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Glossary Of Terms In Complementary Medicine

ACUPUNCTURE

Fine needles are inserted into the body at meridians or energy centers. This 'unblocks' regulates the CHI energy circulating the body, which in turn, stimulates the healing process. There is a mass of Chinese research but Western science does not yet accept the principle.

AURICULAR ACUPUNCTURE

The ear has a number of meridian points and can be used to effect the whole body. There has been some research using this method of treatment for drug addiction.

BIO-ENERGETIC MEDICINE

The use of bio-energetic methods to test for hidden causes of illness as well as to treat them. It consists of measuring the body's electrical energy system using equipment in an objective fashion. It originated in 1953 with Dr. Reinhold Voll of Germany.

BACH FLOWERS

These formulae were developed by Dr Bach as an offshoot of homoeopathic medicine. The usefulness of this lies in the way the remedies can be effective treatment of mood swings and emotional conditions. The remedy for shock and other upsets is considered particularly helpful.

CHELATION THERAPY

Cardiovascular treatment which uses ethylene diamine tetra acid (EDTA) as part of a naturopathic programme to help the removal of blocked arteries.

CLINICAL NUTRITION

The use of diet as a therapy serves as the foundation of naturopathic medicine. There is an ever-increasing body of knowledge that supports the use of whole foods and nutritional supplements in the maintenance of health and treatment of disease. Nutritional therapy focuses on using nutrients like vitamins, minerals and amino acids in appropriate doses.

COLONIC HYDROTHERAPY

Warm water is pumped into the colon and the residues of fecal matter and other deposits can be cleared. The central point is that poisons and fecal matter are flushed out and replaced with beneficial bacteria. Best used in conjunction with nutritional advice.

COUNSELLING AND LIFESTYLE MODIFICATION

Counseling and lifestyle modification techniques are essential. Various treatment measures including hypnosis and guided imagery, counseling techniques, correction of underlying psychological factors, and family therapy. The extent by which consciousness can affect control over the body is remarkable. Biofeedback research, for example, has shown that individuals can learn to control brainwave activity, affect cardiovascular and respiratory functioning, reduce skin temperature, and voluntarily modify many other autonomic processes of the body.

CRANIAL OSTEOPATHY

Developed by Dr William Sutherland in the 1930's, as an extension of the ancient Chinese tuina and Osteopathic techniques. The process appears to rely on the practitioner's healing energies directed into the head and neck. Practitioners claim to feel a slight movement in the bones of the skull which skeptic's claim is not possible.

FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE

Functional Medicine is a science-based healthcare approach that assesses and treats underlying causes of illness through individually tailored therapies to restore health and improve function.

GEOPATHIC STRESS

The concept of energy patterns, which are created by the Earth, that can adversely affect the human body. Treatment is to move away from the offending energy pathways.

HERBAL MEDICINE

Herbs are used in both Eastern and Western medicine. The aim is to use all parts of the herb and particular emphasis is laid on the energetic content of the herbs and its ability to stimulate healing. Thus the method of picking the herb and the time of day can affect the potency. The whole herb has a wider healing potential than the single active agent used by the pharmaceutical industry.

HOLISM

Generally regarded as a word from HOLOS - Greek for whole. In Complementary Medicine the whole is seen as more than the sum of the parts and describes treatments which are focused on the physical, mental, emotions, vital force, Spirit and Soul.

HOMOEPOTHY

Hippocrates and Samual Hahnemann (1796) are credited with using the homoeopathic principle. This means treating the vital force to enable the body to re-energise it own repair mechanisms. The Homoeopathic remedy does not treat the presenting symptom but the body's ability to heal itself with the result that prescriptions for the same named disease will probably be different in each case.

HYPNOTHERAPY

This is not just hypnosis but a partnership between practitioner and patient which aims at defining the cause of the problem thereby helping the patient to overcome it in their own way and a time scale of their choice.

IRIDOLOGY

Diagnosis from the iris of the eye which are the exposed nerve endings which are seen as the colored area. There is little reliable research but qualified practitioners appear able to make a significant contribution to helping the patient to understand those parts of the body which need attention.

KINESIOLOGY

The use of testing muscle strength to find products which disturb the patient's well-being. Can be used to find which foods are most conducive to health and those which may cause unwanted symptoms. It is also used to find the appropriate natural medicine such as a homoeopathic remedy.

MANIPULATIVE MEDICINE

Based on massage techniques and structural manipulation. When used in the ancient Chinese way, the whole emphasis is on gentleness and encouraging the muscles to relax before attempting to help to re-align the bones. Attempting to make adjustments before this relaxation has been completed can result in considerable pain and the change may well not be permanent. In these cases, many treatments will be required which is not the case when the preliminary work is correctly completed.

NATUROPATHY

The Naturopath will have many different treatments to offer but all are based on the concept that the body will heal itself if given the right stimulus. A holistic system of healing that includes herbs, vitamins, massage, counseling as well as diet and nutrition. Naturopaths often give you an Iridological Diagnosis as part of the first consultation. Patients are treated as a whole person rather than just their symptoms.

NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING

Looks at behavioral traits and bad habits. Treatment provides the patient with verbal instructions to reverse the trends.

NUTRITIONAL THERAPY

The diet can have dramatic influences on our health and well being. If we recognize that the body chemistry of each person is different, the need for different diets is apparent.

ORTHOMOLECULAR THERAPY

Developed by Nobel Prize Winner Linus Pauling who postulated that provided one has the correct level of vitamin, mineral and nutritional input, the body can overcome disease.

OSTEOPATHY

Structure governs function is he tenet of osteopathy. Andrew Taylor Still is given credit for initiating the system at the end of the American Civil War but there is much in common with Chiropractic and the Eastern techniques of ensuring that the skeleton is in correct alignment so that nerves are not pinched.

OXYGEN THERAPY

Forms of oxygen (ozone) have been used in many contexts from water purification to a disinfectant in the bottling industry. As a treatment, it has been recognized that harmful bacteria and viruses can only live in a low oxygen environment. Treatments vary from sitting in a 'team' bath and being surrounded by ozone to treating the blood by passing ozone through it and clearing impurities. Dr Otto Warburg proved that cancer cannot live in a high oxygen environment.

PHYSICAL MEDICINE

Physical medicine refers to the use of physical measures in the treatment of disease. These include: therapeutic exercise, massage, and osteopathic joint mobilization and immobilization techniques. It includes Applied Kinesiology and Cranio-Sacral Therapy; a system of body work that believes in allowing the body to heal itself by treating structural problems like, muscle spasm, curvature of the spine and bad posture.

SWEDISH MASSAGE

Common system of massage using kneading, stroking and pummeling to achieve relaxation and increased circulation of the blood.

TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

The basis of much ancient healing wisdom which also shows a similarity to other traditional in both thought and delivery of treatment. The belief stems from the concept of Ying and Yang - Yin being about the feminine traits, quiet calm and introspection whilst Yang represents loudness, light and masculine traits. These must be balanced to achieve health and well being. Treatments include exercise and Manipulation (TUINA), Herbal medicines, Healing (QI GONG) and Acupuncture amongst others. Has much in common with other Eastern systems and is the foundation of many techniques currently used in the West. Provides a comprehensive range of treatments for problems arising from imbalances at physical, mental, emotional and spiritual parts of the consciousness.