Natural Living, Part One: Massage Therapy & MeditationRead Part Two: Acupuncture & Hypnosis “People suggest that they don’t need their high blood pressure medication anymore.”Ever open your medicine cabinet and an avalanche of pill bottles tumble out? Whether its for blood pressure or anxiety, even nausea and insomnia, these alternative practices could help thin out your hoard of pills. Massage TherapyMassages are great for relaxing, but massage therapy can do more for the body than just rub out a knot between the shoulder blades.“It helps with the range of motion because message includes movement,” says massage therapist and instructor at Delgado Community College Yera Gonzalez about how massage therapy and pain. “It moves obstructions in your body; it dissolves them because they are like little crystals inside your tissues.” According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, massage therapy can not only help relieve pain in the lower back, neck, and shoulders, but also pain caused by headaches and osteoarthritis of the knee. Some studies have also shown that a specialized plan for massage therapy might improve the quality of life for people suffering from fibromyalgia, people living with HIV/AIDS, and cancer patients. The term “massage therapy” includes many techniques. The most common form of massage therapy in Western countries is called Swedish or classical massage; it is the core of most massage training programs. Other styles include sports massage and clinical massage, which aims to accomplish specific goals, like easing muscle spasms. “The body heals itself, you just have to take care of your body so it takes care of you," says Gonzalez. "Everything starts from the surface. When something is chronic it takes longer, but it can heal naturally. Medication can help, but it also damages other parts of your body. I never use medication; I only use natural healing and massage rejuvenates."The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health also says that there could be some risks associated with massage therapy, but that they are low. However, the more serious side effects have included blood clots, nerve injury, or bone fracture. Boomers with more fragile bones should consult their doctors first. MeditationMeditation has long held the interests of pop culture and holistic healers, but its just now gaining momentum with a wider audience. A report from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey found that U.S. adults’ use of meditation in the past 12 months tripled between 2012 and 2017 — from 4.1 percent to 14.2 percent. Dr. Jayashree Rao is a retired pediatric endocrinologist, who spent thirty years practicing medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center and Children’s Hospital. He’s also practiced and taught mindfulness and meditation, most recently a mindfulness class at The New Orleans Museum of Art.“Meditation can benefit any age, starting with the elderly,” he says. “Age is an issue, so it helps everybody.”But how can meditation help? The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that many studies have shown that meditation may be helpful for a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure, some psychological disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, insomnia, and pain.Rao has seen these benefits with some of his students and with himself. “People suggest that they don’t need their high blood pressure medication anymore,” he says. “I personally would have a lot of aches and pain in my lower back — muscle tension — and I have not required any Tylenol due to meditation.”There are many types of meditation, but most have four components: a quiet location; a comfortable position; a focus of attention (a specially-chosen word or a set of words, an object, or the rhythm of breathing); and an open-minded attitude.However, The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that meditation may not be for everyone. Some cases have shown that meditation could cause or worsen certain psychiatric symptoms like anxiety and depression. People with existing mental health conditions should consult a doctor and their meditation instructor.Rhonisha Ridgeway in an editorial and a marketing intern with Nola Boomers and our sister publication, Nola Family. She is a student at Loyola University.