Wellness therapy comes in many forms, but the common thread is that they all combine both mental and physical health activities. While rejuvenating the mind and inner body, your physique gets in a little me time as well.
The beauty of our top 5 types of wellness therapy is that they are easy to do. They are more meditative, relaxing and some of these will give you a bit of a workout that you’re not even aware of.
Unlike those obsessive celebrities that enjoy jumping rope to keep their game face fresh, all you have to do is set aside a little time, and lo and behold, you too will have a freshly renewed spirit with a little spring in your step. Go you!
The term forest bathing was coined in 1982 by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and has nothing to do with running around the woods naked, although we’ll count that as exercise too.
They use the term Shirin-Yoku which “refers to the process of soaking up the sights, smells and sounds of a natural setting to promote physiological and psychological health.”
The popularity of this wellness therapy has reached the point where there are actually forest bathing masters that will facilitate and guide your experience of taking in all that nature offers.
How is Forest Bathing Done?
You’ll want to experience the forest in a relaxing matter, so walk slowly and be aware of your environment. Take long deep breathes. The colors of nature are soothing and studies have shown that people relax best while seeing greens and blues, plenty of that in the forest!
Remember, you’ll want to use all your senses, so take in the smells of the forest as well. Listen to the wind blowing through the trees. If you’re fortunate to find yourself in one of Japan’s amazing bamboo forests, the creaking, eerie sounds of the bamboo stalks can lift your stress away and soothe your senses.
Urban life can be very stressful, and getting away for a forest bathing session accomplishes quite a bit for your health, including;
- Reduces stress hormone production
- lower heart rate and blood pressure
- boosts the immune system
- Improves your mood
You can get lots more info on this type of wellness therapy here. The Forest England site even has relaxing forest bathing videos if heading to the woods is out of reach.
This wellness therapy is zero impact, you’re basically impacting your mind, spirit, and body by moving water or immersing yourself in a therapeutic, mineral-laden mud bath. Hot spring or soaking in mineral waters are popular methods of balneotherapy.
Referencing Japan again, we explored these top Japanese hot springs that should be on everyone’s bucket list. They’ve known the healing properties of natural hot springs for centuries and considering Japan ranks number 3 in the world for longevity, we’re all ears when it comes to this type of wellness therapy.
This method increases circulation and studies have shown there can be health benefits to the minerals found in hot springs, such as sulfur and magnesium.
Mineral baths may be somewhat helpful for people with osteoarthritis, according to a 2008 review published in the Journal of Rheumatology.
Science has also found that bathing in sulfurous mineral water may help alleviate lower back pain. One thing is for sure, we all feel relaxed and invigorated after spending some time in a hot tub. To get the skinny on the plethora of health benefits of balneotherapy, you can read more here.
Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional.
This wellness therapy consists of using music therapeutically to address physical, psychological, cognitive, and/or social functioning for patients of all ages.
Most of us use music therapy without even being aware, by listening to tunes to change our moods or to forget about the stress of the day. Naturally, it goes much deeper including;
- Anxiety and stress reduction
- Nonpharmacological management of pain and discomfort
- Positive changes in mood and emotional states
- Decreased length of stay after a medical treatment
Music therapy isn’t about putting on your iPods and listening to music, it requires research-based discipline that actively applies supportive science to the creative, emotional, and energizing experiences of music for health treatment and educational goals.
In other words, the Jonas Brothers showing up at your beside to hum a few bars isn’t going to count as therapy, although it would be a short-lived thrill.
Some common music therapy practices include developmental work such as communication and motor skills with individuals with special needs and rhythmic brainwave synchronization for physical rehabilitation in stroke victims.
Music therapy is used in medical hospitals, cancer centers, schools, alcohol, and drug recovery programs, psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional facilities.
This wellness therapy is a type of Chinese martial art, practiced for defense training, health benefits, and meditation. But you won’t be chopping any bricks in half or wielding a sword. This is a very gentle exercise that combines wellness for the mind, body, and soul.
Tai chi is a graceful form of exercise that involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing. Harvard refers to this as “meditation in motion.”
Did you ever go to a park and notice a group of elderly folks moving in a slow, poetic manner? They most likely were doing Tai Chi and already in their second century of life.
OK, maybe they weren’t that old but with age comes wisdom, and this type of therapy has long been accepted as an ends to a means- which is a longer, healthier life. So for these folks, we’ll put a checkmark on the metaphorical “wise” column.
What are some of the benefits of Tai Chi?
- Decreased stress, anxiety, and depression
- Improved mood
- Improved aerobic capacity
- Increased energy and stamina
- Improved flexibility, balance, and agility
- Improved muscle strength and definition
This wellness therapy is extremely popular, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an instructor-led group in your area. lots of Tai Chi classes are in the great outdoors, and if you can find one in a forest, then all the better!
Transcendental Meditation was introduced to the Western world in 1950 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is a specific form of silent, mantra meditation that many celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Ellen Degeneres have been vocal about how this improved their lives.
Transcendental meditation involves silently repeating a mantra for 15–20 minutes a day and is commonly done sitting with the eyes closed. It is one of the most widely practiced meditation techniques.
Once a technique more commonplace if you were following the Grateful Dead on tour, or looking for an experiential transformation while touring India, it still remains one of the most popular forms of meditation around.
This evidence-based meditation practice used as the vehicle to help the mind settle down, and encourages thoughts to come and go, unlike other meditation methods that require you to empty your mind.
In a broad sense, you might liken this to taking a trip and never leaving the farm, as the saying goes.
Speaking of which, there was actually a great little tune about that very thing released by country comedian Jim Stafford in 1974. It was called Wildwood Flower. Yeah, that’s a different type of therapy for another day.
Be sure to consult your physician before beginning any treatments as self-treating a specific medical issue. And don’t avoid or delay standard care, which can have serious consequences. Some of these are harmless enough with only an upside, but if you’re doing these to treat a specific ailment, then talk to your doc first.