Based on the same system as acupuncture, but fingers and hands are used, instead of stimulation with needles, in order to restore the balanced flow of the body’s life energy (qi or chi, pronounced “chee”). This force moves through the body along 12 energy pathways, or meridians, which practitioners unblock and strengthen. Common styles of acupressure include Jin Shin, which gently holds at least two points at once for a minute or more, and Shiatsu, which applies firm pressure to each point for three to five seconds.
An ancient Oriental technique that stimulates the body’s ability to sustain and balance itself, based on the theory that an electromagnetic life-force (qi or chi, pronounced “chee”) is channeled in a continuous flow throughout the body via a network of ‘meridians.’ Disease is understood as an imbalance in the meridian system.
Diagnosis of an imbalance is made by “reading” the pulse, face, tongue and body energy. To correct it, a practitioner inserts acupuncture needles at specific points along the meridians to stimulate or disperse the flow of life-force. Acupuncture principles include the yin and yang polarities and the associations of the five elements of fire, earth, metal, water, and wood with bodily organs.
A system of re-educating the body and mind to support and facilitate proper posture and ease of movement. Through gentle manual guidance, accompanied by verbal directions, the Alexander teacher coaches the student to become aware of unnecessary tension and to unlearn longstanding patterns of movement. The Alexander Technique is an established method for helping to improve chronic conditions such as back, shoulder or neck pain, nervous tension, poor coordination, breathing problems and vocal strain. It is frequently used by athletes and performing artists to improve performance level.
An ancient healing art that uses the essential oils of herbs and flowers to treat emotional disorders such as stress and anxiety and a wide range of other ailments. Oils are massaged into the skin, inhaled or added to a water bath. Often used in conjunction with massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, herbology and chiropractic or other holistic treatments.
Uses the creative process of making art to improve and enhance physical, mental and emotional well-being and to deepen self-awareness. The therapist makes a diagnosis and determines treatment plans by encouraging a client to express his or her feelings and unconscious thoughts through the nonverbal creative process and by observing the forms and content created.
A system of traditions and beliefs that holds that the relative positions of celestial bodies either directly influence life on Earth or correspond to events experienced on a human scale. Modern astrologers define astrology as a symbolic language, art form and type of divination that can provide information about personality and human affairs, aid in the interpretation of past and present events, and predict the future.
The oldest medical system known to man and a comprehensive spiritual teaching practiced in India for 4,000 years. It focuses on achieving and maintaining perfect health via the balance of the elements air, fire and water (illness is considered an excess of any element). A patient’s body type, determined according to ayurvedic principles, is the basis for individualized dietary regimens and other preventive therapeutic interventions. Ayurvedic prescriptions might include purification procedures for the restoration of biological rhythms; experience of expanded consciousness through meditation; nutritional counseling; stress reduction; enhancing neuromuscular conditions; and behavioral modification.
The therapeutic application of honeybee venom, through live bee stings, to bring relief and healing for various spinal, neural, joint or musculoskeletal ailments.
A psychotherapy that works through the body to engage the emotions. Performing specified postures and exercises causes the release of layers of chronic muscular tension and defensiveness, termed “body armor.” The unlocking of feelings creates the opportunity for understanding and integrating them.
A relaxation technique that monitors internal body states and is used especially for stress-related conditions such as asthma, migraines, insomnia and high blood pressure. During biofeedback, patients monitor minute metabolic changes (e.g., temperature, heart rate and muscle tension), with the aid of sensitive machines. By consciously thinking, visualizing, moving, relaxing, etc., they learn which activities produce desirable changes in the internal processes being monitored.
Is a simple, hands-on healing technique that can be used to address all types of health concerns. A practitioner uses the first two fingers of each hand to lightly touch specific points on the body. Over time, the combination of correct points and light touch seems to enhance the body’s natural healing ability. Bio-Touch is easy to learn, is a complement to any healthcare program, has no levels of ability, authority or hierarchy and requires no special preparation, state of mind, religious belief, philosophy, or talent in order to achieve the desired results.
