InnerSelf

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Holistic Terms

Dictionary Of Holistic Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

A

ACUPRESSURE

Based on the principles of acupuncture, this ancient Chinese technique involves the use of finger pressure on specific points along the body to treat ailments such as tension, stress, aches, pains, cramps or arthritis.

ACUPUNCTURE

Fine needles are inserted at specific points to stimulate, disperse and regulate the flow of chi, or vital energy, and restore a healthy energy balance.

ADJUSTMENT

In chiropractic, a small controlled thrust that moves a joint slightly beyond its normal range of motion.

ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE

F. Matthias Alexander created the method after concluding that bad posture was responsible for his own chronic voice loss. Practitioners use gentle hands-on guidance, verbal instruction, teach simple, efficient ways of moving as a means of improving balance, posture, coordination and to relieve tension and pain.

ALLOPATHY

the treatment of disease by creating conditions that are opposite or hostile to the conditions resulting from the disease itself; from Greek roots meaning other and disease. Drugs and surgery are allopathic treatments. The term is sometimes used to refer to conventional Western medicine to contrast it with alternative therapies, particularly homeopathy, which is based on like curing like.

AMMA THERAPY

system of bodywork therapy that uses traditional oriental medical principles for assessing and evaluating imbalances in the energetic system. It aims to restore, promote and maintain optimum health through the treatment of the physical body, bio-energy and emotions. Used for a wide range of conditions.

ANCESTOR WORSHIP

ritualized propitiation and invocation of dead kin, based on the belief that spirits influence the fate of the living. A widespread ancient practice.

ANIMISM

belief that a spirit or force resides in every animate and inanimate object, every dream and idea, giving individuality to each. The related Polynesian concept of mana holds that the spirit in all things is responsible for good and evil.

APPLIED KINESIOLOGY

a diagnostic technique and therapy developed in the 1960s by a chiropractor (George Goodheart). Applied kinesiology posits that organ or gland dysfunctions show up as weaknesses in certain muscles. Using gentle pressure, applied kinesiologists test muscle strength to identify health problems and nutritional deficiencies. After diagnosis, treatment may involve exercises to strengthen a muscle, hands-on manipulation of the muscles and bones, and vitamin or mineral supplements.

AROMATHERAPY

uses essential oils from flowers, trees, roots, herbs, berries and fruits, to treat emotional disorders such as stress and anxiety as well as a wide range of other ailments and to promote physical, mental and emotional wellness. Oils are either massaged into the skin in diluted form, inhaled, placed in baths, or applied on and around the body. Aromatherapy is often used in conjunction with massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, herbology, chiropractic and other wholistic healing.

AYURVEDIC MEDICINE

practiced in India for over 5,000 years. Ayurvedic tradition holds that illness is a state of imbalance among the bodyG??s systems and can be detected through such diagnostic procedures as reading the pulse and observing the tongue. Nutritional counseling, massage, natural medications, meditation and other modalities are used to address a spectrum of ailments, from allergies to AIDS.

B

BEHAVIOR THERAPY/MODIFICATION

aims at modifying behavior by reinforcing acceptable behavior and suppressing undesirable behavior. The therapist employs any of various techniques of reward and punishment including aversion therapy, desensitization, or guided imagery. The learning theory of the psychologist B.F. Skinner and others is the basis for most behavior therapies. In SkinnerG??s principle of extinction, a behavior pattern that is not reinforced, or rewarded, will be extinguished or rendered inoperative. For example, if smoking is made unpleasant for the smoker, then the smoking habit may be curbed or given up. Behavior therapy is used in private and institutional therapy, in group and individual settings, to treat such disorders as drug addiction, alcoholism, and phobias.

BIOENERGETICS

holds that repressed emotions and desires affect the body and psyche by creating chronic muscular tension and diminished vitality and energy. Through physical exercises, breathing techniques, verbal psychotherapy, or other forms of emotional-release work, the therapist attempts to loosen this character armor and restore natural well-being.

BIOFEEDBACK

technique used especially for stress-related conditions such as asthma, migraines, insomnia and high blood pressure. Biofeedback is a way of monitoring minute metabolic changes in ones body with the aid of sensitive machines.

