Exploring The Benefits Of Holistic Therapy For Mental Health

Medically reviewed by Nikki Ciletti, M.Ed, LPC
Updated August 1, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

You may have heard the term “holistic therapy” mentioned when it comes to fostering your overall well-being, but what does holistic therapy for mental health mean? In this article, we’ll be exploring the benefits of holistic therapy for mental health, including what holistic therapy is, what conditions can benefit from this type of treatment, and what online holistic therapy options may help you find affordable and accessible mental health treatment. 

Interested In Connecting With An Online Holistic Therapist?

What Is Holistic Therapy?

Holistic therapy is a type of therapy that addresses psychological, physical, social, and spiritual needs, providing a well-rounded approach to mental health care. This type of therapy focuses on helping patients find balance in many different areas of their life with the goal of gaining a deeper understanding of their overall well-being.

Where Did Holistic Therapy Originate?

Holistic therapy has gained popularity in Western medicine over the past century, but it has been around for centuries in ancient medical practices such as Ayurvedic medicine, Hippocratic medicine, and Chinese Medicine. 

In many Eastern medical practices, the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit is considered critical for improving physical and mental health. Many wellness practices emphasize herbal medicine, mind-body movement practices such as tai-chi or yoga, and non-invasive physical treatments such as acupuncture.

What Conditions Can Benefit From Holistic Therapy? 

Many mental health conditions may benefit from holistic therapy, including PTSD, substance use disorders, depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, and general mental health concerns. For example, in one review and meta-analysis of twenty randomized controlled trials, acupuncture was found to have beneficial effects for patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Additionally, mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression and anxiety, often helping patients find ways to restructure their thought patterns and improve their relationship with their emotions

Depending on your condition, your holistic therapy treatment plan may employ one or several holistic techniques to help you improve certain symptoms. Your therapist may also combine holistic techniques with traditional therapy methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and psychoanalysis. When you decide on a holistic therapist, it can be important to speak with them about the types of holistic therapy methods they practice and how they anticipate these practices can help address your specific concerns. 

Getty/Vadym Pastukh

What Does A Holistic Therapist Do?

Holistic therapists are mental health professionals who are trained in holistic techniques. This type of therapy works to address psychological, physical, spiritual, and social aspects of a person’s life. Holistic therapists often design personalized treatment plans to help their clients gain more control over their mental health symptoms and improve their overall well-being. A holistic therapist may recommend different methods and techniques, such as:

  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback utilizes biological data, such as your heart rate or muscle tension, to help you identify how your environment and thoughts may contribute to physical responses or pain. 
  • Yoga: Yoga is an ancient practice that combines postures, breathing exercises, and mind-body connection to promote relaxation, physical well-being, and stress reduction. When reviewing 18 studies of varying sample sizes and demographics on the role of yoga in reducing substance misuse and cravings, the majority of studies found yoga led to a significant reduction in several substance-use-related behaviors.
  • Breathwork and meditation: Breathwork and meditation are mindfulness practices that involve employing breathwork techniques or patterns to reduce tension and increase feelings of calmness.
  • Expressive therapy: Expressive therapy, such as dance, music, or art, may be recommended to help you to express your emotions and provide a healthy outlet for self-expression and building self-awareness. 
  • Exercise: Physical exercise is often recommended to improve mood, reduce stress, and improve overall mental well-being. 
  • Tai Chi: Tai Chi is a gentle form of martial arts that uses slow movements, deep breathing, and meditation to reduce stress and increase mental clarity. Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder who practiced Tai Chi were found to have improved emotion, memory, and physical function.
  • Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy is a stress reduction technique that utilizes essential oils. Your therapist may recommend a special blend of essential oils depending on your symptoms. 
  • Reiki: Reiki is a Japanese healing technique that involves channeling healing energy to promote balance in the body and mind.

One benefit you may find from holistic therapy treatment is that it can be personalized for your needs and specific mental health symptoms. Your therapist may recommend various holistic therapies that work synergistically to target your areas of concern. 

Benefits Of Online Holistic Therapy

Online holistic therapy has many benefits that may make it an attractive option for patients. With online therapy, patients can access therapy from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need for transportation and making it easier to fit sessions into a busy schedule. Additionally, online therapy is a cost-saving option in many cases, as many types of holistic care are not covered under traditional insurance, which can lead to costly payments over time. With online therapy platforms such as BetterHelp, you may pay less per session than with traditional insurance co-pays. 

While each holistic modality has its own studies, research has consistently shown that participants of online therapy experience significant reductions in anxious and depressive symptoms and less psychological distress—results that are on par with traditional therapy options. 

Interested In Connecting With An Online Holistic Therapist?


Holistic therapy is an individualized form of therapy that focuses on multiple aspects of a person to improve their overall well-being. It could be a useful option for individuals struggling with mental health disorders. Holistic therapists may employ several tools and techniques, such as yoga, aromatherapy, reiki, and more. If you are interested in exploring holistic therapy, you can meet with a therapist locally or online.

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started