Glossary of Natural Health Terms

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Glossary of Natural Health Terms

Acupressure

Acupressure is a variation of acupuncture, an ancient Chinese system of healing that was developed from theories that the body has an energy force (known in traditional Chinese medicine as Qi) running through it along specific pathways called meridians. In order to maintain health, the flow of Qi must remain balanced and uninterrupted, and acupressure is one method for correcting imbalances and removing blockages. In acupressure, finger pressure is used at specific points where meridians come to the skin’s surface.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese system of healing that was developed from theories that the body has an energy force (known in traditional Chinese medicine as Qi) running through it along specific pathways called meridians. In order to maintain health, the flow of Qi must remain balanced and uninterrupted, and acupuncture is one method for correcting imbalances and removing blockages. In acupuncture, very fine needles are inserted into the skin at specific points where meridians come to the skin’s surface.

Allopathy

Allopathy is a system involving the use of medicines that produce effects different from those produced by the disease. In contrast to holistic approaches, allopathy views the body as a set of systems separate from the mind. The allopathic approach introduces drugs and surgery to “fix” the body rather than assisting its natural healing process. This is the most prevalent and well-known form of addressing ill health in Western culture. Allopathic physicians successfully complete a formal medical degree and are trained to diagnose and treat illness and disease from the approaches of medication (often synthetic) and invasive surgery. Most physicians follow this medical model of treatment, which is preset.

Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine incorporates nontraditional methods of treatment in the overall medical treatment of illness and disease. This includes, but is not limited to, homeopathy, herbalism and bodywork therapy.

Alternative Therapies

Approaches to healing that are not included in the traditional medical model of treatment are considered alternative. These include, but are not limited to, massage therapy, nutritional supplementation, using herbal formulas, guided imagery and hypnotherapy.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy involves the use of unadulterated fragrant essential oils that are extracted from various plants. In nature, these act to protect the plant from parasites and diseases. Distilled, the essential oils are mixed with neutral-scented carrier oil and then may be applied to the skin, sprayed into the air, added to bath water, etc. Some fragrances are stimulating, while others promote relaxation. Aromatherapy is used to promote healing from various physical, mental, and emotional conditions.

Ayurveda

Ayurveda is India’s traditional health system. Dating back more than 5000 years, it is based on the theory of constitutional body types, or doshas. Everyone has a unique constitution or combination of doshas. Doshas are based on the five elements — fire, water, earth, air and ether. Although there are five elements, there are only three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is the combination of air and ether, pitta is the combination of fire and water, and kapha is the combination of water and earth. Each person is a combination of elements and the qualities that are attributed to these elements. Ayurveda, which means “the science of life,” takes into account the different stages of life and aging, and includes not only food and herbs, but also diet, exercise, massage, color, light, sound, hygiene and more.

Bach Flower Remedies

Bach Flower remedies were developed by Dr. Edward Bach, a British medical doctor and homeopath. Bach believed that, beginning in the mind and emotions, illness is initiated by a conflict between a person’s higher self and his or her ego. Flower remedies are used to resolve this conflict and thus allow healing to occur throughout the entire organism. These remedies are chosen based on an individual’s personality characteristics rather than on the specific physical problem. Of the 39 remedies in the Bach repertory, all but one are made from the essences of single flowers. Rescue Remedy — the exception — is a combination that is used in emergency situations.

C.A.M.

This acronym, often used among healthcare practitioners, means complementary and alternative medicine.

Complementary Medicine

Often used interchangeably with the term “alternative medicine,” this system of treatment uses traditional allopathic methods as well as alternative approaches to form a complementary medical system.

Detoxification

The human body creates and is exposed to many toxins simply through the normal processes of life. Under ordinary conditions, various body systems — including the liver, kidneys, intestines, lymph, and circulatory systems — eliminate toxins without a problem. However, a poor diet and lifestyle habits, as well as excessive exposure to environmental toxins, can sometimes overwhelm the body’s natural processes, allowing toxins to accumulate internally. Signs of a toxic condition include headaches, digestive disorders, increased allergic reactions, and fatigue, among many others. Various methods are used to stimulate detoxification, such as fasting, the use of herbs, and following specific cleansing diets.

Feng Shui

Feng Shui, an ancient system of environmental and interior design that developed alongside acupuncture and herbal medicine in rural China, can be a powerful tool for supporting the immune system and fostering more radiant health. Like conventional architecture and interior design, Feng Shui recognizes the importance of aesthetics and functionality. However, the main difference is that somatic and energetic qualities are thought to be equally important. There are more than a dozen different styles of Feng Shui throughout the world, including Black Sect Feng Shui, Pyramid School Feng Shui, and Space Clearing Feng Shui.

Herbology

The study of herbology is one of the oldest sciences in the world. It is the study of plants and their physical attributes as used for healing, food, flavoring, scents, and dyes. Herbologists study the effect of plants upon the body, stressing the use of whole plants. Herbology may include: the study of the part of plant that is used, plant gathering methods, and method of preparation of the plant. Herbology systems in use today include: Western, Native American, Ayurvedic, Traditional Chinese, and European. Herbology has been important to the following professions: herbalism, naturopathy, homeopathy, aromatherapy, botany, nutrition, pharmacy, dietetics, dentistry, midwifery, chemistry and medicine.

Herbalism

Herbalism involves the practice of using plants for healing, food, flavoring, scents and dyes. It is practiced in all forms of traditional healing worldwide. The philosophy of herbalism is directed to support the body’s healing processes with the use of plants and foods. In traditional herbalism, not only are plants and foods used, but also exercise techniques, breathing techniques, and various mind/body techniques. Herbalism looks at the whole person — mind, body and spirit.

Herbalist

An herbalist is a person who grows, gathers, sells, or uses herbs for healing, food, flavoring, scents or dyes. The aim of a practicing herbalist is to bring the body back into balance by getting to the root cause of the imbalance. An herbalist looks at the whole person — mind, body and spirit.