BIOFIELD

an energy field that suffuses living bodies and extends several inches beyond the body. This concept is employed in therapies such as healing touch, medical qigong, therapeutic touch, and reiki. In these therapies, the biofield from a practitioners hands is joined to the recipients biofield in order to treat an illness or to promote health. There is no consensus on what biofield is; some say it is spiritual energy, others say it is an electromagnetic field.

BODY-MIND CENTERING

a movement-reeducation approach that explores how the bodyG??s systems contribute to movement and self-awareness. The approach also emphasizes movement patterns that develop during infancy and childhood. Incorporates guided movement, exercise, imagery and hands-on work.

BODY-ORIENTED PSYCHOTHERAPY

seeks to enhance the psychotherapeutic process by incorporating a range of massage, bodywork and movement techniques. Acknowledging the mind-body link, practitioners may use light touch, soft or deep-tissue manipulation, breathing techniques, movement, exercise or body awareness techniques to help address emotional issues.

BREATHWORK

general term for a variety of techniques that use patterned breathing to promote physical, mental and/or spiritual well-being. Some techniques use the breath in a calm, peaceful way to induce relaxation or manage pain, while others use stronger breathing to stimulate emotions and emotional release.

C

CHAKRAS

the seven vital energy centers of the body. The chakras extend from the base of spine to the crown of head. Located in the rectal area, near the genitals, behind the navel, at the heart, at the neck, between the eyebrows, and on the crown of the head. Each chakra corresponds to certain colors, emotions, organs, nerve networks, and energies.

CHELATION THERAPY

typically administered in an osteopathic or medical doctorG??s office, chelation therapy is a series of intravenous injections of the synthetic amino acid EDTA, designed to detoxify the body. Often used to treat arteriosclerosis, angina, AlzheimerG??s disease. EDTA stands for ethylenediaminetetruacetic acid (an amino acid). FDA approved for removing lead and other heavy metals from the bloodstream. One theory holds that chelation removes the calcium in arterial plaque; another suggests that EDTA works as an antioxidant. Proponents say that chelation also reverses gangrene, relieves the pain associated with lupus and arthritis, and reverses memory loss.

CHIROPRACTIC

the chiropractic system is based on the premise that the spine is literally the backbone of human health. Misalignments of the vertebrae caused by poor posture or trauma result in pressure on the spinal nerve roots, which may lead to diminished function and illness. The chiropractor seeks to analyze and correct these misalignments through spinal manipulation or adjustments.

COLON HYDROTHERAPY

involves the cleansing of the large intestine with warm purified water. A single colonic treatment is said to be equivalent to several enemas in removing toxic debris from the colon.

CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY

a manual procedure for remedying distortions in the structure and function of the craniosacral mechanism - the brain and spinal cord, the bones of the skull, the sacrum, and interconnected membranes. It is used to treat chronic pain, migraine headaches, TMJ, and a range of other conditions.

D

DEEP TISSUE BODYWORK

general term for a range of therapies that seek to improve the function of the bodyG??s connective tissues and/or muscles. Among the conditions treated are whiplash, low back and neck pain, and degenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

DENTISTRY, WHOLISTIC

wholistic dentists are licensed dentists who bring an interdisciplinary approach to their practice, often incorporating such methods as homeopathy, nutrition and acupuncture into their treatment plans. Most wholistic dentists emphasize wellness and preventive care and avoid silver-mercury fillings.

DIATHERMY

deep-heat therapy that uses high-frequency electric currents to produce heat in body tissues. Physical therapists and sports physicians use diathermy to treat arthritis, bursitis, and fractures. It also may help treat gynecological diseases and sinusitis.

DIETARY SUPPLEMENT

a product intended to supply nutrients and other healthful substances that may be lacking in a diet. Term used to apply only to vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Herbs are now classified as dietary supplements, and the definition also includes amino acids, glandulars (processed animal glands), enzymes, fish oils, and various extracts, such as flower essences. While their labels may not make any claims to cure, prevent, treat, or mitigate a disease, they can claim to help a structure or function of the body. Unlike food additives and prescription and over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements do not require FDA approval to be sold on the market.

DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide)

solvent capable of passing through body tissues, approved by the FDA to treat one medical condition, interstitial cystitis (an uncommon bladder inflammation). Proponents & manufacturers claim that DMSO heals a wide range of problems (including bruises, pimples, herpes) and relieves pain from conditions such as muscle strains. They credit DMSO with the ability to kill bacteria and fungi, improve circulation, and stimulate the immune system. DMSO produces strong garlic breath in users, even when used topically or intravenously.

DREAM THERAPY

mental activity associated with the rapid-eye-movement period of sleep. Generally consists of visual images and may reflect bodily disturbances or external stimuli. In primitive and ancient cultures, dreams played an extensive role in myth and religion. Freud emphasized dreams as keys to the makeup of the individual and distinguished between the experienced content of a dream and the actual meaning of the dream. Jung held that dreams are not limited to the personal unconscious but may also be shaped by archetypes that originate in the collective unconscious of the human species.

DRUG THERAPY

various drugs are used to alleviate symptoms of some mental illnesses. Lithium is used in alleviating symptoms of manic depression. Tranquilizers are used to reduce anxiety. All drugs have side effects, such as Ritalin, which is prescribed for hyperactive children, and can retard physical growth.

E

EAR CANDLING

Also called Ear Coning. Involves placing the narrow end of a specially designed hollow candle at the entry of the ear canal, while the opposite end is lit. Primarily used for relieving wax build up and related hearing problems, ear candling is also used for ear infections and sinus infections.

ENERGY FIELD WORK

Practitioners look for weaknesses in the energy field in and around the clients body and seek to restore its proper circulation and balance. Energy channeled through the practitioner is directed to strengthen the bodyG??s natural defenses and help the clientG??s physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual state.

ENZYME THERAPY

a form of therapy that employs supplements of plant and animal enzymes to improve digestive function and other conditions. During digestion, the bodyG??s own digestive enzymes are not the only ones at work; the enzymes present in raw fruits and vegetables also contribute to the breakdown of food in the stomach. Enzyme therapy advocates supplementation to reduce the work that the body has to do, and because plant enzymes are destroyed in cooking. Since enzymes canG??t be synthetically manufactured, supplements are derived from plants or from animal tissues. Some practitioners inject liquid enzymes to treat cancer and multiple sclerosis. Enzyme supplements are available over the counter, singly or in combination, in capsule, tablet, powder, and liquid form.

ESSENTIAL

a nutritional term applied to vitamins, minerals, and amino acids; refers to anything that the body does not manufacture and that must be obtained through the diet.

EXPRESSIVE THERAPIES

use the arts to promote physical & mental health and personal growth. Examples of expressive therapies include art therapy, dance therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, poetry, and psychodrama.

F

FENG SHUI

an ancient Chinese practice of configuring home or work environments to promote health, happiness, prosperity. Feng shui consultants may advise clients to make adjustments in their surroundings, from color selection to furniture placement, to promote a healthy flow of chi, or vital energy.

FLOWER ESSENCES

are intended to alleviate negative emotional states that may contribute to illness or hinder personal growth. Drops of a solution infused with the captured essence of a flower are placed under the tongue or in a beverage. The appropriate essences are chosen, focusing on the clients emotional state rather than on a particular physical condition.

G

GLANDULARS

freeze-dried animal glands, processed into pill form and taken to provide the body an extra dose of a hormone. Typically made from cow, sheep, or pig glands, glandulars on the market include adrenal, testicular, ovary, pancreas, pituitary, prostate, and thymus products. Critics point out that these supplements are unlikely to boost gland function because digestion breaks down and inactivates the DNA in a glandular. In addition, using glandulars may encourage your own glands to reduce hormone production. Other risks include bacterial contamination of the product, and the antibiotics and pesticides present in the glands of the livestock they are taken from.

GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE

a natural amino sugar found in joint spaces. As a dietary supplement, it is said to stimulate the repair of arthritic joints by building up the protective cartilage that arthritis destroys.

H

HEALING TOUCH

is practiced by registered nurses and others to accelerate wound healing, relieve pain, promote relaxation, prevent illness and ease the dying process. The practitioner uses light touch or works with his or her hands near the clientG??s body in an effort to restore balance to the clientG??s energy system.

HELLERWORK

a system of somatic education and structural bodywork which is based on the inseparability of body, mind & spirit, making the connection between movement, body alignment and personal awareness. During sessions, the structural balance of the body is realized through the systematic release of muscle and connective tissue to restore the bodyG??s optimal natural balance, posture and flexibility. Myofascial release, movement awareness and dialogue are the essence of the sessions enabling one to move more fluidly, and have increased stamina, strength and energy.

HERBALISM

uses natural plants or plant-based substances to treat a range of illnesses and to enhance the functioning of the bodyG??s systems. Though herbalism is not a licensed professional modality in the U.S., herbs are prescribed by a range of practitioners, from holistic M.D.s to acupuncturists to naturopaths.

HIV THERAPIES

practitioners offer a range of therapies that aim to treat the human immuno-deficiency virus, AIDS, or itsG?? symptoms. Due to the life-threatening nature of this disease, these therapies are often used as complements to conventional approaches to HIV.

HOLISTIC/WHOLISTIC

an adjective meaning targeted to the whole person - mind, body, and spirit. Wholistic medicine considers not only physical health but also the emotional, spiritual, social, and mental well-being of the person.

HOMEOPATHY

a medical system that uses infinitesimal doses of natural substances to stimulate a personG??s immune and defense system. Homeopathic remedies are named for the plant or animal ingredient they are made from.

HYDROSOL

the water that is obtained along with essential oil after plant materials are distilled. In distillation, plant materials are heated in water to release plant oils. The steam and vapor are channeled through a tube to a condensing coil, where they cool and return to liquid form. The essential oils float on top of the water. The hydrosol contains water-soluble plant constituents and trace amounts of essential oil. Hydrosols are sometimes used in aromatherapy together with the essential oils and may be spritzed in the air and on the face and body.

HYPNOSIS

although the condition resembles normal sleep, scientists have found that the brain wave patterns of hypnotized subjects are much closer to the patterns of deep relaxation. Hypnosis is now generally viewed as a form of attentive, receptive, highly focused concentration in which external events are omitted or disregarded. Widely used by surgeons, dentists, and psychotherapists to relieve anxiety or as an anesthetic. Used to relax a patient, reduce resistance to therapy, facilitate memory, to address stopping smoking, eating less, or fighting fears.

I

IRIDOLOGY

diagnostic system based on the premise that every organ has a corresponding location within the iris of the eye, which can serve as an indicator of the organG??s health or disease. Used by naturopaths and other practitioners, particularly when diagnosis achieved through standard methods in unclear.

J

JIN SHIN DO

developed by a psychotherapist, it combines acupressure, Taoist yogic breathing and Reichian segmental theory (addresses how emotional tension affects the physical body) with the goal of releasing physical & emotional tension and armoring. Aims to promote a state in which the patient can address the emotional factors that underlie various physical conditions.

K

KARMA

Basic concept common to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The doctrine holds that oneG??s state in this life is the result of physical and mental actions in past incarnations and that present action can determine oneG??s destiny in future incarnations. Karma is a natural, impersonal law of moral cause and effect.

KINESIOLOGY

The study of muscles and their movement. Applied kinesiology is a system that uses muscle testing procedures, in conjunction with standard methods of diagnosis, to gain information about a patientG??s overall state of health. Practitioners analyze muscle function, posture, gait and other structural factors in addition to inquiring about lifestyle factors that may be contributing to a health-related problem.

L

LIGHT BOX

a set of bright, full-spectrum light bulbs inside a box with a reflective background and diffusing screen; produces light thatG??s 10 to 20 times stronger than ordinary indoor light. Used to treat winter depression, or SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Treatment typically involves spending 15 minutes to 3 hours in front of a light box every day in the fall, winter, and early spring. Research suggests that bright lights help regulate the bodyG??s internal clock, which controls hormone secretion and sleep patterns.