Developed by chiropractor/acupuncturist Dr. John Veltheim, BodyTalk is based upon bio-energetic psychology, dynamic systems theory, Chinese medicine and applied kinesiology. By integrating a series of tapping, breathing and focusing techniques, BodyTalk helps the body synchronize and balance its systems and strengthens the body’s innate knowledge of self-repair. BodyTalk is used to address a range of health challenges, including fibromyalgia, infections, parasites, chronic fatigue, allergies, addictions and cellular damage. Practitioners are usually licensed massage therapists (LMT) or bodyworkers.
Massage and the physical practices of yoga are perhaps the best-known types of bodywork; both have proven successful in relieving tension and stress, promoting blood flow, loosening stiff muscles and stimulating the organs. Massage therapies encompass countless techniques, including Swedish massage, shiatsu and Rolfing. The same is true for yoga.
Other types of bodywork include martial arts practices like aikido, ki aikido and Tai chi chuan. Some others are the Alexander technique, Aston patterning, Bowen, Breema bodywork, Feldenkrais method, Hellerwork, polarity therapy, Rosen method, Rubenfeld synergy and Trager.
Finding bodywork that improves mental and physical health is a highly individual process. Several types may be combined for the greatest benefit.
A safe, painless, nonsurgical medical procedure that improves metabolic and circulatory function by removing undesirable heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and copper from the body. A series of intravenous injections of the synthetic amino acid EDTA are administered, usually in an osteopathic or medical doctor’s office. The EDTA blocks excess free radical production, protecting tissues and organs from further damage. Over time, injections may halt the progress of the underlying condition that triggers the development of various degenerative conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and cancer.
More recently, chelation therapy also has been used to reverse symptoms of atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by removing obstructive plaque built up in the circulatory system.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the world’s oldest and most complete systems of holistic health care. It combines the use of medicinal herbs, acupuncture, food therapy, massage and therapeutic exercise, along with the recognition that wellness in mind, body and emotions depends on the harmonious flow of life-force energy (qi or chi, pronounced “chee”).
Based on the premise that proper structural alignment permits free flow of nerve activity in the body. When spinal vertebrae are out of alignment, they put pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves radiating from it, potentially leading to diminished function and illness. Misalignment can be caused by physical trauma, poor posture and stress. The chiropractor seeks to analyze and correct these misalignments through spinal manipulation or adjustment. (Also see Network Chiropractic.)
An internal bath that washes away old toxic waste accumulated along the walls of the colon. It is administered with pressurized water by a professional using special equipment. One colonic irrigation is the equivalent of approximately four to six enemas and cleans out matter that collects in the pockets and kinks of the colon. The treatment is used as both a corrective process and for prevention of disease. Colonics are used for ailments such as constipation, psoriasis, acne, allergies, headaches and the common cold.
Color therapists believe that the vibrations of color waves can directly affect body cells and organs. Thus, different hues can treat illnesses and improve physical, emotional and spiritual health. Many practitioners also claim that the body emits an ‘aura,’ or energy field, with colors reflecting a person’s state of health. Color therapists apply colored lights or apply color mentally, through suggestion, to restore the body’s physical and psychic health.
Colorpuncture combines the insights of light physics with the knowledge of the meridian points emphasized in Chinese acupuncture. The noninvasive technique is used to clear blockages in the meridians and restore healthy energy flow. Kirlian photographs track improvements.
Another related sensory healing technique is light therapy, which attempts to restore well-being and can be successful in treating the depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
These terms encompass a broad range of practitioners, from career counselors, who offer advice and information, to psychotherapists, who treat depression, stress, addiction and emotional issues. Formats can vary from individual counseling to group therapy. In addition to verbal counseling techniques, some holistic therapists may use bodywork, ritual, energy healing and other alternative modalities as part of their practice.
A manual therapeutic procedure to remedy distortions in the structure and function of the craniosacral mechanism—the brain and spinal cord, the bones of the skull, the sacrum and interconnected membranes. Craniosacral work is based upon two major premises: that the bones of the skull can be manipulated, because they never completely fuse; and that the pulse of the cerebrospinal fluid can be balanced by a practitioner trained to detect variations in that pulse. CST is used to treat chronic pain, migraine headaches, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), ear and eye problems, balance problems, learning difficulties, dyslexia and hyperactivity.