Holistic Health

This involves viewing individual health in a holistic fashion. Holistic means considering and encompassing body, mind, emotions and spirit. Therefore, factors involving physical wellness/illness, mental/thought patterns, emotional expression and stability, and the individual’s spiritual beliefs all have significant roles in maintaining good health and must be addressed.

Holistic Medicine

Holistic medicine is a medical model that focuses on the whole person, not just the body.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a system of medicine, developed by Samuel Hahnemann in the late 18th century and founded on the principle that likes will cure likes. That is, a homeopathic remedy, if given full strength to a healthy person, will cause the same symptoms that the very dilute homeopathic formula will remove. This theory has been supported by experimentation and practice over the past 200 years. Two of the major branches of homeopathy are Classical and Constitutional.

Classical Homeopathy

Based on the work of Dr. Hahnemann, classical homeopathy adheres to the nine principles set out in Hahnemann’s Organon of Medicine. It addresses the complete person in mind, body and spirit. Classical Homeopathy recognizes that disease is a change of state that is based upon an individual’s genetics, the strength of their vital life force, their life circumstance, and their environment. In classical homeopathy, one remedy is given at a time in the smallest possible dose to affect a response in the chief complaint. Combinations of remedies are not generally used.

Constitutional Homeopathy

In constitutional homeopathy the emphasis is placed upon the constitution of the individual, including the underlying psychological issues, motives, personality and physical symptoms. Information about the client is gathered and a picture is pieced together. Remedy selection is based upon the most distinct characteristics of the client matching the characteristics of the remedy which will enhance overall health. In constitutional homeopathy, the selected remedy may not address the chief complaint but fits the overall picture or constitution of the person.

 

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy involves using water of any temperature or form — hot, cold, steam or ice — in order to promote healing. Depending on the temperature and form of the water, it can address a wide range of problems, including sore muscles, injuries, fevers, burns, skin problems, and so forth. Warm or hot water has a relaxing effect; cold water reduces inflammation; and alternating hot and cold water acts to stimulate the circulatory system. Water may also stimulate the immune system. This simple form of therapy was fundamental to the nature cure — an ancestor to naturopathy — as it developed in 19th century Europe.

Integrative Medicine

Used interchangeably with the term “alternative medicine,” this system integrates traditional, allopathic methods with nontraditional methods.

Iridology

In defining iridology, the International Iridology Practitioners Association (IIPA) states that it is “the study of the iris, or colored part, of the eye. This structure has detailed fibers and pigmentation that reflects information about our physical and psychological makeup. It identifies inherited dispositions (how our body reacts to our environment and what symptoms are most likely to occur), risks (what areas or organ systems are more likely to have symptoms) and future challenges (where we are likely to have more problems as we age). Iridology helps identify inherited emotional patterns which can create or maintain physical symptoms, as well as identify lessons or challenges and gifts or talents available to us.”

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy involves manipulating the soft tissues of the body in order to bring about normalization, which in turn promotes healing. Massage affects blood and lymph circulation as well as muscular tension. In addition, it stimulates or relaxes the nervous system, depending on the technique used. Among the benefits of massage are faster healing from soft tissue injury, healthier skin, and stress reduction. There are many different techniques of massage, including AMMA therapy, Lomi-Lomi, myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy, shiatsu, sports massage, Swedish massage, Thai massage, trigger point therapy and more.

Natural Health

Natural health means maintaining good health, naturally. This takes into account the air you breathe, the water you drink, the diet (food and fluid) you ingest, your daily physical movement and activities, your rest and sleep and your human interactions. In summary, this is how you live in your body on a daily basis.

Natural Healing

This involves moving the body from a state of non-health to a state of health using only natural (non-synthetic and non-invasive) means. Examples of this include fasting to cleanse the body of mucous, massage therapy to ease aching and painful muscles and the use of herbal formulas to soothe an irritated throat.

Naturopathy

Naturopathy is a system of therapy that employs natural forces such as light, heat, air, water and massage. This system differs most significantly from allopathy by focusing on building health rather than on treating disease. The techniques used are non-invasive and may include foods, herbs, fasting, nutritional supplements, bodywork, hydrotherapy, forms of exercise or body movement and/or meditation.

Reflexology

Reflexology is a system of bodywork in which the practitioner applies finger pressure to specific points on the feet and/or the hands. Reflexology is based on the correspondence between reflexes in the feet and hands and the various organs and areas of the body. Pressing on these reflexes aids in healing by stimulating a return to homeostasis.

Reiki

Reiki is a type of energy work that draws on several techniques of touch and visualization in order to improve the flow of life energy. In fact, the Japanese term “Reiki” translates to “universal life energy.” Practitioners are sensitive to — and trained to correct — difficulties of energy flow on all levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Reiki practitioners often work directly with clients, and they may also work at a distance. Positive effects of this modality include pain relief, stress reduction, and stimulation of the immune system.

Therapeutic Touch

Therapeutic Touch is a non-invasive, and in fact non-touch, system of energy work that was developed in the 1970s by Dora Kunz and Delores Krieger, Ph.D., RN. In Therapeutic Touch, energy is transferred from the practitioner to the energy field of the individual receiving treatment. As with other energy techniques, major effects include relaxation and accelerated healing. It has been found that the autonomic nervous system is quite sensitive to Therapeutic Touch, followed by the lymphatic and circulatory systems, and the musculoskeletal system.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

More than 2000 years old, Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on creating and maintaining balance and harmony between various types of polar opposites, for example Yin and Yang, heaven and earth, cold and hot, wet and dry, inner and outer, and so forth. Also important are the five elements: wood, fire, water, earth, and air. Balance and harmony bring health; imbalance and disharmony bring the opposite. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) takes the entire person, the physical, psychological and spiritual makeup, into account when approaching any problem. The chief modalities of TCM include herbs, foods, and acupuncture.

Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is a plant-centered dietary style that excludes meat. This may include a number of variations:

  • Lacto-Vegetarian — Eats only vegetables, grains, fruits, and dairy products.
  • Ovo-Vegetarian — Eats only vegetables, grains, fruits, and eggs.
  • Pesco-Vegetarian — Eats only vegetables, grains, fruits, and fish/seafood.
  • Vegan — Eats only vegetables, grains, and fruits, with no animal products at all. For many people this becomes a way of life that extends beyond dietary practices. Strict vegans often avoid using any product, for example leather or silk, that has animal origins.

Some of these dietary styles may be combined. For example, a lacto-ovo-vegetarian includes dairy products and eggs as part of his or her plant-centered diet. For many people, a well-balanced vegetarian diet, high in micronutrients and fiber and generally low in saturated fats, is quite healthy. Although a plant-centered diet is recommended for nearly everyone, some people do not respond well to a diet in which there is no animal protein.

 

 

 

Aromatherapy

 

Aromatherapy means "treatment using scents". It is a holistic treatment of caring for the body with pleasant smelling botanical oils such as rose, lemon, lavender and peppermint. The essential oils are added to the bath or massaged into the skin, inhaled directly or diffused to scent an entire room. Aromatherapy is used for the relief of pain, care for the skin, alleviate tension and fatigue and invigorate the entire body. Essential oils can affect the mood, alleviate fatigue, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. When inhaled, they work on the brain and nervous system through stimulation of the olfactory nerves.

The essential oils are aromatic essences extracted from plants, flowers, trees, fruits, bark, grasses and seeds with distinctive therapeutic, psychological, and physiological properties, which improve and prevent illness. There are about 150 essential oils. Most of these oils have antiseptic properties; some are antiviral, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, antidepressant and expectorant. Other properties of the essential oils which are taken advantage of in aromatherapy are their stimulation, relaxation, digestion improvement, and diuretic properties. To get the maximum benefit from essential oils, it should be made from natural, pure raw materials. Synthetically made oils do not work.

Aromatherapy is one of the fastest growing fields in alternative medicine. It is widely used at home, clinics and hospitals for a variety of applications such as pain relief for women in labor pain, relieving pain caused by the side effects of the chemotherapy undergone by the cancer patients, and rehabilitation of cardiac patients.

Aromatherapy is already slowly getting into the mainstream. In Japan, engineers are incorporating aroma systems into new buildings. In one such application, the scent of lavender and rosemary is pumped into the customer area to calm down the waiting customers, while the perfumes from lemon and eucalyptus are used in the bank teller counters to keep the staff alert.

 

 

 

 

Ayurveda

 

Ayurveda is India’s traditional, natural system of medicine that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that literally translated means "science of life" or "practices of longevity." Ayurveda was the system of health care conceived and developed by the seers (rishis) and natural scientists through centuries of observations, experiments, discussions, and meditations. For several thousand years their teachings were passed on orally from teacher to student; about the fifth to sixth century BC, elaborately detailed texts were written in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India. For many years Ayurveda flourished and was used by rich and poor alike in India and Southeast Asia.

 

Manuscript page from Atharva-Veda, earliest Indian text (approx. 1500 BC) with much medical information, one of several Vedas (meaning "knowledge"), upon which Ayurvedic medical practice is based on. Ayurvedic manuals were written by Charaka, Sushruta, and Vagbhata that give detailed descriptions of the various practices. Charaka listed 500 hundred remedies and Sushruta over 700 vegetable medicines.

Ayurveda emphasizes prevention of disease, rejuvenation of our body systems, and extension of life span. The profound premise and promise of Ayurveda is that through certain practices, not only can we prevent heart disease and make our headaches go away, but we can also better understand ourselves and the world around us, live a long healthy life in balance and harmony, achieve our fullest potential, and express our true inner nature on a daily basis.

Ayurveda provides an integrated approach to preventing and treating illness through lifestyle interventions and natural therapies. It is based on the view that the elements, forces, and principles that comprise all of nature - and that holds it together and make it function - are also seen in human beings. In Ayurveda, the mind (or consciousness) and the body (or physical mass) not only influence each other - they are each other. Together they form the mind-body. The universal consciousness is an intelligent, aware ocean of energy that gives rise to the physical world we perceive through our five senses. Ayurvedic philosophy and practices link us to every aspect of ourselves and remind us that we are in union with every aspect of nature, each other, and the entire universe.

There can be no mental health without physical health, and vice versa. In Ayurveda, symptoms and diseases that could be categorized as mental thoughts or feelings are just as important as symptoms and diseases of the physical body. Both are due to imbalances within a person, and both are treated by restoring the natural balance mentally and physically. In Ayurveda your whole life and lifestyle must be in harmony before you can enjoy true well being. Lifestyle interventions are a major Ayurvedic preventive and therapeutic approach.

In India, Ayurvedic practitioners receive state-recognized, institutionalized training in parallel to their physician counterparts. The research base is growing concerning the physiological effects of meditative techniques and yoga postures in Indian medical literature and Western psychological literature. Published studies have documented reductions in cardiovascular disease risk factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and reaction to stress, in individuals who practice Ayurvedic methods.

Laboratory and clinical studies on Ayurvedic herbal preparations and other therapies have shown them to have a range of potentially beneficial effects for preventing and treating certain cancers, treating infectious disease, treating diabetes, promoting health, and treating aging. Mechanisms underlying these effects may include free-radical scavenging effects, immune system modulation, brain neurotransmitter modulation, and hormonal effects.

 

 

Biofeedback

 

Biofeedback operates on the notion that we have the innate ability and potential to influence the automatic functions of our bodies through the exertion of will and mind. Biofeedback has recently been shown to give us what had previously seemed an impossible degree of control over a variety of physiologic events.

