Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary medicine is used to describe therapeutic techniques that are not part of conventional medicine (also called "regular," "standard," or "western" medicine). Complementary therapies are used as the name implies, a "complement" or addition to conventional medicine. Because complementary medicine can be joined or integrated with conventional medical treatment, it is also called "integrative medicine."

Complementary medicine has been proven to be safe and effective by numerous evidence based studies. Complementary medicine includes techniques such as acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, massage, tai chi, support groups, art therapy, yoga and more. Sometimes called holistic medicine, complementary medicine typically addresses the whole person’s health physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.

Alternative medicine on the other hand, is not the same as complementary medicine. Alternative medicine is used in place of or instead of conventional medicine. It is used as an alternate, so to speak, to mainstream medicine.

Life After Cancer Network does not endorse the use of CAM therapies to be used as a replacement for cancer treatment.

Life After Cancer Network does endorse these therapies after your treatment has permanently come to an end.

Oncologists focus almost entirely on treatment and not on the process of healing. When patients have finished their aggressive treatment to cure themselves from cancer, getting back to daily living and finding that new “normal” again becomes a top priority. These therapies can help any survivor get their mental, physical, social and spiritual stamina back again. Incorporating these therapies is mandatory to get the support you need to be well and stay well.

There are different categories of complementary and alternative medicine:

  • Alternative Health Systems Alternative Health systems are built upon the theory that the power of nature is the healing force. Many of these ancient healing systems pre date the conventional medical approach used in the United States today. Examples of alternative health systems that have developed in both the Western and non-Western cultures include homeopathic medicine, naturopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.
  • Mind-Body Intervention Mind-Body Intervention uses a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind's ability on bodily function. Some approaches to healing the body with the mind are meditation, guided imagery, prayer, support groups and creative outlets such as art, music, dance or writing.
  • Natural Based Therapies These biologically based therapies use a mixture of natural elements found in the environment, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and foods. What nature provides is our common ground for long term health and wellness.
  • Structural and Manipulative Therapies are based on the evidenced based fact, that structure effects function of the body and overall health. Some examples include physician based practices such as chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation. Then there are non-physician based methods such as rolfing, massage and acupressure.
  • Energy Therapy involves the use of balancing the body’s naturally occurring bio fields that surround and exist inside the human body. Energy therapists manipulate energy by applying pressure or by applying their hands through these fields. Examples of these methods include Reiki, Qi Gong and Therapeutic Touch.

 

CAM Definitions

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a method of Traditional Chinese Medicine which dates back thousands of years. The principles of this branch of Chinese medicine reveal life force, or energy, known as qi (pronounced "chee") flows through energy pathways (meridians) in the body. Two symbols, a broken line, signifying “the receptive,” and an unbroken line, to signify “the creative,” represent the two major universal life forces which denote the vital energy circulating through the pathways of the body’s meridians, or energy pathways. An imbalance of qi (too much, too little, or blocked flow) causes disease, therefore this energy needs to be balanced for the individual to achieve optimal health. Yin, represented by the broken line, and yang, represented by the solid line, is manifestations of qi, dualities which symbolize the philosophy behind all Traditional Chinese Medicine and its application. It is said that yin and yang are opposites which together create the whole, and that in the practice of TCM, yin, the dark, passive, female energy, and yang, the light, active, male energy, are regulated and brought to balance for attainment of spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. To restore balance to the qi, an acupuncturist inserts single use sterile nontoxic needles at specific points along the meridians. The needles used are very thin, about the width of a hair, and, unlike hypodermic needles, are solid and do not cut the skin. The placement of these needles allows the qi to flow freely allowing for unobstructed vital energy to flow through the body.

Alexander Technique

This method teaches the better “use of ourselves” in the way we sit, stand, walk, bend and go about our everyday living. The technique is designed to reduce the unnecessary levels of musculoskeletal tension, created by our own bad habits during everyday activities. It is an educational process conceived to optimize daily functionality, improve balance and coordination, reduce injury and promote recovery, and enhances overall performance.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a creative process, designed to help any individual explore their feelings, find closure to emotional conflicts, enhance self-awareness, manage behavior to improve outcomes, improve social skills, become more emotionally centered, foster increased self-esteem and reduce anxiety. The goal in art therapy is to improve an individual’s functioning, ultimately enhancing well-being and long-term health. Art therapy practice involves some knowledge of art forms such as painting, drawing and sculpting. Exploring these visual art forms leads to heightened awareness in areas of human psychology and development.

