What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. Sometimes it’s called essential oil therapy. Aromatherapy uses aromatic essential oils medicinally to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. It enhances both physical and emotional health.
Does Aromatherapy Really Work?
Aromatherapy is thought of as both an art and a science. Recently, aromatherapy has gained more recognition in the fields of science and medicine.
Today we are going to talk about some garden plants that you may already have or might be inspired to get after this blog. We will start with the elders of the garden. The first flower we have is a yellow flower together with berries from the elder tree. The tree is called mother elder and there are rumors that her spirit was either a goddess or a dryad or a wish that could heal all different kinds of things. In the past, the word witch meant either holy or knowledge or wisdom. The wise woman had a lot of healing to give to other people. The word has a different meaning today. Over time, the elder tree that grows in the canyons can now be used as medicine! The botanical name of the flower is Sambucus Mexicana. Although, other trees that are also called elder, are not suitable for any kind of healing. As a result, it is very important to know the exact botanical name, genus and species of a plant before using them for healing or essential oils. The elder is a very flexible plant. You can use its berries for is elderberry syrup and its flowers for tea. The syrup is particularly helpful for a facial wash while the tea can help with the fever.
Another interesting flower is this sage plant also known as “salvia officinalis”. “Salvia” means to save and the plant is also considered a healer with many different uses. The second part “officinalis’ refers to the plant’s medicinal use. In former times, people would go to the monk’s office to get their medicine.
The garden sage is related to the white sage which is often burned to create a sacred space in many different cultures. It has the same genus but belongs to a different species. Its botanical name is salvia alba.
Sage, once again, is used for many things. It is not only a warming herb but also a drying herb. Latter is really good for colds, flu or even a runny nose because it dries up extra flam.
Additionally, Sage is also used for wisdom, more specifically to help increase brain activity and health. You can also use Salvia Rosmarinus or rosemary. Rosmarinus stands for a rose by the sea and is also an officinalis. It has many purposes such as facial washes or as a hair product. Old indigenous people used to take long pieces of rosemary and comb their hair with it. Rosemary can also act as a vasodilator which means it widens the blood vessels which in turn increases the oxygen flow to the brain. Many tests and studies have been done to prove that rosemary does indeed stimulate brain activity. The plant appears in different forms depending on where it grows which has an effect on the chemotype. If it has the cineole chemotype, it’s great to expand the lungs, circulation, and respiratory system
To learn more about the holistic health program at ICOHS College >>CLICK HERE<<
Holistic Health 101: An Alternative Approach to Western medicine
An Introduction to Holistic Health
What Is Holistic Health?
A Brief Overview of Holistic Health Treatments
Holistic Health Programs at ICOHS College
Our Final Thoughts on Holistic Health 101
Listen When Pain Speaks
Sitting in pain is never a good feeling, however, we do not have to stay in pain. Sometimes we feel it and we are unable or unwilling to move because of the fear of more pain. It is important to recognize that our bodies are made to heal themselves and if we are unable to facilitate the movements that are necessary to help to alleviate our pain, we have options. Those options help us to feel better and to move us in the direction of not only feeling physically better but being calm of mind and more focused.
A large portion of us tends to walk around in our sympathetic expression of the fight, flight or freeze. This protective defense keeps us on guard. We do not even realize it, because it is something that we do naturally. From our first fear holding on to keeping our guard up as we walk through the world defending against physical & emotional predators, or simply life’s displeasures. This tension built up in our body tends to maintain itself in our every waking moment. This tension gets to a point where it restricts the circulatory conductivity that promotes functionality, and consequently, resulting in pain and physical restrictions. As a result, avoidance becomes a habit, “Don’t touch me, that hurts”, avoid that area, avoid that person, avoid, avoid, avoid. Avoidance becomes a way of life. We avoid not only the physical sensation of pain but also, all the emotional and mental aspects of things that cause us pain. There are solutions when we feel pain. First, our perception of pain must change. Pain is our friend, it alerts us that something is wrong, something needs attention. Pain says to us, “breath, I am stuck”, it says, “drink water, I am dehydrated”. Pain also says, “movement with proper breath & hydration is required”. “I need to rub this area”, “I need to relax and breathe”. Pain sometimes says, “I am hungry”, but overall, pain is a call to action, not the inaction that we do to avoid pain.