LIGHT-EMITTING DIODES (LEDs)

tiny light sources (frequently used in digital watches and electronic equipment) that have been used in the field of phototherapy. Their power output is low enough to be safe for human exposure but strong enough to stimulate the biological responses involved in healing. Research indicates that LEDs may accelerate the healing of skin wounds and certain other conditions.

M

MAGNETIC THERAPY

magnetic field therapy or bio-magnetic therapy involves the use of magnets, magnetic devices or magnetic fields to treat a variety of physical and emotional conditions, including circulatory problems, certain forms of arthritis, chronic pain, sleep disorders, and stress.

MANIPULATION

application of manual force for healing. Term describes the techniques used in osteopathy, chiropractic, massage, and other bodywork therapies. Manipulation may involve various forms of massage, muscle pressure, and joint realignment or adjustment.

MANTRA

in Hinduism and Buddhism, mystic word used in ritual and meditation. It is believed to have power to bring into being the reality it represents. Use of such mantras usually requires initiation by a guru, or spiritual teacher.

MASSAGE THERAPY

This is a general term for a range of therapeutic approaches with roots in both Eastern and Western cultures. Involves the practice of kneading or otherwise manipulating a personG??s muscles and soft tissue.

MEDICINE, HOLISTIC/WHOLISTIC

Wholistic medicine is a broadly descriptive term for a healing philosophy that views a patient as a whole person, not as just a disease or a collection of symptoms. In the course of treatment, wholistic medical practitioners may address emotional and spiritual dimensions as well as the nutritional, environmental and lifestyle factors that may contribute to an illness. Many wholistic practitioners combine conventional forms of treatment with natural or alternative treatments.

MEDITATION

Discipline in which the mind is focused on a single point of reference. Employed since ancient times in various forms by all religions, the practice gained greater notice in the postwar U.S. as interest in Zen Buddhism rose. Meditation is now used by many nonreligious adherents as a method of stress reduction; known to lower levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress. Enhances recuperation and improves the bodyG??s resistance to disease.

MEGAVITAMIN THERAPY

See Orthomolecular medicine.

MELATONIN

hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain and released mainly at night in the absence of light on the retina. Regulates the onset and timing of sleep and seasonal changes in the body such as winter weight gain. Levels of melatonin decline with age. Melatonin is being investigated as a sleep promoter and to prevent or reduce jet lag. Synthetic melatonin and melatonin derived from bovine pineal glands are available as over-the-counter dietary supplements. Melatonin occurs naturally in some foods but in fairly small amounts. Reported side effects include reduced fertility, inhibition of male sexual drive, hypothermia, damage to the retina. Some physicians and scientists advise against taking melatonin as a long-term supplement.

MIDWIFERY

midwives provide education and support during pregnancy, assist the mother during labor and delivery and provide follow-up care. Practitioners of childbirth support include childbirth educators, childbirth assistants and women labor coaches who also provide post-partum home care.

MYOFASCIAL RELEASE

Trauma, posture, or inflammation can create a binding down of fascia resulting in excessive pressure on nerves, muscles, blood vessels, osseous structures and/or organs. This hands-on technique seeks to free the body from the grip of tight fascia, or connective tissue, thus restoring normal alignment and function and reducing pain. Therapists apply mild, sustained hand-pressure in order to gently stretch and soften fascia. Treatment is used to treat neck and back pain, headaches, recurring sports injuries, and scoliosis, and other conditions.

N

NETWORK CHIROPRACTIC

uses Network Spinal Analysis, a method characterized by the sequential application of a number of gentle, specific chiropractic adjusting techniques. Care progresses through a series of levels that parallel spinal and quality-of-life changes.

NEURAL THERAPY

a form of therapy based on the idea that illness is the result of disruptions in biological energy and that the disruptions are caused by changes in the electric activity of the autonomic nervous system (which controls involuntary functions like breathing).

