This week it was revealed that 23-year old pop singer Selena Gomez was diagnosed with Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. If you or a loved has been living with a chronic illness than you probably understand that the physical struggles are only half of the battle. Chronic illness can often lead to immobility and a drastic change in lifestyle, which can cause depression and anxiety.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 86 percent of our nation’s health care is spent on chronic illnesses while they still amount to 7 out of 10 deaths in the United States.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, these facts can be very scary. With prescription pills and a new health regime to follow, there are complimentary and alternative medicines that can be added to this routine. This integrative look at healing looks not only at the physical pain but also at the patients overall well being.

Holistic healing is the idea of looking at the total sum of all of the parts.  What this means is that, although physical medical treatment to alleviate your body’s symptoms are important, taking care of your body as a whole is also vital to the healing process.

There are several different aspects to holistic healing, including mental and spiritual. If you are struggling with the pain and immobility of a chronic illness then your mental health may waiver if your focus is solely on the physical pain. Not to replace medical attention or prescriptions, taking care of the mental health risks associated with chronic pain can be extremely rewarding.

Some small ways to bring holistic healing into your lifestyle is by eating right, finding ways to improve independence, exercising, getting out of doors and managing stress levels.  This can come in many different forms, such as yoga, chiropractic massages, naturopathy, and several others.

Many individuals, who are not getting the results they want from a healthy physical lifestyle, seek answers through spiritual healing. Healing the body spiritually does not always mean you have to be religious.  Without a specific deity in mind, focusing on wholesome, enlightening experiences can open you to a new world, giving you a fresh perspective on a difficult situation. Part of spiritual healing is meditating. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Health, mindful meditation can improve pain regulation through emotional control.

“A trial at a Ford Motor plant found a 58% reduction in prescription pain medication use when acupuncture and mind-body practices were used to treat low back pain,” according to the American Pain Association. “Other studies have found mind body interventions useful as adjunctive therapy to ameliorate pain, enhance treatment response, and reduce the use of more costly and risky interventions.”

The fact remains that integrating holistic methods of pain management are seen as successful and greatly improve a patients response to existing medical therapy, outlook on life and over all mental health.

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