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Holistic Glossary

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Acupressure
Uses the fingers or hands to press, puncture, or heat certain points on the body in order to relieve ailments. The pressure is designed to release energy blocks in the meridians of the body. It was discovered by the Chinese over five thousand years ago.

    Acu-Yoga & Do-In
    Two types of self-acupressure techniques.
  • Meridians
    Energy pathways which run along twelve major routes in the body; each meridian is linked to specific internals organs and organ systems in the body.
  • Qui or Chi
    The vital life energy present in all living organisms; the energy which circulates in the meridians of the body.

Acupuncture
A more technologically advanced method of acupressure created by the Chinese over five thousand years ago.

Special needles are inserted into certain points of the body in order to correct and rebalance the flow of vital life energy (also known as qui or chi) , and thereby relieve pain, or restore health.

Alexander Technique
Developed by an Australian actor at the turn of the century, this technique focuses on the posture of the body.

Various movements, positions, and "exercises" are used to bring the posture into better alignment so function can be improved and pain reduced. Compression is seen as the adversary of proper posture, so the focus involves lengthening.

Amma Therapy (Chinese massage)
In early Chinese history this was practiced primarily by the blind; involves stroking, stretching, kneading, and percussion.

Applied Kinesiology
Chiropractors are often trained in kinesiology; it is a technique based on the belief that specific muscle function is related to certain body systems, and that the muscles can therefore be used to diagnose a variety of physical problems.

The muscles are tested, and weakness is then related to specific organ/system function.

Aromatherapy/Flower Remedies
Relatively new to this country, this technique was used in ancient Egypt and other cultures.

It involves specialized knowledge of how various essences affect the body and psyche by purportedly altering brain activity.

Often combined with massage or esthetics, or used alone, various essences are claimed to be able to affect many physical ailments.

Astrology
Foretelling future events (divination) through the specific positions and aspects of the stars, and their possible influences upon human affairs and terrestrial events.

Ayurvedic Medicine
A comprehensive system of medicine and the oldest healing art on the planet, Ayurvedic Medicine has been practiced in India for the past five thousand years.

It combines natural therapies with a highly personalized approach to the treatment of disease and also places equal emphasis on body, mind, and spirit, and strives to restore the innate harmony of the individual.

BioFeedback Training
This technique uses simple electronic devices to teach a person how to change or control his or her own vital, bodily functions.

Biofeedback has been particularly successful for learning to modify or reduce stress, relieve pain, control asthmatic attacks, recondition injured muscles, and eliminate headaches.

Chelation Therapy
A method used to rid the body of toxins, metabolic wastes, and unnecessary and toxic metals from the blood stream.

It is often used to reverse the process of artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or as an alternative to bypass surgery and angioplasty, and can also prevent heart attacks and strokes.

It is accomplished by administering chelating agents into the bloodstream which, among other things, increase blood flow and remove arterial plaque.

Chinese Medicine
At least 3,000 years old, Chinese Medicine is based on the view that humanity is part of a larger creation, that is, the universe itself.

Therefore, we are all subject to the same laws that govern nature.The understanding of health, then, begins with an understanding of nature, and the laws that govern it.

Principles include the law of yin and yang, awareness and manipulation of life energy (Qi or Chi) which flows through meridians of the body, and the Five Element Theory.

Oriental Health systems like Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Acupressure Massage, Macrobiotics, Do-In, and Sotai are based upon Chinese Medicine.

Chiropractic
Chiropractic is a therapeutic system based upon the premise that interference with nervous system function predisposes the body to a disease state.

The method of work focuses on restoring normal condition by correcting the vertebral segments of the spinal column, which are a primary cause of nerve dysfunction.

Central to chiropractic technique is the "adjustment" of the specific spinal vertebra that are out of alignment or subluxated.

Colon Therapy (Colonics)
This therapy uses a series of water flushes directed into the colon through a disposable tube which is placed into the anus; these water flushes cleanse and detoxify the lower intestine and aid in the reconstitution of intestinal flora.

The purpose of colonics is to balance the body chemistry, eliminate waste, and restore proper tissue and organ function.

