As holistic medicine is deeply rooted in age-old traditions, and CBD is still such a new phenomenon, it seems odd to think that the two can go hand in hand. But, when you dive into the various branches of holistic medicine, it becomes evident that they’re a match made in heaven. This article will detail a few of the most popular forms and explain how CBD can be used alongside them. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- How Chinese medicine can incorporate CBD
- Using CBD to boost the effects of acupuncture
- What Ayurvedic teachings say about CBD use
- Incorporating CBD into home massage
First, What Is Holistic Medicine?
Holistic is often described as “characterised by the belief that parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.” So, holistic medicine then works on the notion that the mind, body and spirit are all connected, and to properly treat any ailment a person has, you must treat that person as a whole. It’s the theory that if one part is not working correctly, some or all other parts will also be affected. Whether you suffer from headaches, back pain, stress, insomnia, or any other illness, to be truly well again, your entire being needs to be treated.
Holistic medicine differs from Western primarily due to the fact that it treats the underlying issues, not just the surfacing symptoms. For example, if you suffer from headaches, Western medicine would prescribe pain killers. This will be effective in reducing the ‘pain’ symptom, however, the treatment pretty much stops there. Holistic medicine, on the other hand, will go one step further and treat the underlying cause of your headaches.
Headaches can occur for all manner of reasons, such as stress, bad posture, strained eyesight and diet, to name a few, so treating just the symptom (i.e. the headache) will not fix the underlying problem of stress or poor diet, meaning the headaches will inevitably come back.
A few years ago, I constantly got headaches and would be popping painkillers almost daily. Of course, once the effects of the paracetamol wore off, my headaches would be back. This continued for a few weeks while I complained to anyone that would listen until someone suggested drinking more water – and who’d have thought it? I was dehydrated! After a few days of upping my water intake, my headaches completely subsided. This is holistic medicine!
So, Where Does CBD Fit Into All This?
CBD can be used to treat all kinds of ailments, from the physical, such as muscle pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia, to the emotional such as stress, anxiety, and insomnia. It has also been shown to be hugely beneficial in relaxing and focusing the mind for exercises like meditation and studying. In effect, CBD can be used to promote overall health and well-being, meaning it is considered to be part of holistic medicine. This article will go through a few ways that CBD can be used as part of holistic medicine treatments.
Chinese medicine is an ancient holistic treatment that has been around for thousands of years. It revolves around the concept that everyone, and everything, is filled with vital life force energy (or qi as it is often called), and sickness occurs when that person’s qi is out of balance.
Once you’ve realised that you’re ill and have presented your symptoms to a practitioner, they will treat you as a whole, not just cover up your symptoms. Depending on the underlying issue, you will be treated with one or more of the five key pillars of Chinese Medicine:
- Chinese Herbal Medicine
- Tui Na
- Qi Gong
While CBD and cannabis use for medicinal purposes is a relatively new phenomenon, cannabis has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is believed that the hemp plant is indigenous to China, and mentions of it have appeared in multiple Chinese medical texts as being one of the 50 fundamental healing herbs in the world. So, naturally, CBD could also play a part in the world of Chinese medicine. It’s already showing particular promise in acupuncture.
Many people are aware of acupuncture, but how many of you have actually had a session? I know I haven’t, but many people I know have, and if the opportunity arose, I’d certainly give it a try.
Acupuncture is a practice wherein small, thin needles are inserted into the very top layers of your skin at strategic anatomical points in the body. It’s predominantly used to relieve pain and tension, however, it can also be used to improve overall wellness, stress management, addiction and even symptoms like menstrual cramps.
It is said that stimulating the acupuncture points, in turn, stimulates the central nervous system. This process releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain to awaken the body’s natural healing abilities and promote well-being.
Those who tend to get the most out of their sessions are the ones who experience chronic pain, as they often reap the benefits immediately. After just one session, many patients feel a reduction in their pain, no matter where it’s located. However, while the benefits are instantaneous, the pain is almost always not irradicated completely. But this is where CBD can really take effect.
By applying a topical CBD lotion before the session to the areas of the body that are about to receive acupuncture, it can enhance the effects of both practices. This is especially true for any issues surrounding inflammation or stress. Acupuncture and CBD both release a chemical called adenosine, and when used together, they boost the endocannabinoid system, enhancing the body’s ability to fight disease, pain and illness.
While Chinese Medicine is now pretty widespread in Western cultures, many people are still in the dark when it comes to Ayurvedic Medicine. Much like Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic medicine originated thousands of years ago and is also based on treating a person as a whole rather than a specific symptom.
During my travels around India and Sri Lanka, I discovered just how prevalent this practice still is in this part of the world. Like Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine also embodies a holistic approach to both mental, physical, and spiritual illness. After evaluating your body type and illness, a practitioner will prescribe one of the following things:
- Change of diet (including whether you should eat hot or cold foods)
- Shift in lifestyle (such as exercise, the ideal time to spend outside etc.)
- Herbal medicine
- Massage therapy
How Does Ayurvedic Medicine View CBD?
Essentially, Ayurveda is all about balancing the doshas, which are said to govern a person’s mental, physical and emotional health. There are three doshas present throughout a person’s body – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each dosha contains the five elements – earth, air, fire, water and space. It is said that every person has a unique ratio of each dosha, with one usually being more prominent than the others. This unique ratio essentially provides you with a blueprint of how you can achieve optimal health.
As CBD is plant-derived, it is widely accepted as an ayurvedic remedy, and as both CBD and Ayurveda work on fixing the root cause of your illness, they go hand in hand. For example, if a person increases their Vata dosha too much, they might experience anxiety or insomnia, as an unbalanced Vata can contribute to a range of mental health issues. CBD is excellent at counteracting these high-energy issues, making them wonderful treatments to use alongside each other to increase the overall effectiveness.
All the other options on this list require you to visit a professional, which, unfortunately, usually costs quite a bit of money, so I thought it would be good to include something you can try at home. Of course, if you’ve been suffering from severe back pain or chronic shoulder aches, it’s best to visit a professional, but if you’re just looking to soothe some general aches and pains from working a long day, you’re more than capable!
Massage can work wonders for improving your overall well-being and mental health. Whether you’re stressed, depressed, feeling anxious or suffer from sleeping disorders, a gentle, relaxing massage can relieve tension, calm anxiety and prepare the mind and body for sleep. Plus, it’s even better when done alongside CBD!
Personally, I like to add my CBD into my evening routine. After 15 minutes of evening meditation, I stay seated in the lotus position and add a few drops of CBD oil to my hands, massaging it into the arches of my feet. This is a wonderful way to end meditation sessions as it really allows you to sink deep into that relaxed state, providing the ultimate preparation for sleep!
Another thing I like to do is a full body scan – this tends to work best if you’re lying flat on the floor in Savasana. Start with your feet and slowly, mentally scan your body from bottom to top, taking a note of anywhere that feels like it’s holding tension. Once you’ve finished your scan, add a small blob of CBD body lotion to your hands and massage it into any area that needs a bit of extra love. The perfect way to end the day 🙂