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Alternative Health Glossary

From A to Om and Beyond: A Glossary and Directory For Your Wellness of Mind, Body, and Spirit

Acutouch Therapy
Similar to acupuncture without needles, Acutouch therapy opens up with a new middle ground between the timeless ancient philosophy of Qui and modern technology. With the correct use of Acutouch, the benefits are exceptional. It can be used in conjunction with other therapies. Acutouch can restore your body's ability to heal itself, which is a remedy on its own.

A technique originating in China that involves the stimulation of pressure points by pressing on them with fingers, elbows, palms, etc., for pain relief and healing. It works on the same theory as acupuncture but is less invasive.

A centuries-old technique that originated in China. Hair-thin needles are inserted into pressure points for pain relief and healing. The theory goes that b stimulation pressure points, acupuncture releases blocked area and equalizes life-force energy, allowing the body to solve its own pain and heal itself.

Allopathic medicine
The conventional, mainstream Western approach to health care, based on treating symptoms and isolating a specific disorder rather that treating the whole person.

Alternative Medicine
A variety of therapeutic or preventive health care practices, such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine, that do not follow generally accepted medical methods and may not have a scientific explanation for their effectiveness.

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A form of Asian bodywork therapy. According to author Carl Dubitsky, amma is the progenitor of all hand-healing therapies that assess and treat the energetic system.

The therapeutic use of essential oils, either applied to the skin or inhaled, for healing and mood alteration. Essential oils are aromatic oils distilled form plant sources such as flowers, leaves, and bark. Pure essential oils are produced by steam distillation.

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The postures or exercises of yoga, designed to help the yogi master control of the body.

The colored halo-like visual result of the vibrations that surround every material object, including people, plants, animals, trees, and inanimate objects. Aura is the energy field that envelops all matter; animate and inanimate. All matter - animate or inanimate structurally comprises of atoms. Atoms have energy vibrations. In other words, any structure, which has atoms, will most certainly have aura. Why? It is simple. Each and every atom has electrons and protons, which move continuously. The electrons and protons generate electro magnetic vibrations always. The atoms of animate matter are extremely active and more vibrant than the atoms found in inanimate matter. The aura emanating from a large piece of iron chunk may not be visible, as the energy field is not that vibrant. But, the energy fields of human beings, flora and fauna are detected easily as they are very active and the resultant aura is seen clearly. The Aura contains layers of energy fields. The energy fields of aura and the "chi", the bio-energy, and the universal life force of the 'chakra' system are all the same. In the Chakra system, the universal life force is passed on from the hand to the chakras.

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From the Sanskrit roots ayus meaning "life" and veda meaning "knowledge" or "science," Ayurveda is an ancient system of health with the purpose of maximizing human potential and defying sickness and aging through specific healing techniques including the prescription of certain foods, herbs, exercises, massages, and meditaions.

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A technique through which a person learns to control various internal processes, such as brain waves or blood pressure, by seeing them displayed on a monitor.

Calorie Counting
An awareness of the calorie content of foods is healthy, but should not be overdone. Simple calorie counting does provide a way of controlling energy intake and losing weight.

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In Hinduism and its spiritual systems of yoga and in some related eastern cultures, as well as in some segments of the New Age movement, a Chakra is thought to be an energy node in the human body.

Cheirology (Palmistry) The science, art and craft of Cheirology is a synthesis of the ancient esoteric Chinese Buddhist hand analysis system and the best of traditional western Palmistry, expressed within the psychological idiom of our age, providing both a dialogue and a touch therapy.

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(also chi or Qi ) The Chinese word for life-force energy.

Chinese medicine
Also called traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, Chinese medicine is a complex subject with many aspects including the balance of forces within the body. The branches of Chinese medicine are meditation, astrology and geomancy. Martial arts, diet, massage, acupuncture, moxiibustion (burning herb on the surface of the skin to stimulate healing), and herbal medicine.

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Creative visualization
A meditative technique in which the meditator imagines that the conditions or things he or she desires are already manifest, helping to bring those conditions into being.