For example, a person can be trained in a matter of days to cause the temperature of one hand to rise five to ten degrees higher than that of the other hand, while not contracting the hand muscles. What is amazing is that even animals can be trained. In one experiment, researchers trained a laboratory rat to produce a differential in the temperature of its two ears in order to receive a food reward.

This experiment, although it appears to satisfy science fiction enthusiasts at first, nevertheless has practical applications. When people trained in biofeedback cause their hands to quickly become warmer than normal, this can effectively short-circuit a migraine attack. The blood which ordinarily engorges the blood vessels of the head in migraine is diverted to the hands and arms. This effectively removes the headache. In cases of "pure" migraine, a person can be successfully taught this technique and stop headaches in a week or less. However in 90 percent of migraine cases, there is chronic tension that must also be treated over a longer period of time by biofeedback relaxation techniques. Biofeedback can also be used to train persons to block the pain of colitis, neuritis, and other conditions. Many of these techniques have been scientifically proven.

Using a special machine and sensors to record muscle contractions and skin temperature, you can learn to control normally involuntary processes such as heart rate and blood pressure that increase under stress. The machine "feeds back" the efforts and eventually you can recognize and control facets of the stress response by yourself. Once viewed with skepticism, the control of "involuntary" responses is now seen to be effective in the treatment of migraine headaches, asthma and other disorders in certain individuals.

 

 

 

Chelation Therapy

 

The word chelation is derived from the Greek word chele that means claw (like that of a scorpion or crab). The concept of chelation is based on the observation that when a certain amino acid complex called EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid) comes in contact with certain positively charged metals and other substances such as lead, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc, plutonium and manganese, it grabs them (hence the chele or claw), and removes them. Chelation therapy is the process of removing from the body the undesirable ionic material by the infusion, or taking orally, of an organic compound which has suitable chelating properties.

EDTA is a synthetic amino acid first used in the 1940's for treatment of heavy metal poisoning. It is widely recognized as effective for that use as well as certain others, including emergency treatment of hypercalcemia and the control of ventricular arrhythmias associated with digitalis toxicity. Studies by the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council in the late 1960's indicated that EDTA was considered possibly effective in the treatment of occlusive vascular disorders caused by arteriosclerosis. EDTA grabs metallic cation such as Lead or Calcium from the body and forms a stable compound that is then excreted from the system. The stability of this bond is vital to success in chelation therapy. If the bond is weak, other chemicals can break this bond to form their own compounds.

One way to think about the chelation process is to compare it to the way we unclog our drains. We add a chemical to our drain. It dissolves the blockage. The resulting compound is removed from the drain using the existing plumbing system. Chelation process works in a similar manner on our body.

 

 

 

Chiropractic

Chiropractic medicine operates on the theory that the improper alignment of the vertebrae (there are twenty-four vertebrae that make up the spinal column) and the spinal cord they protect is the cause of diseases and disorders. Chiropractors apply pressure in a specific manner to allow the vertebrae in the spinal column to realign themselves. But most chiropractors do more than manipulating the spinal column. They are whole body healers by paying attention to factors such as nutrition, stress management, etc.

Manipulation of the spine had been a part of the healing repertoires of virtually all traditional cultures, from the ancient Greeks to the Pacific islanders to the Native Americans. What Palmer pioneered was the modern theory of joint-oriented nerve interference that quickly brought supporters. The first chiropractic college was formed by Palmer in 1897. The first state licensing law for chiropractic was passed in 1913.

 

 

Color Therapy

Colors affect moods and emotions. Color therapy uses this sensitivity to color to identify and correct any imbalances in the body's internal energy patterns that might lead to emotional or physical ill health. Therapists believe that each organ and body system has its own characteristic vibrational energy, and disorders can be healed by applying color of the corresponding vibrational energy, either to the whole body or to the organ concerned.

For example, the red spectrum affects our physical energies. It is stimulating and warming. Blues are cooling and cleansing, affecting our spiritual energies. The yellow shades serve to bridge them, affecting our mental energies. The three colors together provide opportunities for healing our body, mind, and spirit.

We recommend that you start your investigation into color therapy by reading the review article submitted by Dr. Greenfield and then read the chapters of interest. You may also want to read that covers in depth the white light therapy.

 

Light therapy

In 1980, A.J. Lewy and coworkers published an article in Science that ushered in the modern era of phototherapy. Lewy suggested that secretion of the hormone melatonin could be suppressed by exposing subjects to bright artificial light but not to light of ordinary indoor intensity. As we shall see later, melatonin is nicknamed "the chemical expression of darkness" as it is secreted at night and is believed to tell the body that it is time to sleep. It has been shown that melatonin in animals is secreted at night by the pineal gland under the influence of a circadian rhythm. Light rays impinging on the retina are converted into nerve impulses, which influence the secretion of melatonin by connections between the retina and the hypothalamus. This demonstration that one physiologic effect of light in humans, transmitted presumably via the hypothalamus, has a threshold intensity far higher than that required for vision, suggested that there might be other effects of light on the brain that require high-intensity light.

 

Diet Therapy

 

Throughout history, people have looked at as a source of healing. Some of the myths were found to have no scientific merit. But some other ones have proved their mettle over the period of time. Buttermilk and yogurt were used to treat thrush (oral candidiasis), a fungus infection of the mouth, before the invention of fungicides. Fresh limes were used to treat scurvy in sailors, cod liver oil was used to treat rickets in children, before the "invention" of vitamins. Many generations of people sipped warm milk before bed time to aid in the sleep. Now we know that milk contains an amino acid that causes the brain to release a mildly tranquilizing substance that encourages drowsiness.

Food can be therapeutic in several ways. It provides nutrient that is needed by a sick person in a form he or she can use. It also provides nutrients for persons who are deficient in them. Sometimes food also supplies an agent or chemical that aids in the metabolism of other nutrients. Food such as buttermilk can help stabilize the fungus/bacteria balance in the mouth. Such foods act by changing the ecology within the human body.

