Improve Your Life Today with 8 Ancient Healing Techniques

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Ancient Healing

Reiki and other ancient healing techniques have a number of
health benefits to offer us today in our modern world.

Over the last few decades we’ve witnessed the rebirth of a number of ancient healing techniques. Only fairly recently has our own scientific study confirmed the benefits of yoga, meditation, massage, and tai chi. Reiki and acupuncture are seeing an increase in popularity as well, as we realize that we need something other than more medications to deal with the stresses of our modern-day lives.

Here’s a quick glance at a number of these techniques and how they may work to ease stress and improve health in your life.

  1. Yoga. It’s not just practitioners anymore that espouse the benefits of this ancient spiritual discipline. The Mayo Clinic states it can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve heart function. The American Osteopathic Organization states that it can help lessen chronic pain, soothe arthritis, increase flexibility, improve respiration, increase energy, and improve athletic performance. Other research has reported that yoga may ease depression, lower blood sugar, ease the symptoms of menopause, and even improve fatigue in cancer survivors.
  2. Massage. Used to be this healing technique was shrouded in mystery and luxury, but now massage has gone mainstream. The Mayo Clinic states it may help relieve anxiety, digestive disorders, headaches, fibromyalgia, insomnia, nerve pain, and sports injuries. Other research has found that massage therapy boosts immune function in women with breast cancer, improves symptoms in children with asthma, and increases grip strength in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. The American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society now recommend massage for treating low back pain.
  3. Acupuncture. This ancient Chinese practice may be unappealing to those squeamish around needles, but a number of studies show it can be effective, and most patients say it’s not painful at all. Practitioners seek to balance the flow of “qi” in the body by inserting needles into certain pathways. Most commonly used to treat pain, it’s also recommended for sinusitis, the common cold, bronchitis, and asthma, and may help relieve toothache. The National Cancer Institute reports that several studies have shown acupuncture to help boost the immune system and relieve pain in patients with cancer.
  4. Tai chi. An ancient Chinese tradition and a form of martial arts, tai chi has been around for centuries, and is said to mean “supreme ultimate fist.” Though originally created for self-defense, modern research has found that it has positive effects on balance control, fitness, and flexibility. Studies show it can help reduce the risk of falls among the elderly, and has been found to help reduce stress. Because it is a low impact exercise, it’s suitable for just about anyone. Harvard Health Publications state that it’s a good exercise option for those recovering from surgery or confined to wheelchairs, and has also shown in some studies to help improve quality of life in those with arthritis, breast cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.
  5. Reiki. Those who practice reiki use their hands to channel energy into another person, activating natural healing processes in the body to ease stress and restore well being. Similar to acupuncture, reiki seeks to help rebalance energy pathways in the body, though instead of using needles, practitioners use their hands. Research on this technique is conflicting so far, though some studies suggest reiki may help reduce anxiety and stress, and improve symptoms of fatigue and depression.
  6. Ayurveda. Originating in India, ayurveda emphasizes restoring balance in the body through diet, lifestyle, exercise, and body cleansing, and through mind-body-spirit connection. It offers a personalized approach to health, and provides various mind-body types called “doshas” that guide people in their daily choices. Western knowledge of this technique is still in its infancy, but some studies show benefits. A 2012 study, for example, found that an ayurveda preparation was effective in managing generalized anxiety disorder. The University of Maryland Medical Center adds that other Ayurvedic herbs are being studied as treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, asthma, cancer, dementia, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, and more.
  7. Meditation. A mind-body practice that’s part of a number of healing techniques, meditation has quite a few scientific studies behind it. Though there are many different types of meditation, all involve focused attention and a willingness to let distractions come and go. The National Institutes of Health states that the practice may help relieve stress, reduce hot flashes in menopausal women, relieve symptoms of chronic back pain, improve attention and focus, and relieve asthma symptoms. The Mayo Clinic adds that it can give you a sense of calm, peace, and balance that benefits your emotional well being and overall health.
  8. Reflexology. This ancient technique is based on applying pressure to certain areas of the feet, hands, and ears that are said to correspond to certain organs and systems of the body. It is believed that pressure applied to these areas helps improve certain health conditions. The Mayo Clinic notes that studies by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health show that reflexology may reduce pain, anxiety, and depression, and enhance relaxation and sleep. The University of Minnesota adds that studies have shown reflexology to help reduce pain, increase blood flow, and even ease the symptoms of migraine headaches.

Have you tried any of these ancient healing techniques? What did you think?

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Sources
Andrea Petersen, “Don’t Call It Pampering: Massage Wants to Be Medicine,” WSJ, March 13, 2012, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304537904577277303049173934.

Tubaki BR, et al., “Clinical efficacy of Manasamitra Vataka (an Ayurveda medication) on generalized anxiety disorder with comorbid generalized social phobia: a randomized controlled study,” J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jun; 18(6):612-21, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22784349.

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 17 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, and more.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness. Her fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” was released with Jupiter Gardens Press in September 2015. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is forthcoming in spring 2016 from Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho. www.colleenmstory.com

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