Aromatherapy

Tracing its origins back more than 4,000 years, aromatherapy is one of the oldest techniques of holistic healing. This healing art uses the psychological and physiological therapeutic properties of essential, or volatile, plant oils to improve the individual’s health and disposition. Aromatic essential oils and compounds are extracted from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, seeds, twigs, berries, rinds, and bulbs of plants and then diluted to be used for various purposes. The benefits of aromatherapy are derived through inhalation of the oils, which restore, relax, and rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit.

Ayurveda

Originating in the Indian subcontinent, term is a combination of two words, ayur and veda, where ayur signifies “life,” and veda, “science,” and can be loosely translated as the “science of life.” Ayurveda is based on belief in the principle that there are five primary elements in nature: space, air, fire, water, and earth. Ayurveda stresses that these five elements are not only in the environment, but within us; that is, nature’s “elements” are found in the form of matter and energy, equivalent to the body and soul; when the five elements of nature (outside) are combined with the matter and energy (inside) we become one. Inside the body, these five elements are represented by three doshas, or energy types, vata, pitta and kapha. These forces are known as tridoshas, based on the fact that we are comprised of a combination of all three. Vata directs the law of movement, the force which is expressed by nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination. Pitta is expressed through the metabolism, the conversion of food into nutrients absorbed by the body, and intracellular metabolism. The kapha dosha, including the elements of water and earth, embodies growth and protection. Cerebral spinal fluid, which protects the brain, spinal cord, and mucosal lining of the stomach, are examples of how kapha manifests in the body. In the physical world, space and air combine to form the vata dosha, fire and water constitute the pitta dosha, and earth and water comprise the kapha dosha. Ayurveda believes that each of us is a unique combination of vata, pitta, and kapha, manifestations of the greater universe where all living and non-living things are interconnected and exist in a state of balance. Diseases are said to arise when there is disharmony in us, between us, and with the universe. Ayurvedic practitioners design treatment protocols to address any imbalances that exist to help the body be more adaptable in bringing about physical, psychological, and spiritual change.

Bowen Therapy

This hands-on therapy is applied using very gentle pressure using thumbs and fingers applied to precise points of the body to perform Bowen’s unique sets of rolling-type moves which stimulate the muscles and soft tissue of the body. There is no manipulation or adjustment of hard tissue and no force is used. The experience of a treatment is subtle, gentle and relaxing. It is believed that the Bowen Technique prompts the body to reset, repair and balance itself resulting in reduced pain, improvement of function and increased energy.

BreathWork

Breath work is considered a meditative activity that involves the conscious modification of natural breathing patterns. Breath work is used in practices, such as Tai Chi, Yoga and Qigong.Breath work is used to induce relaxation, focus on the moment at hand by clearing the mind, and gain personal, psychological, and spiritual insights in the process.Under the guidance of a qualified breath work therapist, individuals can slow down, speed up or otherwise change their breathing patterns as a means of relaxing, focusing and centering themselves.

Chiropractic

The word chiropractic is derived from the Greek meaning “done by hand.” The foundation of chiropractic care lies in the principle that the body can heal itself if the skeletal system is properly aligned to allow the nervous system to function without obstruction. The brain and spinal cord regulate the functioning of all cells, tissues, and organs in the body by receiving and sending messages through the nerves. Any misalignment, or subluxation, in the vertebrae which make up the spinal column housing the spinal cord can therefore impede spinal nerve function. The term “subluxation” describes numerous signs and symptoms thought to occur as a result of such a misaligned, or dysfunctional, spinal joint segment. A vertebral subluxation complex is a dysfunctional biomechanical spinal segment, or lesion, that can alter neurological function, which, in turn, can cause neuromusculoskeletal and visceral disorders. Simply put, when spinal nerve function is blocked, the brain’s communication to all the other structures becomes blocked also; this creates a state of dis-ease by keeping the body’s “innate intelligence” from being expressed, both directly and indirectly, on normal bodily functions. Spinal manipulation is the predominate technique utilized in chiropractic treatment. Chiropractors are licensed physicians, accredited by state and national boards. Contrary to some popular belief, chiropractors do not limit themselves to symptoms arising from musculoskeletal problems, such as lower back and neck pain, and misalignments caused by sports, work, or auto accident injuries, but also take an active role in more preventative, or “family,” spinal health considerations. At times, manipulation to other osseous structures of the body, as well as physiotherapy, diet and nutrition, lifestyle changes, and exercise regimens are recommended to complement adjustments to the individual for the achievement of overall long-lasting good health.

