When drawing together a guide to holistic therapy and the treatments classified under this umbrella, it is important to have a basic understanding of the subject as a whole. The practice of holistic therapy usually takes the whole individual into account when treatment is sought out, focusing on the body, mind, spirit, and emotions of a person in order to restore a healthy level of well being. Considering all aspects of your physical and mental health instead of separate symptoms that are causing distress is believed to be another effective way of treating patients.
Holistic therapy can be used alongside traditional western medical advice or as an alternative route to try and find the answers you need. You don’t necessarily need to have a serious illness or disease to seek help from a holistic therapist, it’s common to ask for help for smaller issues in your life. This natural approach encourages patients to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and work hard to make small changes and improvements to their lives. If individuals are willing to follow the advice given and be patient about seeing results, a sense of relief and new-found balance should become apparent.
Holistic therapy can be divided into two areas of treatment, the first being patient education, and advice in areas such as diet and nutrition, exercise, and spiritual counseling. This area requires motivation and action from the patient in order to see the preferable results come to life.
The second area of holistic treatment focuses on complementary or alternative therapy that can be used alongside a traditional medical plan. Therapies include acupuncture, aromatherapy, and chiropractic care and have a history of showing great results for patients if they continued for the necessary amount of time.
This type of treatment is usually not a one time fix, and patients will have to remain dedicated to see improvements to their wellbeing. Holistic therapy is recognized as an advanced nursing specialty and many nurses choose to focus their career in this area of expertise when they are satisfied with their experience as a registered nurse.
In order to advance their careers, nurses will need to further their education and qualifications to be granted further responsibility with a specialized medical field. Although some choose to put their working careers on hold while attending the schooling and education they need, others opt for an RN BSN online program that can run alongside a professional nurse’s working commitments.
Programs are convenient and flexible as individuals can complete their education around their own schedule and offer personal guidance and support from start to finish. It is also usually a more manageable financial commitment making it an even more popular route to take.
When registered nurses are qualified to a BSN level they can then start to actively further their career and unlock higher earnings as they progress, the next step is to choose the specialty they want to move into, and they may already have an idea or particular passion from the work they have already experienced:
Acupuncture is a form of complementary and alternative therapy that is derived from East Asian medical techniques. Ancient medicine from this area of the world suggests that acupuncture alters the flow of the Qi energy inside your body and restores and optimizes health and wellbeing.
This therapy can be used to elevate symptoms and bodily stresses of a whole host of ailments ranging from anxiety, muscle soreness, and even cancer. It involves the insertion of fine needles into particular pressure points around the body which are then left there for a short period of time, after which the holistic nurse will remove them.
This process should not cause any pain but can bring on a tinglingly sensation around the body, especially when the needles are turned to help stimulate the nerves. A small electrical current may be connected to needles, in order to encourage the flow of energy down the meridian channels, which is a process known as electroacupuncture.
The therapy is generally viewed as a quite safe and simple alternative treatment to trial if you’re looking for relief. Side effects are usually minimal which a small amount of bleeding or bruising to the skin where the needles have been placed. Some people experience dizziness or occasional faint, but this rarely happens if you have been lying horizontal for the treatment to take place.
Holistic nurses can move into an area of chiropractic care that uses a range of techniques to reduce pain, improve function, and increase mobility, including manipulation of the spine. Chiropractors not only perform physical care but offer patient education and advice on lifestyle changes and exercises that can accelerate their recovery and care. Various stretches and therapeutic exercises will be suggested in order to free up stiff joints and muscular tension around the body.
Other techniques used by chiropractors include ice, heat, and ultrasound techniques, in order to discover the route of the problem. If the body’s musculoskeletal structure can be manipulated back to its correct alignment, the theory suggests that it will enable the body to heal itself without surgical or medical intervention.
This form of therapy is often visited first to see if any symptoms can be resolved with turning to more extensive and invasive measure if a patient is dedicated to their treatment plan and religiously follows the exercises given, some form of relief will usually occur.
Similar to the Eastern medical technique acupuncture, reiki healing focuses on energy that flows within the body. The word ‘Reiki’ actually means ‘universal life energy’ and is a Japanese method that looks to heal the energy flow with the body.
The holistic therapist performing the treatment will transfer the energy through their palms to the receiver in order to encourage healing and pain relief. Single sessions are not usually effective, and patients will need to commit to a weekly or monthly installments to track any progress.
This alternative therapy is most commonly known for helping health issues such as stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression and should leave patients feeling refreshed, re-energized and with a better sense of wellbeing. There are no reported signs of negative side effects to this treatment.
