Holistic therapy is an integrative approach to wellness based on treating all of the aspects of our wellbeing, including our mental, physical and spiritual health.
Think of your overall health like a car that relies on a set of fully operational spark plugs to function. When one spark plug goes out, the car will sputter and spurt along, no longer operating optimally.
You can apply the same idea to holistic principles. When one of the aspects of your wellbeing — mind, body, or spirit — is disrupted, all other aspects are adversely impacted as well. Instead of only focusing on the present problem, a holistic therapist will guide you in examining your overall state of being to consider the bigger picture.
What is therapy?
Therapy, or psychotherapy, refers to the practice of utilizing talk therapy or experiential techniques to help you deal with any emotional distress you might be going through. There is a wide range of evidence-based therapies available for mental health practitioners, depending on the patient’s problems or diagnosis.
On the other hand, holistic therapy is a type of therapy that combines traditional therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or dialectical behavior therapy, with a variety of mind-body techniques. These holistic activities can help you relax and self-reflect while reducing stress and anxiety.
5 types of holistic therapy
- Yoga: Yoga is a practice that involves a progression of postures and movements, which can increase GABA levels in the brain which can cause a natural sedating effect. Yoga improves physical strength, flexibility, reduces stress, promotes relaxation, and improves sleep quality. There are a variety of yoga practices to choose from, with the most popular methods being Hatha yoga, Kundalini yoga, Ashtanga yoga, and Hot yoga.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture uses small needles that are inserted into specific areas of the body, called meridians, to provide relief from a wide range of mental and physical health conditions. Acupuncture is said to increase endorphin levels, while balancing yin and yang energies. Acupuncture opens up blocked energy flow, called qi, and leads to better overall wellness.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness, or the practice of focusing on the present moment, helps rein in unsettling thoughts and to instead focus on the feelings, sensations, and thoughts happening right at that moment. Along with focused breathing, mindfulness can help you acknowledge your present emotions and feelings, which can reduce stress and anxiety.
- Deep Breathing: Practicing deep breathing exercises can help you to relax and decompress. You can practice deep breathing anywhere and at any time. After just a few minutes of deep breathing exercises, your heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure will be lowered. This can bring about a calm, quiet state of mind.
- Tai Chi: Tai Chi is a type of Chinese martial art that features a series of slow, graceful movements that use the whole body and are practiced along with deep breathing techniques. Tai Chi can reduce stress, improve muscle strength, flexibility, and self-confidence.
Benefits of holistic therapy
Integrating holistic treatments into your overall therapeutic plan can enhance or complement clinical care. When used in conjunction with evidence-based psychotherapies, the benefits of holistic therapies include:
- Deepened self-awareness: Many of the holistic methods are experiential. When put in practice, it can lead to a broadened awareness of purpose and your spiritual beliefs.
- Helps manage your mental health symptoms: Learning how to self-soothe using holistic therapies can reduce symptoms of anxiety, muscle tension, sleep disruption, and mood swings.
- Increases self-esteem: By mastering these techniques, it can improve your self-esteem and self-confidence.
Integrating holistic therapies into your weekly routine can be very helpful in managing stress, which will have a positive impact on all aspects of your wellbeing.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.