Craniosacral Therapy
The craniosacral therapist focuses on releasing restrictions of the Cranial sutures and the underlying membranes through gentle hands-on contact with the bones of the skull.

Carniosacral Therapy is gaining acceptance by health professionals worldwide as a successful treatment modality to improve overall body functioning.

And treat a range of conditions, from headaches and ear infections, to stroke, Spinal Cord Injury, and Cerebral Palsy.

It has been especially successful in treating newborns and infants for common conditions such as earaches, sinus congestion, vomiting, irritability, and hyperactivity.

Feldenkrais Method (Awareness thru movement)
The Feldenkrais practitioner helps to change habitual holding patterns in the patient's body.

And re-educate people to become aware of how they move and how they could move differently, in order to reduce stress to muscles, joints and ligaments.

The effects of Feldenkrais often include a deep physical and mental relaxation, a new awareness of the body and the ways in which it can move, and the lessening of chronic and acute musculo-skeletal aches and pains.

Hellerwork
Developed by Joseph Heller, the purpose of this method is to get people to look at the connection between what's going on in their life and what's going on in their body.

Heller's work is three-pronged: deep connective tissue massage, movement education, and dialogue.

Herbs
With the renewed interest in herbal therapy, scientists are actively researching the constituents in herbs to determine and clarify the roles they play and the benefits they offer.  (Also See: Echinacea Abstracts)

Herbalism
Herbs have provided humans with medicine from the earliest beginning of civilization.

An herb can be a leaf, a flower, a stem, a seed, root, fruit, bark, or any other plant part used for its medicinal, food flavoring, or fragrant property.

Herbal remedies can be used for a wide range of minor ailments, as well as a number of conditions normally treated by prescription medications.

Holistic Dentistry
Holistic dentistry treats the teeth, jaw, and related structures with special focus on how treatment will affect the entire body.

It stresses the use of nontoxic restoration materials for dental work, and focuses on the impact that hidden dental infections and other dental problems can have on overall health.

Homeopathy
A low-cost, nontoxic system of medicine using dilutions of natural substances from plants, minerals, and animals.

Based on the principle of *like cures like*, these remedies specifically match different symptom patterns of illness, and act to stimulate the body's natural healing response.

HydroTherapy
The use of water in any of its three forms (solid, liquid, or gas), whether it used internally or externally, for the treatment of disease of trauma, or for cleansing purposes.

Hyperthermia
This therapy deliberately creates fever in the patient in order to utilize the natural healing response.

HypnoTherapy
The induction of a state of consciousness in which normal critical powers are suspended and the mind becomes highly suggestible and able to consciously influence the body.

Infant Massage
Specific massage techniques for infants, these methods can be easily learned by massage therapists, nurses, parents, and others.

Premature babies are especially responsive, and recent studies have proven that the benefits of this technique include weight gain, improvement in Central Nervous System functioning, and enhanced emotional well-being.

Jin Shin Jyutsu
A type of Acupresssure created by Jiro Murai from Japan; combinations of points are held with the fingertips for a minute or more, usually with the client lying on his or her back.

Macrobiotics
A lifestyle involving an awareness that we are connected to nature, and therefore, what is best for our physical bodies are those things from the earth.

This includes special ways of selecting, preparing and eating organically grown, whole, and mostly vegetarian foods to maximize the energy derived from their consumption.

The diet consists of mostly a variety of grains, beans, vegetables, sea vegetables, Japanese condiments, and a little fish and seafood.

The lifestyle stresses the importance of fresh air, breathing, moderate exercise, balance in life, use of natural products in the home and on the skin, and orderliness and organization in all things.

Manual Lymph Drainage
A specific method of improving lymphatic drainage through specific strokes.

This method was developed by Dr. Vodder and there are only a handful of American MLD certified practitioners.

Training takes place in Germany, Australia, and Canada. This style of Lymphatic work is especially helpful in instances of abnormal lymphatic congestion.

(Lymph is a coagulable fluid that bathes the tissues of our bodies, and consists of mostly White Blood Cells.)