What You Can Do to Alleviate Pain
1) Hydrate properly:
Hold alkaline water in your mouth three times for 10 to 30 seconds before swallowing
2) Breath properly:
Take a deep, exaggerated breath three times (you can exhale with a “haw” sound)
3) Move or Get a Massage:
Exercise, get a massage, or some kind of bodywork. Bodywork or massage are forms of care that aid movement in body & muscles when you are unable or unwilling to do the movement necessary for keeping healthy actions. Bodywork helps in many aspects of the body’s needs to stay in better functionality. This form of care helps to repel stagnations and increases the body’s circulation in a way that most other forms of care cannot. It helps with balancing the structure, it helps to strengthen the muscles, tendons & sinews. It helps to nourish the whole body’s system, strengthens the mind and its ability to push forward despite the challenges. It helps to soothe the soul and free tension in the body. It gives hope to the pain-filled individual.
Most forms of holistic health care contribute to the betterment and wellness of the individual. There are many benefits gained simply by adding massages to your personal self-care plan. Thereby reducing our sympathetic expression that adds to our pain and declining functionality. If massage or bodywork is missing from your healthcare package or self-care package, I recommend at a minimum that you get a massage or some bodywork weekly or once a month. If you can receive bodywork or massage weekly, you will notice that it will improve how you function in this world.
Learn more about massage and holistic health programs at ICOHS College today!
Emotional Well being is an important part of your health. People who are emotionally healthy have control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors are able to face the challenges of life. They can put problems in perspective and recover from setbacks. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships.
Being emotionally healthy does not mean being happy all the time. It means that one is aware of their emotions. That one can deal with them, whether positive or negative. Emotionally healthy people also feel stress, anger, and sadness. But they know how to handle their negative feelings. They can distinguish when a problem exceeds what they can handle on their own. They also know when to seek help from their doctor.
Emotional health is an important part of your life. It allows you to develop your full potential. You can work productively and cope with the stresses of everyday life. It helps you work with other people and contribute to society.
Research has shown a relationship between an optimistic mental state and lower blood pressure, a lower risk of heart disease, a healthier weight, better blood sugar levels, and a longer life, says the agency.
The smile is the facial expression associated with feelings such as joy, satisfaction or happiness. It is characterized in that the corners of the lips are lifted so that they form a U-shaped curve. When the smile is spontaneous, the muscles of the sides of the eyes also move.
The smile is a beautiful gesture that always transmits light, positive energy and contributes to the good physical and mental state of people. With a smile, we can change our mood, increase our attractiveness, improve our health and reduce stress. In addition, there will also be positive effects in our environment, it helps us to relate to others.
The smile conveys part of our happiness and well-being to those around us. Smiling has many health benefits. Smiling rejuvenates, oxygenates, cleanses, eliminates stress and improves relationships with others. Smiling increases confidence, balances mood, improves digestion and makes you live longer. Laughter helps overcome many situations such as depression, anxiety or stress. When we laugh, we feel much better because it cleans and ventilates our lungs. Laughing regulates the heart rate. Laughing relaxes the muscles and is a good breathing technique.
Accompanying our words with a smile is the best gift we give each other.
The smile corresponds to the feelings, the laugh corresponds to the emotions.
Emotions are difficult to define because they arise when evaluating any previous event that affects memory, subjective experience, thought, etc. Faced with positive emotions, feeling joy, hope, fun we smile and laugh, the contrary to negative emotions such as fear, anger, anger, sadness, we express different facial gestures because they are unpleasant.
Laughter and a sense of humor are protagonists in our well-being and positive energy. And they are the most important strengths of people. The smile evolves into an emotional, mental and even spiritual behavior.