Colon Hydrotherapy

Colon hydrotherapy is also called colon irrigation, a procedure where close to 20 to 35 gallons of warm water gently flush the colon. Sessions are performed in clean, sanitary settings, generally lasting from 30 to 45 minutes. Normally, when a session begins, the individual learns what to expect with regard to physical sensations, instrumentation, and the most comfortable position for lying on the table in order to facilitate the gentle insertion of the rectal tube. The colon is then filled and flushed with the warm water. Participants are generally advised to relax as much as possible during the procedure so that a complete and thorough irrigation is possible. Towards the end of the procedure, the rectal tube is withdrawn gently and the patient provided with instructions on how to relieve any remaining water. Breathing techniques, massage, pressure points, reflexology, and other methods may be introduced by the therapist during the procedure to aid in the removal of any toxic waste that may be present. The benefit of this therapy is that it is designed to remove wedged fecal matter, toxins, residue, and parasites allowing for thorough detoxification.

Cranio Sacral Therapy

This form of body work focuses primarily on regulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the central nervous system by using therapeutic touch to manipulate the joints of the skull. To do this, a practitioner will apply light touches to a patient's cranium, face, spine and pelvis. This technique is used to support the important relationship between the nervous system and overall health. This gentle, hands-on approach releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health. Using a soft touch, practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system to allow for a free flowing unobstructed communication within the body.

Feldenkrais Method ®

Feldenkrais facilitates self-healing through a science-based approach to movement and posture. The Method is based on a variety of principles which include physics, neurology, physiology and the martial arts, improving posture, flexibility, and coordination. Practitioners use gentle movement to encourage the brain and nervous system to develop new ways of moving and perceiving the body.

Hellerwork

The system of bodywork is recognized as one of the most gentle and effective forms of structural bodywork that combines deep tissue massage, body movement education, and ongoing dialogue between Hellerworker and client. Hellerwork looks to realign the body's structure for overall health, improve posture, and reduce physical pain and mental stress. Instruction is used to help the client become aware of how our movement habits, emotions and attitudes can affect our levels of tension and stress molding the musculoskeletal system. This therapy does not consist of just one single session to bring about any form of relief. Instead, Hellerwork is a progressive process that involves a series of sessions. The intensity and number of sessions are specifically custom-fit to the individual. In each session, the patient learns to restore and integrate balance between the body and mind. This is achieved through awareness breathing exercises, instructional movement, deep-tissue massage while being aware of conscious emotional patterns throughout the process.

Herbalism

Is the study and use of plants and sometimes seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, and flowers of plants are used to improve health, promote healing, and support prevention. Plants have the ability to manufacture a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to boost important biological functions in human physiology. Persons specializing in the therapeutic use of plants may be traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, medical herbalists, Ayurvedic practitioners, traditional herbalists, chiropractic physicians, acupuncturists, naturopathic physicians and holistic medical physicians. Herbs are safe and beneficial to the body, with relatively few—if any—side effects.

Holistic Nursing

This specialty practice draws on nursing knowledge, expertise and intuition to guide nurses in becoming therapeutic partners with people in their care. This practice recognizes the totality of a person understanding the interconnectedness of body, mind, emotion and spirit, social and cultural relationships. Holistic nursing requires a remarkable shift in consciousness and intention in that in addition to the usual compassion and knowledge, this field adds the critical techniques of massage, therapeutic touch, intuition and spirituality to their education and to their modes of treatment. In this way, medical, spiritual, and psychosocial concerns are all addressed.