Practitioners use quartz crystals and gemstones for therapeutic and healing purposes, asserting that the substances have recognizable energy frequencies and the capacity to amplify other frequencies in the body. They also absorb and store frequencies and can essentially be programmed to help effect healing. In the ancient art of ‘laying-on of stones,’ practitioners place crystals and gemstones on various parts of the body, corresponding to its chakra points (energy centers), in order to balance energy flow.
A method of expressing thoughts and feelings through movement, developed during the 1940s. Participants, guided by trained therapists, are encouraged to move freely, sometimes to music. Dance/movement therapy can be practiced by people of all ages to promote self-esteem and gain insight into their own emotional problems, but is also used to help those with serious mental and physical disabilities. In wide use in the United States, this modality is becoming established around the world.
Based on the theory that clutter drains both physical and mental energy. Decluttering involves two components. The first focuses on releasing things (clothing, papers, furniture, objects and ideas) that no longer serve a good purpose in one’s life. The second focuses on creating a simple system of personal organization that is easy to maintain and guards against accumulating things that are neither necessary or nourishing.
Regards the mouth as a microcosm of the entire body. The oral structures and the whole body are seen as a unit. Holistic dentistry often incorporates such methods as homeopathy, biocompatibility testing and nutritional counseling. Most holistic dentists emphasize wellness and preventive care, while avoiding (and often recommending the removal of) silver-mercury fillings.
The practice of resting, cleansing and nourishing the body from the inside out. According to some holistic practitioners, accumulated toxins can drain the body of energy and make it more susceptible to disease. Detoxification techniques may include fasts, special diets, sauna sweats and colon cleansing.
A woman who supports an expectant mother through pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period. Studies indicate that support in labor has profound benefits, including shorter labor, less desire for pain medication, lower rate of Caesarian delivery and more ease in initiation of breast feeding. Fathers have reported that they were more relaxed with a doula present because they felt reassured, and therefore freer to support their mates.
A self-help procedure founded by Gary Craig that combines fingertip tapping of key acupuncture meridian points while focusing on an emotional issue or health challenge. Unresolved, or ‘stuck,’ negative emotions, caused by a disruption in the body’s energy system, are seen as major contributors to most physical pains and diseases. These can remain stagnant and trapped until released by the tapping. EFT is easy to memorize and portable, so it can be done anywhere.
The art and practice of realigning and re-attuning the body between the physical and the etheric and auric fields to assist in natural healing processes. Working directly with the energy field in and around the body, the practitioner channels and directs energy into the cells, tissues and organs of the patient’s body to effect healing on physical and nonphysical levels simultaneously. Sessions may or may not involve the physical laying on of hands.
Explores the role of dietary and environmental allergens in health and illness. Factors such as dust, mold, chemicals and certain foods may cause allergic reactions that can dramatically influence diseases, ranging from asthma and hay fever to headaches and depression.
Can be an important first step in restoring health and well-being by helping to remedy digestive problems. Plant and pancreatic enzymes are used in complementary ways to improve digestion and absorption of essential nutrients. Treatment includes enzyme supplements, coupled with a healthy diet that features whole foods.
Helps students straighten out what founder Moshe Feldenkrais calls, “kinks in the brain.” Kinks are learned movement patterns that no longer serve a constructive purpose. They may have been adopted to compensate for a physical injury or to accommodate individuality in the social world. Students unlearn unworkable movements and discover better, personalized ways to move, using mind-body principles of slowed action, breathing, awareness and thinking about their feelings.
The ancient Chinese system of arranging manmade spaces and elements to create or facilitate harmonious qi or chi (pronounced “chee”), or energy flow, by tempering or enhancing the energy where necessary. Feng shui consultants can be an asset to both personal and business spaces, either before or after the spaces are created.
Flower essences are recognized for their ability to improve well-being by eliminating negative emotions. In the 1930s, English physician Edward Bach concluded that negative emotions could lead to physical illness. His research also convinced him that flowers possessed healing properties that could be used to treat emotional problems. In the 1970s, Richard Katz completed Bach’s work and established the Flower Essence Society, which has registered some 100 essences from flowers in more than 50 countries.