Many of the old time remedies stress food avoidance as well as specifying what to eat. For example, the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda, is mainly based on diet control. As you can learn by referring to the section on Ayurveda in HolisticOnLine, foods are classified as either helping or hurting the three doshas, the governing pricnciples under which all living being are classified in Ayurveda. Food is used to stabilize the "doshas" along with other things such as meditation, yoga etc.

 

 

 

Exercise

 

Exercises for Back Pain

People suffering from back pain often avoid exercising certain muscles because movement can hurt. But strengthening muscles despite discomfort can diminish pain by improving muscle tone, strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Bodywork for Back Pain

Bodywork includes all the various forms of massage, deep tissue, and movement awareness therapies that can be applied to the treatment of back pain. There are several techniques of bodywork available to choose from for back pain.

Exercise and Diabetes

We recommend that you do exercise daily whether you are suffering from diabetes or not. It will help prevent the disease or delay the onset if you don't have diabetes yet.

 

 

 

 

Glandular Therapy

 

One of the basic concepts of glandular therapy is that the oral ingestion of glandular material of a certain animal gland will strengthen the corresponding human gland. The result is a broad general effect indicative of improved glandular function. Thus, glandular therapy increases the tone, function, and/or activity of the corresponding gland. This principle is a mainstay of oriental therapy.

In case of infection of immune system deficiencies, thymus extracts and spleen extracts have been found to be quite useful. Glandular therapy is used extensively in the treatment of cancer, and AIDS.

Prior to the 1940s, glandular extracts were in wide use all over the world including the western world, and a considerable amount of research was in progress to support their use. With the development of antibiotics, and the advent of "modern" technological medicine, the research was concentrated on developing more and more antibiotics and other pharmaceutical drugs that was more profitable to the drug companies. The research in glandular therapy came to a halt as a result. Just because the glandular approach was not being pursued in clinical research does not invalidate the usefulness of the approach or diminish the validity of its therapeutic value. It is still one of the cornerstones to Traditional Chinese Medicine and India's Ayurvedic Medicine. Glandular therapy is also receiving renewed interest as a treatment for cancer.

 

 

 

Guided Imagery

 

Imagery is the most fundamental language we have. Everything you do, the mind processes through images. When we recall events from our past or childhood, we think of pictures, images, sounds, pain, etc. It is hardly ever be through words.

Images aren't necessarily limited to visual but can be sounds, tastes, smells or a combination of sensations. A certain smell, for example, may invoke either pleasant or bad memories in you. Similarly, going to a place where you had a bad accident may instantly invoke visions of the accident and initiate flight or fight response.

Think, for example, of holding a fresh, juicy lemon in your hand. Perhaps you can feel its texture or see the vividness of its yellow skin. As you slice it open, you see the juice squirt out of it. The lemon's tart aroma is overwhelming. Finally, you stick it in your mouth, suck on it and taste the sour flavor as the juices roll over your tongue.

More than likely, your body reacted in some way to that image. For example, you may have begun to salivate.

Imagery is the language that the mind uses to communicate with the body. You can't really talk to a wart and say 'Hey, go away,' because that's not the language that the brain uses to communicate with the body. You need to imagine that wart and see it shrinking. Imagery is the biological connection between the mind and body. As we will see, this is extremely useful in mind body healing.

 

 

 

Herbal Medicine

 

Herbal Medicine, sometimes referred to as Herbalism or Botanical Medicine, is the use of herbs for their therapeutic or medicinal value. An herb is a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, aromatic or savory qualities. Herb plants produce and contain a variety of chemical substances that act upon the body.

Herbal medicine is the oldest form of healthcare known to mankind. Herbs had been used by all cultures throughout history. It was an integral part of the development of modern civilization. Primitive man observed and appreciated the great diversity of plants available to him. The plants provided food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. Much of the medicinal use of plants seems to have been developed through observations of wild animals, and by trial and error. As time went on, each tribe added the medicinal power of herbs in their area to its knowledgebase. They methodically collected information on herbs and developed well-defined herbal pharmacopoeias. Indeed, well into the 20th century much of the pharmacopoeia of scientific medicine was derived from the herbal lore of native peoples. Many drugs commonly used today are of herbal origin. Indeed, about 25 percent of the prescription drugs dispensed in the United States contain at least one active ingredient derived from plant material. Some are made from plant extracts; others are synthesized to mimic a natural plant compound.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 billion people, 80 percent of the world population, presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. Herbal medicine is a major component in all indigenous peoples’ traditional medicine and a common element in Ayurvedic, homeopathic, naturopathic, traditional oriental, and Native American Indian medicine. WHO notes that of 119 plant-derived pharmaceutical medicines, about 74 percent are used in modern medicine in ways that correlated directly with their traditional uses as plant medicines by native cultures. Major pharmaceutical companies are currently conducting extensive research on plant materials gathered from the rain forests and other places for their potential medicinal value.

 

 

 

Homeopathy

 

Homeopathic remedies, which are made from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral substances, are recognized and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are manufactured by established pharmaceutical companies under strict guidelines. There are over 2000 homeopathic remedies that are usually referred to by their abbreviated name. (For example Arg nit. stands for Argentum nitricum). These are derived from such exotic sources as bee stings, snake venoms, arsenic, gold and silica, and even compounds from diseases tissue. Homeopaths also prescribes tissue salts. Tissue salts are prepared from mineral sources. Homeopathic remedies are diluted to such an extent that there can be no possible side effects from even the most toxic substances. The dilution process is known as 'potentation' Taken in this ultra diluted form, Homeopathic remedies have no side effects and are perfectly safe, non-toxic and non-addictive.

Homeopathy looks at each patient and develops a remedy or treatment plan strictly for him or her. It invokes the powers of healing inherent in individuals (our immune system) to develop a successful therapy. The more one knows about the patient, the symptoms, likes and dislikes, what makes them better or worse, it helps in developing a "symptom picture" of the patient that can lead to a successful treatment.

