Ultimate Guide To Holistic Fitness

Ultimate Guide To Holistic Fitness

At SimpleSavvysmart we have developed a Holistic fitness concept because we believe you deserve ageless fitness and great well-being. Our concept puts your individual needs into the center. The reason is that we acknowledge that our bodies and personalities are unique. Thus there is no one size fits all. Instead we want to empower you to design your own personal journey to long lasting fitness and greatness. Furthermore, we want to inspire you to work on being full of energy and in balance. We trust that you are your biggest advocate and make the best decisions for yourself!

Therefore we encourage you to start creating your personal story to holistic and ageless fitness today. 

Besides fascinating concepts we feature extraordinary people and companies who can inspire you. While exploring smart and savvy concepts, we try to keep things simple. Become your own hero – start first thing in the morning. 

What is Holistic Fitness

Our concept of holistic fitness empowers you to take a universal look at your own mind and body first. Then you can decide in which area you want to start making simple changes to start a better life.

Holistic Fitness versus Healthy Lifestyle

The WHO defines a  healthy lifestyle as a way of living that lowers the risk of being seriously ill or dying early. Compared to a healthy lifestyle Holistic Fitness focuses on finding answers to make us feel more energetic, better, stronger, fitter and more resistant in a universal way. Holistic Fitness empowers us to take better care of our own well-being by introducing us to essential concepts and available products – both traditional and smart tech ones. 

How to Start Holistic Fitness

Which area of your life needs more fitness and strength? Are you aiming to 

  • Feel Better?
  • Boost your energy?
  • Take more care of yourself?

No matter in which area you want to take more control of your body we introduce you to simple and savvy ideas and  products. All of them have the power to make a difference to your life. At SimpleSavvySmart we know that improvement in one area, specifically, will bring improvements universally. Whereas a deficiency in one area can hold back everything. 

Judy was an active golfer, biker and swimmer until she started to get severe back pain. Instead of leading an active lifestyle she was forced to lead a sedentary lifestyle and spend most of her time indoors instead of getting the oxygen levels she used to when exercising outdoors. 

Therefore, time spent bringing up one single aspect of your mind or body today makes everything a little bit better than it was yesterday. 

Elements of Holistic Fitness

Our Holistic fitness concept has three main elements. Therefore, we suggest to get familiar with them before making a choice where you would like to get started.

Element 1: Feel Better 

Many of us have an area in our life where we already have an issue and maybe even need some medical treatment. The idea of our holistic fitness concept is to enable you to take a look at what you can do yourself every day to contribute to feel better.

Judy started to use a Sanza PEMF therapy wellness device daily to improve her back pain. In addition, she decided to purchase a back brace to get additional support. Furthermore, after medicare had stopped paying for her physiotherapy she signed up for an online gym to train her back at home on a daily basis.

No-Pain Concept

Pain is a signal in our nervous system that generally speaking tells us that something is wrong. Thus it is important to make sure to seek a medical diagnosis in case your pain doesn’t disappear on its own. This seems to be very common in today’s modern world. 

According to the Center for Disease Control an estimated 20.4% (50.0 million) of U.S. adults had chronic pain and 8.0% of U.S. adults (19.6 million) had high-impact chronic pain.

Most common complementary therapies for pain reduction/recovery
  • Physical therapy exercises

A Physical therapist tries to evaluate the pain cause.  Afterwards, they develop a care plan. They usually perform hands-on treatments for our symptoms and/or  teach us special exercises to help us move with less pain. In most states, one can go directly to a physical therapist without a referral from a doctor. More often, a doctor prescribes it.

  • Strength training

Regular Strength training has proven to reduce pain. A study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine  reported that participants in an eight-week progressive, whole -body high resistance training program had reduced pain qualities. The training sessions began with 5 to 10 minute warm-up and stretching exercises for the legs, trunk, and arms, followed by 11 different resistance exercises on Cybex (VR2) equipment: seated leg press, chest press, lateral row, biceps curl, triceps press, hip flexion, hip extension, hip abduction, hip adduction, plantar flexion, and dorsiflexion. 

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine-based approach to treating a variety of conditions by triggering specific points on the skin with needles, massage, cupping and herbs. Depending on the their training, each acupuncturist has its own treatment.  

According to the Journal of Pain Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal, headache, and osteoarthritis pain. 