A personalized medicine that focuses on primary prevention and deals with underlying causes, instead of symptoms, for serious chronic diseases. Treatments are grounded in nutrition and improved lifestyle habits and may make use of medications. The discipline uses a holistic approach to analyze and treat interdependent systems of the body and to create the dynamic balance integral to good health.
Uses positive thoughts, images and symbols to focus the mind on the workings of the body to accomplish a particular goal, desired outcome or physiological change, such as pain relief or healing of disease. This flow of thought can take many forms and involve, through the imagination, all the physical senses. Imagination is an important element of the visualization process; it helps create a mental picture of what is desired in order to transform life circumstances.
A non-invasive, relaxing and nurturing energy therapy that helps to restore physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance and support self-healing. A gentle touch is used on or near the fully-clothed client to influence the body’s inner energy centers and exterior energy fields. Healing touch is used to ease acute and chronic conditions, assist with pain management, encourage deep relaxation and accelerate wound healing.
This oldest form of medicine uses natural plants in a wide variety of forms for their therapeutic value. Herbs produce and contain various chemical substances that act upon the body to strengthen its natural functions without the negative side effects of synthetic drugs. They may be taken internally or applied externally via teas, tinctures, extracts, oils, ointments, compresses and poultices.
A self-exploration technique that combines breathing, evocative music and a specific form of bodywork to integrate one’s physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions. At workshops run by facilitators, participants try to access the four “levels” of experience that are available during breathing: sensory, biographical, perinatal and transpersonal. By accessing buried memories, individuals can relive their birth experience or traumatic life events, free up ‘stuck’ emotional viewpoints or experience a mystical state of awareness, such as connecting with the Universe.
A therapy that uses small doses of specially prepared plants and minerals to stimulate the body’s defense mechanisms and healing processes in order to cure illness. Homeopathy, taken from the Greek words homeos, meaning “similar,” and pathos, meaning “suffering,” employs the concept that “like cures like.” A remedy is individually chosen for a person based on its capacity to cause, if given in an overdose, physical and psychological symptoms similar to those the patient is experiencing.
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 at home as part of a self-care program.
A range of hypnosis techniques that allow practitioners to bypass the conscious mind and access the subconscious. The altered state that occurs under hypnosis has been compared to a state of deep meditation or transcendence, in which the innate recuperative abilities of the psyche are allowed to flow more freely. The subject can achieve greater clarity regarding his or her own wants and needs, explore other events or periods of life that require resolution, or generally develop a more positive attitude. Often used to help people lose weight or stop smoking, it is also used in the treatment of phobias, stress and as an adjunct to the treatment of illnesses.
This holistic approach combines conventional Western medicine with complementary alternative treatments, in order to simultaneously treat mind, body and spirit. Geared to the promotion of health and the prevention of illness, it neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies, without serious evaluation.
A general term for various methods of divination, such as numerology, psychic reading, and tarot reading. Individuals may consult practitioners to seek information about the future or insights into personal concerns or their personality. Numerology emphasizes the significance of numbers derived from the spelling of names, birth dates and other significant references; psychics may claim various abilities, from finding lost objects and persons to communicating with the spirits of the dead; tarot readers interpret a deck of cards containing archetypal symbols.
Analysis of the delicate structure of the iris, the colored portion of the eye, to reveal information about conditions within the body. More than 90 specific zones on each iris, for a combined total of 180-plus zones, correspond to specific areas of the body. Because body weaknesses are often noticeable in the iris long before they are discernible through blood work or other laboratory analysis, iridology can be a useful tool for preventive self-care.
A gentle, non-invasive energy-balancing art and philosophy that embodies a life of simplicity, calmness, patience and self-containment. Practitioners employ simple acupressure techniques, using their fingers and hands on a fully-clothed client to help eliminate stress, create emotional equilibrium, relieve pain and alleviate acute or chronic conditions.
The study of muscles and their movement. Applied kinesiology tests the relative strength and weakness of selected muscles to identify decreased function in body organs and systems, as well as imbalances and restrictions in the body’s energy flow. Some tests use acupuncture meridians and others analyze interrelationships among muscles, organs, the brain and the body’s energy field. Applied kinesiology is also used to check the body’s response to treatments that are being considered.