Homeopathy is based on the principle that substances that are poisonous in large doses can be very beneficial in small doses. Homeopathy is a form of medicine that treats the body as a whole and helps it to heal itself. It can be used for the short term (acute) illnesses and long term (chronic) illnesses. The objective is to prevent the patient from getting the illnesses again (prevention). The name homeopathy comes from the Greek word "homios" which means "like" and the word "pathos" meaning "suffering". Thus homeopathy simply means treating like with like.

 

 

Humor Therapy

 

Laughing is found to lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, increase muscle flexion, and boost immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.

Laughter is infectious. Hospitals around the country are incorporating formal and informal laughter therapy programs into their therapeutic regimens. In countries such as India, laughing clubs -- in which participants gather in the early morning for the sole purpose of laughing -- are becoming as popular as Rotary Clubs in the United States.

 

 

 

Hydrotherapy

 

Hydrotherapy is the use of water in the treatment of disease. Hydrothermal therapy additionally uses its temperature effects, as in hot baths, saunas, wraps, etc.

Hydro- and hydrothermal therapy are traditional methods of treatment that have been used for the treatment of disease and injury by many cultures, including those of ancient Rome, China, and Japan. Water therapy has been around for centuries. The ancient Greeks took therapeutic baths. Water is an important ingredient in the traditional Chinese and Native American healing systems.

A Bavarian monk, Father Sebastian Kneipp helped re-popularize the therapeutic use of water in the 19th century. There are now many dozens of methods of applying hydrotherapy, including baths, saunas, douches, wraps, and packs.

 

 

 

Imagery

 

Advocates of imagery contend that the imagination is a potent healer that has long been overlooked by practitioners of Western medicine. Imagery can relieve pain, speed healing and help the body subdue hundreds of ailments, including depression, impotence, allergies and asthma.

The power of the mind to influence the body is quite remarkable. Although it isn't always curative, imagery can be helpful in 90 percent of the problems that people bring to the attention of their primary care physicians.

 

 

 

Light Therapy

Ancient medical books are filled with explanations of the importance of getting enough light. For example, the ancient Ayurvedic physician Charaka who lived in the sixth century B.C., recommended sunlight to treat a variety of diseases

We know that lack of sunlight can result in nutritional deficiencies. Without sunlight vitamin D cannot be metabolized in the human body, which can result in rickets. Most enzymes, hormones and vitamins need light for proper functioning. Studies have shown that different lights affect different enzymatic reactions for healing purposes. For example, one of the first test a pediatrician do to a new-born baby is to check for jaundice. If found positive, they are placed under a blue light to cure the disease. So, most of us are given light therapy, without us being aware of it.

In a study reported in the American Geriatrics Society, researchers wanted to find out "the effects of low-power light therapy on pain and disability in elderly patients with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee." They have divided the patients into three groups. One group was treated with red light, one was treated with infrared light and the third group got no light therapy. Prior to the light therapy, the pain and disability was statistically similar among the three control groups. They found that pain reduction in the red and infrared groups after the treatment was more than 50%. Significant functional improvement was observed in the red and infrared-treated groups, but not in the placebo group. The experiment showed that low-power light therapy is effective in relieving pain and disability in degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee.

 

 

 

Meditation

 

 

Meditation is one of the proven alternative therapies. It can be broadly classified under the mind-body medicine.

More and more doctors are prescribing meditation as a way to lower blood pressure, improve exercise performance in people with angina, help people with asthma breathe easier, relieve insomnia and generally relax the everyday stresses of life. Meditation is a safe and simple way to balance a person's physical, emotional, and mental states. It is simple; but can benefit everybody.

The use of Meditation for healing is not new. Meditative techniques are the product of diverse cultures and peoples around the world. It has been rooted in the traditions of the world's great religions. In fact, practically all religious groups practice meditation in one form or another. The value of Meditation to alleviate suffering and promote healing has been known and practiced for thousands of years.

 

 

Mind Body Medicine

 

What happens to us when we embrace an emotional feeling is that our brain converts it into an electrical energy charge, as the fluid around the brain conducts electricity. This electrical charge then flows through and impacts our body by means of the central nervous system. We can often "feel the charge" in our body associated with the experience of emotions. As this occurs an electromagnetic field is generated around our body that attracts to us another person who has an identical electromagnetic field around their body, created by the same emotional feeling in their heart.

The underlying problem that exists when we adopt the view that we are not responsible for creating our feelings is that we are also not able to change them.

This dilemma we now experience greatly impacts the quality of our lives. Although we may externally be struggling with different situations and individuals, the emotional feelings associated with these struggles are always the same--frustration, resentment, anger, fear, etc., etc., etc. The problems in our lives make us feel as if we have fallen into quicksand, gotten stuck, and the only way we know to extricate ourselves is to struggle to get out. What we find is that the more we struggle to get out, the deeper in we sink.

This predicament is exemplified by compulsive behavior. The things we do that we desire to no longer do constitute our compulsive behavior. The characteristic of compulsive behavior is that it is reactive in nature. In other words, we do it before we are consciously aware that we have done it. Since we do not like it, we get down on ourselves for having done it again. This only serves to fuel and increase the intensity of what we did not like so that it now becomes a stronger force within us, compelling us even more to do it the next time. Then we get down on ourselves even more--feeding more energy into it so that it comes back stronger the next time… The more we struggle to get out, the deeper in we sink.

Our understanding is based upon a simple rule: there is an inverse relationship between struggling with a problem and understanding the problem. To now understand how the emotional system really works allows us to resolve our problems in much less time and with much less struggle.

