Even if you have no interest in encasing your body in spandex and rolling out a thin piece of vinyl, you likely know that an ongoing yoga practice is a fantastic tool for improving your general health and well-being. A steady dose of downward dogging can lead to weight loss, better muscle tone, and improved flexibility and balance.
Yoga can also grant the practitioner significant mental health benefits. (It’s an excellent cure for road rage.)
Plus, it’s especially useful for managing anxiety and stress and for improving your mental outlook. Utilizing its awareness and meditative techniques can significantly improve your concentration (shout out to all the phone scrollers out there).
Whether you practice yoga regularly or not, chances are that you, as a tuja reader, are interested in improving your general well-being and overall health through natural, non-invasive techniques.
Let’s look into what can happen when you combine the benefits of alternative medicine with regular yoga sessions.
Yoga + Herbal Medicine = Rad Results On The Mat
Traditionally, Chinese medical practitioners use herbs for nourishing the body’s organ systems while bringing the body back into balance. When you combine herbs with yoga and alternative medicine, such as acupuncture or massage therapy, you’ll see dramatic results.
Or you’ll just feel like a boss of wellness, which is also a win.
TCM practitioners will often combine several different herbs to create a formula that’s specific to your individual needs. One of the most essential herbs for healing in Traditional Chinese medicine is Astragalus, a herb recommended for boosting strength and stamina (a must for any yogi!), improving immune function, and one that is also believed to lower blood pressure by encouraging your blood vessels to relax.
Panax ginseng is another herb that might be included in a formula to improve your yoga practice. It’s known for its ability to increase energy and improve endurance. In fact, Panax ginseng may even reduce mental fatigue and enhance memory, so it’s the perfect supplement if you’re interested in boosting your performance overall.
The best acupuncturists will also incorporate herbal medicines into the treatment plan for those who need relief from inflammatory issues, which leads us to our next point…
Yoga + Acupuncture = Free Flowing
Acupuncture has been utilized in Eastern medicine for more than 2,500 years (a spring chicken compared to yoga’s formidable history). If you find that you have more aches and pains after an especially intense yoga session, acupuncture is a safe way to get relief without having to pop a pill.
Even more than pain management, acupuncture can help to decrease swelling and improve joint flexibility as well, which is very useful for those who are new to yoga.
The concept behind acupuncture is that blocked energy, called Qi, causes all disease, pain, and inflammation in the body. This energy runs all throughout the human body in pathways that can become blocked by stress, injury, or sickness. These blockages lead to pain and inflammation.
The goal of an acupuncture treatment is to release these blockages so energy can once again flow freely through the body.
Endorphins are also released when acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin. Endorphins are the human body’s natural reaction to pain. These natural pain killers have been shown to provide pain relief that’s as much as 10,000 times better than morphine.
People who practice yoga regularly will also benefit from the increased blood flow brought on by an acupuncture treatment. Improved blood flow relaxes tight muscles, giving you better flexibility and range of motion.
Regular visits to your acupuncturist can also prevent injury because it reduces weariness and strain in the muscles, improves digestion, enhances the function of the lungs and liver, and works to correct the nervous system. This may provide you with the energy you need to get to that yoga class in the first place.
Yoga + Bodywork Massage = Pre and Post Yoga Gloriousness
TCM practitioners often include bodywork massage as part of an overall wellness plan for its restorative, soothing, and detoxifying effects. For the yogi, the two practices can work hand in hand for enhanced results.
In essence, yoga is actually a form of self-massage because you’re massaging your internal organs as you perform the poses. Although both techniques provide similar relaxation and destressing benefits, combining them can allow you to get deeper into your stretches and increase range of motion.
When you receive bodywork before yoga, the increased blood flow to your muscles will allow you to stretch further and hold the poses longer. On the other hand, receiving bodywork massage after yoga class is also helpful. The massage will help the body detoxify and remove the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles during exercise. That means you’ll recover faster and have a more profound sense of relaxation after your workout.
Convinced? Here’s How to Find a Great Chinese Medicine Practitioner
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners often perform a variety of techniques, including prescribing herbal formulas, acupuncture, and massage. They may also recommend dietary and lifestyle changes as part of an overall wellness plan that includes yoga.
When seeking out a qualified practitioner, make sure they are licensed, and board-certified in either acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbology. Fine someone who clicks with your personality and has experience in the area you are focusing on.
Unrolling your mat is a beautiful way to invest in yourself. Combining yoga with alternative medicine will help the feel-good train chug along, providing fantastic health benefits naturally and safely.