What Visualization Meditation Can Do For You

Did you know that most of what you learn throughout your life comes from visual cues? Your ability to see and visualize is extremely important to being able to learn and grow. It’s no surprise, then, that visualizing your health and wellness is a useful tool for teaching yourself new habits and changing your behavior as well as your mindset.

Understanding Visualization Meditation

Many religions and medical traditions have practiced the use of visualization for centuries. Seeing what you desire or are trying to achieve in your mind is extremely helpful to attaining your goals. There is not one specific form of visualization meditation. Instead, this concept represents many different practices, all of which involve using your mind to see a specific vision for yourself.

Your brain has difficulty distinguishing between what you are seeing with your eyes and what you are “seeing” with your mind. When you visualize something, your brain registers that it is happening. Therefore, the mental, emotional, and sometimes physical effects of your visualized reality will be the same as if it is actually happening. For example, mentally rehearsing a specific physical performance, such as by an athlete about to perform, can enhance their performance as well as lower their anxiety about the event.

So, how do visualization and meditation intersect? When we meditate, our goal is to focus the mind while relaxing the body. As you do this, you can then create visualizations that allow you to focus on your present reality, to envision how your body is connected to the world, how your mindfulness is affecting your health, and so on. Visualization allows you to influence your body.

By visualizing your body relaxing, your breath flowing in and out of diaphragm, or the positive energy moving from your toes up through your head, you can directly influence your state of relaxation and well-being.

These types of visualizations can help you naturally ease depression, boost your immune system, lower your stress levels, and even alleviate pain. Visualizing your own healing process can actually help you to heal! And using visualization meditation regularly can strengthen the connection between your mind and your body, as well.

How Do I Practice Visualization Meditation?

If you are new to meditation or visualization, it may be helpful to use guided meditation in the beginning. These generally consist of an audio script that helps you form your visualization and engage in meditation through prompted cues. There are several mobile phone apps and podcasts today dedicated to meditation, and more than a few of these will have visualization guidance, as well.

A popular form of visualization meditation is known as loving-kindness, or metta, practice. Derived from Buddhist practices, it uses imagery, focused attention, and phrases to invoke feelings of compassion and friendship within yourself. It helps you connect to your loving side, which allows you to feel loved and protected.

This form of visualization allows you to visualize the love you already feel, whether it is for yourself or something as simple as your dog, amplify that emotion, and extend it outward. This practice has been used to successfully lower chronic pain, help people feel more connected to others, and invoke positive emotions.

Final Thoughts

Learning to meditate is a process. And it is easier to learn when you have a teacher or some form of guidance. If you don’t want to use the guided apps or episodes, attend some classes or read a good book on the basics of meditation.

The same is true for visualization. It will take some time to learn to do both well. But, once you have mastered the simple but elegant techniques of each, combining them can help release the power of your mind over your body, which can have innumerable health and wellness benefits.

Traditional Tibetan Medicine 101

You might have heard rumors or stories about the famous Tibetan monks without knowing many concrete facts about this region, its beliefs, and its traditions – especially traditional medicine.

This mountainous region of West-Central China shares some of the traits of traditional Indian medicine to the South West and traditional Pacific medicine to the East. However, the heavy influence of Buddhism in the region has left a unique stamp on traditional medicine in this part of the world.

The Basics of Traditional Tibetan Medicine

Most of the medical traditions of the Indo-pacific region revolve around “qi” — pronounced “chee” — a soul or energy force that flows through the body. Unhealthy concentrations of this energy in different parts of the body lead to mental and physical illness.

Tibetan medicine does believe in bodily energy related to health but the way that they approach it is both more scientific and more abstract.

Instead of focusing on the soul and energy, traditional Tibetan medicine focuses on the mind, believing that all things are caused by the mind. The mind and the soul manifest themselves physically as “humors,” similar to the humors of early-modern European medicine. Imbalances of these humors, then, causes illness.

There are three humors in traditional Tibetan medicine: wind, bile, and phlegm. As a result, a symbol for Tibetan medicine is a circle composed of three drop shapes or brush strokes, compared to the two in the better known “yin-yang” sign popular in other Indo-pacific regions.

The three humors, the mind, and the spirit, are sometimes linked to the five elements of traditional Tibetan medicine. The familiar four are earth, water, wind, and fire, with “space” being the more mystical fifth element.