 

 

 

Music Therapy

 

 

Many experts suggest that it is the rhythm of the music or the beat that has the calming effect on us although we may not be very conscious about it. They point out that when we were a baby in our mother's womb, we probably were influenced by the heart beat of our mother. We respond to the soothing music at later stages in life, perhaps associating it with the safe, relaxing, protective environment provided by our mother.

Music can be one of the most soothing or nerve wracking experiences available. Choosing what will work for any individual is difficult, most will choose something they 'like' instead of what might be beneficial. In doing extensive research on what any given piece of music produces in the physiological response system many unexpected things were found. Many of the so-called Meditation and Relaxation recordings actually produced adverse EEG patterns, just as bad as Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. The surprising thing was many selections of Celtic, Native American as well as various music containing loud drums or flute were extremely soothing.

 

 

Neuro Linguistic Programming

 

Neuro linguistic programming (NLP for short) was developed in the early 1970s by an information scientist and a linguist at the University of California at Santa Cruz. They had observed that people with similar education, training, background, and years of experience were achieving widely varying results ranging from wonderful to mediocre. They wanted to know the secrets of effective people. What makes them perform and accomplish things. They were especially interested in the possibility of being able to duplicate the behavior, and therefore the competence, of these highly effective individuals.  It was the golden era of modeling and simulation. They decided to model human excellence. They looked at factors such as education, business and therapy. They have then zeroed in on the communication aspect. They started studying how the successful people communicated (verbal language, body language, eye movements, and others). By modeling their behavior, John Grinder and Richard Bandler were able to make out patterns of thinking that assisted in the subject's success. The two theorized that the brain can learn the healthy patterns and behaviors and that this would bring about positive physical and emotional effects. What emerged from their work came to be known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

 

 

Pet Therapy

 

Research has shown that heart attack victims who have pets live longer. Even watching a tank full of tropical fish may lower blood pressure, at least temporarily. A study of 92 patients hospitalized in coronary care units for angina or heart attack found that those who owned pets were more likely to be alive a year later than those who did not. The study found that only 6 percent of patients who owned pets died within one year compared with 28 percent of those who did not own pets.

The therapeutic use of pets as companions has gained increasing attention in recent years for a wide variety of patients -people with AIDS or cancer, the elderly, and the mentally ill. Unlike people, with whom our interactions may be quite complex and unpredictable, animals provide a constant source of comfort and focus for attention. Animals bring out our nurturing instinct. They also make us feel safe and unconditionally accepted. We can just be ourselves around our pets.

 

 

 

Pilates

 

Pilates appeals to a number of people. It doesn’t matter what type of person you are or what level of training your body is at. Pilates can help you improve your body’s natural functioning as well as help boost confidence and your mental wellness.

 

The most wonderful thing you will discover about Pilates is that you don’t have to suffer through the movements to feel better. You are training your body with intelligent design and therefore you will not need to work twice as hard, as you may have to do with other work out programs.

 

Pilates was set up to create balance within your body. This will help you to realign your bones and can also help to improve your posture. Another positive feature is the lean muscles that you will form thanks to your workouts.

 

Pilates is excellent exercise for everyone no matter their shape or size. In fact, many videos and exercise clubs have created classes for people with disabilities, arthritis, general strength or weight loss issues, different strength issues, and even for pregnant or birthing mothers.

 

Prayer & Spiritual Healing

 

 

Spiritual Healing, Prayer Healing, Religious belief, faith - whatever we call it- is shown to have a profound effect on our health. Research has shown that spiritual healing can provide permanent relief from the worries and difficulties that plague us. It can bring us about a complete revolution in the consciousness and the body. It can effect enduring physical, mental, and emotional change.

 

Reiki

 

 

Reiki is a Japanese form of healing that is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. What makes Reiki unique is that it incorporates elements of just about every other alternative healing practices such as spiritual healing, auras, crystals, chakra balancing, meditation, aromatherapy, naturopathy, and homeopathy.

Reiki involves the transfer of energy from practitioner to patient to enhance the body's natural ability to heal itself through the balancing of energy. Reiki utilizes specific techniques for restoring and balancing the natural life force energy within the body. It is a holistic, natural, hands-on energy healing system that touches on all levels: body, mind, and spirit.

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese word representing universal life energy, the energy which is all around us. It is derived from rei, meaning "free passage" or "transcendental spirit" and ki, meaning "vital life force energy" or " universal life energy".

 

 

Shiatsu

 

Shiatsu is a form of Oriental Therapy evolved from a 5000 years old tradition of healing arts.

Shiatsu utilizes a combination of pressure and assisted-stretching techniques, some of which are common to other therapies, such as Massage, Physiotherapy, Acupressure, Osteopathy, Lymphatic Drainage, Do-in and others. The treatment stimulates the circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluid, releases toxins and deep seated tensions from the muscles, stimulates the hormonal system and the immune system, and acts on the autonomic nervous system, allowing the recipient to relax deeply and to get in touch with own healing power.

Some Benefits of Shiatsu include

 

Reduced stress & fatigue (tsubo) accumulated in the body

 

Increased circulation of blood and lymph

 

Reduced blood pressure and muscle stiffness

 

Increased vitality, stamina and energy (Qi)

 

 

 

Sound Therapy

 

Listening to music does wonders to alleviate stress. Please note that everyone has different tastes in music. Listen to the music that you feel comfortable. Sitting down and forcing yourself to listen to relaxation music that you don't like may create stress, not alleviate it.

Music has always been a great healer. In the Bible, we learn about how David played the harp to help ease his severe depression of King Saul . 

Music is a significant mood-changer and reliever of stress, working on many levels at once.

 

 

 

Spiritual Healing

 

Spirituality involves the recognition and acceptance of a God beyond our own intelligence and with whom we can have a relationship. This God can provide an experience of inspiration, joy, security, peace of mind, and guidance that goes beyond what is possible in the absence of the conviction that such a power exists.