An Eastern philosophy best known in the West for its dietary principles. Macrobiotic theory posits that there is a natural order to all things. By synchronizing our eating habits with the cycles of nature, we can achieve a fuller sense of balance within ourselves and with the world around us. Although not a specific diet, it emphasizes low-fat and high-fiber foods, whole grains, vegetables, sea vegetables and seeds, all cooked in accordance with macrobiotic principles.
Electromagnetic energy and the human body have a vital and valid interrelationship, making it possible to use magnetic field therapy as an aid in diagnosing and treating physical and emotional disorders. This process is reported to relieve symptoms and may, in some cases, retard the cycle of new diseases. Magnets and electromagnetic therapy devices are now being used to eliminate pain, facilitate the healing of broken bones and counter the effects of stress.
A general term for the manipulation of soft tissue for therapeutic purposes. Massage therapy incorporates various disciplines and involves kneading, rubbing, brushing and tapping the muscles and connective tissues by hand or using mechanical devices. Its goal is to increase circulation and detoxification, in order to reduce physical and emotional stress and increase overall wellness.
The intentional directing of attention to one’s inner self. Methods and practices to achieve a meditative state are based upon various principles using the body or mind and may employ control or letting-go mechanisms. Techniques include the use of imagery, mantras and observation, and the control of breathing. Research has shown that regular meditation can contribute to psychological and physiological well-being. As a spiritual practice, meditation is used to facilitate a mystical sense of oneness with a higher power or the Universe. It can also help reduce stress and alleviate stress-related ailments, such as anxiety and high blood pressure.
A medium professes to mentally see, hear and/or sense persons or entities in a spiritual dimension, and convey messages from them to people in the physical world. Readings focus on evidential messages from recognizable personalities in the spirit world. The messages are delivered as guidance for one’s “highest good.”
A birth attendant who assists a woman through the prenatal, labor, birth and postpartum stages of pregnancy. The mother is encouraged to be involved and to feel in control of her birthing experience. Midwives are knowledgeable about normal pregnancy, labor, birth and pain relief options. They respect the process of birth as an innate and familiar process. Certified nurse-midwives are registered nurses who have received advanced training and passed a national certification exam. Nurse-midwives collaborate with physicians as needed, especially when problems arise during pregnancy. (Also see Doula.)
A non-invasive, drug free, natural modality that tests for and eliminate allergies. NAET uses a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture, acupressure, allopathy, chiropractic, kinesiology and nutritional medicine. One allergen is treated at a time.
A comprehensive and eclectic system whose philosophy is based upon working in harmony with the body’s natural healing abilities. Naturopathy incorporates a broad range of natural methods and substances aimed to promote health. Training may include the study of specific approaches, including massage, manipulation, acupuncture, acupressure, counseling, applied nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy and minor surgery plus basic obstetrics for assistance with natural childbirth.
Uses Network Spinal Analysis (NSA), a system of assessing and contributing to spinal and neural integrity, as well as health and wellness. Founded and developed by Donald Epstein. Practitioners employ gentle force to the spine to help the body eliminate mechanical tension in the neurological system. The body naturally develops strategies to dissipate stored tension/energy, thus enhancing self-regulation of tension and spinal interference. (Also see Chiropractic.)
A systematic approach to changing the limiting patterns of thought, behavior and language. Through conversation, practitioners observe the client’s language, eye movements, posture, breathing and gestures, in order to detect and help change unconscious patterns linked to the client’s emotional state.
Embracing a wide range of approaches, nutrition-based, complementary therapies and counseling seek to alleviate physical and psychological disorders through special diets and food supplements. These will be either macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins and fiber) or micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and trace elements that cannot be manufactured in the body). Nutritional therapy/counseling often uses dietary or food supplements, which can include tablets, capsules, powders or liquids.
Employs vitamins, minerals and amino acids to create nutritional content and balance in the body. Orthomolecular medicine targets a wide range of conditions, including depression, hypertension, cancer, schizophrenia and other mental and physiological disorders.