Massage Therapy
The manipulation of the superficial tissues of the human body in order to promote deep relaxation, and release tension.

Recent research has proven that massage is therapeutic, and can soothe injured muscles, stimulate Blood and Lymphatic circulation, improve structure and function of the body, increase toxic elimination, and more.

Meditation
Steady, close and consecutive reflection, and attention on one's own inner thoughts, or perhaps on a religious, or spiritual theme; continuous, and patient application of separating oneself from one's own thoughts, and simply watching the mind without any expectation.

There are many ways to meditate, but the effect is the same: a centeredness, and stillness within.

Naprapathy
"Napravit" means to correct or fix, and "pathos" means suffering.

Pracitioners manipulate the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in order to alleviate tension and promote fluidity of motion, and they make recommendations regarding diet.

This method resembles chiropractic, but manipulation of the connective tissue is the focus. Other neuromuscular techniques have been added in recent years.

There is only one school in the U.S. - Chicago National College of Naprapathy & Clinic.

Naturopathic Medicin
An incorporation of a variety of methods all intended to utilize the body's inherent ability to heal.

These methods include nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, physical medicine, counseling and lifestyle modification, and minor surgery.

NeuroMuscular Therapy (NMT)
A form of bodywork which has diagnostic and therapeutic value, NMT is a soft tissue manipulative method which restores the structural, functional, and postural integrity of the body, removes pain, muscular tension, stress, and restrictions to health.

Skillful palpatory diagnosis is the focus of the work.

Osteopathic Medicine
Today, the training of M.D.'s and Osteopaths (D.O.'s) is strikingly similar, but Osteopathic is a holistic discipline which emphasizes prevention and the individual, not just disease.

Osteopath philosophy is based on the belief that the body cures itself, and doctors should see the relationship between structure and function, with a special emphasis on the musculo-skeletal system.

Osteopaths are licensed to adjust the bones of the body, and manipulate the body, and they may also prescribe medications, give injections, and perform surgery.

Polarity Therapy
Based on centuries old writings about the nature of energy, polarity therapists involve their own energy in healing.

One hand is positive, one is negative and the placement of the two hands creates a current, stimulating the energy of the recipient. Some therapists also emphasize a vegetarian diet and polarity yoga.

Reflexology
Reflexology teaches that every part of the body has a direct line of communication to a reference point on the foot, hand and ear.

By massaging these points, reflexologists are helping the corresponding body part to heal itself by stimulating energy in that area.

Rolfing
Rolfing focuses on the connective tissue of the body; its goal is to place the body in balance with gravity.

Rolfers ascertain that patterns of imbalance in the body deepen by repetition, and over time, most people are no longer in their vertical axis.

These structural changes affect the function of the body, and rolfers seek to integrate the structure for better health.

Shiatsu
Shiatsu arose from the original Chinese massage, Amma. There are significant differences in this Japanese form, however.

Shiatsu practitioners focus on the pressure points along meridians with the fingers, hands, elbows, knees, or feet. There are various forms of Shiatsu.

Some practitioners manipulate the meridians with two hands, or with burning herbs (moxibustion).

Therapeutic Touch
A contemporary interpretation of several ancient healing practices.

Therapeutic touch consists of learned skills for consciously directing or modulating human energies by the "laying on of hands" above the body and moving the hands over the body without actual contact, with the intent of working the energy field surrounding the body.

Trager
Another form of bodywork, this approach emphasizes mind-to-muscle contact between practitioner and client. The work is composed mostly of jostling, rocking, and passive ranges of motion.

Trigger Point/MyoTherapy
Myotherapists treat clients in pain by placing pressure specifically to points on a muscle which can trigger a release of tension and pain.

Yoga
Physical postures and stretches, breathing exercises, and meditation practices all designed to integrate mind, body, and spirit.

Some benefits of yoga are to increase health, vitality, and peace of mind, to lower blood pressure, decrease back pain, decrease menstrual problems, anxieties and stress, decrease and control asthmastic attacks, reduce or omit migraines, and much more.

Yoga has been proven to retard the aging process.



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