After the last couple of years, we all need to recharge our batteries. Some people use complementary health approaches in an effort to recharge and promote general well-being or wellness, rather than to help manage symptoms of a health problem. Self-cultivation activities like yoga, tai chi, qigong, meditation, reading, exercise, and a host of other flow-inducing activities can be used to strengthen immune function, relieve stress, and create a sense of strength, wellness, and well-being. Wellness has several dimensions, including emotional well-being (coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships) and physical well-being (recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep).
Self-cultivation works better to prevent health problems than to treat them after they have already occurred. Research sponsored by NCCIH suggests that people who use complementary approaches for wellness tend to have better overall health, higher rates of physical activity, and lower rates of obesity than those who use complementary approaches to help manage a health problem.
Read more and watch our Emotional Well-Being video series:
More research is needed to better understand how certain complementary health approaches can be useful in encouraging better self-care, improving a personal sense of well-being, and promoting a greater commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Participants at an April 2018 roundtable on emotional well-being explored research gaps and opportunities (Emotional Well-Being: Emerging Insights and Questions for Future Research).
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NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.
Last Updated: October 2018
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