Osteopathy uses generally accepted physical, pharmacological and surgical methods of diagnosis and therapy, with a strong emphasis on body mechanics and manipulative methods to detect and correct faulty structure and function, in order to restore the body’s natural healing capacities. Doctors of Osteopathy (D.O.) are fully trained and licensed according to the same standards as medical doctors (M.D.) and receive additional extensive training in the body’s structure and functions.
Alters the body’s chemistry to help overcome disease, promote repair and improve overall function. Properly applied, oxygen may be used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including infections, circulatory problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, allergies, cancer and multiple sclerosis. The major types of oxygen therapy used to treat illness are hyperbaric oxygen and ozone. Hydrogen peroxide therapy (oral or intravenous) can be dangerous and should be avoided.
Past life and regression therapies operate on the assumption that many physical, mental and emotional challenges are extensions of unresolved problems from the past, either childhood traumas or experiences in previous lifetimes. The practitioner uses hypnosis or other altered states of consciousness and relaxation techniques to access the source of this “unfinished business,” and helps clients to analyze, integrate and release past traumas that are interfering with their current lives.
A certified fitness professional who designs fitness programs for individuals desiring one-on-one training. The goal is to provide optimal fitness results in the privacy of one’s home or at another location, such as a club or office.
A structured system of small isolated movements that demands powerful focus on feeling every nuance of muscle action while working out on floor mats or machines. Emphasizes development of the torso’s abdominal power center, or core. More gentle than conventional exercises, Pilates, like yoga, yields long, lean, flexible muscles whose gracefully balanced movements readily translate into everyday activities like walking, sitting and bending. Can help in overcoming injuries.
A rejuvenating therapy that uses injections of natural substances to stimulate collagen growth, in order to strengthen weak or damaged joints, tendons, ligaments or muscles. Often used as a natural alternative to drugs and/or surgery to treat pain syndromes, including degenerative arthritis, lower back, neck and joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, and torn ligaments and cartilage.
Qigong and Tai chi combine movement, meditation and breath regulation to enhance the flow of vital energy (qi or chi, pronounced “chee”) in the body, improve circulation and enhance immune function. Qigong traces its roots to traditional Chinese medicine. Tai chi was originally a self-defense martial art descended from qigong and employed to promote inner peace and calm.
Involves direct training of brain function. Using computer processing to capture electrical activity in the brain, an individual can reward the brain with positive feedback, changing its activity to desired, more appropriate patterns. Gradually, the brain learns and remembers how to exhibit only the good patterns.
Also known as conscious connected breathing, or vivation. Rebirthing is a means to access and release unresolved emotions. The technique uses conscious, steady, rhythmic breathing, without pausing between inhaling and exhaling. Guided by a professional rebirther, clients re-experience past memories, including birth, and let go of emotional tension stored in the body.
Uses light and dimensional frequencies that work on all levels of the body/mind to reduce stress, foster relaxation and raise the body’s healing vibration. The idea of Reconnective Healing is to reconnect the meridian or acupuncture lines on the body that have become disconnected from the larger, universal grid of meridian lines.
Operate on the assumption that many physical, mental and emotional problems are extensions of unresolved problems from the past, such as childhood traumas. The practitioner uses hypnosis, or other altered states of consciousness, and relaxation techniques to access the source of “unfinished business,” and helps clients to analyze, integrate and release past traumas that are interfering with their current lives.
A natural healing art based upon the principle that there are reflexes in the feet and hands that correspond to every part of the body. Correctly stimulating and applying pressure to the feet or hands increases circulation and promotes specifically designated bodily and muscular functions.
eans “universal life-force energy.” A method of activating and balancing the life-force (qi or chi, pronounced “chee”). Practitioners use light hand placements to channel healing energies to organs and glands or to align the body’s chakras (energy centers). Various techniques can ease emotional and mental distress, heal chronic and acute physical problems and achieve spiritual focus and clarity. Reiki can be a valuable addition to the work of chiropractors, massage therapists, nurses and others for whom the use of touch is essential and appropriate.
A hands-on technique for deep tissue manipulation of the myofascial system, which is composed of the muscles and the connective tissue, or fascia, in order to restore the body’s natural alignment and sense of integration. As the body is released from old patterns and postures, the range and freedom of physical and emotional expression increases. Rolfing can help ease pain and chronic stress, enhance neurological functioning, improve posture and restore flexibility.