Diagnosis in Traditional Tibetan Medicine

Diagnosis in traditional Tibetan medicine is similar to diagnosis in holistic medicine, which is increasingly common in North America. During the diagnosis process, the pulse may be checked, the breath may be listened to, and urine may be examined. Other parts of the body may also be visually examined, particularly the tongue.

After the disorder of the humors has been diagnosed, a number of interventions may be “prescribed.”

There is also some belief in traditional Tibetan medicine, that different imbalances are more likely at different times of the year because the earth and the body undergo the same seasonal cycles.

Traditional Tibetan Cures and Practices

Trul Khor, a practice similar to yoga, is often used to remedy “wind blockages,” though some practitioners say that it can be used to diagnose, prevent, and treat a number of mental, emotional, and physical disorders.

Tsa-rLung is a more passive healing process, wherein a practitioner will attempt to heal the afflicted by redirecting energies in a process similar to faith healing in the Americas or Reiki in Japan.

Traditional Tibetan medicine also has a component of herbal medicine. Unfortunately for interested persons the world over, Tibetan herbal medicine is based on the herbs that grow in the region. These herbs are either impossible to find or illegal to gather in much of the rest of the world.

A number of ceremonies for the benefit of the individual’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health also make up a significant portion of traditional Tibetan medicine.

Is it Safe?

While Tibetan medicine is interesting to study, there are few centers for it around the world. Further, unlike other alternative medicines or folk medicines, there are no certification boards for Tibetan medicine. If you come across a Tibetan medicine practitioner, be sure to look into their other credentials – particularly medical degrees and experience.

While yoga is widely seen as at best beneficial and at worst harmless, there should be no harm in incorporating this aspect of traditional Tibetan medicine into your life. Similarly, while energy healing is not usually taken seriously in most of the Americas and Europe, it is also not seen as dangerous.

Should you venture into the world of herbal medicine, however, be sure to let your primary care provider know what herbs or supplements you are taking as these can interact with medication.

Traditional Korean Medicine 101

Traditional Korean Medicine is not as well-known as some other traditional Indo-pacific medicines like those of China, Japan, or India. This is unfortunate, as just as all of these traditions share many elements and bring their own unique perspectives, traditional Korean medicine is culturally significant as one of many ancient Indo-pacific medical traditions but also has its own important and unique contributions.

No matter whether you’ve heard of it or not or how you feel about it, take out your notebook for Traditional Korean Medicine 101.

Traditional Korean Medicine and Energy

Most Indo-pacific medical traditions focus on the idea that health is improved or damaged based on the balance of an energy, life force or soul. This force, usually called “qi,” — pronounced “chee” — flows through channels around the body and usually collects in various locations or organs, often called chakras. The methods of redirecting or balancing energy is one of the main differences between Indo-pacific medical traditions.

In both Japan and Tibet, energy healing became a common practice. In traditional Korean medicine, as in other Indo-pacific medical traditions, one way to promote the healthful flow of energies is through physical movement. In India and Tibet this led to the development of yogic practices, though in traditional Korean medicine a similar sentiment is often supported by martial arts – a sort of physical practice of philosophy in Korea.

Hanyak

The concept of energy balance is key in one of the two major schools of traditional Korean medicine.

Hanyak is the practice of balancing or complementing the body’s energy. In most of the Indo-pacific medicinal practices, the body’s energy is an almost entirely internal phenomenon. In the energy healing of Japan and Tibet, a healthy person’s energy can interact with another person’s to redirect energies and in acupuncture practices common throughout most Indo-pacific medical traditions, pins along the body’s energy channels can help to redirect energy. In most other practices, the energy must be restored or balanced by the individual through practices like meditation.

Hanyak is fairly unique in that it attempts to balance the body’s energy in part through herbal teas. Many of the traditional ingredients, such as Ginseng, are popular and widely available around the world.

Boyak

The other big school of traditional Korean medicine is Boyak. This school involves the use of food to balance between “deficiency” and “exuberance,” conditions similar to the conventional medical conditions of low and high metabolism. In Boyak this is largely done through addressing digestion.

The “prescriptions” in Boyak are more similar to recipes given by a specialist based on the symptoms or concerns of the patient. Benefits of Boyak recipes are probably the result of prebiotics and probiotics, which help good bacteria in your stomach and intestines to digest food.

