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Natural Health Glossary


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July 24th, 2009, 06:27 PM
Tofu Bacon
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Below are some commonly-used terms in the world of natural health and healing

Acupressure: Type of Chinese medicine that uses direct stimulation by a therapistís fingertips, knuckles, or hands or from blunt-tipped instruments to stimulate specific points on energetic meridians and points on a patientís body.

Acupuncture: A branch of ancient Chinese medicine that treats many conditions including diseases, drug or alcohol addiction, and sinus problems by stimulation of needles to directly manipulate a network along 12 major pathways or energetic meridians, connecting specific internal organs with energetic points on the network. Acupuncture regulates, or disperses the vital life energy that animates all living organisms, and results in a correcting and rebalancing Ki to relieve pain and restore health.

Allopathic medicine: The conventional method of medicine that combats disease by using active techniques specifically against the disease.

Aromatherapy: The use of essential oils extracted from flowers, stems, leaves, roots, or fruits of a plant or tree. Benefits of treatment are achieved by absorption through massage, hydrotherapy, and inhalation.

Ayurvedic medicine: Five thousand-year-old system of holistic and preventive medicine from India that treats illness as an imbalance or stress in the awareness of the individual, along with an imbalance of the doshas. The Ayurvedic tradition employs diagnostic procedures such as reading the pulse and observing the tongue. Nutrition counseling, yoga, massage, herbal medicine, meditation, and other modalities are used to treat a broad spectrum of ailments in reaching a balanced state of inner harmony, health, and natural well-being.

Bach Flower Remedies: Are a set of 38 different herbal remedies (plus one combination remedy) made from the specially prepared, "potentized" essence of the petals and heads of flowers. Each essence is made from a particular type of flower and preserved in unflavored brandy to prevent spoilage. Bach flower remedies are non-toxic, non-addictive, and utilize the mood-altering properties of the plants to harmonize and balance emotional sensitivities. The remedies act as catalysts to alleviate the underlying causes of stress. They are related to homeopathy in terms of application, this system was developed by British physician Edward Bach (1886-1936).

Chiropractic: A system of healing that recognizes the innate healing capacities of the body and seeks, through a variety of approaches, to remove impediments to health. Training includes medical and chiropractic diagnosis, applications of physiotherapeutic modalities, exercise, rehabilitation and nutrition. Acupuncture may be used by some chiropractors. A high priority is placed on preventive health and wellness education.

Holistic medicine: Philosophical approach to health care which treats the patient as a whole person, not simply as a disease process or a collection of symptoms. Holistic health care practitioners may combine allopathic medicine with complementary therapies, taking into account the emotional, spiritual, social, nutritional, mental, environmental, and physical aspects of health and illness.

Homeopathy: Derived from the Greek word homoios (meaning similar, and pathos meaning suffering), homeopathy is an alternative medical system that treats the symptoms of a disease with minute doses of a natural substance or remedy. In larger doses, the remedy would produce the same symptoms as the disease or disorder that is being treated.

Integrative medicine: Practitioners of integrative medicine have training and interest in both conventional Western medicine and alternative and complementary therapies, bringing a variety of techniques to their practices.

Naturopathy: Integrates traditional natural therapies such as botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, and naturopathic manipulative therapy with modern scientific medical diagnostic science and standards of care. Naturopaths recognize the innate intelligence and inherent healing ability of the body; great emphasis is placed on preventive medicine techniques to their practices.

Osteopathy: A system of therapy that emphasizes normal body mechanics and manipulation to correct faulty body structures. Osteopathic physicians provide comprehensive medical care.

Reiki therapy: An Eastern touch therapy in which the practitioner systematically uses light hand placement in one of 12 positions on the recipient's body to balance and direct healing energy to those sites.

Western medicine: A term used by holistic health care practitioners to describe allopathic medicine, orthodox medicine, or the way medicine has traditionally been practiced in the United States and Europe. Pharmaceutical products and surgery are the major modalities used to combat disease.
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