Alongside modern medicine, spiritual counseling, yoga, meditation, spa treatments, and other holistic care may help people facing serious health or personal challenges to live their lives to the fullest. (Noozhawk photo)

With anxiety, depression, fad dieting, and sedentary lifestyles negatively impacting people’s well-being, it has become apparent that focusing on a whole person, not just a disease, is an important part of health and wellness.

“It is clear that science and technology have resulted in vastly improved understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, but the emphasis on science and technology to the exclusion of other elements of healing has also served to limit the development of a model that humanizes healthcare,” energy medicine practitioner Christina Ross writes for Integrative Medicine Insights journal.

Adding mental, emotional, and spiritual components to physical care is the foundation of holistic medicine. Acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, naturopathy, and even spa treatments have their place in holistic medicine as methods of treating a whole person.

Here are some of the hidden benefits of holistic treatments.

Improved diabetes management

For centuries, people have recognized the relaxing benefits of having a warm drink before bed. Beyond that, though, there are other intriguing ways that warm water may impact people with diabetes.

“Some researchers hypothesize that regular thermal therapy using saunas or hot baths may improve impaired insulin sensitivity and be beneficial for managing diabetes,” according to Healthline.

This effect is similar to the effects of aerobic training, which promotes vascular health.

Lower heart rate and blood pressure

It is common for people to experience a rise in heart rate and blood pressure with age. This is often caused by lower levels of physical activity connected to the aches and pains that come with exercise.

To help, massage can be used in tandem with other treatments to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, according to research published by the International Journal of Preventive Medicine. A small study found that pre-hypertensive women who attended 10- to 15-minute Swedish massage sessions three times a week for three weeks had lower blood pressure compared with the control group. In addition, the difference persisted days after the study concluded, pointing to long-term benefits of massage therapy.

Reduced fibromyalgia symptoms

Heart rate and blood pressure aren’t the only aspects of wellness that massage can affect. Research published by PLOS One journal found massage treatment lasting at least five weeks had “beneficial immediate effects on improving pain, anxiety, and depression” in patients with fibromyalgia.

As with any medical treatment, however, patients should ensure they visit someone with proper training and certification. While California does not require massage therapy practitioners to have a license, some cities and counties do. The California Massage Therapy Council offers certification to massage therapists who complete a required number of hours of education and training. That training should focus on physiology, anatomy, and kinesiology to ensure an understanding of muscles, organs, and tissues.

Trained therapists are better able to provide treatment for diagnosed health concerns and to avoid inadvertently causing unnecessary pain or injury.

Improved self and spiritual realization

In holistic medicine, the spiritual aspect of a person’s life is considered as important as any other aspect, especially when physical health declines.

“The loss of good health is very often experienced as a gift because it can be a doorway to a new understanding of self in relationship to others,” energy medicine practitioner Ross writes. “A whole new sense of gratitude for life can change a patient’s quality of life.”

This is why — alongside modern medicine — spiritual counseling, yoga, meditation, spa treatments, and other holistic care may help people facing serious health or personal challenges to live their lives to the fullest.