Beginning with Traditional Korean Medicine

Unfortunately, there’s little to find online and finding a practitioner near you is rare. On that note, there are no certification boards for Boyak and Hanyak practitioners so if you find one, they should have some kind of certification from a board that you do trust.

If you do get into Boyak and Hanyak practices, talk to your primary care provider about your Hanyak practices. While Hanyak is usually safe, herbal teas and supplements can sometimes interact with medications, so while you aren’t likely to run into trouble, it’s a good idea to be careful. Boyak, however, is perfectly safe

One aspect of traditional Korean medicine that you probably do have access to is martial arts. Soo Bahk Do and Taekwando are both Korean martial arts that have some popularity in America.

They are great for practitioners of any age and incorporate exercises in strength, balance, flexibility, and aerobics as well as introducing practitioners to concepts of energy balance and health.

Traditional Japanese Medicine

If you’ve heard much about alternative medicine, you may have come to the realization that much of it is based in the traditional medicinal practices of various places around the world, often the Indo-Pacific region.

Traditional Japanese Medicine has given alternative medicine a strong foundation, but it is easy for its unique teachings and beliefs to get lost in the sea of “Eastern Medicine,” the traditional medicinal practices of Japan, China, Korea, and India.

The Basics

While most of this article will talk specifically about traditional Japanese medicine, touching base on some of the things that you might already know about “Eastern Medicine” may be a good way to get started.

Traditional Japanese Medicine believes that health comes from “balance” between different aspects of our lives, including diet, exercise, emotional and mental health, and some form of spiritual connectedness.

That doesn’t mean that you have to go to church to practice traditional Japanese medicine or that traditional Japanese medicine should be seen as in conflict with your faith. You just need to have some understanding of yourself as a small but important part and contributor in the universal system.

based on the concept of an “energy” that flows through the body from a number of centers, called “chakras” along energy lines around the body. Various imbalances in a person’s life can cause or be caused by a “damming up” of energy in the chakras which can manifest as physical, mental, or emotional systems. This energy can be redistributed by the individual or, in more severe cases, by a practitioner.

Reiki

The great gift of traditional Japanese Medicine to the world is Reiki. This healing practice involves a healthy practitioner helping an unhealthy patient to regain health by rebalancing their energies. This is often done by the practitioner placing their hands on the patient in order to help redirect their energies.

It is both reminiscent of “faith healing” practiced by various religions in the Americas and is one of the ancient for-runners of modern Chiropractics.

While no one (at least not in the Americas and Europe) can get medical degrees in Reiki, there are institutions that certify Reiki practitioners. If you go to a Reiki practitioner, you may ask to see their certificate.

 

They may also have degrees in some other health field such as chiropractics, physical therapy, &c. That having been said, there is virtually no risk at all involved in Reiki. While there are stories of Reiki helping people, there aren’t a lot of stories about people blaming worsening conditions or the appearance of new conditions on Reiki done wrong.

A quick search on the internet can bring up a wealth of information on Reiki but if you prefer print sources, Diane Stein’s “Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide To An Ancient Healing Art” is a great start.

Kampo

The other great pillar of traditional Japanese Medicine is Kampo. While Reiki probably predates Kamp, we know more about Kampo and from older sources.

While Reiki is largely spiritual and fairly mystical in nature, Kampo is more grounded in science. The largely herbal medicinal practice was largely adapted from traditional Chinese medicine and began to gain ground in nearby Japan around the seventh century.

Kampo maintains the focus on the body’s energy but acknowledges that the body’s energy is different from but related to other anatomical concepts. The incorporation of the study of various organs, fluids, and temperatures make Kampo more similar to concepts that weren’t known in Europe until just before the Renaissance, giving Kampo a blend of both more traditional credibility and more scientific maturity than Reiki, though the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive and aren’t exactly substitutes for one another.

Just as Reiki can be seen as an ancestor of chiropractic medicine, Kampo can be seen as an early step towards today’s interest in herbal, holistic, and homeopathic medicine.

Like any school of traditional medicine, traditional Japanese medicine offers a great pool of resources and practices into which the interested person can easily dive in these days of easy information accessibility.

While Reiki is largely seen as harmless, you should probably talk to your medical care provider before diving into Kampo, especially if you are being treated for something already. Some of the herbs involved in Kampo, while perfectly safe for most users, can potentially interact with some prescription medications.

