Glossary of terms

The following is a list of alternative and complementary therapies.
Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese medicine that is recognized all over the world for its effectiveness in treating a wide variety of ailments. Acupuncture is a non-invasive, natural and holistic approach for treating many disorders and illnesses. It works to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that acupuncture stimulates the flow of energy (chi) that nourishes tissue stimulates blood flow and enhances the body’s functioning.
Biofeedback Training
Biofeedback training teaches a person how to change and control his or her body’s vital functions through the use of a biofeedback machine. Practitioners teach patients how to control and change such autonomic body functions as blood pressure, heart rate, circulations, digestion and perspiration. Users learn to monitor “feedback” using auditory or visual cues.
The term bodywork refers to a family of therapies including massage, deep tissue manipulation and movement awareness which are employed to improve the structure and functioning of the body. Bodywork in all its forms helps to reduce pain, sooth injured muscles, stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation, increase flexibility and promote deep relaxation.
Chelation Therapy
First developed as a treatment for lead poisoning, chelation therapy removes toxins and heavy metal from the bloodstream. Chelating agents administered intravenously have been proven to increase blood flow and remove arterial plaque. Chelation therapy can help reverse atherosclerosis, can prevent heart attacks and strokes, and it used as an alternative to bypass surgery and angioplasty.
Through adjustments of the spine and joints, chiropractors can influence the body’s nervous system and natural defense mechanisms in order to alleviate pain and improve general health. Re-establishing correct spinal alignment has been shown to be effective in the treatment of back problems, headaches, and other injuries and traumas.
Colon Hydrotherapy
Colon hydrotherapy cleanses the colon through gentle water infusions. A healthy colon is essential for the absorption of vital nutrients and the natural elimination of bodily waste and toxins. Colon therapy promotes normal colon function by restoring and maintaining the health of the colon.
Craniosacral Therapy
Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the function of cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. The bones of the skull are manipulated to treat a range of conditions, from headache and ear infection to stroke, spinal cord injury, and cerebral palsy. For decades various forms of cranial manipulation have been used to improve overall body functioning, and today craniosacral therapy is gaining acceptance by health professionals worldwide as a successful treatment modality.
Detoxification Therapy
Detoxification, which is the attempt to cleanse the body’s internal systems and organs by natural means, is one of the oldest known medical treatments. Historically, it was achieved simply by fasting, or deliberately abstaining from taking in food for a certain period of time. In modern times however, with the growing concern over environmental contaminants of all types, detoxification is advocated by some as a necessary means of staying healthy. Naturopaths who hold that illness can be healed by the natural processes of the body are the most vigorous supporters of detoxification, since they believe that one primary cause of disease is the accumulation of uneliminated wastes.
Environmental Medicine
Environmental medicine explores the role of dietary and environmental allergens in health and illness. Factors such as dust, molds, chemicals, and pollution may cause allergic reactions that can dramatically influence diseases ranging from asthma and hay fever to headaches and depression.
Enzyme Therapy
Enzyme therapy can be an important first step in restoring health and well-being by helping to remedy digestive problems. Plant enzymes and pancreatic enzymes are used in complementary ways to improve digestion and absorption of essential nutrients. Enzymes are particularly important for those with sluggish or absent gallbladders.
Flower Remedies
The emotions play a crucial role in the health of the physical body. Flower remedies directly address a person’s emotional state in order to help facilitate both psychological and physiological well-being. Flower remedies can effectively remove the emotional barriers to health and recovery in a safe, effective and gentle way.
Guided Imagery
Using the power of the mind to evoke a positive physical response, guided imagery can reduce stress and slow heart rate, stimulate the immune system, and reduce pain. As part of the rapidly emerging field of mind/body medicine, guided imagery is being used in various medical settings and can be very helpful in alleviating anxiety.
Herbal medicine
The use of plants to treat disease can be found in every known human culture and period of history. Extensive scientific documentation now exists concerning their use for countless health conditions. From St. John’s Wort to treat depression to new scientific research from Germany on silymarin’s effect on the liver, Western herbalism is entering a new period of intensive activity, interest and growth.
Homeopathy is a low-cost, nontoxic system of medicine used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. It is particularly effective in treating chronic illnesses that fail to respond to conventional treatment, and is also a superb method of self-care for minor conditions such as the common cold and flu.
Hydrotherapy is the use of water, ice, steam, and hot and cold temperatures to maintain and restore health. Treatments include full body immersion, steam baths, saunas, sitz baths, colonic irrigation, and the application of hot, and/or cold compresses. Hydrotherapy is effective for treating a wide range of conditions and can easily be used in the home as part of a self-care program.
Hypnotherapy is used to manage numerous medical and psychological problems. Hypnotic techniques can help a person stop smoking, overcome alcohol and substance abuse, and reduce overeating. Hypnotherapy is also effective in treating stress, sleep disorders, and mental health problems such as anxiety, fear, phobias, and depressions.
Meditation is a see and simple way to balance a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states. It is easily learned and has been used as an aid in treating stress and pain management. It has also been employed as part of an overall treatment for other conditions, including hypertension and heart disease.
Mind/Body medicine
Mind/body medicine may soon revolutionize modern health care. Recognizing the profound interconnection of mind and body, the body’s innate healing capabilities, and the role of self- responsibility in the healing process, mind/body medicine utilizes a wide range of modalities, including biofeedback, imagery, hypnotherapy and meditation.
Naturopathic Medicine
A system of medicine that blends the latest advancements in science with principles taught centuries ago, naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient’s condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment. Naturopathic Physicians cooperate with all other branches of medical science referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate. Licensed Naturopathic Physicians complete 4 years of post-graduate training and complete 2 years of supervised clinical training.
Conventional medicine has finally acknowledged the central role diet plays in a person’s health. But achieving a good diet is not as simple as it sounds. Eating the right foods no longer insures proper health due to toxins contaminating the earth’s food supply. Therefore, it is important to pay attention not only to what food to eat, but to where that food was grown or raised, and to what chemicals it might have been exposed to before it reaches the table.
Nutritional Supplements
Recent research has demonstrated that diet alone may not be sufficient to supply the nutrients necessary for wellness. While most experts agree that nutritional supplements are vital for a variety of illness, injuries and age-related problems, vitamin and mineral supplements can also help to maintain optimal physical and psychological health, and promote longevity and chronic disease prevention.
Prolotherapy or Reconstructive Therapy uses injections of natural substances to stimulate the growth of connective tissue in order to strengthen weak or damaged tendons or ligaments. As a simple, cost-effective alternative to drug and surgical treatments, reconstructive therapy is an effective treatment for degenerative arthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, and torn ligaments and cartilage.
Qigong combines movement, meditation, and breath regulation to enhance the flow of vital energy in the body, improve blood circulation, and enhance immune function. Because qigong can be used by the healthy as well as the severely ill, it is one of the most broadly applicable systems of self-care in the world. In China, it is estimated that 200 million people practice qigong everyday.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient method of health care that combines the use of medicinal herbs, acupuncture, food therapy, massage, and therapeutic exercise. The Chinese view of the body as an interrelated system of energy and physical matter permeates many different forms of alternative medicine.
Yoga is among the oldest known systems of health practiced in the world today, and research into yoga practices has had a strong impact on the fields of stress reduction, mind/body medicine, and energy medicine. The physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation practices of yoga have been proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, regulate heart rate, and even slow the aging process. 


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