Reflexology focuses on pressure points within the feet and is a non-intrusive alternative form of therapy. Holistic nurses will stimulate the body through massaging certain areas of the feet, hands or ears, in the hopes to improve circulation, reduce pain, and restore a natural balance and overall wellbeing.
The theory is based on individual body parts being connected to certain organs around the body and reflexologists can get an understanding of how well they are working through massage and manipulation.
Reflexology has been linked to improving digestion and correcting hormonal imbalances, boosting fertility and relieving pain. A therapist will conduct a general overview of your health history before asking the reason why you have chosen to attend and explain how this alternative therapy can work as a great addition to traditional Western care.
They will then begin to massage the various pressure points around your feet in order to stimulate the nervous system around the body, the first session attended by a patient may be painful as the therapist works out any tightness that they find.
With the help of aromatic materials such as essential oils and aroma compounds, aromatherapy treatments aim to improve psychological and physical wellbeing. Plant extracts are used to evoke a patient’s sense of smell and have a dynamic effect on both the body and the mind.
On a physical level, essential oils and aromatherapy massage is used to release muscular tension and aches and pains. It can also improve circulation, ease sinus congestion, and act as a strong antioxidant. On a mental level, a session should awaken your basic instincts, thoughts, and emotions, creating a greater awareness of your sense of self.
During the massage process, the oils are absorbed through the skin and can result in different sensations, depending on the type of plant-based extracts used. For example, lavender, chamomile, and geranium are used for calming a recipient down whereas ylang-ylang, neroli and rosemary oil are used for uplifting and energizing the body and mind. Eucalyptus and tea tree oil extracts are often found in decongestant products and can help patients feel relief from the cold and flu.
An educational method of patient care, nutritional therapy seeks to support patients with digestive and chronic health conditions alongside improving an individual’s sense of health and wellbeing. Holistic therapists will ask individuals to fill out a nutritional questionnaire, in order to get an understand of their, background, symptoms, lifestyle, and diet.
A personalized plan will then be constructed and will need to be strictly followed to obtain the results they need. Whether it’s identifying certain foods that may need to exclude from a diet or reducing calories and adjusting macronutrient intake for weight loss, a follow-up appointment will be required to monitor the progress made and tailor any adjustments.
Nurses specializing in this area of holistic therapy will need to undertake the necessary training and qualifications before they can being to practice their expertise, patients can then feel confident they are getting the best form of care available.
Due to the rise of social media, this area of alternative therapy has seen a huge influx of individuals willing to promote there own experiences and amateur knowledge to the masses, which can be dangerous and misleading to the people who choose to follow their advice. Unfortunately, this is an area that is not monitored as well as it should be, so it is important to educate patients whenever possible.
An area on an individual’s spiritual side, this type of holistic therapy is often sought after to explore or solidify personal beliefs. This area of counseling goes beyond traditional forms of psychotherapy and focuses on the importance of religion or spirituality within a person’s life. You do not need to be a religious individual to reap the benefits of this form of counseling and can even seek advice from a therapist with completely different beliefs to your own.
Reasons for visiting this form of alternative therapy include the eagerness to have clarity and a sense of purpose going forward and to discover whether introducing religion will provide direction and other beneficial elements to your life. The aim of a session is to bring clients to an increased level of emotional and psychological wellbeing and can support patients through various disorders and challenges in their lives.
Nurses will again need to further their education and training to practice this form of holistic therapy and attending many hours of spiritual counseling lessons will be required to become certified. From there, continued education will be necessary in order to stay licensed and up to date.
Holistic therapy is an excellent career path to choose, especially as society is focusing more than ever on their physical and mental health. The majority of treatments listed here are increasingly in demand as people take time to give themselves some much-needed attention and self-care. The job roles can offer both employed and freelance avenues to suit your needs and can even become a great secondary stream of income. It’s a great opportunity to focus your nursing career in an area you are truly passionate about.
Many patients who experience holistic treatment first hand will often end up pursuing it as a hobby or career. If you’ve reaped the benefits personally and experienced how life-changing it can be, you’ll become a great advocate and practitioner in alternative therapy.
Remember that this form of treatment is not always suitable as the only action of care and works well alongside traditional Western practices as well. There is no harm in seeing how it can benefit your own health and wellbeing and embarking on a treatment course your comfortable with. If you have more serious health concerns you’re looking to tackle, always discuss the options of alternative therapy with your doctor first.