The Benefits Of Natural Medicine

Holistic medicine has gained popularity over the years as something more beneficial and healthier than traditional medication. So much so, more stores are beginning to carry natural medications by the masses.

While experts debate on which form is better, research has shown that holistic medication has optimal benefits that support wellness, health, and longevity.

When we think back to our ancestors, all they used were the tools provided by nature. While we don’t have all of the answers regarding their health, we have a pretty good idea about their routines and how it benefitted them.

If you’re contemplating whether or not to make the switch to purely holistic, consider the many benefits of incorporating holistic medicine into your wellness routine.

Reducing Chemicals Is Good For Your Mind

A lot of traditional medication, fragrances, and deodorants have harmful chemicals that are filled with dyes and cancer-causing agents. Exposing yourself to these chemicals on a regular basis decreases your overall health.

In addition to ruining your physical health, a majority of these chemicals play a vital role in diminishing your mental health. Side-effects of traditional medication involve anxiety, depression, and even panic. Natural remedies, however, have minimal side effects and work to improve the brain as opposed to killing it.

On the topic of minimal side-effects, holistic forms of healing are known to have less severe side-effects when compared to traditional medication. With that said, it’s best to always ask your doctor about weaning off of your current medication before making the big switch.

Since some traditional forms of medication come with a detoxification process, it’s best to know ahead of time what to prepare for. As mentioned, never take yourself off of your medication abruptly as this could have dire consequences.

It’s From Nature

Holistic medication is from Mother Nature herself. Herbs and oils have not been manipulated beyond recognition. They may have a few additives for flavor or preservation purposes. As a whole, however, they’re pretty clear. They’re usually at their purest form and deliver medicinal benefits without altering your health.

Choosing herbal supplements that are closest to what you would find in nature is best for increasing longevity and improving vitality. If you’re on the hunt for natural medication, make sure you’re choosing items that haven’t been excessively tampered with.

The Quality Is Better

Traditional medication is made in bulk. This leaves room for error and recalls. Since holistic medication requires more time and effort, it eliminates room for error and improves the production process.

The likelihood that you’ll receive a natural item that was thrown together is unlikely. Most items take a long time to gather and compile. Therefore, when you purchase natural medication, you know you’re purchasing quality items.

You’re Reducing Pollution

When you take traditional medication, eliminating it through the body comes with a price to our precious environment. As you release toxins, the chemicals found in those medicines are released into the environment through our sewage system.

This means nothing is truly getting re-used and broken down for the betterment of society. However, when natural medication is released from the body, it goes back into the earth and is able to be used again. It’s not harmful or invasive. This makes holistic medication an ideal choice for wellness and healing.

The benefits of going the holistic route as opposed to traditional medication far outweigh the risks. It’s better for your mental and physical health as well as the environment. Prior to implementing holistic medication into your regular diet, please consult with your healthcare professional. They can provide you with the support and guidance you need the safely make the transition.

Make sure to speak with your doctor before using any medications or therapies.

The Alexander Technique 101

The Alexander Technique is part of what is known as Alternative Complementary Medicine, a body of treatment options which are outside of traditional medical care.

The Alexander Technique is an approach to mindfulness that focuses on improving your posture and the strength of the muscles that support your spine. The practice reinforces the best use of your neck muscles and spine, ensuring the natural, proper, and efficient alignment of your body.

Named for its creator, Frederick Mathias Alexander, this practice was developed to help people re-educate their bodies and develop the habit of proper posture and movement.

Benefits of the Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique can deliver multiple long-term benefits by helping you transform the way you live and manage your daily life. It is an excellent way to feel better and move through the world a more natural and relaxed way.

Alexander’s Four Concepts of Good Use

Alexander’s theory encourages you to be purposeful or mindful of your body’s responses and movements in the world—rather than moving and responding habitually. In essence, students are trained to be purposefully directional. Alexander identified four components of good posture that can help you make an enormous change in your body:

  1. Let your neck be free so that your head is far enough away from the spine
  2. Allow your torso to lengthen and fan into it
  3. Permit your legs to release away from your hip joint
  4. Allow your shoulders to release out to the side and float on the rib cage

These four actions will enable you to move in a way that is directional, and this will have a significant impact on your entire body.

Below are a few additional positive effects of the Alexander Technique.