The smile and laughter work a positive attitude, causing a rapid effect of contagion towards others that is very pleasant to share. Exercise more than advisable to live with a sense of humor. Laughing is a biological function necessary to maintain physical and mental well-being. It is ideal to achieve relaxation and open our ability to feel and love.
10 Tips to improve your emotional well-being
1. Don’t think, feel
2. Don’t judge yourself, it flows
3. Do not deny, accept
4. Don’t look back, look here and now
5. Don’t expect to be loved, love yourself
6. Smile every day, practicing smiles is very healthy
7. Feel the positive force of laughter inside you
8. Contagious and let yourself be smiled
9. Give many smiles, you will heal your soul and sow joy
10. Smile and enjoy life
You know now that smile and laughter are natural functions that you have, and it is only up to you to articulate your muscles to live with health and joy.
Remember that being emotionally well is more than just managing stress. It also means being attentive to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, whether positive or negative. Emotional well-being implies the ability to be aware of and accept our feelings, rather than deny them, have an optimistic approach to life and enjoy life despite their occasional disappointments and frustrations.
Read more about more ways to improve your well-being by reading the first article in our blog series “The 3 Neglected Needs”.
Movement: The Neglected Need (3)
Connect the mind, body, and spirit.
Conventional medical practices aren’t for everyone — let’s face it. Fortunately, for those who would like to opt for alternative solutions, there are many holistic practices available in our budding world.
Ayurveda constitutes as an alternative medicine practice with roots in ancient India.
Considered one of the world’s oldest whole-body or holistic healing systems, this practice encourages a natural equilibrium and balance throughout the body. This, in turn, promotes a connection and cooperation between all parts including the mind, the body, and the soul.
In this article, we will explain in greater depth about Ayurveda, as well as clarify how the practice works and what its primary principles are.
What Is Ayurveda?
Before modern medicine, people had to find ways to keep the body in balance. Although now science tells us there is a connection between the mind and body, Ayurveda knew this thousand of years ago.
Ayurveda stands for “the knowledge or science of life”. Veda means knowledge or science, while ayur represents the concept of life in the ancient language of Sanskrit.
This alternative medicine practice essentially was founded upon two concepts: that the mind and body are undoubtedly connected, and that utilizing the mind is the most powerful way for transforming the body.
The practice of Ayurveda categorizes individuals into a mind-body type, known as a dosha. It is possible to determine your dosha through a simple quiz. This quiz asks a series of questions pertaining to mental and emotional characteristics, as well as physical.
Each dosha has an ideal lifestyle that supports its manner of being. Discovering your dosha and implementing supportive qualities into your lifestyle is said to better balance the body and produce equilibrium in a holistic manner.
Understanding the Three Doshas
Doshas provide an inner glimpse into the unique makeup of you. In Ayurvedic beliefs, understanding the doshas enables an individual to adjust lifestyle choices spanning from the diet, to exercise, to an ideal temperature. By doing so, the body naturally heals itself and supports the individual in return. Pretty incredible, right?
There are three main doshas and in this section, we go into detail about each of them. This section is not designed to assign any specific dosha to a person, but you may notice that one of the categories is more relatable than another. Normally, everyone possesses aspects from each of the doshas but there tends to be one that is more predominant than the others. Additionally, each dosha is granted a series of elements that best represents it.
The First Dosha – Vata
Represented by the elements of air and space, those with the Vata dosha tend to have qualities that also parallel these elements. Vata is said to govern the qualities of movement and communication.
- Relates to flexibility and movement
- Governs body functions such as pulsation of the heart, the flow of the breath, and communication between the nervous system and mind
- Light, cold, dry, rough
- Subtle, mobile, clear
What is said to disrupt Vata dosha?
- Staying up too late
- Grief and fear
- Eating more food too soon after a prior meal
An imbalance is said to produce a greater likelihood of skin problems, arthritis, heart disease, and asthma. Additionally, a potential for increased fear, isolation, anxiety, and exhaustion.
The Second Dosha – Pitta
The pitta dosha is represented by the elements of water and fire. Pitta is said to govern the primary functions of transformation and digestion.
