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Your body is one incredible machine, and we think that incorporating a little self-love on your next adventure is a great way to thank it. Travelling to a new country or a different culture can be a great way to try out some traditional or holistic methods to help along with your self-care. Holistic healing considers the whole person: body, mind and spirit, instead of treating one particular illness. Holistic methods can be incorporated and used in conjunction with modern medicine, contrary to some beliefs. And although many natural and holistic approaches can be found all over the world, what better way to escape than to give it a try in one of the founding countries – let’s just say, you would be in very capable hands!

1.Meditation, India and China

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Mediation has been practised for at least 4500 years. Some of the earliest records show meditation was an integral part of Hindu culture, and later developed in the Chinese Taoist and Buddhist culture. Meditation is a conscious changing technique and is something you may have already experienced in your day-to-day life through practising mindfulness or contemplation. It can have both psychological and physiological effects, is used to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, alongside improving self-awareness and improving memory. For those seeking a to learn the practice of meditation, you may consider trying the Vipassana, a ten-day retreat usually free of charge (donations are accepted), offering its attendees meals and a room. This may be one of the leanest retreats you’ll find, and although good to your budget, Vipassana isn’t for the faint-hearted. This ten-day course is a practice done in total silence, yup, for the whole ten-days – not even eye contact is permitted! But who are we to judge, seeing as this practice has helped to bring light and awareness to those for over 4000 years, they must be doing something right!

2.The Sauna, Finland

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Sauna, meaning “bathhouse”, is the only Finnish word commonly used in the English language. So I’m not surprised to hear that the Fins hold the Holy Grail when it comes to the origins of this great practice. The sauna is a 2000-year-old tradition of steam bathing for cleaning and detoxifying the body, stress management and relaxation. Also, we hear it gets pretty cold there, some reports of -40 degrees Celsius, I can only imagine why they had such a bright idea as to sauna. Using the sauna has also proven to increase circulation, which helps with muscle soreness and joint movement, has shown reports of reducing cardiovascular disease, help with weight loss, and flush toxins all while reducing stress and making your skin look great!

3.Ayurvedic Treatment, India

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Ayurveda is an ancient medicinal treatment originating in India some 5000 years ago. The ultimate purpose is to bring the body into balance, and such a balance is determined by the dynamic of 3 main body energies, aka doshas: kapha (earth-water), vata (air), and pitta (fire).

Diet is an integral part of Ayurveda and somewhat strict if you consider the modern western way, but good health means good digestion. Some mindful suggestions are to eat natural organic foods, a vegan diet is endorsed but the principles can still be applied if not, and eating within a suitable framework, which means no more late night trips to the fridge. This holistic method also suggests eating in a loving environment, not to emotional eat, and to go to bed early and rise early with no day time naps (this also might help with the late night fridge dates), meaning this method is more like a complete lifestyle change (for some), rather than a subtle daily dosage, however, there are some great short retreats which often coincide with massage, aromatherapy and yoga, which are all a part of the Ayurvedic way.

4.Reiki, Japan

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Reiki is on the rise! In comparison to some of our other subjects, Reiki is particularly new as a form of holistic healing. Founded by Dr. Mikao Usui of Japan in the late 1800s, Reiki is a healing technique based on channelling positive energy into your body, practised typically by the practitioner placing their hands over the affected parts of the body, and heals by recharging and the flow, which may be affecting blocked. These energy flows are attuned to 7 chakras or divine energy channels; the root chakra representing foundation is located at the base of the spine, the sacral chakra that affects connectivity situated near the lower abdomen. The solar plexus chakra that controls confidence located in the upper abdomen or stomach; the heart chakra which, of course, is the energy to help without the ability to love. The throat chakra is about self-expression and communication, the third eye chakra located at the forehead helps to focus on the big picture, and lastly, the crown chakra, the highest chakra, represents connectivity and is located at the very top of the head.

5.Thai Massage Therapy, Thailand.

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Okay, so maybe we can’t convince you that Thailand holds the trophy as the originator of the massage but it certainly is famous for it, and you likely won’t need to travel as far as Thailand to get one, although we recommend that you do! The Thai massage technique originated in Northern India and was an integral part of Buddhism; however it gained so much popularity once its methods reached Thailand, that it’s now been incorporated into the culture.

As per our other holistic ideas, the Thai massage incorporates physiological and psychological benefits. It’s not only a method that relaxes and relieves the body; it uses principle energy lines, or Sen, that have been proven to boost energy and help with fatigue. The therapist will use special Thai Massage Therapy techniques, such as using their hands, legs and feet to move you into a series of stretches and positions that apply deep muscle work and help with energy flow. With these techniques, it may not be the type of massage you can fall asleep to, but it certainly is effective.

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