Better Motion

It’s very easy to forget that your posture plays a vital role in the way you move in the world. Poor posture can slow you down and create a great deal of pain. Not having proper posture can also reduce the stamina you need to perform everyday activities. The Alexander Technique goes a long way to help you improve your movement, feel lighter, and be more confident and mindful of your coordination, balance, and stability.

Improvement in Muscle Function

According to Anxiety.org studies  show that consistent practice of the Alexander Technique improves muscle tone, thickness, elasticity, and the ability to contract. It is particularly helpful to individuals who experience issues with their posture, or have episodic neck and back pain.

Chronic Conditions

The Alexander Technique can be a complementary and supportive therapy for conditions like Parkinson’s disease, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. Enhancing posture and muscle activity helps people navigate the complexities of such conditions. When the Alexander Technique is accompanied by other forms of relaxation therapy, such as biofeedback, meditation, and hypnosis, patients have lowered their blood pressure and controled their breathing patterns.

Pain Management

The Alexander Technique can help you control neck and back pain. Studies demonstrate that with consistent practice of the Alexander Technique people’s pain levels have decreased and the overall cost of their care has been lowered dramatically compared to those who have not practiced this method.

Alexander Technique Lessons

What should you expect when taking Alexander Technique lessons? To begin with, there is no special attire for the training. During your first lesson the trainer will observe how you move about in your day to day life. How do you stand up? How do you sit down? How do you walk? How do you use your joints, neck, and spine to complete each of these activities?

For the best results, you will need to take classes regularly two or three times per week for as long as necessary.

Science Backed Uses For Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient medicinal practice used to restore homeostasis within the body. Originating in China around 198 BCE, this practice is centered on the flow of energy.

Practitioners believed that specific points in the body were gateways to body-energy. By triggering damaged points through acupuncture, it regulates the flow of energy to restore a form of balance.

Although regarded as a holistic form of healing, many western practitioners rave over the many health benefits of acupuncture. You can find a licensed acupuncturist virtually anywhere. This once niche practice is now highly regarded on a commercial level.

Since this practice involves placing intricate needles on specific parts of the body, it’s safe to assume that apprehension is high. Especially if you are intensely afraid of shots or needles in general.

It’s no denying that acupuncture seems scary when you see photos of it. However, there’s scientific evidence supporting this natural remedy. In fact, the health benefits far outweigh the alleged fear. Let’s consider a few of those awesome perks.

According to Stephen Janz author of the Evidence Based Acupuncture Evidence Project, “It is no longer possible to say that the effectiveness of acupuncture can be attributed to the placebo effect or that it is useful only for musculoskeletal pain.”

According to the Evidence Based Acupuncture website, “The Acupuncture Evidence Project reviewed the effectiveness of acupuncture for 122 treatments over 14 clinical areas. They found some evidence of effect for 117 conditions. “Our study found evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for 117 conditions, with stronger evidence for acupuncture’s effectiveness for some conditions than others. Acupuncture is considered safe in the hands of a well-trained practitioner and has been found to be cost-effective for some conditions. The quality and quantity of research into acupuncture’s effectiveness is increasing” (Acupuncture Evidence Project, p55).

The Evidence Based Acupuncture Project reports evidence of positive effects of acupuncture on the following conditions

  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic lower back pain
  • Headaches
  • Migraine prevention
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting

And evidence of ‘potential positive effect’ for more than 40 conditions including but not limited to

  • Anxiety
  • Acute stroke
  • Asthma in adults
  • Cancer pain
  • Depression
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Sciatica
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Menopausal hot flashes
  • Shoulder pain
  • Smoking cessation
  • PTSD
  • And many more

Acupuncture Promotes Restful Sleep

A recent study published in the Sleep journal recommends adults to get between six to eight hours of sleep. Lack of sleep can result in a host of health concerns. However, acupuncture has been found to assist with that.

The core of acupuncture is Qi. This revolves around energy flowing throughout the body. If your energy is out of whack, it impacts your ability to fall asleep. Acupuncture, however, can trigger those specific points and make insomnia a thing of the past.

Acupuncture Gives You More Energy

Tired of feeling sluggish throughout the day? Want to conquer that five-mile run? Try a few sessions of acupuncture. One journal published by the Houston Chinese Medicine found that individuals who experienced extreme fatigue had an increase in energy when they incorporated acupuncture into their wellness routine.

Some of the most popular points to trigger fatigue are between the brows and on the lower back.