NEUROTOPIC INJECTION

Treatment involves dozens of injections of small amounts (0.5 cc or less) of sterile saline solution (0.9 percent salt) into the muscles at both sides of the spine near the places where the nerves enter into the back muscles. According to this theory, salt injection helps the nerves function better, leading to improved circulation, control of pain, and healing of numerous disorders. Statistics on successful treatment of back and neck pain, sciatica, disk problems, headaches, arthritis, prostate and thyroid problems, asthma, and allergies have been presented at more than 15 international medical congresses. Technique is being evaluated in double-blind studies at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Oregon.

NOSODE

a homeopathic remedy made from diseased tissue or bodily secretions rather than from a plant or animal. Taken like a homeopathic immunization to build up an immune response against a specific disease. Nosodes are often named for the disease present in the material they were made from - for example, the flu nosode and the infectious mononucleosis nosode.

O

ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE

a form of nutrient therapy that uses combinations of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids normally found in the body to maintain good health and to treat specific conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, depression, and schizophrenia. "Orthomolecular" means an approach based on a correct (ortho) balance of substances present in the body.

P

PET THERAPY

a therapeutic approach based on the idea that expressing affection for a pet helps people feel happier, maintain a positive outlook, and therefore improve their health. According to several studies, having a pet can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and ward off loneliness and depression. Many nursing homes and some prisons have developed pet therapy programs, with excellent results.

POLARITY THERAPY

based on a theory of energy flow in the body developed by Randolph Stone, a doctor of naturopathy, osteopathy, and chiropractic. Asserts that balancing the flow of energy in the body is the foundation of health. Specific points along the currents are said to hold positive or negative energies. Practitioners use gentle touch and guidance in diet, exercise and self-awareness to help clients balance their energy flow, thus supporting a return to health.

PRANA

the yogic concept of a cosmic energy or life force, similar to the Chinese idea of chi, that enters the body with the breath. Prana is thought to flow through the body, bringing health and vitality. It is considered the vital link between the spiritual self and the material self.

PRANAYAMA

a term from yoga and Ayurveda meaning breath control.

PROBIOTICS

substances such as acidophilus and bifidus that restore the beneficial bacteria normally present in the intestines. Stress, poor diet, antibiotics, and oral contraceptives can throw off the normal balance of bacteria and fungi. This imbalance may be manifested as a yeast infection, or in symptoms such as diarrhea or gastrointestinal disturbances.

R

REBIRTHING

also known as conscious-connected breathing or vivation. A technique in which the therapist guides clients through breathing exercises to help them re-experience past memories - including birth - and let go of emotional tensions stored in the body.

REFLEXOLOGY

based on the idea that specific points on the feet and hands correspond with organs and tissues throughout the body. With fingers and thumbs, the practitioner applies pressure to these points to treat a wide range of stress-related illnesses and ailments.

REGRESSION

psychological defense mechanism, viewed as a return to an earlier mode of behavior, thought, or feeling. The unconscious process that helps the mind resolve conflicts or lessen anxiety by returning to forms of gratification previously abandoned.

REIKI

practitioners of this ancient Tibetan healing system use light hand placements to transmit healing energies to the recipient. While the practitioners may vary widely in technique and philosophy, Reiki is commonly used to treat emotional and mental distress as well as chronic and acute physical problems, as well as to assist the recipient in achieving spiritual focus and clarity.

ROLFING

uses deep manipulation of the fascia to restore the bodyG??s natural alignment, which may have become rigid through injury, emotional trauma, and inefficient movement habits. The process, developed by biochemist Ida P. Rolf, involves ten sessions, each focusing on a different part of the body.

RUBENFELD SYNERGY METHOD

gentle touch, movement, verbal exchange, and imagination used to access memories and emotions locked in the body. Integrates elements of the Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, Gestalt and Hypnotherapy. Combines bodywork and psychotherapy. May be used for physical or emotional problems or for personal growth.

S

SELF-ACTUALIZATION

Fully realizing oneG??s individual human potential.

SELF-AWARENESS

Self-conscious state of focusing attention on oneself.