- Relates to understanding and intelligence
- Connected with the digestion of all things: thoughts, emotions, foods, experiences
- Governs the temperature of the body, the light of understanding, and metabolism
- Hot, sharp, light
- Spreading, liquid, oily
What is said to disrupt pitta dosha?
- Spending too much time in the sun
- Consuming spicy and sour foods
An imbalance is said to produce a greater likelihood of infections, heart disease, Crohn’s disease, and high blood pressure. Additionally, a potential for increased jealousy, criticism, frustration, and anger.
The Third Dosha – Kapha
Kapha dosha is represented by the elements of earth and water. This dosha is said to have the primary functions of lubrication, cohesiveness, and structure.
- Relates to structure and cohesiveness amongst living things
- Governs the hydrations of cells, the maintenance of immunity, the protection of tissues, and moisturization of the skin
- Oily, smooth, heavy, slow, cool
- Dense, soft, cloudy (sticky), stable
What is said to disrupt Kapha dosha?
- Consuming too many sweet foods
- Drinking or eating substances with too much water or salt
- Sleeping during the day
An imbalance is said to produce a greater likelihood of breathing disorders, asthma, obesity, nausea after eating, cancer, and diabetes. Additionally, a potential for increased greed, attachment, resistance to change, lethargy, possessiveness, and stubbornness.
How to Best Support Your Own Unique Dosha
Once you have the information pertaining to your dosha available to you, it is time to determine how you can best support this unique makeup of your being.
Because Ayurveda is a holistic, and therefore wholesome approach to life, the way one goes about implementing its principles into daily life is also well-rounded.
Here are ways to support your dosha to live a more balanced life:
- Eat a diverse diet that is not only colorful but also inclusive of many different flavors. A well-balanced Ayurvedic diet includes the principle of the “six tastes”. The inclusion of all of these flavors is believed to provide the body with all of the nutrients and diversity it needs. These six tastes include:
- Pungent, bitter, sour, sweet, salty, and astringent.
- Improve your digestive ability by implementing certain eating habits and practices that can better support balance. When eating food, try to:
- Eat with a calm state of mind and in a peaceful environment (i.e. not while under distress.)
- Eat at a balanced pace (i.e. not too fast, not too slow.)
- Hydrate the body and encourage digestion by consuming a mix of hot water and ginger throughout the day.
- Only eat when you actually feel hungry (i.e. do not force yourself to eat food.)
- Eat while seated at a table and not focused on or distracted by other activities. Do not eat while driving, while watching TV, while working on your computer, or while utilizing your cellular device.
- Keep raw food consumption down to a minimum for it can overwork the digestive system.
- Get enough sleep every single night. Try to fall asleep and wake up at similar hours each day to encourage a stable body clock and sleep cycle. A night of restful sleep is:
- Between six to eight hours in length.
- Not induced by alcohol or pharmaceuticals, rather it naturally occurs once the lights are turned off and the atmosphere is calm and distraction-free.
- Supportive of healing and complete rejuvenation.
- Complete some form of exercise daily and really tune into your body. Throughout life, your body will send signals to your brain as to whether it feels good or bad about a specific situation. Listen to this intuitive inner knowing and proceed after taking it into consideration. If something does not feel right, honor the message that your body is sending you and move forth accordingly.
Our Final Words on How Ayurveda Can Help Balance Your Health
It is important to note that while there are some state-approved schools of Ayurveda in the United States, Ayurvedic products are not FDA-approved and some are even banned from country entrance due to contamination with toxins and heavy metals.
If you decide to proceed with Ayurvedic treatment and enlist in the assistance of an Ayurveda specialist, they will create a designated treatment plan that is best suited to your own individual set of symptoms and conditions.
While Ayurveda’s primary principles extend further beyond the ones we have mentioned here, this article has covered most of the major elements that make up the holistic, whole-body practice.