Because training is so different it is recommended to do some research to find the right acupuncturist for you. At Simplesavvysmart.com we have very positive experience with this therapy even with small kids. In these cases it is only important to find a therapist who doesn`t use needles on kids!

  • Pemf Therapy

PEMF stands for Pulsed Electromagnetic Field. It is an essential part of holistic fitness. This form of therapy is also known as low field magnetic stimulation. It is a non-invasive and drug-free therapy that compliments other therapies. It is widely used by physiotherapists and professional athletes to promote recovery of injuries

At SimpleSavvySmart we have our own Sanza PEMF therapy device and  love it for a simple reason. It makes us fitter, stronger and more resilient in today’s modern, stressful world. It is known to have no side effects which means that one can try it regarding different conditions. If you are interested you may also like our more details read our “Science Backed Guide to PEMF Therapy,” , “Pemf for horses” and “Pemf therapy testimonials.”

  • Osteopathy

Osteopathic medicine is another complimentary form of therapy. It dates back more than 100 years. Its founder, Andrew Taylor Still, saw the human body as a highly complex machine which, like any other machine, required proper alignment and lubrication for optimal functioning. According to the American Osthepathic Association “One of the unique differentiators of osteopathic is Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, which is proven to be effective in treating low back pain,” says Jennifer Caudle, DO, an assistant professor of family medicine at the Rowan University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey. “Clinical studies have shown OMT to be an effective alternative or complement to medication and other therapies.”

Chiropractic is a licensed health care profession that emphasizes the body’s ability to heal itself. Treatment typically involves manual therapy, often including spinal manipulation. Other forms of treatment, such as exercise and nutritional counseling, may be used as well.” It is best used as a complementary therapy. 

  • Massage Therapy

According to Harvard medical School “Therapeutic massage may relieve pain by way of several mechanisms, including relaxing painful muscles, tendons, and joints; relieving stress and anxiety; and possibly helping to “close the pain gate” by stimulating competing nerve fibers and impeding pain messages to and from the brain.”

  • Relaxation Techniques

Breathing techniques are the best known relaxation techniques. You can find some simple ones here

A famous supporter of the power of breathing is Wim Hof also known as The Iceman. He is a Dutch extreme athlete noted for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. Hof has set Guinness World Records for swimming under ice and prolonged full-body contact with ice, and previously held the record for a barefoot half marathon on ice and snow. He considers breathing as a key to his very remarkable achievements.  Progressive muscle relaxation is also a well known method that helps relieve that tension.

  • Meditation

“Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.”

According to Cleveland Clinic ““Meditation can help your brain release endorphins, natural pain relievers. Muscles and tissues around your joints are more relaxed, and your brain can be in a calmer state so you’ll feel less pain. “

  • Yoga

According to Harvard medical School “Yoga is a mind-body and exercise practice that combines breath control, meditation, and movements to stretch and strengthen muscles. What sets yoga apart from most other exercise programs is that it places as great an emphasis on mental fitness as on physical fitness. Yoga can help people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions.” Also read our post on Sauna Yoga – A Science Backed Guide.

“Tai chi and qi gong are centuries-old, related mind and body practices. They involve certain postures and gentle movements with mental focus, breathing, and relaxation. The movements can be adapted or practiced while walking, standing, or sitting. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine “Tai chi and qi gong may ease fibromyalgia pain and promote general quality of life. Qi gong may reduce chronic neck pain, but study results are mixed. Tai chi also may improve reasoning ability in older people.”

  • Biofeedback

According to the Mayoclinic “biofeedback is a technique you can use to learn to control some of your body’s functions, such as your heart rate. During biofeedback, you’re connected to electrical sensors that help you receive information about your body. Biofeedback types include:

  • Brain waves. This type uses scalp sensors to monitor your brain waves using an electroencephalograph (EEG).
  • Breathing. During respiratory biofeedback, bands are placed around your abdomen and chest to monitor your breathing patterns and respiration rate.
  • Heart rate. This type uses finger or earlobe sensors with a device used to detect blood volume changes (photoplethysmograph). Or sensors placed on your chest, lower torso or wrists use an electrocardiograph (ECG) to measure your heart rate and how your heart rate varies.
  • Muscle contraction. This type involves placing sensors over your skeletal muscles with an electromyograph (EMG) to monitor the electrical activity that causes muscle contraction.
  • Sweat gland activity. Sensors attached around your fingers or on your palm or wrist with an electrodermograph (EDG) measure the activity of your sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on your skin, alerting you to anxiety.
  • Temperature. Sensors attached to your fingers or feet measure blood flow to your skin. Because your temperature often drops when you’re under stress, a low reading can prompt you to begin relaxation techniques.”
  • Guided Imagery