An ancient healing tradition which believes that loss of power is the real source of illness and that all healing includes the spiritual dimension. Shamanic healing usually involves induction into an altered state of consciousness and journeying into the spirit world to regain personal power and to access the powers of nature and of teachers. Shamanic healing may be taken literally or employed symbolically, but in or out of its cultural context, the tradition can be both self-empowering and self-healing.
The most widely known form of acupressure, Shiatsu is a Japanese word meaning finger pressure. The technique applies varying degrees of pressure to balance the life energy that flows through specific pathways, or meridians, in the body. Used to release tension and strengthen weak areas in order to facilitate even circulation, cleanse cells and improve the function of vital organs. Shiatsu may be used to help diagnose, prevent and relieve many chronic and acute conditions that manifest on both physical and emotional levels.
Employs vocal and instrumental tones, generated internally or externally. When sounds are produced with healing intent, they can create sympathetic resonance in the physical and energy bodies. Sound healing also is used to bring discordant energy into balance and harmony.
Practiced in two forms. In one, the healer uses thought or touch to align his or her spiritual essence with that of the client. The healer works to either balance the spiritual field or shift the perceptual base of the client to create harmony between mind and body and draw the client into the active presence of Divine Spirit. In the other, the healer transforms healing energy into a vibrational frequency that the client can receive and comfortably assimilate, reminding the person’s intuitive core of its inherent healing ability.
Has emerged as a modern spiritual path of embodied consciousness, with roots in ancient Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Tantra views the ‘spiritual’ as being directly present within the ‘physical’ and respects sensory experience as a vehicle for accessing higher states of awareness. Tantric practices balance the chakras (energy centers) and can contribute to a sense of presence, intimacy and fulfillment in all aspects of living.
A recently developed practice of Tai chi/qigong-style body movements designed to be performed with a partner. It can enhance intimacy by sequentially and simultaneously focusing attention on the root, or sexual center, near the base of the spine, the heart or love center in the mid-chest region and the upper spiritual center in the head. The cycling of energy through these chakra centers encourages a blended experience of intimate presence with one’s own internal being and one’s partner.
A non-intrusive system using kinesiology (biofeedback via muscle testing) to identify and release body stressors at a cellular level, allowing the body to operate at the highest levels of efficiency possible. It may have a positive affect on conditions such as chemical imbalance, learning disorders, attention deficit disorders and alcoholism.
A diagnostic technique that uses an infrared camera to measure temperature variations on the surface of the body, producing images that reveal sites of inflammation and abnormal tissue growth. Inflammation is recognized as the earliest stage of nearly all major health challenges.
A system of movement re-education that seeks to address the mental roots of muscle tension. By gently rocking, cradling and moving the client’s fully clothed body, the practitioner encourages him or her to see that physically restrictive patterns can be changed. The Trager approach includes “mentastics,” simple, active, self-induced movements that can be done by the client during regular daily activities. Trager work has been successfully applied to a variety of neuromuscular disorders, and to the stresses and discomforts of everyday living.
The voluntary abstinence from eating meat and/or other animal products for religious, health and/or ethical reasons. Lacto-ovo vegetarians supplement their plant-based diet with dairy (lactose) products and eggs (ovo). Lacto vegetarians eat dairy products, but not eggs; ovo vegetarians include eggs, but no dairy; and vegans (pronounced vee-guns) do not eat any animal-derived products.
Practical application of the ancient Indian Vedic teachings. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj which means “union” or “to join,” and refers to the joining of man’s physical, mental and spiritual elements. The goal of good health is accomplished through a combination of techniques, including physical exercises called asanas (or postures), controlled breathing, relaxation, meditation and diet and nutrition. Although yoga is not meant to cure specific diseases or ailments directly, it has been found effective in treating many physical ailments.
The application of yoga principles, methods and techniques to empower individuals to progress towards greater health and freedom from disease, representing a first effort to integrate traditional yogic concepts and techniques with Western medical and psychological knowledge. Yoga therapy aims at the holistic treatment of various kinds of psychological or somatic dysfunctions, ranging from emotional distress to back problems.