Let’s be honest: healthcare in the US is expensive. Sometimes prohibitively so.
This is why more and more Americans are turning to holistic therapies outside of (or complementary to) Western medicine.
But it’s not just herbs and crystals–there are a variety of such therapies out there. You’ve even heard of some of them in the mainstream.
Here are five of our favorites.
If you watched Michael Phelps and his odd circular bruises winning gold medals in the Rio Olympics, then you’re familiar with cupping.
It’s basically what the name implies–there are cups involved. They can be bamboo, glass, earthenware, or silicone, but they’re cups.
In a cupping session, a therapist will take special cups and place them on your skin for a few minutes in order to create suction. This will, among other things, create those odd circular bruises.
The basic idea is that this process will help stimulate blood flow to the applied regions, as well as relieving pain and inflammation. It can also be a type of deep-tissue massage.
While cupping is one of those trendy holistic therapies, it’s not new–it dates back to ancient Egypt. In fact, one of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes ancient Egyptian cupping therapies of 1550 BC.
It’s one of the less out-there holistic therapies, in that reflexology is a lot like massage therapy. Except it focuses solely on the hands, feet, and ears.
Alright, hands and feet are fairly expected, they get a lot of work, but why ears?
Reflexology believes that these areas correspond to various organs and systems throughout the body, and applying pressure to certain areas on the hands, feet, and ears will affect the organs to the benefit of your health.
Many practitioners use their hands in the same way a massage therapist would, but some use various items like rubber balls and sticks of wood as aids.
Think of it this way–cats and dogs love ear rubs for a reason. If all else fails, you get a delightful hand, foot, and ear massage.
As holistic therapies go, probiotics are probably the most mainstream of the therapies listed here.You’ve probably heard of them (and that you should be taking them). They’re in the family of things like hormone therapies you think you should maybe learn more about.
But what are probiotics?
Basically? Live bacteria. Also, live yeast (aka fungi), and this is kind of gross when you think about it too long.
The basic premise is that your body is full of bacteria (not the germy kind–you need a lot of that bacteria to do things for you). Probiotics are so-called “good” bacteria because they help promote gut health.
Why would you want to introduce new bacteria into your system if you already have the good bacteria in your body? Well, under certain circumstances (like a round of antibiotics) you can use probiotics to help replace them.
In fact, you may already be eating probiotics without realizing it–probiotics are in various foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, and kimchi.
Call the energy doctor! Well, the Reiki healer, anyway.
Reiki is a form of Japanese healing based on the idea of a life force energy that flows through all of us. When that energy is high, our lives are in balance and happy, but when it runs low, we’re more likely to feel sick or get stress.
This life force is responsive to thoughts and feelings, the way people are (since it is, after all, a part of you). This is where Reiki healers come in–they’re trained to influence that energy and bring it back into balance.
Basically, when you’re feeling stressed or out of balance, you go to a Reiki healer, who will help restore positive energy to break down the negative energy buildup. In standard healing, you’ll lay down on a massage table, and energy flows from the practitioner’s hands to the client from a series of hand movements.
Is it weird? Sure. Do some people swear by it? Absolutely.
5. Ayurvedic Medicine
Ayurvedic medicine isn’t actually a single holistic therapy, but rather a family of holistic therapies. In fact, it’s one of the world’s oldest systems of medicine, originating in India around 3,000 years ago, and many of its practices predate written records.
The word Ayurveda combines the Sanskrit words Ayur (life) and Veda (science), so Ayurveda quite literally means life science.
Similarly to the humor of the ancient Greek system, key concepts in Ayurveda include prakriti (the body’s constitution), dosha (life forces) and universal interconnectedness.
There are three doshas which represent unique mind-body types:
Everyone has a specific dominant dosha which determines how they should approach their health.
Vata is made up of air elements, and common characteristics include a love of excitement and new experiences, quick to anger and quick to forgive, dry skin, cold hands and feet, and sensitive digestion. When unbalanced, Vatas may experience hypertension, insomnia, restlessness, and digestive issues.
Pitta is made of fire and water, and pitta is said to govern all bodily functions related to digestion and energy production.
As such, pittas are said to have excellent digestion, superb concentration, a warm body temperature, a quick-witted intellect, and abundant energy. When unbalanced, pittas can be short-tempered and experience stomach ulcers.
Kapha is derived from water and earth elements and is integral to the structure of everything down to a cellular level. Because of this, Kaphas are said to be naturally calm, thoughtful and loving, with an inherent ability to enjoy life and find comfort in routines.
When unbalanced, Kaphas hold onto things–whether it’s objects, relationships, or jobs–long after they have stopped being nourishing.
Weird Health Beyond Holistic Therapies
Our weird health resources don’t end with holistic therapies, and we know your curiosity for off-the-wall cures doesn’t end with Vatas and live bacteria either.
Take a look at our blog for other posts on weird health news and trends, including these five weird facts about cannabis or weird ways to work your glutes. If you have any thoughts, be sure to leave them in the comment section.