Alternative Medicine: A Holiday Gift of Holistic Health

by Cathleen Springer - Date: 2006-12-22 - Word Count: 751 Share This!

Here we are in the season of giving which can be particularly stressful and take its toll on our health. However, you could make this the year when you step back and take a look at the overall state of your health and well being -- physical and mental -- and decide to expand your toolkit for staying healthy by adding the tools of alternative medicine. This could also be the year when you decide to implement some simple lifestyle changes which will help not only with the stresses and expectations of the season, but with your entire life as well.

Try alternative medicine. Yes, you heard me. Step outside the corporate-driven box of symptom suppression and medications and consider forms of healing which are tried and true in many parts of the world outside of mainstream America. Among the possibilities you explore should be: homeopathy, herbs, therapeutic massage, acupuncture and chiropractic, all of which are forms of holistic healing ('holistic' meaning taking into consideration the entire person, not simply a set of symptoms). Homeopathy, for instance, has been around for over 200 years. Both professional and medically trained homeopaths treat individuals for a range of medical problems worldwide. Homeopathy is very well established in Britain, India, Germany, France and the Netherlands. It is also gaining ground in South and Central America, Eastern Europe and here in the United States. Get on board with some of these 'new', effective treatments.

Hydrate. This is such an easy step to include in our daily lives, yet many of us continue to overlook the importance of drinking water. Rather we turn to sodas when thirsty, which can upset the body's pH balance and lead to cardiovascular and heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, kidney stones, urinary incontinence, arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes and obesity! Instead, let's all have a glass of water; in fact, let's have 6-8 glasses each day. Drink a little water before you get especially thirsty and thereby keep at bay dry mouth, headaches and drops in energy.

Diet. I don't mean starving yourself, I mean making mindful food selections; taking the time to stop, sit down and enjoy a healthy meal. Keep out of those fast- food/salt-and-fat drive-through restaurants. Go for fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and poultry as often as possible. If your goal is to lose weight, enjoy your favorite healthy meals, but in smaller portions. Give yourself the gift of time, attention and a well-balanced meal.

Move it. Get out for a brisk 20 minute (or longer) walk 4-5 times each week. It's so easy to build exercise into your day. Head over to the gym, basketball court, aerobic class, yoga, Tai Chi, dance class -- whatever it is that brings you joy as you move about, do that.

Get touched. Massage is such a wonderful gift to give yourself. Time on the massage table is not really a luxury -- it's time and money well spent. For one thing, you're letting yourself know that you are worth the 'time out'. There are also very real health benefits to be enjoyed from a regular massage, which include increased circulation and lymphatic draining, soothing and smoothing of contracted or injured muscles, and calming of the central nervous system. Another way to ensure a daily portion of touch is to offer hugs to your loved ones, friends or pets. Massage, cuddling, touching, hugging -- easy, healthy, and good for your mind, body and spirit.

Zzzzzz. Get plenty of rest. Winter months and shorter daylight hours switch our bodies, and all of nature around us, to rest mode. We humans often resist this natural gearing down, especially with all of the holiday happenings to take into consideration. If you take a moment to look at all of the busyness in your life at this time of year and to sort through the party possibilities and family obligations, you can then make kinder choices for yourself as you factor in your new food and drink choices, commitment to exercise, pampering time for yourself and extended seasonal rest and slumber.

In our fast-paced lives there are more ways to ignore our own needs than we can shake a turkey leg at. Here's an invitation to choose this holiday season to start being loving and generous with yourself. Taking advantage of alternative medicine, coupled with a more self-aware and self-loving lifestyle, will improve the flow of this holiday season and enhance your quality of life. Wishing you a peaceful heart, a healthy body and a joyful, balanced life.

Cathleen Springer

Copyright 2006 Take Action Healthcare, LLC

Related Tags: stress, medicine, alternative, holistic, homeopathy

Cathleen Springer is a graduate of Pacific Academy of Homeopathic Medicine, Berkeley, California, and has further studied with Dr. Ramakrishnan, India's preeminent homeopathic physician. She completed massage studies at Lomilomi 'Oluea Massage Therapy Training in Maui, Hawaii. Cathleen has also received training in Somatic Technique Therapy from Jim Dreaver, DC, author of the illustrated text "Somatic Technique" (Wild Goose Press). Over the years, she has been invited to lecture or give workshops at Stanford University Medical School, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University Women's Alumni Association, and University of Hawaii. Cathleen's practice is available both in Rohnert Park and Sebastopol, California. Information about Cathleen's homeopathic and massage therapy practices is available at

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