Holistic Physicians

Holistic physicians are either osteopathic doctors or medical doctors with naturopathic backgrounds. In addition to their conventional medical training, training includes holistic and natural approaches to therapy, which concentrates on the prevention of disease and healing, and education in nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, psychology, and counseling. Holistic doctors spend the majority of their time advising patients about diagnoses and treatment possibilities, counseling on lifestyle, nutrition, outlook and attitude, prescribing natural remedies, and referring to other medical specialists. Holistic doctors offer a unique combination of conventional medicine and CAM therapies.

Homeopathy

Is a medical system utilizing the principal of this Latin phrase Similia similibus curentur, which translates to “let likes cure likes,” The theory is based on the premise that if a particular substance caused symptoms of disease in a healthy person, then small doses of that same substance should be able to cure similar symptoms in a sick person. Homeopathic remedies are made by a process that consists of a series of dilutions and successions, where the more diluted the substance, the greater its effectiveness. Succession is the process of shaking the liquid vigorously to enhance dilution until there is no physical trace of the substance left. Potentization is believed to occur when energy is channeled from the original substance into the final diluted remedy. In homeopathy, it is believed that the original substance leaves a kind of energy imprint which facilitates the body’s ability to heal itself.

Jin Shin Jyutsu®

Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient Japanese healing art facilitating balance in the body’s energy systems. The principal behind Jin Shin Jyutsu is when energy pathway in the body becomes blocked; it is unable to flow throughout the rest of the body. Obstruction of energy flow causes dis-harmony and disease in the body. By using specific placement of hands on the affected areas of the body, energy pathways are allowed to once again flow freely. A Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner uses both hands to “jump start” an area by holding pre-determined Safety Energy Locks (SELs) on the body. Using a simple and gentle process, the laying on of hands allows the receiver to relax so the energy can begin to flow. Energy flows down the front on exhalation and up the back on inhalation of the body. Shin Jyutsu does not involve massage, pressure, or manipulation of joints. Jin Shin Jyutsu facilitates balance by releasing energy and as a result balance is restored, and the receiver experiences physical, mental and spiritual harmony. Practitioners of Jin Shin Jyutsu do not regard this work simply as a style of bodywork, but as a way of life. Since everything in the universe, including the human body is made of energy, Jin Shin Jyustsu balances mind, body and spirit promoting health and well-being.

Massage

Considered one of the oldest forms of healing, this therapy involves pressing, stroking, kneading, and rubbing muscles tendons, ligaments and joints to alleviate pain, relax tense muscles, improve both lymphatic and vascular circulation, remove waste products from muscles, and stimulate overall energy flow. Massage has also been helpful for digestive disorders, anxiety, insomnia, paresthesia and nerve pain. Massage therapists typically use their hands and fingers for massage, but may also use when indicated their forearms, elbows and even feet.Massage is classified into two groups: Western-influenced massage techniques, such as Swedish, deep tissue, trigger point, sports, and chair massage, and Eastern-influenced massage techniques, such as Ayurveda, Shiatsu, Tui na, hot stones, and reflexology. As with other natural therapies, massage therapy directs the attention to the body’s ability to heal itself.

Medical Intuitive

This practice involves a person who has developed an expanded sense of health by the development of intuition. Their knowledge of subtle energy fields in relation to physical anatomical systems allows them to address the causes of problems. Based on their insight their origin can be traced at the physical, emotional or spiritual levels. The primary causes of a person’s symptoms are uncovered, as are any weaknesses in the energy field that could ultimately lead to physical or emotional problems. By getting to cause of physical problems, the Medical Intuitive provides the insight and tools necessary for whole-person healing. The entire health of the individual is taken into consideration, instead of just one symptom or part of the body.

Meditation

Is the practice of deep concentration where the body is consciously relaxed and the mind is calm and focused on the moment. It involves a suspension of the usual stream of thoughts in order to calm the mind and generate relaxation on physical, mental, and spiritual levels. It is often a level—or more—deeper than the one we enter for visual imagery. Meditation is about getting back to the quiet that already exists in us. Different meditative disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual practices which may emphasize different objectives—from achieving a higher state of consciousness, to greater focus, creativity, or self-awareness, or simply trying to acquire a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind. How does meditation help us in our daily lives? Since meditation is looking within, we learn to further understand ourselves, our thoughts, our dreams, and our goals. When we meditate we drive all conscious thought from the mind. The mind in this “resting state” gains in outlook, dimension and clear perspective. Meditation quickens healing, brings stability where there is fear and rockiness, and induces a calmness and clarity—all of which can result in an increased overall sense of well-being. Worldwide natural health providers recommend meditation as a means of improving wholeness and long term health.

