to explore than discovering new therapeutic practices, not only to expand my coaching toolkit, but also to continue developing my own self-care approach as I navigate my way through mid-life (aka the menopausal phase)

So where do you start?  Well firstly it’s important to understand what you are trying to achieve, take a look at your life and establish what’s serving you well and what isn’t working.  Where are you feeling out of balance, what areas are you looking to improve?  Try to focus on the key pillars of your wellbeing as these are the key to unlocking areas of discontent; career, relationships, physical activity, spirituality.

Get clear on what you want your life to look like and then live it as authentically as possible to that vision.  This creates a solid foundation to a healthier, happier life, but remember health is complex and multidimensional, there are so many variables that it’s impossible for all our needs to be the same, therefore, it’s important to understand that there’s a lot more to it than just making the right choices, emphasis on self and what you want is paramount.

Here are some modalities I have found hugely helpful and use as part of my self-care rituals:

Somatic Breathwork

Breathwork has been around for centuries with many cultures across the world developing their own interpretations and practices. Somatic breathwork is a conscious form of breathing and has the ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which can help to reduce stress and anxiety.  It also recharges and shifts our energy by helping us become more aware of our bodies.  Working in conjunction with mindfulness, it’s a beneficial tool for developing self-awareness and self-improvement.

Cold Water Therapy

This can involve colds showers; ice baths or fresh water swimming and the idea is to fully immerse yourself for a few minutes at a time.  Cold therapy is linked to many different health benefits including reducing inflammation, increasing metabolism and immune response, as well as fantastic benefits to general mental wellbeing.  I personally opt for cold showers just a few minutes at the end of my morning routine and whenever I have the opportunity the use of plunge pools, which are now becoming a staple in gyms, hotels or spas.

Sound Bath Therapy

A sound bath session is a meditative experience by using healing instruments such as gongs, singing bowls, chimes, percussion, rattles or even singing to create a deep vibrational sound.  The intention is that the vibrations lead you deeper into a state of contemplation or relaxation, shutting off your body’s fight-or-flight response, helping to balance and recalibrate your energy.  Scientific research suggests that sound healing can help manage stress, improve sleep, reduce anxiety and depression, and enhance overall well-being.

Therapeutic Massage

Therapeutic massage in general terms describes any type of massage modality that helps relieve pain, reduce stress, and work on a specific problem.  There are different types such as deep tissue, sports or trigger point all of which are great for those of us who sit in front of a computer all day and suffer with pain in our back or shoulders.  This is also a fantastic way to rid the body of toxins.

EFT Tapping

Emotional Freedom Technique is a mind-body method which focuses on tapping acupoints on the hands, face, and body with your fingertips.  Similar to acupuncture, EFT focuses on the meridian points or energy hot spots to help restore balance to our body’s energy and considered an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress.

This method can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve performance, lessen cravings, and help resolve fears. In a clinical setting, it may also help relieve the symptoms of PTSD, phobias, and other mental health issues.

Forest Bathing

This Japanese practice is known as a process of relaxation called shinrin yoku. This is a simple method of being calm and quiet amongst the trees, immersing yourself and observing the nature around you whilst breathing deeply.  This modality further supports the growing evidence of benefits the great outdoors can have on us both physical and mental health.

Reiki

With roots in ancient Japanese tradition, reiki is a subtle form of healing with the aim of restoring balance of energy in the body.  For many it is used as a tool to releasing emotional blockages or a mode of relaxation to assist the promotion of natural healing.  Practitioners use a technique called palm or hands-on healing, whereby they are the conduit of channelling energy into the person.

All of the above therapies are considered safe when performed by a trained or experienced specialists. However, there may be times that certain practices carry higher risks for you, so please be mindful of your medical history and consult with your doctor should you have any concerns.

Looking outside the norms of convention can be uncomfortable for many, but I encourage you to explore and have fun discovering what works for you.

 

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place – but nothing ever grows there.” – Unknown

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