Alternative, complementary healing practices that are changing the face of holistic wellness

Medicine and healing have been as ancient to the human civilization as disease and death itself! Over the years, man has evolved to discover, create, study, and propagate natural medicine and healing practices by leveraging its immediate surroundings, to combat life threats and win over illnesses. Today, in the aftermath of the pandemic, global populations are turning to alternative preventive practices, along with conventional measures, to safeguard against the virus. While this integrated approach to preventive care is highly visible, the use of integrated medicine and healing practices to treat illness – both mild and severe, have been steadily gaining popularity over the past few years.


As a survivor of a rare hemorrhagic stroke, I had to undergo two brain surgeries and had to be put in a medically induced coma for a month and has been rehabbing ever since. I have tried different treatments and therapies in Eastern and Western medicine to heal my mind, and spirit. Besides others, the following five were the most effective in my healing. They have gone a long way in helping me face and embrace my new normal, and I believe these will help people as well in the face of this global pandemic.


Meditation:

Meditation is a state of pure consciousness and is the art of concentration. When you meditate, you focus your attention on an object or a thought or an activity, like music or your breath, thus bringing you mental calm and peace. Meditation is not easy. If other thoughts come into your mind (and they will), it is perfectly okay, do not get mad. Let them come. But do not dwell on them and focus your attention to your breathing. Do it for whatever time you can (10-15 minutes), once in the morning as soon as you wake up and once before going to bed. One can do self-meditation or guided meditation.



Yoga and Ayurveda:

As one of the oldest and most popular forms of eastern healing and wellness practice, originating in India, yoga and Ayurveda offers a multitude of healing practices for both, regenerative and preventive wellbeing. From basic yogic kriyas, and specialized asanas, highly evolved breathing techniques, called pranayama, to Ayurvedic diet and massage therapies, yoga and Ayurveda have been accepted and practiced the world over.



Energy Healing:

Another alternative and highly effective traditional healing method, that is gaining widespread traction, is the work with energy balance. This method works on the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing through restoring the energy balance across the body. As one of the most holistic wellness techniques, energy healing is used primarily for preventive and general wellness as well as for treating severe illnesses, especially mental illness.



Ayurvedic Panchakarma:

An ancient Indian healing and wellness technique, the Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapies consists of herbal pre-mix, best suited for specific conditions, and, as rely upon ‘five actions’, that leverage the basic five activities of the body to gain health. These include vamanam (vomiting), virechanam (purga-tion), niruham (colon enema), Anuvaasan (oil enema), and nasyam (inhalation of medicated oils). Its application as a supportive wellness therapy along with yoga, is gaining traction across the world, for its powerful soothing, healing, and rejuvenating properties. Combined with specialised therapies like Abhyanga – a herbal oil massage, Shirodhara –therapeutic administration of warm oils on the forehead, in a continuous stream, designed to eliminate toxins and relieve mental stress, and Shiro Vasti – herbal oil poured on scalp and allowed to be soaked in, before a warm relaxing head bath, are some of the most sought after and effective therapies.



Music Therapy:

Music has been used since ancient times as a tool to heal, sooth and promote an overall sense of wellbeing. In recent times though, specific frequency-based music like Whole tones and Raga Therapy are increasingly finding popularity due to their ability to relieve anxiety and assist in peaceful sleep by reducing overall stress.


Although growing at a fast pace, the use of alternative complementary eastern medicine is still far from mainstream, when it comes to using it as a helpful healing tool, along with the conventional western medicine. With the pandemic and the increased focus on preventive and regenerative medicine, it is time that we adopt a holistic approach to health and wellness to create a long term, overall wellbeing.