Understanding your body’s unique dosha or profile can assist you in making decisions related to health and lifestyle, but aside from producing these adjustments, the most important shifts are to practice healthy digestion practices, get enough sleep daily, and exercise regularly.
Have you been searching for a holistic health school in San Diego or an affordable school of holistic health? Are you interested in becoming a holistic health practitioner?
ICOHS is a non-profit vocational school offering a holistic health practitioner program to those who desire this profession as their career path. Our educators are dedicated to student success and the encouragement of pursuing passions and fulfilling goals.
Reach out today to get started and request more information.
Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of your joints. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 54.4 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis and is usually found in adults over the age of 65 but can still affect people of all ages including children. Arthritis can cause a range of symptoms and impair a person’s daily tasks like walking comfortable, sitting up straight and using their hands. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a slow progressive condition which is caused by wear and tear of a joint, including the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments and the bone. This arthritis is often found in the hands, spine, hips and knees. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for osteoarthritis, and although there are some treatment options that aim to slow the progression of the disease, most treatments are focused on reducing pain and improve function. These treatment options include physical measures such as weight loss, physical exercise, and assistive devices; drug therapy including topical drugs, oral medicines, and joint injections; and surgery to repair or replace the joint.
In contrast to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the body’s immune system is not working correctly and results in pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints in the feet, hands and wrists. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis, affecting more than 1.3 million Americans, and is considered one of the more debilitating forms of arthritis when left untreated. Fortunately, modern advancements in treatment options have made it possible to stop or at least slow the worsening of joint damage, and specific treatments have been developed to target the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Although there is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis, an alternative way to address the symptoms that come with arthritis is through massage therapy, whether it be from a licensed massage therapist at a spa or self-massage at home.
Research has shown that massage can lower the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol, and boost production of serotonin, and lower production of the neurotransmitter substance P, often linked to pain, and improve sleep as a result. A clinical study was done in 2015 involving a 55 year old woman who suffered from RA for 14 years. Over the course of 5 weeks she received one 60 minute swedish massage on her upper limbs and at the end of 5 weeks she was finally able to perform daily tasks. Another study led by Tiffany Field, Ph.D. in 2013, examined the effects of moderate pressure versus light pressure massage therapy on 42 adults with rheumatoid arthritis in the upper limbs. The adults were randomly assigned to a moderate pressure or a light pressure massage therapy group. The affected arm and shoulder were massaged once a week for a four-week period and the participants also had to perform self-massage daily. By the end of the one-month period, results of the study demonstrated the moderate pressure massage group had less pain, increased grip strength, increased wrist flexion, increased elbow flexion and increased shoulder abduction. The study also found that participants in both groups experienced a reduction in depressed mood and anxiety.
In conclusion, Arthritis is a condition that affects almost 55 million people in the U.S. and 350 worldwide. The pain from arthritis can affect a person’s most simple daily tasks like gripping, standing, and even walking. Research shows that consistent massage and even self massage can reduce stress, reduce pain symptoms, and in some cases, improve and increase joint mobility. Massage therapy can be a wonderful compliment for someone being treated for arthritis and has proven itself to be valuable as complementary medicine.
Bethany Foster, 2013, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Massage Therapy
Desert Health, Studies on RA and Massage Therapy
Ali Duarte-Garcia, MD, 2018
Hannah Nichols, 2017, Medical News Today
Susan Berstein, Arthritis.org
By definition, ‘accessible’ means being reached or is within reach, as well as the capability of being used, seen, understood, or appreciated. A few common examples of this applied in society include ramps for individuals that navigate the world in a wheelchair, iPhone’s VoiceOver screen reader for people that have a vision impairment or color blindness, and vibrating street crossing buttons to alert those with both hearing and vision loss. Accessibility creates an environment where being an able-bodied individual is not the only standard from which the universe operates. It is all-inclusive, modifying what is already available and always expanding to give everybody the best chance at a successful life not determined by their disability or circumstances. Massage and bodywork, alternative medicine, body movement therapies such as yoga or Tai Chi, and self-care practices and education should be accessible by everyone. In the case of those who are homeless, living in poverty, or are low income, there are many barriers that can stand in the way of them receiving this care, cost, and knowledge being at the top of the list. This paper will discuss the physical and mental effects of being homeless or living in poverty, the positive effects of complementary alternative medicine in this population and why it is vital they receive it regularly, as well as what actions are currently being taken to address the issues of accessibility of this care and why it should matter to you.
