Today, there are so many forms of alternative medicine that it is almost a crime to not utilize what works for you. It’s surprising how we don’t realize just how stressed or tense our body can become; adapting that state as our baseline for living. We tell ourselves that ‘stress just goes away’ and ‘we can get through it’ – and we can! But wouldn’t it be great to find a way to manage our stressors and body ailments consistently, instead of waiting until they are unbearable? Yesss. I was hoping you’d say that!
The sources of holistic healing that I’ll list below are some of which I consider to have been the most powerful, essential and effective for me. Whether it’s to reduce stress, relieve muscle ailments, or to simply press the reset button on your energy, the below holistic healing methods are my tried + true go-to’s.
Acupuncture is one of the most effective forms of holistic medicine I’ve ever encountered. If you’re brave enough to try it, you’ll be so glad you did! Popular opinion is that no one wants to have someone they don’t know prodding them with needles in the hopes they know what they are doing. I get it, because that was me. But I can assure you, it is much less intimidating than the stigma lets on. Acupuncture is not painful (when it’s done right!) and the health benefits are astounding.
Apart from feeling centered, balanced, relaxed and revived, you also walk away from treatment with the most vibrant energy – that both yourself (and others) will notice! Acu has been used to relieve muscle tension, back pain, migraines/headaches, anxiety/depression, sinusitis, stress/tension, boost immunity and treat chronic diseases.
If you are in the CT area, I highly recommend paying a visit to Stonington Natural Health Center to receive an acupuncture treatment from Dr. Megan Marco (LAc, DAc). Dr. Marco has studied acupuncture extensively in China and is the only practitioner I will ever go see to have this done. Of course, there are many skilled holistic practitioners out there, but I strongly recommend Dr. Marco due to such an amazing initial experience. I received my first treatment 5 years ago, while working admin/marketing for the company. To this day, I will always remember witnessing patients, from all different walks of life, leaving glowing, happy and with such relaxed energy after this treatment!
If you’re not sure where to start when stress, anxiety and tension build to a max – go get yourself some acu – you’ll be glad you did!
- Megan Marco (LAc, DAc) | Stonington Natural Health Center – Stonington, CT
Deep Tissue Massage
This is my default when I can feel the imminent build-up of tension in my body. While routine massage is great maintenance for stress reduction and muscle relief – this one is the granddaddy. This type of massage never fails to deliver when I’ve neglected the accumulation of stress and/or body pain.
I’m not going to sugar coat this – of all holistic treatments you could possibly get, this type of massage is absolutely 100% discomfort (both during treatment and after). Seriously, you will feel like you got hit by a loaded semi. If you ever get a deep tissue massage and it doesn’t elicit this form of discomfort – I apologize, but your massage therapist sucks haha (sorry, it’s true!)
Although you’ll experience soreness and discomfort during and after a deep tissue massage, they are so worth it! Two – three days after treatment, you will feel like you have a new body. This is an excellent resource if you do a ton of driving, consistent sitting or intensive labor. Deep tissue will completely destroy muscle knots + relieve tension. For me, this type of massage also delivers results comparable to acupuncture – which is great for your mind, body, spirit and wallet!
- Jayna LaFontaine (LMT) of Restorative Muscular Therapy | New Horizon Wellness Center – Beverly, MA
Floating is my all-time favorite. For those of you who have never heard of floating, I’ll describe it as best as I can! It has become increasingly more popular in many spas and holistic health centers as a means for healing. This is truly a process that allows you to quiet your mind and expand your consciousness. Apart from the mental benefits, floating is also used by many professional athletes (and people of all ages) to relieve muscle pain and help reduce stress.
Floating involves a concept called ‘sensory deprivation’ and the use of an isolation tank. The first isolation tank was developed in 1954 by John C. Lilly, an American physician and neuropsychiatrist. The tank is used for restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST). It is dark, soundproof, filled with 1 ton of Epsom salt and body-temperature water. The concentration of the salt is twice that of the Dead Sea, creating a buoyant force greater than gravity. This means that no matter your shape, size or body weight – you will float!