Dhyana The Sanskrit word for "meditation," referring to the process of quieting the mind to free it from preconceptions, illusions, and attachments.

Essential Oil
An essential oil is a concentrated, hydrophobic liquid liquid containing volatile aromatic compounds extracted from plants. It may be produced by distillation, expression or solvent extraction. Essential oils are used in perfumery, aromatherapy, cosmetics, incense, medicine, household cleaning products, and for flavoring food and drink. They are valuable commodities in the fragrance and food industries. Essential oil is also known as volatile oil and Ethereal oil. It may also be referred to as "oil of" the raw plant material from which it was extracted, such as oil of clove.

Feng Shui
The ancient Chinese art of placement. It involves arranging interior spaces and placing houses and buildings within a landscape to best facilitate the flow of energy and ensure health, prosperity, wisdom, and other positive qualities to the inhabitants.

Folk medicine
A return to true traditional healing methods origination in different countries at a local level including the use of herbs and foods in various forms as medicine.

The treatment of disease with herbs.

Holistic medicine
Sometimes called alternative medicine or natural medicine, this type of health care involves a whole min-body approach to health emphasizing preventive medicine and often effective at relieving chronic conditions like recurrent colds, headaches, arthritis, and even cancer.

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Holotropic breathwork
A psychospiritual bodywork technique developed by Stanislav Grof, M.D., and his wife, Christina, in 1976. it combines rapid breathing with loud music, meat to invoke an alternate state of consciousness that loosens psychological barriers and frees repressed memories and emotions.

A subtle medical therapy based on the idea that "like cures like"- remedies that would cause certain symptoms are given to cure those symptoms. The British Homeopathic Library 
has a database of over 25,000 article and book references on homeopathy, free to search.

Jin Shin Jyutsu
Practiced at the Academy of Natural Healing by Isabelle Hutton, this gentle, noninvasive ancient Healing Art encourages harmonizing life energy within the body. Jin Shin Jyutsu outwardly appears to have much in common with acupressure. It makes contact with specific points on the body, with an intention of harmonizing life energy within the body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

Kundalini Yoga A mystical form of yoga centered around awakening and employing kundalini energy.Kundalini Literally meaning "she who is coiled," kundalini refers to an energy force in the body that lies inactive at the base of the spine but can be awakened. Often compared to a sleeping snake, when awakened it is said to ravel up through the chakras to the crown of the head where it can effect spiritual changes such as enlightenment, and even, according to some, physical changes in the body, such as the ability to control previously involuntary bodily function. It is the energy of self-actualization.

Kung Fu
Its original meaning is somewhat different, referring to one's expertise in any skill, not necessarily martial. Many consider wushu "martial art" a better term for Chinese martial arts, as it translates directly into martial art. There are various philosophies around the term kung fu, suggesting a deeper meaning. The following is an example of such a philosophy:For a process to truly be kung fu, the following three elements must be present:Motivation, Self-discipline, Time.

Life-force energy
Energy that animates the body and the universe, and which, when unblocked and properly directed, can help the body to heal itself. Also called chi, chI, Qi, ki, prana, pneuma, and rlun.

From the root man meaning "to think" and trai meaning "to protect or free from the bondage of the phenomenal world." It is a sacred sound or combination of sounds chanted during meditation that resonated in the body and is meant to evoke cenain energies. Sakti The dynamic creation energy released in the yogi through repetition of the mantra.

From the Indian Sanskrit word medha, which can be translated as "doing the wisdom" and from the Latin root meditari, which means to muse or ponder, meditation can refer to many different techniques meant to tone and/or relax the mind. BBC News: Meditation - Presenting results of a small-scale study about the biological effect of meditation on the brain and immune system.

The whole self. The term carries with it the connotation that mind and body are inextricably linked, and what affects, benefits, changes, or hurts one does the same for the other.