Nutritionists

These health professionals studied the field of nutrition and may have a graduate degree (M.S. or Ph.D.). Some healthcare providers (chiropractors, osteopaths, medical doctors and naturopathic doctors) may be considered to be nutritionists if they've completed extra study in this area and they practice "clinical nutrition." These health care professionals are educated in the science of nutrients and how they are digested, absorbed, transported, metabolized, stored, and eliminated by the body. Besides studying the science of food and how it works in the body, nutritionists are interested in dietary supplements as well as how the environment affects food quality and safety. Nutritionists combine all these factors and understand its relationship to both health and disease.

Naturopathy

Naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine, is a system of health care based on the healing power of all things, nature. Naturopathy is a holistic system; meaning that naturopathic doctors (N.D.s) or naturopathic medical doctors (N.M.D.s) seeks to find the cause of disease by evaluating the mind, body and spirit of a person. Most naturopathic doctors use a variety of remedies and techniques such as nutrition, homeopathy, herbs and botanicals, colon hydrotherapy, behavior modification, and acupuncture. The 2 areas of concentration in naturopathy are supporting the body's own healing abilities, and the other is empowering people to make the necessary lifestyle changes for the best possible health outcomes. The six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine are similar to the Hippocratic Oath: to trust the body’s wisdom to heal itself; to look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause; to utilize the most natural, least invasive, and least toxic therapies; to educate the patient in health; to view the body as a whole; and to focus on overall health, wellness, and disease prevention.

Osteopathy

This distinct form of medical practice provides all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescribing drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to evaluate injury and diagnose disease. It also offers hands-on diagnosis and treatment by way of osteopathic manipulative medicine. Osteopathic physicians believe that disease is a result of an imbalanced relationship among the body’s anatomical structures, organ systems, and physiological functions. This system of healing uses today’s technology to diagnose and correct imbalances in the body’s structure, including all muscles, bones, ligaments, and organs. Correction is facilitated with a whole-person, hands-on approach. Osteopathic medicine emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health promotion and disease prevention.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a healthcare profession which provides services to individuals to develop, improve, maintain, and restore physical movement and functional ability. Physical therapists treat disorders of the muscles, bones, or joints by physical agents such as heat, water, light,electric stimulation, manual massage, and recommended exercises. Physical therapy aids in the treatment of natural aging, injury, and disease. Because physical therapy is inherently a one-on-one approach, it has been called “the science of healing and the art of caring.” Though therapists work primarily on individuals having actual musculoskeletal impairment, they also work with individuals to increase mobility or prevent loss of mobility by developing fitness and wellness programs for more active lifestyles. Physical therapists provide a natural, drugless,hands-on approach to recovery and wellness.

Pilates

This system founded by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900’s, focuses on stretching and strengthening the whole body to improve balance, muscle-strength, flexibility and posture. This method incorporates elements of yoga, martial arts and Western forms of exercise. Pilates involves both mat work and Pilate’s machines which build structural integration by focusing on core strength, increasing flexibility, coordination and postural awareness.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This technique involves slowly tensing and releasing the muscles in the body, starting from the toes and working its way to the head. Performing this method creates a conscious awareness of tension in the body and getting muscles to relax. This method was founded on the principle that since muscular tension accompanies anxiety, the reduction of anxiety can be achieved by relaxing muscular tension. It is termed progressive because it steadily flows through all major muscle groups, relaxing them one at a time, eventually leading to total muscle relaxation.

Qigong

This branch of Chinese medicine involves coordination of various breathing patterns with specific, learned postures and movements to move and distribute energy through the body. We know qi means energy; gong means “effort.” Simplified, Qigong becomes the practice of cultivating energy. The Qigong Association of America explains Qigong as “the skill of attracting vital energy with self-healing properties, combining both movement and breathing techniques.” The combination of these techniques guides the energy and supports the body’s self-healing capabilities. Both Qigong and Reiki encompass what are known as two types of energy fields: veritable and putative. Veritable energy is energy that can be measured, such as vibration, or sound, electromagnetic force, and magnetism. Putative energy fields, also called “bio fields,” are frequencies which, thus far, we have not been able to reproduce or measure.