The Arthritis Foundation recommends this complimentary technique. “Guided imagery (a mind-body technique also known as visualization) is a well-recognized and scientifically validated way to relieve pain, stress, anxiety and depression. It’s driven by the idea that if you can envision your pain receding, you can achieve it. For example, instead of reaching for the nearest bottle of pain relievers, you can close your eyes, breathe deeply and visualize your pain as a glowing orb floating serenely away from your body.”  

  • Hypnosis

Hypnosis is considered a human condition involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness. According to a study “The current review indicates that hypnotic interventions for chronic pain results in significant reductions in perceived pain that, in some cases, may be maintained for several months. Further, in a few studies, hypnotic treatment was found to be more effective, on average, than some other treatments, such as physical therapy or education, for some types of chronic pain.”

  • Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy refers to the therapeutic use of water. There are different types of hydrotherapy:

Water circuit therapy which is a combination of multiple forms of water therapy like sauna, cold shower/bath, hot tub 

Sauna (read also our articles on sauna yoga, our sauna training guide and sauna – a secret of superagers)

Bathing (Full body, sitz, foot)

  • Dietary approaches

According to the Cleveland Clinic an anti-inflammatory diet can help pain relief. “Patients who follow strict vegan or Mediterranean diets have seen a complete turnaround in their pain symptoms, according to pain management specialist William Welches, DO, PhD. He says getting regular exercise, controlling stress and eating healthy foods all work together to reduce inflammation and chronic pain.” A dietary approach is essential for holistic fitness.

Summary:  Most common complementary therapies for pain reduction/recovery

All complementary therapies mentioned above are worth a try. But because we don`t believe in – one size fits all –  we recommend asking your intuition first. No one knows your body better than you do. Therefore, trust your journey to feel better today!

If you are considering one of the Complementary Health approaches for Chronic Pain we also recommend to follow these recommendations by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and consult and discuss your plans with your health care provider first.

Most common home products for pain reduction/recovery as part of holistic fitness
  • PEMF

Also pemf devices are now also used for medical purposes, pemf home devices are classified as wellness devices. They are considered one of the most powerful wellness devices. Read here to find out who uses them and why. Unfortunately, there are many different brands and products out there which makes it difficult for consumers to pick the best device. We can only recommend the Sanza PEMF as this is the one that we have intensely researched and used for years. Interested? Read our science backed guide to pemf therapy.

  • TENS

According to the Cleveland Clinic “Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy that uses low voltage electrical current to provide pain relief. A TENS unit consists of a battery-powered device that delivers electrical impulses through electrodes placed on the surface of your skin. The electrodes are placed at or near nerves where the pain is located or at trigger points.TENS therapy has few reported side effects. Some of the most common conditions for which TENS has been used include: 

Many electrical stimulation devices can be purchased over-the-counter. Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before using the device. Carefully follow the instructions of the device manufacturer.”

  • Ergonomic equipment

Prolonged sitting has been associated with musculoskeletal dysfunction. Therefore, chairs which can prevent abnormal strain of the neuromuscular system may aid in preventing musculo-skeletal pain and discomfort. The idea of ergonomic furniture is that it adapts to the natural shape of the human body to ensure good posture and maximum comfort and overall wellness of the user. Most common are ergonomic office chairs, standing desks and sofas.

  • Arthritis helps

According to Arthritis Foundation arthritis devices can make your life much easier. The reason is that they “keep joints in the best position for functioning, provide leverage when needed, and extend your range of motion. Here are some of their ideas.