Relieve Anxiety With Acupuncture

Many of the symptoms associated with anxiety revolve around an imbalance in the body. Since acupuncture works to restore that balance, it only makes sense that it helps with anxiety.

Science has proven this hypothesis to be true. A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology tested the effects of blood hormone levels in animals when they used acupuncture treatments.

The study found that the animals not only experienced lower blood levels, they also displayed a calmer demeanor; one of the foremost symptoms of excessive stress.

Regulate Digestion

Acid reflux is a popular disorder associated with poor digestion. One journal published by Dr. Yoseph Feleke found that individuals who incorporated acupuncture into their wellness routine experienced a decrease in symptoms.

In addition, acupuncture also helps relieve the symptoms of nausea and irritable bowel syndrome. Located near the ankle and around the leg are popular pressure points that’ll regulate digestion.

Possibly Increase Fertility

While there aren’t many studies showcasing the impact of acupuncture on fertility, many practitioners associated with the American Pregnancy Agency stand by this notion. Since acupuncture helps to restore balance and energy within the body, one can only assume that balance transcends to the reproductive system.

Women who are trying to conceive should consult with an acupuncturist to determine the specific pressure points that’ll increase ovulation and fertility levels within the body.

Acupuncture is an awesome procedure that can help with virtually any challenge one may face. Prior to incorporating this into your daily routine, consult with your doctor to make sure it’s right for you.

In addition, don’t be intimidated by the pictures you see online or in-person. Acupuncture is not painful, and the process is actually quite relaxing.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20862932

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-03/gumc-sos031113.php

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-03/gumc-sos031113.php

https://www.healthline.com/health/science-sleep-why-you-need-7-8-hours-night

http://americanpregnancy.org/infertility/acupuncture/

https://www.amcollege.edu/blog/natural-treatment-for-acid-reflux

https://www.thecenterforhas.com/acupuncture-for-increased-energy/

Naturopathy 101

Naturopathy, or the practice of naturopathic medicine, is a form of health care that emphasizes prevention and treatment of health problems by encouraging the body’s inherent healing and immunity processes. Naturopathic medicine is generally practiced by licensed professionals and focuses on the use of natural remedies and treatments to heal injuries, diseases, and illnesses.

A naturopath is a practitioner of this form of healthcare. Among the many treatments and therapies used by naturopaths are nutrition, hydration, exercise, fasting, herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, bio-resonance, and many forms of bodywork. Naturopathy eschews prescription and over-the-counter medications in favor of natural ingredients and treatments that encourage the body to heal itself.

Naturopathic medicine focuses on a holistic approach to healing which pays attention to all aspects of a patient’s physical, emotional, and mental wellness. Naturopaths customize treatment to each patient, so it is a very individualized approach to wellness. In addition, there is a significant emphasis on prevention and maintaining good health in naturopathy.

The History of Naturopathy

The foundational principles of naturopathy were first introduced in 400 BC by the Hippocratic School of Medicine. These beliefs include focusing on the whole person, not just the symptoms or disease.

Naturopathic medicine includes the following principles for practice:

#1. Nature has the ability to heal.

#2. You should treat the cause of the problem, not the symptoms.

#3. Treatments should not create other problems.

#4. Treatment should be directed at the whole person, taking into consideration all the patient’s needs.

#5. A naturopath should educate the patient to help empower them to take care of and heal themselves.

#6. It is better to prevent a disease than to cure it.

Over time, naturopathic medicine has grown to include new practices and technologies, but these principles still guide all treatments that are recommended. The goal of naturopathy is to allow the body to live in harmony with the world and nature, and when you achieve this, you will have physical, mental, and emotional health.

Today’s Practice of Naturopathy

Today’s conventional medical practices emphasize treating illness, which means doctors are not looked for until problems already exist. This is the opposite of naturopathic beliefs. This approach to thinking about wellness makes it challenging for some to understand the benefits or purpose of this form of healing.

Today’s naturopaths must contend with many forms of toxins and pollutants that endanger our health and throw us out of balance with nature. As a society, we have become increasingly distanced from the sources of our food, our connection to our own bodies and health, and the relationship between nature and wellness.

But many people are beginning to embrace this form of medical healing because of its core values and for its focus on prevention and holistic care. Today’s practitioners have an eclectic approach to treatment that meets the many needs of today’s patient.