According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2017 thirty-nine million people (12.3%) in the United States were living in poverty and almost four-hundred thousand of those people were San Diego residents (11.9%.) Poverty is measured by the U.S. Census Bureau using set income thresholds that vary based on the composition and size of a family. If that family’s income totals less than their threshold value, they are considered as living in poverty. In 2017, the computed poverty threshold for one person living in the United States was 12,488 dollars. With the average population per household being 2.54 that same year, two adults and one child, the poverty threshold was 19,515 dollars. In stark comparison, the median household income of the U.S. in 2017 was 61,372 dollars. Poverty is not just struggling to pay bills or missing a meal, chronic poverty puts physical, emotional, and mental stress and pressures on millions of families each year. The effects of poverty are generational and cyclical, and they extensively impact individuals of all ages, races, and ethnicities nationwide. The basic necessities of survival such as food, shelter, and clean drinking water become such a struggle to secure that things like healthcare, education, and entertainment are seen as frivolous luxuries. Children born into and developing in poverty have higher rates of delinquency, depression and anxiety disorders, lower academic scores, and higher prevalence of cognitive, attention, and behavioral problems. Poverty in adulthood is host to the development of numerous mental health disorders, physiological and psychological stress, and higher rates of suicide. Where there is poverty, there is a lack of education, crime, joblessness, and poor physical and mental health.
In a study published in 2015 done in partnership between San Francisco State University’s Institute for Holistic Health Studies, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, and Texas Tech University Health Science Centers, a direct correlation was found between level of education/income level and knowledge or lack of knowledge of 4 common complementary health practices. A correlation was also discovered between the level of education and ‘lack of need’ being a reason for not utilizing those complementary health approaches. During this research, a survey was used to poll people who have never used acupuncture, chiropractic work, supplements, and herbs, or yoga and their reasoning why. Those who did not graduate from high school were 29-58% more likely to have selected ‘lack of knowledge’ as a reason for non-use across all categories polled. Individuals with higher income levels polled less likely to select ‘lack of knowledge’ as a reason of non-use, for example, this bracket was 37% less likely to choose ‘lack of knowledge’ as a reason for not using chiropractic care. On the basis of education, voters with a higher level of completed education were significantly more likely to choose ‘lack of need’ as a response to non-use of complementary health. Those who attended college were 22% more likely to select ‘lack of need’ in response to non-use of chiropractor and acupuncture care. In conclusion, this data coincides perfectly with the sentiments mentioned above. Living in poverty drastically diminishes the opportunity for affording educational opportunities and utilizing healthcare services. It can be inferred from above that having a higher income equals better healthcare, less labor-intensive work, and potentially fewer injuries, thus creating less need for complementary health approaches.
A study published in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Center for Health Statistics further prove the disparities between income level, access, and use of complementary health approaches. Families with incomes over one-hundred thousand dollars had four times more out-of-pocket expenses ($6.2 billion) paid for visits to complementary health practitioners per year than those families making less than twenty-five thousand dollars (1.3 billion.) Natural products and supplement sales paid for out-of-pocket per year were twice as much for families with incomes between fifty and ninety-nine thousand dollars ($4.1 billion) than for those making less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($1.9 billion.) Furthermore, individuals in two of the highest income brackets spent significantly more than half of all the out-of-pocket expenditures for complementary health approaches ($21.1 billion/70.2%.) Those families were also willing to spend almost one-hundred and sixty dollars more on average per occasion while receiving complementary healthcare services or purchasing health products. These studies draw two main conclusions, higher-income individuals, overall, are either spending the most amount of money on alternative healthcare or have the knowledge and means to use it but do not feel the need to. While those with lower incomes and/or living in poverty contribute significantly less money to the purchases of alternative healthcare, the population even more vulnerable and most often forgotten in the world of complementary health services is homeless.