Reflexology

This technique involves the application of pressure to areas on the feet, hands and outer ears. Reflexology is found to be therapeutic, generally relaxing and restorative. The principles behind reflexology are that these points correspond to organs and systems of the body. Advocates believe that pressure applied to these areas affects the organs and benefits the person's health. Reflexologists use foot charts as reference and guide to illustrate where to apply pressure to specific areas. When indicated, sometimes these practitioners use items, such as rubber balls, stones and sticks of wood, to assist in their work. Practitioners of reflexology include massage therapists, physical therapists and chiropractic physicians among others.

Registered Dieticians

These health care professionals are also educated in the science of nutrients and how they are digested, absorbed, transported, metabolized, stored, and eliminated by the body. They have earneda bachelor's degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. A registered dietitian is trained in planning food and nutrition programs and promotes healthy-eating habits to prevent and treat diseases. They can be found working independently, working in food service or as part of medical teams in clinics, hospitals other healthcare facilities. Dietitians can also be found teaching, doing research or focusing on public health issues.

Reiki

This Japanese technique for stress reduction, relaxation, and healing is a form of therapy administered by the “laying on of hands.” Reiki comes from a combination of two Japanese words, rei and qi. Rei means “universal;” qi, as mentioned earlier, signifies the “vital life force energy,” the basis for all life. Reiki practitioners believe that when the life force energy is low or blocked we are more likely to get sick; when it is high, we are more capable of being—and staying—healthy. This unblocked, free-flowing energy is considered the spiritually guided life-force energy in all of us. When this energy is transferred from the practitioner—in other words from the person with a strong energy field to the person with a weaker energy field—healing can occur. Reiki is performed by placing one’s hands near or on a particular part of the body of the patient. Since the person requiring healing extracts energy from the person giving it, both the giver and receiver play an active role in this transfer. The energy created balances the body and restores the patient’s natural capacity to heal. As the name suggests, Reiki allows the life force to harmonize body, mind, and soul.

Rolfing ®

Rolfing is a form of structural integration that involves a form of hands-on therapy and movement education. It generates structural and functional changes within the body that help free the body from limitations, injury and pain. Rolfer’s explain that daily activities such as injury, habitual poor posture, and repetitive movements as well as psychological attitudes and emotional conflicts cause a burden on the body’s structure, compromising long term well-being. Over time gravity compromises the integrity of the musculoskeletal system in the standing position putting stress and strain on the body. This is turn causes more energy to be used to compensate for the structural imbalances. Rolfing releases the accumulated tension in the connective tissue by the use of their hands, knuckles and the occasional elbow to discover and relieve places of muscular strain, correcting the body’s abnormal physical patterns. Because your body is better balanced after the procedure, you feel less tired due to expending much less energy struggling to compensate against gravity. This energy efficiency continues as a higher level of physical, mental and emotional vitality is experienced from these therapeutic sessions.

Sound Healing

Healing through sound is founded on the premise that all matter is vibrating at specific frequencies. Sound healers explain that this vibration is not only in the universe but within us. By coupling sound, or music, with pure intention to heal, to attune , to invoke, or transform one's consciousness, sound healers feel we have entered into a powerful realm. Sound Healing is the intentional use of sound to create an environment which becomes a catalyst for healing in the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual aspects of our being.There are a wide range of methods that utilize sound as a tool for change. Sound is commonly used for meditation and relaxation. Chanting, toning, humming, singing are some of the most powerful methods for resonating sound throughout the body. The use of sounds of nature and natural instruments, such as singing bowls and tuning forks, have specific healing frequencies and harmonics. Drumming and rhythm have been used for centuries to release stress and build a collective consciousness. With the aid of sound frequencies it is not only possible to promote healing; it is also possible to move in the direction of being whole.

