Mind-body therapies typically involve using specific techniques to boost the mind's capacity to influence bodily function and enhance health. A practice long used to promote calm, Meditation is a mind-body therapy that with regular practice, is a proven approach to achieving healthier blood pressure and sounder sleep. There's also some evidence that meditation may benefit people struggling with chronic pain, anxiety, fears, and depression. Although Yoga is often practiced as a form of exercise and a means of reducing stress, it's also used as a mind-body therapy. Indeed, some research indicates that yoga may help manage conditions like anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and depression, especially the enhanced breathing practice of Pranayama.
Hypnotherapy is a popular type of mind-body therapy. Also known as hypnosis, it's been found to promote weight loss, alleviate back pain, and aid in smoking cessation in some scientific studies.
Other types of mind-body therapies include biofeedback, guided imagery, dance and music therapy.
The most popular and well-researched types of manipulative and body-based methods are chiropractic, osteopathy. and massage therapy. In some cases, manipulative and body-based methods involve participating in classes or individual sessions with the aim of changing your movement habits. For example, the Alexander Technique involves relearning basic movements (such as standing and sitting) in order to reduce muscle tension, while the Feldenkrais Method involves creating new patterns of movement in order to improve physical function and overall wellbeing. Other types of manipulative and body-based methods used in complementary and alternative medicine focus on applying specific treatments to address health issues.
Alternative medical systems also include traditional medical systems from other countries, such as Ayurveda (a form of alternative medicine that originated in India) and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Within TCM are a number of therapies frequently used, including acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine.
Another type of complementary and alternative medicine, energy therapies are generally based on the idea that energy fields surround and penetrate the human body. Practitioners of energy therapies often aim to manipulate biofields by applying pressure and/or placing the hands in or through these energy fields.
While the existence of such energy fields has not been scientifically proven, there's some evidence that certain energy therapies may have beneficial effects. For instance, research has shown that performing Qigong—a Traditional Chinese practice of movement—may help control chronic pain and lower blood pressure6 while Therapeutic Touch may help soothe osteoarthritis pain. In addition, there's some evidence that Reiki may help lessen pain, promote healthy sleep, and reduce anxiety.
Food can either be used as a medicine or as a poison. Although the human body is miraculous in its ability to detoxify ingested poisons, including alcohol, drugs, excess refined sugar, processed foods and un-natural fats, it cannot be underestimated the vital role that nutrition plays in maintaining good health. Many nutrients in food promote health and protect your body from disease. Eating whole, nutritious foods is important because their unique substances work synergistically to create an effect that can’t be replicated by taking a supplement.
Although your body only needs small amounts of vitamins and minerals, they’re vital for your health.
However, Western diets — high in processed foods and low in whole foods like fresh produce — are typically deficient in vitamins and minerals. For example, insufficient intakes of vitamin C, vitamin D, and folate may harm your heart, cause immune dysfunction, and increase your risk of certain cancers, respectively. Nutritious foods, including vegetables, fruits, beans, and grains, boast numerous beneficial compounds, such as antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect cells from damage that may otherwise lead to disease. In fact, studies demonstrate that people whose diets are rich in polyphenol antioxidants have lower rates of depression, diabetes, dementia, and heart disease. Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet. It not only promotes proper digestion and elimination but also feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Thus, high-fiber foods like vegetables, beans, grains, and fruits help protect against disease, decrease inflammation, and boost your immune system
On the other hand, low-fiber diets are associated with an increased risk of illnesses, including colon cancer and stroke.
Transitioning to a diet based on whole foods can improve your health in countless ways. Foods that offer particularly powerful benefits include: