3 Common Complementary Health Practices

In healthcare you’ll often hear the words “alternative”, “integrative”, and “complementary” being used, sometimes interchangeably, but they each denote a different practice of medicine. “Alternative” medicine is the term for when you substitute conventional treatments with unconventional or non-mainstream ones, using the unconventional method in place of standard practice. “Complementary” medicine practices involve supplementing conventional practices with non-mainstream practices. Finally, “integrative” health practices are ones that bring together conventional health practices with complementary ones in order to give the most holistic solutions for and picture of health.

Incorporating these practices into your daily life doesn’t have to change your entire world, but the impact that taking better care of your mind and body could have can be life-changing. Here are a few common complementary health practices you can integrate into your daily life.

Deep Breathing

  • When we’re experiencing situations of high-stress or pain, one of our bodies’ natural reactions is to hold our breath during the incident. However, deep breathing not only helps to relax you but can help you fight pain and reduce your stress levels. During periods of stress, practicing deep breathing can help you retrain your body to control its release of stress hormones which, long-term, have damaging effects on your body. Whether you suffer from stress often or rarely at all, anyone can benefit from controlled and mindful deep breathing. The 4–7–8 breathing method is one that I highly recommend using.

Yoga

  • Yoga uses poses, meditation, and breathing exercises to bring the mind and body together. The practice is thousands of years old, with the word “yoga” translating from Sanskrit as “union.” It is a relatively low-impact and safe means of exercise, especially for those who may not be able to participate in high-impact workouts. In the United States, yoga is the sixth most commonly practiced complementary health exercise and has been proven to aid in the relief of a number of health concerns. It has been shown to help reduce the severity of anxiety, insomnia, and depression. It’s also linked to lower stress levels, lower heart rate, and increases your overall flexibility, balance, and strength. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is also actively supporting research that looks into the effects that yoga may have on diabetes, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, HIV, and the immune system.

Massage

  • As frivolous and extravagant as treating yourself to a massage can feel, they can actually provide a number of benefits that go beyond simply feeling relaxed; it has been proven effective in reducing stress, relieving pain, and releasing muscle tension. Although further study is needed to prove the benefits conclusively, some reports show that it may also prove beneficial for those suffering from headaches, anxiety, sports injuries, stress-related insomnia, digestive problems, fibromyalgia, and more.

Originally published at drgregoryburzynski.com on May 28, 2017.