5 Simple Wellness Practices That Can Be Done At Home For Maximum Health
Wellness treatments and therapies are great tools for elevating your health. But with so many options – massages, sauna sessions, yoga classes, skin treatments, etc – it can add up pretty quickly; both for your wallet and for your busy schedule.
As a functional medicine practitioner I’ve studied the benefits of different wellness tools and have seen great results with myself and my patients from some of the most simple options. In fact, there are so many practices that can be done from the comfort of your own home that have just as powerful of an impact as some of these other choices.
These are some of my favorite feel-good wellness practices, which I’d recommend adding to your routine to support your body and mind.
1. Foam rolling
If you’re experiencing muscle pain but can’t afford regular massage or need additional relief between appointments, foam rolling is an easy way to get similar benefits to a massage. Research has shown that foam rolling can relieve muscle pain (1) and increase flexibility (2); in fact, it may even help relieve stress, according to a study on 20 women published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science (3). It’s the perfect self-care practice to release aches and pains.
2. Epsom salt baths
Epsom salt baths are one of my favorite ways to destress, detox, and relieve tension. They’re also a great way to give your body a much-needed dose of magnesium, which is often referred to as the “relaxation mineral.” Epsom salts are just magnesium sulfate salts, so they provide many of the same benefits as magnesium, which many of us are deficient in. Deficiencies in magnesium can stress the body and contribute to headaches, anxiety, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, and even constipation. If you’re looking for other ways to increase your magnesium intake, read my expert guide to magnesium.
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3. 4-7-8 breathing
The 4-7-8 breath is one of my secret weapons to fend off chronic stress. It’s incredibly simple and you can do it anywhere — while you’re cooking, working, cleaning, or even showering. All you have to do is breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and then exhale for 8 seconds. This type of breathing causes your body to immediately enter a more relaxed state and has almost endless benefits. In fact, a review article (4) published in 2011 showed that this type of breathing can:
- Reduce fatigue
- Reduce asthma symptoms
- Bolster stress management
- Reduce hypertension
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce aggressive behavior
- Improve migraines
Hopefully, that convinces you to give it a try. Here’s a video showing you exactly how to do it.
4. Herbal tea
There’s nothing more comforting than a hot drink. That’s where herbal tea comes in. It’s one of my favorite beverages to sip on throughout the day. Herbal tea is inexpensive, easy to prepare, and naturally sugar- and caffeine-free. There’s also a ton of variety, so you’ll never get bored. Try peppermint if you’re feeling fatigued, ginger if your stomach feels restless, and chamomile if you’re feeling the urge to snack late at night. You can brew some hibiscus tea and then ice it or mix two different flavors together. The possibilities are endless.
5. A Manuka honey mask
Stress can cause our skin health to suffer, increasing dryness, inflammation, and making us more prone to breakouts. Enter: manuka honey — my favorite type of honey and one of nature’s best all-natural skin remedies. Manuka honey has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties; it’s even being studied in a medical setting as a treatment for wounds and burns (5). To use it as a face-mask, just apply a medium-thin layer to your face and leave it on for 10 minutes. Then, wash it off with warm water. You can also add a teaspoon of Manuka honey to your herbal tea if you’re craving something sweet.
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- Pearcey, G. E., Bradbury-Squires, D. J., Kawamoto, J. E., Drinkwater, E. J., Behm, D. G., & Button, D. C. (2015). Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. Journal of athletic training, 50(1), 5–13. https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-50.1.01
- Škarabot, Jakob, Chris Beardsley, and Igor Štirn. “Comparing the Effects of Self-Myofascial Release with Static Stretching on Ankle Range-of-Motion in Adolescent Athletes.” International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 10, no. 2 (April 2015): 203–12
- Kim, K., Park, S., Goo, B. O., & Choi, S. C. (2014). Effect of Self-myofascial Release on Reduction of Physical Stress: A Pilot Study. Journal of physical therapy science, 26(11), 1779–1781. https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.26.1779
- Varvogli, Liza, and Christina Darviri. “Stress Management Techniques: Evidence-Based Procedures That Reduce Stress and Promote Health,” 2011.
- Molan, P. C. “Potential of Honey in the Treatment of Wounds and Burns.” American Journal of Clinical Dermatology 2, no. 1 (2001): 13–19. https://doi.org/10.2165/00128071-200102010-00003.
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BY DR. WILL COLE
Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.
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