While ancient practices focused solely on diet and lifestyle changes, today’s naturopathy uses body manipulation, biochemical supplementation, purposeful fasting, acupuncture, and many other forms of therapy to help others on their path to wellness.

Final Thoughts

A visit to a modern-day naturopath is likely to include a thorough medical history, an evaluation of diet and lifestyle habits, and a discussion of your current conventional medical practices. Once your practitioner understands you and your needs, he or she will recommend an individualized treatment plan to optimize your health and educate you about ways you can heal yourself.

The healing power of nature is central to the work of naturopathy, guiding all its practices and recommendations. Those who choose this form of medical care will receive personal attention and recommendations that allow them to obtain health and wellness through the power of natural solutions.

Music Therapy 101

Music has been used as a means of creative therapy for centuries. Whether people intended for it to be therapeutic or not, music has shaped our culture, mood, and overall worldview.

While music is enjoyable to listen and groove to, it definitely touches the soul. In fact, many people have experienced total mood shifts from listening to their favorite songs.

When music is used for therapeutic purposes, good things happen. Let’s consider a few ways music can uplift us and how you can incorporate music into your wellness routine.

What Is Music Therapy?

Music therapy, when used in a clinical setting, is used to help patients reach their individual goals. By addressing physical, psychological, or cognitive challenges through music, the patient is able to clearly identify their behavior.

If you’re looking for a qualified music therapist, it’s best to look for someone who is Board Certified in Music Therapy. Since they’re qualified in this sector specifically, this makes them an ideal choice as opposed to a traditional therapist.

Now that we know a bit about what music therapy is, let’s consider why music as a means of therapy is effective and unique.

Helps Treat Medical Conditions

According to the American Music Therapy Association, “music therapy interventions can focus on pain management for physical rehabilitation, cardiac conditions, medical and surgical procedures, obstetrics, oncology treatment, and burn debridement.”

Helps In Patient Care

The American Music Therapy Association reports music therapy helpful in:

Reducing stress and anxiety

Alleviating pain

Improved blood pressure

Improved respiration

Lower heart rate and boosts in cardiac output

Relaxes muscle tension

Music is Empowering

When you’re feeling uneasy or lacking confidence, throwing on your favorite playlist can make you feel like a total rockstar. There’s something about the way instruments and melodies intertwine together to connect with our senses. It’s chilling.

Whether it’s a powerful voice or an unstoppable drum solo, music has a way of making us feel otherworldly. That’s why so many athletes power-up with their favorite jams right before a big game.

Music Therapy For Pain Management

According to Professor Suzanne Hanser, EdD, MT-BC, Berklee College of Music, this model of therapy is based on cognitive behavioral model of therapy (CBT) that’s basis is reconditioning the patient to replace dysfunctional feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

In regards to music therapy, music is to create conditioned responses to elicit relaxation and  overcome tension and worry.

In the beginning, patients listen to music along with another deep relaxation practice, but over time they become conditioned so that music alone cues the response.

The end goal of the music therapy protocol for pain is to divert attention away from either anxiety or pain and acts as not only a distraction but also provides comfort. It also helps improve mood, relaxes the sufferer and promotes positive thoughts.

Music is Connective and Inclusive Culturally

When you’re going through a rough time, you may feel like nobody around you understands what you’re going through. It can be extremely lonely.

However, when you hear a certain song, those lyrics just make you feel inclusive. They resonate with you; in the best way possible. This creates a connection between you and the artist. You no longer feel alone.

Music also connects individuals to each other. Many of us have made lifetime friends at concerts simply because you all feel the same way about a popular band.

Music has a way of connecting people to each other when they need it the most. Companionship is one of the highest forms of support and happiness.

Music is Relaxing and Makes You Feel Comforted

When you’re nervous about a big test or a major life event, popping on some relaxing melodies instantly calms you down. It gives your mind something soothing to focus on instead of the problem you’re facing.

That’s why many infants listen to lullabies as they go to sleep. They’re likely overwhelmed by this big, unfamiliar world. Listening to something soothing gives them comfort in a world of chaos.

Incorporate Music Into Your Daily Routine

You can make music a part of your wellness routine by simply listening to it. Create different playlists that resonate with your different moods.

Create a love playlist, one for the gym, and one of those not-so-happy times. This will give you the support you need without having to rely on others. You’ll begin to feel less alone and more in tune with your positive emotions.

