Cultivating Success With Holistic Therapy

This month we offer some insights to help you achieve a successful therapeutic process. 

An underlying belief that supports holistic therapies is that our bodies and minds can be influenced psychologically, physically and energetically through noninvasive healing experiences. By choosing a talking, body work, movement or energetically based  therapy you are investing in your own innate ability to recover and heal.

Pursuing holistic therapies involves the cultivation of a practice.

When you commit to a therapy you are investing in a process that works best when you actively participate. Rather than opting for medication or surgery you are devoting time and resources to  explore a noninvasive alternative option. Holistic therapies at their best yield self discovery and  growth. Whatever type of therapy you choose has the potential to be transformational. You might get much more than you bargained for. 

For example, after an initial cranial sacral treatment you find that you are able to breathe more deeply and have the realization that your breathing had been relatively shallow. You now have a greater awareness of your rib cage, back and chest along with the rise and fall of your breath, and a deep sense of relaxation. Consequentially you develop the habit of interrupting your work to breathe deeply which clears your head and reduces your level of tension.This allows you to return to the task at hand with greater productivity. Transformative and growth processes require diligence. Sticking with the therapy of your choice will not only increase your chances of healing aches and pains but also yield additional unexpected benefits. That is why it is important to choose your practitioner carefully.

Choosing the right practitioner makes all the difference.

Choose a practitioner with whom you are  comfortable to talk with so that you can be partners in your healing process. A great  practitioner has diagnostic abilities, vision, intention and technique. All practitioners are not identical, nor are their treatment styles, diagnostic abilities, personalities, training, history and strengths/weaknesses. If you tried one you have not tried them all. Practices that have a factory or gym like atmosphere often give care that is diluted. Choose a therapy practice that offers privacy so that you can freely acknowledge your progress and discuss your concerns. Your therapist is ideally focused upon you throughout your treatment. It can be profoundly helpful to have someone who listens and strategizes with you.

Gaining Perspective: Bumps in the road are normal and to be expected.

It is common for people to begin therapy with high hopes and after a few sessions become disillusioned because their chronic issues have not disappeared. Some patients begin with the hope that this therapy will offer some magical solution, when in fact it presents a direction to take that over time can chip away at a long standing issue. Antithetically, others might arrive to treatment feeling desperate, skeptical and angry. Nothing else has worked before and they will give this therapy a chance but not much of one. After two sessions they are gone and have proved to themselves that surgery is needed. Chronic pain, albeit emotional or physical can wear away at  our perspective and judgement. 

It is easy to lose ourselves in confusion. A seasoned therapist who has seen thousands of patients can help to ground, encourage establishing realistic expectations and help you to explore your options.

If you are pursuing more than one type of therapy at a time check to make sure that your therapies are not in conflict with each other. 

Consider the two manual manipulative approaches chiropractic and Rolfing. Chiropractic involves boney manipulation while Rolfing addresses the connective tissue. Both are powerful means of affecting alignment and health but might not work well together. Barraging the body with too many inputs can cause these positive approaches to cancel each other out. 

Some therapies enhance each other

For example acupuncture and Rolfing. Acupuncture can open up the energetic system by removing blockages which can sometimes be the underlying issue with structural and neurologic problems.  A structural acupuncture approach can make the soft tissue manipulation of Rolfing more fluid and accessible. It is best to talk to your practitioners and ask for their advice. It is their business to be able to advise you what the best treatment strategy is.

The takeaway

Some clients come to holistic therapies as a last attempt to avoid invasive diagnostics, procedures, chemicals or surgeries. Each of these traditional approaches comes at a price. Chronic issues can take residence in the body over a period of  years. Recalcitrant  problems can become hardwired neurologically, psychologically and within the musculoskeletal system. It may take some time to make a dent when a problem has been in your life for a long time. Be kind to yourself and look for positive change even if it seems unrelated to your reason for being in a therapy. Ultimately, a good practitioner will alert you if she feels you have plateaued or you are not making progress.  Additionally, she will help you to explore your options, refer you to another therapy or perhaps take a break from treatment and guide you to fly solo.

In conclusion

Both holistic therapies and western medical approaches are a part of an industry. Private practices are businesses run by people trying to make a living. 

It is important to be able to identify a practitioner who is knowledgeable, grounded and seasoned in energetic, touch or movement approaches.  It’s also helpful  for you as a consumer to understand the basic premise  behind the therapy you are considering just as you would learn about a medical or surgical procedure before you decide what is the best path to take.