According to The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, over half a million people nationwide experience homelessness on any given night. Half of all homeless individuals reside in the top five states with the highest rates of homeless populations. California has the most total people experiencing homelessness at almost one-hundred and thirty thousand homeless individuals any given day, followed by New York, Florida, Texas, and Washington. 2019’s WeAllCount, point-in-time-count, San Diego results show at the very minimum, just over eight-thousand San Diegans live on the streets or shelters on any given night, making it fourth highest on the list of major cities with the most occurrence of homelessness. Thirty-six percent, of the homeless population in San Diego, report being physically disabled, twelve percent are under the age of twenty-four, ten percent are veterans, and three percent are families with at least one child. The effects of homelessness are much more extensive and physically dangerous than those effects of individuals living in poverty. The homeless experience more serious health conditions such as skin diseases due to decreased hygiene habits and access to clean running water, cold or heat injuries by constant exposure to the elements, nutritional deficiencies due to poor diet and/or starvation, drug dependency, alcoholism, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, and much higher rates of mortality, among many others. Psychological effects of homelessness include loss of self-esteem and self-worth, loss of ability and will to care for oneself, increased danger of abuse and violence, increased risk of taking part in or witnessing criminal activity and being incarcerated or otherwise being institutionalized, and development of behavioral problems including substance abuse.
The homeless population and those living in poverty are subjectively in the most need of massage and bodywork, alternative medicine, body movement therapies, and self-care instruction and education, but are least likely to have access to it, let alone be able to engage in it. These types of therapies have the potential to be highly effective for reducing stress and anxiety, increasing blood flow and lymphatic drainage, lowering blood pressure, and soothing neuromuscular pain and discomfort. Such treatments are less expensive long term due to the focus being preventative, this can lead to fewer injuries and illnesses, fewer doctors’ visits and less reliance on prescription medication. High prices and the fight of getting insurance companies to cover complementary health prevents access to these alternatives for many low-income Americans and most of the homeless population.
A 2008 issue of Healing Hands, a publication of the Healthcare for the Homeless (HCH) Clinicians’ Network, explored the use of complementary and alternative therapies in homeless healthcare. HCH Manchester in New Hampshire developed an eight-week long training program working to educate and teach the homeless population ‘Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction’ (MBSR.) The program consists of two to three hour-long sessions once a week focusing on mindfulness meditation and yoga practices, with a full-day retreat scheduled in week six. Also on staff are a psychologist, social worker, and substance abuse counselor that are available at any time to better assist the participants. To track results, they use a quality of life survey before and after completion of the program to document perceived improvements. Outcomes include reduced pain and increased ability to cope with chronic pain, increased abilities in dealing with stressors and being able to relax, increased sense of well-being and enthusiasm for life, and improved self-esteem, clarity, and awareness. In addition to this program, HCH Manchester also offers clinic services including medical and mental health care, addiction counseling, health education, social services, assistance with food stamps, Medicaid, and disability services, and dental and eye care. For those who are homeless or living in poverty, you are always in fight-or-flight and survival mode. Getting a chance to think clearly, feel safe, cry, laugh, and feel emotions, and even just a kind word or gentle touch can mean the world to them. Everyone deserves the opportunity to feel human and to feel cared for.