SHAMAN

among tribal peoples, a magician, medium, or healer who owes his powers to mystical communion with the spirit world. Characteristically, a shaman goes into auto-hypnotic trances, during which he contacts spirits. Shamans are found among the Siberians, Eskimos, Native American tribes, in S.E. Asia, and in Oceania. There is also now a development of shamanic healers and practitioners in North America. (See Spiritual/Shamanic Healing.)

SHARK CARTILAGE

a supplement touted as a cancer treatment. Sharks, whose frames are composed of cartilage not bone, get cancer infrequently. Proponents of this treatment claim sharks get cancer infrequently because something in their cartilage inhibits the ability of tumors to create the blood supply needed to continue growing. Shark cartilage is also promoted as an immune system stimulant and remedy for joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.

SHIATSU

a form of acupressure, used in Japan for over 1,000 years to treat pain and illness and for general health maintenance. Practitioners apply finger pressure at specific points on the body in order to stimulate chi, or vital energy. Used to treat stress, circulatory problems, depression, asthma, headaches, diarrhea, bronchitis.

SOUNDING THE BODY

a diagnostic and therapeutic technique used in sound healing. Sound healers read a patientG??s body by singing a series of tones and listening for imbalances in the natural frequencies of the body or itsG?? energy fields. Imbalances are said to be indicated by changes in the tone of the healerG??s voice. To correct a problem, the sound healer applies sound to the patientG??s body by singing certain tones near the affected organ, or by applying tuning forks or electronic vibratory instruments to the body.

SPIRITUAL/SHAMANIC HEALING

practitioners who regard themselves as conductors of healing energy or sources from the spiritual realm. Both may call upon spiritual helpers such as power animals, angels, inner teachers, the clientG??s Higher Self, or other spiritual forces. Both forms of healing can be used for a range of emotional and physical illnesses.

STRUCTURAL EXAM/DIAGNOSIS

an osteopathic diagnostic technique - involves a visual, hands-on assessment by an osteopathic physician of the skeleton, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

SUBLUXATION

in chiropractic, a misalignment of bones within joints said to interfere with the flow of nervous impulses and diminish the bodyG??s ability to stay healthy.

T

TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) -

delivery of an electric current through the skin to the nerves. Used in physical therapy and to relieve painful conditions such as neuralgia, sciatica, and arthritis. The low voltage electric current blocks the nerves reception of pain signals and possibly stimulates the production of endorphins, the bodyG??s pain-killing chemicals.

THERAPEUTIC TOUCH

practiced by registered nurses and others to relieve pain & stress. Practitioner assesses where a personG??s energy field is weak and congested, then uses his or her hands to direct energy into the field to balance it.

THERAPY

treatment and care of someone to combat disease, injury, or mental disorder.

TONIC

herbal remedy made from herbs taken to maintain health or ward off illness, rather than to treat an illness. Also known as a normalizer.

TONING

in sound healing, projection of a nonverbal sound to balance the bodyG??s energy fields.

TRAGER BODYWORK

movement-education approach that gently rocks, cradles, and moves the clientG??s body. Meant to promote relaxation, increase mobility and mental clarity. Used by athletes for performance enhancement and by people with musculoskeletal and back problems.

V

VIBRATIONAL HEALING / MEDICINE

promotes healing by balancing the bodyG??s energy field. Can include acupuncture, homeopathy, flower essences, sound & color healing, crystals, gems, aromatherapy, and energy-based bodywork (Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Polarity Therapy).

W

Y

YOGA THERAPY

emerging field of practices that use yoga to address mental and physical problems while integrating body & mind. Practitioners work one-on-one or in a group setting.

Z

ZERO BALANCING

method for aligning body structure and body energy. Through touch akin to acupressure, practitioner seeks to overcome imbalances in the bodyG??s structure/energetic interface, which is said to exist beneath the level of conscious awareness. Zero Balancing is often used for stress reduction.

ZONE THERAPY

another name for reflexology. (See reflexology.)


Any omission from this list is accidental, not intentional. The appearance of a religion or form of therapy in this list is provided for information and is not meant as an endorsement of any kind.

 

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