  • In the bedroom. When dressing, zipper pulls and buttoning aids can help you fasten clothing. Or you can choose to wear clothing with Velcro fasteners, if available. A long-handled shoehorn extends your reach without bending. 
  • In the kitchen. In the kitchen, appliances such as electric can openers, food processors and mandolins (for slicing) make work easier. Reachers (long-handled tools with a gripping mechanism) can be used to retrieve items stored high or low. Built-up handles and grips make utensils easier to grasp and put less stress on finger joints. Install a fixed jar opener, or keep a rubber jar opener in the kitchen. 
  • In the bathroom. Tub bars and handrails provide additional stability and security when you are getting into and out of the bath or shower. These are a must if you have problems with balance. Faucet levers or tap turners are available if your grip is weak. A raised toilet seat can make it easier to sit down and get up from the toilet. 
  • In the office. In the work environment, many devices and modifications are available, from chairs and work surfaces with adjustable-height to telephones with large push buttons and hands-free headsets. If you are facing work modifications, you may want to see an occupational therapist about arthritis self-help tools. He or she can help you make changes and obtain the devices you need. 
  • At play. Leisure activities can still be enjoyable through the use of assistive arthritis devices, such as kneelers and light-weight hoses for gardening, “no-hands” frames for quilting or embroidery, and card holders and shufflers for card games. 
  •  In the car. When driving, a wide key holder can make it much easier to turn on the ignition. A gas cap opener can help when filling the tank at the gas station. “ 
  • Braces

Orthopedic braces are designed to address musculoskeletal issues. The “purpose of a brace is to ensure that a joint is unable to move beyond a certain range of motion, or in some cases at all. This ensures all connective tissues get the chance to heal properly. Therefore, orthopedic braces are made of rigid materials, such as hard plastics, and soft materials such as spandex or other tightly-knit fabrics designed to inhibit the movement of a joint. Unlike a cast, a brace can be easily worn or removed for bathing or physical therapy.” These devices are often prescribed for the patient to wear during the process of recovery and rehabilitation. In addition, we can use braces for injury prevention or simply to gain more support when exercising. 

  • Natural Pain Killers
    • Pain relief ointments

Traumeel Ointment “a preparation with bioregulatory effects is used to treat the symptoms associated with acute musculoskeletal injuries, including pain and swelling. It is a fixed combination of biological and mineral extracts.” According to a study published in the Journal of General Medicine there is a “growing evidence-base supporting the effectiveness of Traumeel, alone and in combination with other medicines and/or non medicine therapies, in treating acute musculoskeletal injuries. Traumeel may thus provide an alternative anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent.”  

  • Homeopathic remedies

According to Peachehealth “arthritic pain can be helped by homeopathic medicines, especially during flare-ups. Homeopathic medicines can contribute to safe pain management.” They recommend several primary remedies against arthritis pain. For Fa detailed overview click here.

  • Essential oil

The Arthritis Foundation recommends “Bergamot and lavender essential oils for pain: This blend reduced pain levels in people with chronic pain who inhaled it regularly over four months, a 2014 study in BioMed Research International found.

Try it: Blend 2 to 12 drops of essential oil with a tablespoon of milk or vegetable oil (undiluted essential oil can irritate skin), and add it to a bath. Or mix 15 to 20 drops with 1 ounce of jojoba or almond oil to dab on your wrists or massage into skin.”

  • Tea

According to healthline.com there are some powerful teas that help fight inflammation and thus help with pain relief.

  • Green tea
  • Holy basil
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Fennel
  • Supplements

According to the Arthritis Foundation there are “vitamins and supplements, backed by science, that help relieve arthritis pain.

  • SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine)
    • How it works: SAM-e acts as an analgesic (pain reliever) and has anti-inflammatory properties. It may stimulate cartilage growth and also affects neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which reduce pain perception. Two studies have shown that it relieves OA symptoms as effectively as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with fewer side effects and more prolonged benefit.
    • Best for: osteoarthritis
    • Also used for: fibromyalgia
  • Boswellia Serrate (Indian frankincense)
    • How it works: The active components (Boswellic acids) have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It also may help prevent cartilage loss and inhibit the autoimmune process. In a 2008 study, the extract, also known as Loxin 5, significantly improved OA pain and function within seven days. An Indian study also revealed it slowed cartilage damage after three months of use.
    • Best for: osteoarthritis
  • Capsaicin (Capsicum frutescens)
    • How it works: Capsaicin temporarily reduces substance P, a pain transmitter. Its pain-relieving properties have been shown in many studies, including a 2010 study published in Phytotherapy Research, which revealed a 50 percent reduction in joint pain after three weeks of use. It is available as a topical cream, gel or patch.
    • Best for: osteoarthritis
    • Also used for: rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia
  • Turmeric/Curcumin (Curcuma longa)
    • How it works: Curcumin is the chemical in turmeric that can reduce joint pain and swelling by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes. A 2010 clinical trial using a turmeric supplement showed long-term improvement in pain and function in patients with knee OA. A small 2012 study using a curcumin product, BCM-95, showed more reduced joint pain and swelling in patients with active RA when compared to diclofenac sodium.
    • Best for: osteoarthritis
    • Also used for: rheumatoid arthritis
  • Avocado-soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU)
    • How it works: ASU blocks pro-inflammatory chemicals, prevents deterioration of synovial cells, which line joints, and may help regenerate normal connective tissue. A large three-year study published in 2013 showed that ASU significantly reduced progression of hip OA compared with placebo. A 2008 meta-analysis found that ASU improved symptoms of hip and knee OA, and reduced or eliminated NSAID use.
    • Best for: osteoarthritis
  • Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
    • How it works: Cat’s claw is an anti-inflammatory that inhibits tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a target of powerful RA drugs. It also contains compounds that may benefit the immune system. A small 2002 trial showed it reduced joint pain and swelling by more than 50 percent compared with placebo. Look for a brand that is free of tetra-cyclic oxindole alkaloids.
    • Best for: rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fish Oil (Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA)
    • How it works: Omega-3s block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins, and are converted by the body into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins. EPA and DHA have been extensively studied for RA and dozens of other inflammatory conditions. A 2010 meta-analysis found that fish oil significantly decreased joint tenderness and stiffness in RA patients and reduced or eliminated NSAID use.
    • Best for: rheumatoid arthritis
    • Also used for: osteoarthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
    • How it works: GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that the body converts into anti-inflammatory chemicals. In one trial, 56 patients with active RA showed significant improvement in joint pain, stiffness and grip strength after six months and progressive improvement in control of disease activity at one year. A smaller study found that a combination of GLA and fish oil significantly reduced the need for conventional pain relievers.
    • Best for: rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
    • How it works: Ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen and COX-2 inhibitors. In a 2012 study, a specialized ginger extract reduced inflammatory reactions in RA as effectively as steroids did. Earlier studies showed that taking a certain extract four times daily reduced osteoarthritis pain in the knee after three months of treatment, and another taken twice daily worked about as well as ibuprofen taken three times daily for hip and knee OA pain.
    • Best for: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Honorable Mentions
    • Although the available studies on the following supplements are less compelling or more preliminary than our other top picks, they do hold some promise for OA and RA treatment.
    • Osteoarthritis: Pine bark extract
    • Rheumatoid arthritis: Rosehips, green-lipped mussel extract
  • CBD (Cannabidiol)
    • How it works: Cannabinoids are thought to influence the body’s own endocannabinoid system, which regulate biological functions such as metabolism, pain sensation and nervous system functions. Animal studies show CBD reduces pain and inflammation, and it may ease anxiety and improve sleep, but human research is needed. One study found synthetic-derived CBD was effective for knee OA pain. The FDA has approved CBD-derived drugs for rare childhood epileptic conditions.
    • Best for: Nerve pain
    • Also used for: Fibromyalgia, OA, RA
  • Cool/Heat Therapy

According to Healthline.com “treating pain with hot and cold can be extremely effective for a number of different conditions and injuries. The tricky part is knowing what situations calls for hot, and which calls for cold. Sometimes a single treatment will even include both. As a general rule of thumb, use ice for acute injuries or pain, along with inflammation and swelling. Use heat for muscle pain or stiffness.”

  • Home Sauna

Sauna can increase physical and mental health. Therefore regular sauna bathing should be part of every holistic fitness approach. But because it needs to be done several times per week to be beneficial for your heart health a home sauna seems to be the way to go. In addition to health benefits, saunas are also recommended for athletes as part of their training routine. The reason is that it can increase plasma volume and strengthen their immune system.  

  • Red light therapy

According to webmed.com “Red light therapy (RLT) is a treatment that may help skin, muscle tissue (including conditions like osteoarthritis and tendonitis), and other parts of your body heal. It exposes you to low levels of red or near-infrared light. Infrared light is a type of energy your eyes can’t see, but your body can feel as heat. With red light therapy, you expose your skin to a lamp, device, or laser with a red light. A part of your cells called mitochondria, sometimes called the “power generators” of your cells, soak it up and make more energy. Some experts think this helps cells repair themselves and become healthier. This spurs healing in skin and muscle tissue.” 

Summary: Most common home products for pain reduction/recovery as part of holistic fitness

There are different options that can help you feel better. Consider asking your healthcare provider for additional advice.

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