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Health Treatments from Head to Toe

This article was written by Blake Miller and was featured in our August issue of Home By Design magazine. To visit the original Home By Design article, click here.


In the last decade, the integration of complementary medicine within conventional medicine has seen an increase as people are looking for more natural approaches to bettering their health. And more than half of Americans say they use alternative medicine treatments in their healthcare and self-care routines. “Complementary medicine is vital to your overall health,” says Bill Daniels, a certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist (NASM) and certified strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) based in Walnut Creek, California. “If you only rely on western medicine, you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle. By taking the time to practice self-care such as exercise, acupuncture, chiropractic, or whatever other modes work for you, you are allowing your body to recover in ways that medication just can’t do.”

Photography provided by Albina Gavrilovic/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Here’s a look at the most common—and helpful—alternative medicine options available today.

Myofascial Release.

Basic Background: “Myofascial release is a body-work technique that uses sustained, gentle-to-firm pressure that allows the fascia—such as the Iliotibial Band (IT) that runs from the pelvic bone to the shin bone—to relax and unwind,” explains Brittany Herzberg, LMBT, a massage therapist in Apex, North Carolina. “The IT Band is the best known example of fascia. That type of tissue weaves all up and down your body. It’s a giant web that holds you together.” And if it becomes too tight, it can pull on your knee or hip, for example, and result in chronic joint pain.

Who Should Try It: “If you battle chronic pain and tension, you may want to see if myofascial release is a good fit,” says Herzberg. “Clients often comment on how they feel calmer because their nervous system is at ease and looser because the fascia isn’t as bound up as it once was. Many of my massage clients who are serious—or even amateur—athletes or desk jockeys who sit at a desk all day long seek out this type of work. They know their bodies are tight in certain areas and have found myofascial release to be an effective body-work tool.”

Nerve Flossing.

Basic Background: Nerve flossing is a technique used to gently mobilize the nerves and therefore improve range of motion and reduce pain in the joints.

Who Should Try It: “Nerve flossing is a technique I use both for myself and for clients regularly,” says Daniels. “I use it for people who have pain in joints and muscles but can’t seem to pinpoint what the cause is. What I have found working with people is that the nerve can become impinged by either scar tissue or within a joint and it needs some light tensioning to get it free. I think of it like a hose with a kink. If the water can’t get through well, then you don’t get a great output. Think of it like the signal from the brain can’t travel at full force through the nerve to the muscle.”


Basic Background: “Reiki is a Japanese energy channeling modality, which stimulates the flow of energy through the body to restore mental, physical, and emotional wellness,” explains Luke Bonecutter, a spiritual counselor in San Antonio, Texas. “Using crystals, sounds, elemental correspondences, and other channeling techniques, this treatment can help manage chronic pain or stiffness, comfort anxious feelings in the body, balance and realign energy centers, remove mental and emotional blockages, and strengthen the aura.”

Who Should Try It: Everyone. “Reiki is recommended both as preventative and reactive treatment to keep the body’s energy balanced, therefore anyone can try and benefit from Reiki,” says Shanise Spruill, certified holistic health practitioner based in Indian Head, Maryland. “Reiki is often used to help reduce persons under stress, high performers, as well as those who suffer from anxiety.”

You are what you eat, quite literally, so sometimes we need to flush out the toxins built up from consuming processed foods, gluten, meat, and dairy, which are often the cause of chronic gut health issues. A water detox is a great option to detoxify your gut.

“Water detox helps remove toxins from the body,” explains Lea McMahon LPC, EdD, with Symetria Recovery based in Illinois and Texas. “You can add lemon and cucumbers in lukewarm water. This is used by many people to control their weight. But that’s not the only benefit. The release of toxins from the body can improve your immunity and metabolic rate, which keeps you energized throughout the day. That is because you are hydrated.”