Tai Chi

The central philosophy of tai chi is based on what sage Lao Tsu wrote in the Tao Te Ching: “Yield and overcome; bend and be straight. He who stands on tiptoe is not steady and he who strides cannot maintain the pace.” Tai chi can be said to be a way of embracing this dynamic duality of yin and yang. The graceful gentle movements of Tai chi are considered a moving form of yoga combined with meditation. The art has been associated with reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and enhanced mood, in the young, elderly, healthy people and those with chronic conditions. In addition, Tai Chi has been shown to improve aerobic capacity, increase energy, and build muscle strength.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Is a therapeutic intervention based on principles which have evolved over the past 4,000 years. Modes of treatment include: Acupuncture- Insertion of fine needles into acupuncture points located on meridians. Acutonics- placing tuning forks on acupuncture points located on meridians. Cupping- placing small suction cups on acupuncture points located on meridians. Shoni-shin- a specialized form of treatment for infants and children involving rhythmic stroking, rubbing, tapping, and pressing the skin to give different kinds of gentle stimulation. GuaSha- involves lubricating the skin with oil and using a smooth edged instrument to scrape the skin. Tui Na- involves a combination of massage, acupressure and other forms of body work by applying pressure to acupoints, meridians and groups of muscles or nerves to remove blockages that prevent the free flow of qi. Qigong-aligning breath, movement, and awareness subtly move energy through the body Chinese herbal medicine- Living in harmony with nature and the environment forms the basis for the use of Chinese herbs as well as the traditional Chinese approach to health. Chinese herbs, teas, formulas and herbal remedies are used to balance the internal chemistry of the body.

Therapeutic Touch

Therapists place their hands on or near a person’s body with the intention to help or heal by directing a person’s energy. The focus is on balancing the energies of the total person and stimulating the body's own natural healing ability. Therapeutic Touch is based on the following assumptions that every human being is an open energy system composed of layers of energy that are in constant interaction within itself, others, and the environment. Illness is due to an imbalance in an individual's energy field. Opening energy pathways or balancing the energy field promotes health. All of us have natural abilities to heal and enhance the healing in others.

Trager Approach ®

This method utilizes gentle, non-invasive, natural movements, to release unhealthy deep-seated physical and mental patterns at the same time facilitating deep relaxation, increasing physical mobility, and mental certainty. There are two parts to this method of healing. The first aspect is referred to as the "table work". This first part involves lying on a comfortable table, the body is supported and gently moved within its pain-free range of motion and natural rhythm. This method allows a person to experience the feeling of passive movements effortlessly and freely. As the body and mind get used to these movements, tensions disappear and new movement patterns become discovered. The other aspect of the Trager Approach, called Mentastics involves instruction in the use of self-care movements. Mentastics is taught both in private sessions and in group classes allowing the body and mind to achieve a state of balance and integration.

Visual Imagery

Can be defined as a flow of thoughts that includes sensory qualities such as smell, touch, hearing, taste, motion, and images. Visualization is synonymous to creation. It is the foundation of thoughts in your mind to accomplish something, where hidden capabilities are suddenly brought forth by the influence of the mind. Visualization helps create, build, simplify, and lay down a defined path towards attainment of an objective. These objectives can vary from person to person. For some it might be the attainment of peace of mind, while for others it might be success at work. For others it may be good health and happiness. Improving visual imagery’s inner representation creates realistic images that the body can perceive and to which the body can respond. The flow of our thoughts can be so vivid that it is almost as if we are actually seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting the images we imagine. In complementary medicine, visual imagery is best known for its direct effects on the physicality of the body. Through imagery we can elicit changes in the body in ways that are usually considered inaccessible by conscious direction. Simply put, through autosuggestion one’s subconscious mind can be trained to believe something as truth with the purpose of bringing about positive intentions. A cancer survivor can use this tool to reinforce that he/she continues to get better every day and to reinforce the idea that he/she is healthy and will continue to be healthy. The mind is a powerful tool, use it!

Yoga

The practice of yoga originated in India and is one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy. The word yoga itself originates from the Sanskrit word yuj meaning “unite” or “join.” It signifies the union of the inner soul with the universal soul, said to be the gradual ascent to the divine. Through the use of yoga methods, one can master the mind by slowing thought and restraining the senses. Yoga goes beyond the physical aspect of wellbeing to delve into the inner divine of being, attempting to achieve balance and harmony between mind and body in the same way many other complementary and alternative therapies do. To continue the quest towards self-enlightenment, yoga stresses simple techniques, including breathing exercises, postures, gentle movements, relaxation and meditation.

If you have any questions about these specialties, contact one of our Natural Health Care Providers – They’re here to help!

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