What is Holistic Physical Therapy?

This article first appeared on Aletha Health

Now more than ever, it seems as though there’s a holistic approach toversion of almost everything. Yoga, music therapy, and even college admissions? Yes, there are holistic approaches to all of those. Due to the growing popularity of the term, it can be hard to figure out just what “holistic” means – and if you’re one of the many Americans suffering from a physical injury or condition, you might be wondering how a holistic approach applies to physical therapy.

Though holistic physical therapy used to be a fringe market, more and more Americans are realizing that a holistic approach to healing is often transformative. I’ve been an advocate for holistic physical therapy for years. It’s what I practice with my clients because it allows for an open-minded approach to treating your condition or injury.

What is holistic physical therapy, really? As a holistic physical therapist, I blend the proven aspects of traditional medicine with an all-encompassing (also known as holistic!) approach, taking into account outside factors that may be contributing to your injury. Things like diet, stress, lifestyle, and a wide variety of other elements can contribute to the severity and longevity of your injury or physical condition. By using a holistic approach, I provide you with more than just a simple exercise routine – though I’ll give you one of those, too.

I work with other industry professionals to help treat you, individually, in a way that will speed up your recovery and help you feel better than ever. One of the main advantages of holistic physical therapy is that it allows you to experience the benefits of traditional medicine with the added expertise of a holistic specialist.

Why Holistic Physical Therapy?

If you’re wondering what a standard holistic physical therapy process looks like, you’re not alone. True to its name, a holistic approach is well-rounded and takes a look at a wide variety of factors. My role is typically to provide you with not only physical exercises, but hands on techniques and specific inquiries that will help guide you on your healing journey. 

It’s been well-documented that stress makes people more injury-prone. Mental health is just one aspect to a healing environment. Diet, lifestyle, and ways of thinking can have a bigger impact on physical well-being than you might think. When you work with a holistic physical therapist, they’ll take all of these things into account to figure out a plan to get your health on the right track.

Not all holistic physical therapy is theoretical, though; physical injuries are still physical, and there’s plenty you can do to get through some of the more tangible aspects of your condition. When I’m working with a client, I collaborate with naturopaths, chiropractors, and other specialists to help get you sound advice on your condition.

For example, the seven TRE exercises are a great demonstration of the types of physical exercises that may be recommended in a holistic approach – in addition to injury-specific exercises. 

One benefit that many holistic PT clients discover is that it’s usually an eye-opening process, and a holistic approach is significantly less mundane than what you might find with traditional medicine. Instead of a simple set of exercises to repeat for months, resulting in an unprioritized pile of handouts on your kitchen counter, you’ll get a personalized approach that’s designed to help you specifically overcome your condition on all levels and feel better as a person.

When you work with a holistic physical therapist, you generally work with the same person throughout the entire recovery process. You don’t need to worry about being passed between different therapists, as a holistic approach works best when your therapist gets to know you over time!

Is Holistic Physical Therapy Proven to Work?

One of the major factors that has contributed to the rise in popularity of holistic physical therapy is that, in the past couple of decades, we have learned a lot more about the most effective ways to approach health and wellness. It seems that the more we learn about the human body and how it works, the more important a holistic approach is – mental health, social health, spiritual health, and physical health are often interconnected.

In the same way that stress and a poor diet can impact your physical health, your emotions and mental health can have a similar impact. Holistic physical therapy isn’t about rejecting traditional medicine; rather, a holistic approach to physical therapy builds upon a traditional approach by incorporating other aspects of health that are likely affecting your physical condition.

If you’ve been on the fence about trying holistic physical therapy, you can schedule an evaluation with me here. I’d love to chat!


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