What is the holistic health approach to reduce stress, aches and pains?

Kathleen Porter
Alternative & Complementary Medicine Specialist

While there are many causes for aches and pains, one of the most common causes, which is frequently overlooked, is the natural alignment of the skeleton. Just as the studs and posts behind the walls of a building are the framework of support for that building, the bones of our bodies function as our framework of support. Both buildings and people, while obviously very different, are governed by the same physical laws that apply to everything in our world.

Examine the skeletal alignment of toddlers and you'll see that all healthy toddlers, in order to become upright, discover the same particular arrangement of the bones around the vertical axis of gravity, or "plum line". This allows them to rely on (mostly) aligned bones, without requiring unnecessary tension or strain in the muscles that attach to those bones. This alignment is being lost today in industrialzied/technologically-advanced places at younger and younger ages and is one of the primary causes of stress, along with the aches and pains that one often feels at the end of a long day.

You can "reset" tired, achey muscles and reduce stress by lying down on a bed or on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Do not use a pillow, but instead place one or two books under the base of the skull. (Obviously, not all books are the same size, so you will have to experiment to find the right combination of books that works best for you). Clasp your hands underneath the back of your head, and, with your chin tucking slightly toward your chest, gently lengthen the back of your neck as you place your head back onto the book(s). If the front of your throat feels longer than the back of your neck, then you will need more height under your head. If the front of the throat shortens too much, then lower the books. Keep fiddling with it until you find the arrangement where you are most comfortable and where the breath feels most free and relaxed.

Lie like this, focusing on the gentle rise and fall of each breath, for about 10-15 minutes. If you have found the right position for your head, you should feel quite comfortable and revived when you're done. (Optional: Use a stack of pillows under your knees if your legs become tired, and make sure that your lower back remains wide, not arched, across the bed or floor). This position aligns the bones in proper relationship to each other, so that your muscles can release tension and fully relax. 

* "Constructive rest" comes via the Alexander Technique.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

There's an easy holistic way to reduce stress & pain at the end of the day.

Watch as yogi Cameron Alborzian and Dr. Oz discuss how you can use holistic methods to reduce stress and pain in this video.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.