Spiritual healing is when energy is transmitted to the person who needs it. The treatment works on the body, mind and spirit, which are seen as one unit that must harmonize for good health. If a separate healer is involved, the healer will place the hand on the person being treated to channel the energy from the Higher Source. The spiritual healing can help mental and emotional problems and physical conditions such as a frozen shoulder.

The channeling of healing energy from its spiritual source to someone who needs it is called spiritual healing. The channel is usually a person, whom we call a healer, and the healing energy is usually transferred to the patient through the healer's hands. The healing does not come from the healer, but through him. On the other hand, you don’t need a healer to take advantage of spiritual healing. You can pray. A full treatmnet of prayer and healing is found elsewhere.

The word "spiritual" refers to the divine nature of the energy, which healers agree comes from one external, invisible intelligent source. The healing energy from this source is available to all.

Healers see the body mind and spirit as one interdependent unit and believe all three must work in harmony to maintain positive health. Any problem - be it a broken leg or depression needs the power of healing to restore the balance of the whole person. It is felt that sickness often starts in the mind, or at the deeper level of the spirit, and it is often here that healing begins.

 

 

 

Visualization

 

Your imagination can be a powerful tool to help you combat stress, tension, and anxiety. You can use visualization to harness the energy of your imagination, and it does not take long-probably just a few weeks-to master the technique. Try to visualize two or three times a day. Most people find it easiest to do in bed in the morning and at night before falling asleep, though with practice you'll be able to visualize whenever and wherever the need arises.

Imagery has been considered a healing tool in virtually all of the world's cultures and is an integral part of many religions. Navajo Indians, for example, practice an elaborate form of imagery that encourages a person to "see" himself as healthy. Ancient Egyptians and Greeks, including Aristotle and Hippocrates believed that images release spirits in the brain that arouse the heart and other parts of the body. They also thought that a strong image of a disease is enough to cause its symptoms.

Affirmations and visualizations are used by athletes everyday. It has been suggested by experts such as Dale Carnegie, Robert Schuller and Steven Covey to elicit peak performance in induviduals. Athletes use visualization to enhance their performance, sometimes without realizing it. A golfer may form a mental map of the fairway, imagining precisely where he will place the ball on each shot; a high jumper may visualize every split second of his approach to and leap over the bar; a baseball pitcher may run a mental film of the ball from the time it leaves his hand until it lands in the catcher's glove.

 

 

 

Yoga

 

In practice, yoga is an applied science of the mind and body. It comes from the Hindu vedas (scriptures). Practice and study of it help to bring about a natural balance of body and mind in which the state of health can manifest itself. Yoga itself does not create health; rather, it creates an internal environment that allows the individual to come to his own state of dynamic balance, or health. Basically, yoga teaches that a healthy person is a harmoniously integrated unit of body, mind and spirit. Therefore, good health requires a simple, natural diet, exercise in fresh air, a serene and untroubled mind and the awareness that main's deepest and highest self is identical with the spirit of God. As a result, to many devotees, yoga becomes a philosophy that offers instruction and insight into every aspect of life: the spiritual, the mental and the physical. Of course, because it is all-encompassing, people who want to pick and choose from its smorgasbord can do so without being disappointed. Yoga is equally satisfying as a physical therapy alone.

 

 

Alternative Medicine

Classification of Alternative Systems of Medical Practice

Office of Alternative Medicine of National Institutes of Health classifies the following complementary and alternative medical health care practices:

 

Acupuncture

Anthroposophically Extended Medicine

Ayurveda

Community-Based Health Care Practices

Environmental Medicine

Homeopathic Medicine

Latin American Rural Practices

Native American Practices

Natural Products

Naturopathic Medicine

Past Life Therapy

Shamanism

Tibetan Medicine

Traditional Oriental Medicine

Bioelectromagnetic Applications

Blue Light Treatment & Artificial Lighting

Electroacupuncture

Electromagnetic Fields

Electrostimulation & Neuromagnetic Stimulation Devices

Magnetoresonance Spectroscopy

 

Diet, Nutrition, Lifestyle Changes

Changes in Lifestyle

Diet

Gerson Therapy

Macrobiotics

Megavitamins

Nutritional Supplements

 

Herbal Medicine

Echinacea (purple coneflower)

Ginger Rhizome

Ginkgo Biloba Extract

Ginseng Root

Wild Chrysanthemum Flower

Witch Hazel

Yellowdock

 

Manual Healing

Acupressure

Alexander Technique

Biofield Therapeutics

Chiropractic Medicine

Feldenkrais Method

Massage Therapy

Osteopathy

Reflexology

Rolfing

Therapeutic Touch

Trager Method

Zone Therapy

 

Mind/Body Control

Art Therapy

Biofeedback

Counseling

Dance Therapy

Guided Imagery

Humor Therapy

Hypnotherapy

Meditation

Music Therapy

Prayer Therapy

Psychotherapy

Relaxation Techniques

Support Groups

Yoga

 

Pharmacological & Biological Treatments

Anti-oxidizing Agents

Cell Treatment

Chelation Therapy

Metabolic Therapy

Oxidizing Agents (Ozone, Hydrogen Peroxide)

 

 

Some of the alternative therapies studied with grants from NIH

 

Acupuncture to treat depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, osteoarthritis, and postoperative dental pain

 

hypnosis for chronic low back pain and accelerated fracture healing

 

Ayurvedic herbals for Parkinson's disease. (Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic system based on the belief that herbals, massage, and other stress relievers help the body make its own natural drugs.)

 

Biofeedback for diabetes, low back pain, and face and mouth pain caused by jaw disorders. (Biofeedback is the conscious control of biological functions such as those of the heart and blood vessels normally controlled involuntarily.)

 

Electric currents to treat tumors

 

Imagery for asthma and breast cancer. (With imagery, patients are guided to see themselves in a different physical, emotional or spiritual state. For example, patients might be guided to imagine themselves in a state of vibrant health and the disease organisms as weak and destructible.)