Holistic Therapy Day is celebrated annually on July 26. Holistic therapy, also referred to as holistic psychotherapy or body-centered psychotherapy, is explained as an integrative type of therapy that incorporates both traditional and non-traditional approaches. Holistic therapy directly aligns with holistic medicine, which is “a whole-body approach to healthcare [that] aims to improve health and wellness through the body, mind, and soul.” Holistic therapy maintains that an imbalance in one aspect of the self can cause distress in another. Unlike modern medicine, it does not treat an ailment or disease as an isolated problem, rather it views comprehensive treatment is best accomplished through achieving a harmonious balance among all elements (e.g., physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects) that make up a human being.
Types of Holistic Therapy
Holistic psychotherapy typically encompasses several different types of treatments, including, but not limited to the following modalities:
- Eclectic or integrative therapy: An approach that draws on multiple traditions and techniques to best address a person’s individual and nuanced needs.
- Mind-body therapy: This refers to groups of techniques that focus on enhancing the mind’s positive impact on the body (e.g., improving body functioning, inducing relaxation, etc.) to promote health.
- Somatic therapy: A body-centered approach that looks at the connection of mind and body and relies on strategies (e.g., breathwork, dance, meditation, etc.) to heal trauma, stress, and other mental health issues.
- Spiritual therapy: An approach that incorporates belief systems and spiritual faith to explore areas of conflict in life.
Holistic therapy utilizes a range of techniques, often rooted in mindfulness and bodywork practices, to help individuals better understand their symptoms.
Holistic therapy practices can improve well-being, lower stress, and help to reduce trauma responses. Some of these techniques include:
- Massage therapy
- Reiki: defined as “an energy healing technique that promotes relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety through gentle touch.”
- Tai Chi: defined as a “noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching.”
- Nutritional therapy
- Meditation: defined as “a set of techniques that are intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention.”
- Acupuncture: defined as “an originally Chinese practice of inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points, especially to cure disease or relieve pain.”
- Biofeedback: explained as “a mind-body therapy that can improve physical and mental health.”
- Expressive arts therapy
All aspects of holistic therapy seek to draw awareness to the notion that the mind-body-spirit connection directly influence one’s health and wellness. No matter which form of holistic therapy you try, it just may bring you a daily dose of balance and inner peace.
How To Get Started
If you have been wanting to explore holistic therapy or if you have had the desire to expand your experience with holistic therapy, Holistic Therapy Day is the perfect motivation to get to it. Learn about the world of holistic medicine and find out how you can use the knowledge gleaned from holistic therapy practices in your daily routine to improve your quality of life. Speak to your primary care physician about your interest in trying holistic therapy and see if they can refer you to a local holistic therapist. Professionals that incorporate holistic techniques into their practices may go by other titles (e.g., clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, etc.) so it is best to ask about the techniques that they practice if there is a specific experience you are interested in trying.
The practice of holistic therapy extends beyond the therapy room. Many holistic techniques are also strategies that can be utilized outside of therapeutic sessions and integrated into one’s daily routine. Any self-care practices that center and nurture all our senses would be considered a form of holistic therapy. Holistic medicine empowers us to heal ourselves; by observing ourselves we can understand and heal our bodies. Holistic Therapy Day reminds us that engaging in and honing our holistic self-care practices can be extremely beneficial in all kinds of circumstances. It is a day that celebrates and honors the practice of alternative medicine.
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