Recovery from surgery can be a gradual process over time, but while you never want to rush it, there are ways in which you can support the healing process.

Before being discharged from the hospital following a surgical procedure, you should receive clear instructions from your doctor on the activities you shouldn’t attempt as well as actions to take to aid your recovery.

These instructions are of course, the ones you should follow most closely but that’s not to say you can’t enhance your feelings of wellness using complementary therapies alongside the medical advice.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) are treatments not currently considered conventional medicine. They cover a broad spectrum of therapies and are often whole-body treatments rather than focusing on the one area showing symptoms.

These holistic treatments include acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and osteopathic medicine, massage, tai chi and yoga, herbal medicine and dietary supplements, meditation and reiki, among many others.

To recover from emotional trauma

One of the things many people fail to consider is the effect major surgery can have on your mental health.

If the surgery stems from a traumatic incident, if it was performed as part of the treatment of a serious illness, or if the surgery itself resulted in medical malpractice, for example, then it can negatively affect your mental wellbeing – something which can badly affect your ability to recover.

So while modern medicine heals the body, ancient practices might be beneficial to the mind.

Mindfulness meditation draws your attention to the here and now, instead of worrying about the past and the future. It involves sitting silently and paying attention to thoughts, sounds, sensations and in particular, to your own breathing.

Becoming widely accepted as a proven method to combat anxiety and depression, mindfulness encourages you to notice the world around you and appreciate the good things you can experience in the present moment.

Yoga and tai-chi are other practices that can help with developing awareness of your breathing.

To aid relaxation

It’s commonly accepted that rest and relaxation is a winning formula to recovering after surgery, and aromatherapy could be the key to help you unwind.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils, taken from fragrant plants, flowers, seeds and bark, to stimulate the sense of smell.

According to Psychology Today, studies have shown that specific essential oils used in aromatherapy can help relieve stress, relax the body, and promote better sleep.

Popular scents to reduce stress are lavender, ylang-ylang, and jasmine.

To regain mobility

Following surgery, getting mobile as soon as it is safe to do so is not only desirable, but it is the key to accelerating full recovery.

Chiropractic therapy, osteopathic manipulative treatment, reiki, and massage are all hands-on practices carried out to aid healing, relieve physical ailments, and prevent illness or injury. Depending on your particular surgery or medical issues, they could all complement conventional medical treatments.

When your doctor gives the green light, gentle exercise in the form of yoga and tai chi can improve strength and flexibility and help your body return to full speed.

Before dismissing holistic treatments, it’s worth knowing that more than half of office-based physicians recommend certain complementary therapies to their patients.

So if you have surgery planned or if you are currently on the road to recovery, holistic treatments could spell your way to a speedier recovery.