Oh, and you are nakey. But, you can also wear a swimsuit if you’d like. When you enter the tank, you are cut off from all outside stimulation; including sound, sight, and gravity when the tank’s lid or door is closed. As you float weightless in silence and darkness, the brain enters into a deeply relaxed state. It’s what I imagine it would feel like to be blindfolded in space. The more you float, the less it feels like you have a body; it’s just your spirit and your thoughts. It took me a couple tries to be comfortable with this experience. Once I did, I can honestly say that this is the most relaxing and enhancing mind + body tool you can utilize.
Floating has been proven to increase concentration, knowledge absorption and muscle relaxation. It can also decrease pain, stress and anxiety/depression. One of the best benefits of all? It can even help improve your sleep!
If the darkness factor freaks you out a little bit – at most float facilities, there is the capability to adjust the lighting inside the tank. There is also a panic button inside that you can press for assistance if you get worried or anxious.
Professional athletes, actors/actresses, supermodels and even successful CEO’s have utilized this method to relieve stress, chronic pain, enhance focus/concentration and practice positive visualization techniques. I think of it this way – if it’s good enough for Carl Lewis (track & field Olympic gold medalist), Pat Healy (MMA Fighter), Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors, NBA), Rachel Hunter (Supermodel/Actress), Kristin Wiig (Actress), Russel Brand (Comedian) and Joe Rogan (UFC Announcer/Comedian) – then it’s is good enough for me!
In all seriousness, it’s not about who uses it – that’s just to give you the confirmation you need to understand that this works and I’m not just a loon raving about holistic medicine. These methods, and this method specifically, are what have helped me find my center. Now, they’re available to you, whenever you’re ready to take the next steps to elevate your mind, body and spirit.
If you decide to try floating, I highly recommend iFloat in Westport, CT. They are currently in the process of transitioning locations, but it is the facility I would recommend most for beginners. The staff is knowledgeable, helpful and attentive. I also enjoy Tranquil Balance, LLC in East Lyme, CT.
If you’re not a CT native, no worries – there are floating facilities all over the states!
CT Floating Locations:
- iFloat – Westport, CT (shopping for new location)
- Surrender To The Float – Guilford, CT
- Tranquil Balance LLC – East Lyme, CT
The key with acupuncture, deep tissue massage and floating (or really any form of holistic medicine) is to hydrate properly before and after treatments. With any of these methods, your body releases and sweats out harbored toxins in your body. Therefore, it is imperative that you are well-hydrated in order to experience the full benefits of your treatment!
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed medical professional, so if you have a serious health condition or concerns please consult your doctor before trying any of the above.
When the funds are low, but you want to center yourself, guided meditations are where it’s at. Audio meditations are great for beginners and even advanced yogis having a bad day. There are times when we all have trouble quieting our mind – these help! Common types of audio meditations can include: voice guided instruction, affirmations and frequency tones. Whether you’re starting your day, winding down, or right in the middle of the sh*t – guided meditations will help you out.
Below are a list of my favorites. A lot of them are frequency tones that help balance energies depending on your mood. But, I also love listening to guided affirmation audio while driving to work in the morning. Whether you’re in the office, de-stressing after a long day, or just taking a moment to relax – these will amp up the zen when you need it!
I encourage you to find the audio that resonates most with you. Although these ones work for me, you may come across ones better suited for your needs. If you’re uncertain of which meditations are the best, my advice is this: pay attention to how they make you feel. Only you know this. If something is making you feel stressed, fearful or anxious – next! Move right along to one that creates a more relaxing space.
Sidenote: I highly recommend creating the time to practice meditation without guided audio. Audio meditations are positive suggestions to your psyche, but it is so important to cultivate your centeredness from within, instead of relying on external sources.
If I could give any advice for beginners of meditation it would be to practice often. Start by sitting with your thoughts for 5 minutes at a time, each day, and build up from there. If you can get past the initial awkwardness of sitting completely still, in silence, while keeping your eyes closed – congratulations, you are further along than most!
When starting out, the biggest struggle for me was just keeping my eyes closed. At first, you’ll feel every impulse to fidget and go take care of something. Your mind will try to distract and convince you that ‘everything else is important!’. Sometimes, it will succeed. But just like anything else, meditation is a skill – the more you keep at it, the better you become.
Meditation will help you finally listen to what your body, mind and spirit are telling you. The clearest answers come from within. Meditation helps create that space for awareness, clarity and understanding. If you have the will to learn, this will be your absolute best friend and go-to method for a happier, healthier, more balanced life!