The Take-Aways and Overall Summary

Music is a wonderful form of therapy that can be incorporated virtually everywhere. With the advancement of technology, you can listen to music as you’re walking down the street, studying, or working.

Try different genres so you can expand your horizon. This will give you a greater insight into the wonderful therapeutic benefits of music.

Sources: http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/MT_Pain_2010.pdf

Mind/Body Practices Strengthen Communication Between Mind And Body

Mind/body practices have been around for millennia; however, it’s only been recently they’ve become popular for promoting emotional and physical health separate from their Buddhist, Hindu, and Taoist traditions.

Is there anything to this? Are there any health benefit separate the religious and spiritual customs that have helped keep these practices alive for so long? The scientific research says yes.

According to Healthline, there’s evidence mind/body practices:

  • Reduce stress
  • Control Anxiety
  • Decrease depressive symptoms
  • Increase attention span
  • Reduce age related memory loss
  • Improve sleep
  • Control pain
  • Decrease blood pressure

Of course, more research needs to be done. So far though, the results are promising.

In today’s overworked, overstressed, and overstimulated world, mind/body exercises are even more important for having a better connection with your body that carries over to all facets of life, from how you act in relationships to how you handle stress.

Here are 3 mind/body practices to get you started.

  1. Meditation

What is it?

Psychology Today defines meditation as, “the practice of turning one’s attention to a single point of reference. It can involve focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase, known as a mantra. In other words, meditation means pivoting away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment.”

If want to improve something, you practice it. If you want to improve your basketball skills, you practice playing basketball. If you want to get stronger, you practice lifting weights. It makes sense that by practicing meditation you improve your body and mental awareness.

How to get started:

You literally need nothing except yourself and a quiet spot. So, it’s very accessible for beginners.

Naturally, a practice as old as meditation has many different styles. However, if you’re new to meditation, the learning curve doesn’t need to be steep. Keep it simple:

  1. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. Set a timer.
  3. If you’re new, just do 1 minute to start.
  4. Then, focus on your breath until the timer goes off. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.

This will feel way more difficult than you feel it should be. Your mind will drift away from your breath. You’ll start thinking about completely random stuff.

This is normal. Don’t beat yourself up for it. Simply bring your focus back to your breath.

Try doing this every day for a week. You’ll be amazed at how much more focused, relaxed, and connected with your body you’ll be.

  1. Yoga

What is it?

According to Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi, the Director of Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga in India, there’s evidence yoga existed as far back as 2700 BC. So, it’s been around a while to say the least.

Yoga can be thought of as a type of moving meditation, emphasizing the breath and bodily awareness as you flow through various poses.

Dr. Basavaraddi says the poses, called Asanas, consist, “in adopting various body (psycho-physical) patterns, giving ability to maintain a body position (a stable awareness of one’s structural existence) for a considerable length and period of time as well.”

How to get started:

You could start taking a class. Donation based classes are fairly common if you’d like to try it out without spending lots of money. There are also plenty of YouTube videos if you’re not quite ready for doing yoga in front of lots of people.

Doing yoga for an entire hour can be a bit overwhelming if you’re new to it, especially as the poses are often referred by their Sanskrit name, making it hard to keep up. I’d personally recommend just doing 2-5 minutes of YouTube yoga at home a few times a week to get a bit more familiar with the practice.

There are many different styles of yoga, and it seems there’s something for everyone.

So, try out a few different styles to see which one clicks best.

Qigong

What is it?

If you haven’t heard of Qigong, you’ve definitely heard of the most prominent form of qigong: tai chi.

The National Qigong Association says,” Qigong can be described as a mind-body-spirit practice that improves one’s mental and physical health by integrating posture, movement, breathing technique, self-massage, sound, and focused intent.”

The constant flow of slow, intentional, and controlled movement makes qigong a great practice for building mind/body communication. It can also be easily adapted to all fitness levels.

How to get started:

You can find a class, a private instructor, or, as with yoga, good old’ YouTube lessons.

Conclusion

Mind/body practices have good reason for sticking around for so long.

In the modern world, it’s crucial to make time for practices that bring you back to the present and help you reconnect with your body. Whether it’s taking a yoga class 3 times a week or meditating for 1 minute per day, you’ll see near immediate and marked improvements in your mood, focus, and relationship with your body.