Many organizations across the nation are realizing the need for alternative health for the homeless, low income, and improvised populations. New York Harm Reduction Educator works to put drug users and sex workers on the path of recovery, by providing syringe exchange, education, and outreach services. Other services include overdose prevention, counseling and family stabilization services, STD testing, support groups, sex education, as well as holistic health services. NYHRE provides meditation, reiki, qi gong, breathing exercises, and ear acupuncture throughout the city at several of their street-based syringe exchanges. The Care Through Touch Institute in San Francisco, California gives free chair massage at various shelters and churches, to the community of people who experience homelessness or are marginally housed. They also have a program called Comfort, Care, & Companioning Program that targets homeless and marginally housed seniors. This program provides a companion to give comforting massage, caring conversation, and companionship to support these individuals dealing with isolation and physical and emotional pain related to conditions arising from the aging process or illness and injury. Last but certainly not least, Everytable, a restaurant with a fast-food style twist, makes healthy foods quick and accessible to underserved communities in Los Angles, California. The meals are priced according to the neighborhood they serve, making them affordable to lower-income individuals and those living in poverty. The meals are healthy, fresh, and made from scratch and provided to communities with limited or no access to affordable healthy foods and sold at discounted prices.
While there are people out there doing great things and making big strides in creating more accessibility of complementary alternative medicine to vulnerable populations such as the poor and homeless, we still have a long way to go. Education and advocacy are the most critical aspects. Education of the health professionals and practitioners and education of those in need, as well as continually advocate for affected individuals and striving to make positive changes.
Allen, DMD, J., Carlson, APRN, BC, T., Colangelo, LSW, B., Orman, S., Rabiner, MD, M., Rodriguez-marzec, MS, FNP-C, PMHNP-C, R., . . . Bredensteiner, S. (2008, June). Healing Hands: Use of Complementary & Alternative Therapies in Homeless Health Care (P. Post, MPA, Ed.). Retrieved July, 2019, from www.nhchc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/jun2008HealingHands.pdf
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Salaries for Holistic Health Practitioners may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, years of experience, location, and other factors.
According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC), naturopathic doctors (NDs) working in large practices earn between $80,000 and $90,000 annually. However, many naturopathic doctors who have worked at building a reputable practice have been known to earn up to $200,000 annually
Differences in Holistic Health Careers
Approximately 40% of the population in the United States are already using some kind of alternative health treatment, and surveys indicate continued growth in the field. As more and more people are in search of whole-body wellness, the opportunity to enjoy a satisfying career in holistic health looks promising every year.
What are the most popular holistic health careers?
Acupuncture’s ancient healing technique uses needles to remove blockages in the body’s energy system, promoting balance and holistic health. According to O*NET OnLine, the median annual salary for acupuncturists is $74,530*.
Ayurveda is a complete holistic health system that developed in India, where it has been practiced for over 5,000 years. Ayurvedic treatments seek to balance mind, body, and spirit, offering individualized recommendations based on every single patient. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) current Occupational Outlook Handbook, Ayurvedic practitioners, categorized under health diagnosing and treating practitioners, make a median salary of $74,530*.
Biofeedback is a tool for teaching patients how to use the power of their minds to manage chronic or stress-induced pain, such as migraines and muscle spasms. Biofeedback is used in health care settings by licensed medical professionals, but it can also work well in a natural medicine setting or by trained psychologists. As psychologists, Certified Biofeedback Therapists can earn $75,230*, according to the BLS.
Diet therapy uses food as a source of healing. Practitioners provide customized dietary suggestions to help their patients improve immunity, lose weight or fight illnesses such as cancer and allergies. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for dietitians and nutritionists is $58,920*.
Kinesiology or movement therapies
Kinesiology applies the study of muscles and movement as an evaluation and treatment tool in a clinical setting. Earnings from the practice of kinesiology are difficult to assess because most practitioners are already established as chiropractors, medical doctors or other health care providers.
Yoga is now one of the most popular practices for physical fitness and relaxation. According to the BLS, the median national annual salary for yoga fitness trainers and instructors is $38,160*.
Holistic skincare or esthetics
Estheticians and holistic skincare specialists who specialize in holistic skincare administer facial and body treatments that feature natural ingredients, such as herbs, minerals, and essential oils. According to the BLS, the median national annual salary for skincare specialists is $30,270*
There are a variety of careers to choose from as a holistic health practitioner. You can have a good income and also benefit from making a difference in the lives of other people. When you join the wellness field, you become part of an ever-growing movement to create a healthier and more balanced society. Find out about the Holistic Health Practitioner program at ICOHS College and start your new career path today!