A form of meditation that was originally developed in the Buddhist traditions of Asia but is practiced today by many, from meditators in monasteries to physicians in stress-reduction clinics. Mindfulness can be defined as awareness of each moment as it occurs and a purposeful attention. Nadis
Internal channels or pathways prana uses to flow through the body and through the chakras.

Music Therapy
An established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. Music therapy improves the quality of life for persons who are well and meets the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illnesses.

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Sometimes spelled aum, this Sanskrit word is the sound of the vibration of the universe according to yogic thought, and it is said that the entire world is manifested from this one sound. It is often used in meditation to help center and clear the mind so the mind-body can become more conscious.

Ozone therapy is a form of alternative medicine. Ozone can be introduced to the body in many ways, including through water absorption, injection, transdermal application, insufflation (leaking the gas into the body). The gas is generally used at very carefully controlled levels.

Prana The Sanskrit word for the life-force energy that animates all physical matter, including the human body, and is taken into the body through the breath.

Pranayama The practice of breathing exercises designed to help master control of the breath and to infuse the body with prana.

The practice of withdrawing the senses and focusing inward. This true healing meditation (working on one's self) if practiced properly, can rid deeply rooted emotional scars. Through practice one ultimately becomes more and more optimistic about life in general no matter what theri situation. Anger, pessimism, in turn, becomes a rare emotion.

Pressure points
Points along the energy channels in the body where energy tends to pool or get blocked. Pressing, massaging, or otherwise manipulating these points can help to rejuvenate energy flows through the body, facilitating the bodys ability to balance and heal itself.

Also called chi kung, QiGong means "energy skill" and is sometimes translated as "empowerment." It is a 5,000 year-old system of health and life-force energy maintenance and also a healing art. It is the forerunner of Tai Chi and the other martial arts systems from China. QiGong typically exists in three forms: martial, medical, and spiritual.

A type of bodywork that emphasizes the manipulation of life-force energy through the chakras. The Reiki practitioner places his or her hands on the receiver over the chakras, working along the front and the back of the body.

Or, zone therapy is the practice of stimulating points on the feet, hands, or ears (termed reflex zones), in the hopes that it will have a beneficial effect on some other parts of the body, or will improve general health. The most common form is foot reflexology. The foot reflexologist applies pressure to points on a person's foot. The foot is believed by practicipants to be divided into a number of reflex zones corresponding to all parts of the body.

A massage technique originating in Japan. Shiatsu follows similar principles to western massage using the principles of anatomy and physiology. The thumbs, palms, and fingers (no knees or elbows are used in the foundation form of shiatsu therapy) are used to apply pressure to designated areas of the body.

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Tai Chi
Meaning "way of fist," Tai Chi is a martial arts system and fitness method developed from QiGong. Today, Tai Chi has evolved from its martial arts origins into a practice of movement meditation for peaceful purposes.

Both a religion and a philosophy in China which advocates following the Tao, or the way of nature (although the work Tao is translated in many different ways, including "Way of the Cosmos," "Way of Heaven," "Way," "One," or "Path"). Simplicity, unity of all things, and becoming one with the Tao are all concepts of Taoism.

Therapeutic Touch (TT)
A controversial technique in which patients are treated by practitioners who never touch them. In TT, the practitioners hands usually stay about four to six inches above the skin of the receiver, touching and manipulating the energy field, though not the body itself.

Transcendental Meditation
Also called TM, Transcendental Meditation is a mantrabased form of meditation introduced to the West by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Today, TM is the most studied form of meditation. Over 4,000 pages in over 100 scientific journals have appeared describing scientific studies on the effects of TM.

From the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning "to yoke or join together," yoga is a 5,000 year-old method of mind-body health with the goal of enlightenment. It has many "paths" or methods, including Karma Yoga which emphasizes action and service to others; Bhakti Yoga, which emphasizes love of God; Jnana Yoga, which emphasizes intellectual striving; and Raja Yoga, sometimes called the "King of Yogas," which emphasizes techniques for controlling both mind and body. These techniques include exercises, breathing and relaxation techniques, and meditation.

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