One of the things on mystical/spiritual/metaphysical side of things that I think is really going to gain more and more respect amongst the general public in the coming years is the idea of holistic healing. It’s one of the few areas where practitioners can reliably demonstrate results – there are huge numbers of people who I’ve talked to who have extolled the virtues of one holistic healing method or another. As the first post on this specific subject, I won’t go into too much detail – instead I’ll outline what I feel are the most promising and potentially paradigm changing forms of holistic healing and medicine that I know about.
Holistic healing in general is basically a blanket term for healing methods that do not relate to western medicine and the industries it is inextricably linked to – the health insurance industry and the pharmaceuticals industry. As far as I see, the western medicine methodology focuses on quick results, and can be very effective – but there are also gaping holes in its practice. There is little to no focus on long term wellness or prevention, and the solution that western medicine is invariably some kind of pill (which doctors are incentivized to prescribe by big pharma) which has a million side effects and 10 years down the line we find out can cause cancer/heart disease/aneurysms and turn out to be highly addictive (cases in point). Western medicine obviously has its place in society, but to me it is not the be all and end all of healing – there are alternate methods which I feel work in different ways, and in many situations these methods can be superior, especially in the long term, when compared to western medicine and its prescriptions.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM for short, has thousands of years of history and is probably the most practiced form of holistic/alternative medicine in the world. It is still widely available and respected in China as well as neighboring regions, and is also gaining popularity in the West. While westerners often view Acupuncture as something separate from the herbal remedies that are more associated with the idea of TCM, acupuncture is actually one of the ‘five pillars’ of TCM – the others are herbal remedies, moxibustion (heat therapy), Tui Na (closest translation is massage), and Qi Gong (exercises for energy revitalization – can be seen as similar to Yoga or meditation). TCM will continue to be a popular alternative to drug-based Western medicine in the east, and with luck it will soon begin gaining popularity on this side of the world also. You can read more about TCM here.
Many people like to scoff at crystal healing, but I’ve personally come across hundreds of people who swear that it works. The idea of crystal healing is that there are specific chakras in the body, and that certain kinds of crystals resonate with certain chakra points – and these chakra points in turn effect the functioning of specific parts of the body. The chakras that each crystal or stone affects tends to vary based on color and other properties – for example, red and yellow crystals are often associated with the ‘root chakra’ which is responsible for energy in the physical body – as such red and yellow crystals would be used to promote higher energy levels.
Ayurvedic Medicine is the traditional healing system of India, and has been practiced for over 5 millennia. To be honest, I don’t know all that much about it, but from what I’ve read, there are 8 components to Ayurveda – the curing of disease, the medical treatment of children, surgical techniques, the cure of disease specifically related to the eyes/nose/ears/teeth, the healing of poisons, the prevention of aging, the medicine of reproduction, and the handling of the intangibles (spirits or invisible beings).
Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy
This one is pretty well known, so I won’t delve too deep into it. Basically, hypnosis can be used in a variety of ways – it’s not just a fun stage show. Hypnotherapy can be effective for weight loss, quitting smoking, developing healthy habits – there’s a whole host of medical applications for hypnotherapy.
Reiki is a Japanese form of healing therapy which bears a lot of similarity to what we would consider massage in the west. It is somewhat similar to the Qi Gong idea in TCM, and practitioners say that they are able to transfer energy through touch into the patient’s body, which facilitates healing. Reiki was initially developed by a Japanese Buddhist monk, and it has gained popularity in both Japan and in the West is recent years, although the practice of Reiki in the two parts of the world has diverged somewhat – Reiki in Japan is affords more flexibility to the Reiki master, where in the west, the placement of the hands on the body generally follow a pattern depending on the specific symptoms of the patient.