Natural Therapies Glossary
In a world filled with advanced medical treatments and prescription drugs, the allure of natural therapies remains unwavering.
Natural therapies encompass a wide spectrum of holistic approaches to health and well-being, relying on the innate healing abilities of the body and nature’s remedies. More and more individuals are opting for these therapies, drawn by their gentle yet powerful effects on both physical and mental health.
But why choose Natural Therapies, and what benefits do they offer?
1. Holistic Healing: Treating the Whole Person
Natural therapies view the individual as a complex, interconnected system of mind, body, and spirit. Unlike conventional medicine which often targets specific symptoms or ailments, natural therapies take a holistic approach. They aim to address the root causes of health issues rather than merely alleviating surface symptoms. By considering the entire person, natural therapies promote balance and harmony within the body, fostering a profound sense of well-being.
2. Minimizing Side Effects: Gentle on the Body
One of the most compelling reasons to opt for natural therapies is their gentle, non-invasive nature. Many pharmaceutical drugs and medical procedures can come with a host of side effects and risks. In contrast, natural therapies harness the healing power of nutrition, herbal remedies, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and more, minimizing the potential for adverse reactions. This makes them particularly appealing for those seeking effective treatments with fewer complications.
3. Empowering Self-Care: Taking Control of Your Health
Natural therapies encourage individuals to take an active role in their health and well-being. They promote self-care practices that empower individuals to make informed choices about their lifestyles, diets, and daily routines. This sense of empowerment can lead to greater personal accountability for one’s health and a deeper understanding of the body’s natural ability to heal.
The natural therapies glossary supplies dictionary definitions of health-related terms and words. From Acu Energetics to Yoga, all alternative health definitions are covered. If there is a natural therapy that we’ve missed please contact us and let us know!
Acu-Energetics is an energetic healing technique based upon the practical application of knowledge of the body’s energy systems. Practitioners work energetically with meridians, chakras and energetic points. It has been used to treat a range of illnesses including foot, knee and back pain, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, kidney malfunctions, menstrual problems, thyroid problems, chronic indigestion, depression, chronic fatigue and panic attacks.
Acupuncture is commonly associated with traditional Chinese medicine and involves inserting and manipulating fine needles into “acupuncture points” in the body to restore health and well-being. The definition of these points is standardised by the World Health Organisation.
Acupuncture is a system of healing that has been practised in China and other Eastern countries for thousands of years. It is used to treat people with a wide range of illnesses and its focus is on improving the overall well-being of the patient, rather than the isolated treatment of specific symptoms. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, health is dependent on the body’s motivating energy, known as Qi, moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of meridians (channels) beneath the skin. Qi consists of equal and opposite qualities -Yin and Yang, and when these become unbalanced, illness may result. By inserting fine needles into the channels of energy, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body’s own healing response and help restore its natural balance.
The Alexander Technique aims to restore balance, posture and freedom of movement. It teaches practical self-management through constructive control of habit and reaction. It is taught using both verbal and physical guidance. Students learn new ways of sitting, standing, breathing and moving that put less pressure on the body and allow for greater ease and efficiency. It is often used to assist with rehabilitation, pain management and stress relief.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils extracted from plants and herbs to treat a person’s mood or health, individual blends are prepared in a base of cold-pressed oil and applied to the body through massage, Many believe that scent has the power to transform our emotions and heal our bodies. Note: Do not use essential oils directly on the shin as they may burn.
Aromatherapy involves the use of volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being. It is a natural, non-invasive treatment system designed to affect the whole person not just the symptom or disease and to assist the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself by the correct use of essential oils. As a holistic medicine, Aromatherapy is both a preventative approach as well as an active treatment during acute and chronic stages of illness or disease.
Ayurveda roughly translates as the “knowledge of life” and is a system of medicine that originated in India. By aiming to balance the body, mind and spirit, practitioners believe Ayurveda leads to contentment and helps prevent illness. Ayurveda also treats specific health problems and its chief aim is to cleanse the body of substances that can cause disease.
Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that has been practised in India for thousands of years. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that literally translated means “science of life” or “practices of longevity.” Ayurvedic practices aim to provide food and lifestyle guidance that restore the balance and harmony of the individual, resulting in self-healing, good health and longevity.
Bowen Therapy is a remedial body technique that comprises sequences of small gentle movements, each at a specific site on the body. There is no forceful manipulation, just a light cross-fibre maneuvering of a muscle, tendon or ligament. It aims to empower the body’s own healing resources to achieve balance and harmony and result in lasting relief from pain and discomfort. It is used to treat a wide range of conditions from sports injuries to chronic or organic complaints.
Eastern cultures have explored the power of breath and its effect on the body’s energy, known as ‘chi’ or ‘prana’, extensively. Breath is a major source of energy supply to the body. Breathwork involves achieving change through the use of a special breathing technique known as ‘Connected Breathing’. During Connected Breathing the breath is guided back to its natural state: relaxed, rhythmic, flowing, and open. This promotes the ‘whole body’ integration of the physical, mental, and emotional states of being. Dysfunctional breathing habits tend to be associated with internal stress and disharmony leading to confusion, tiredness, illness, and poor results in life generally.
chiropractic diagnoses and treats mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the spine. It is based on the idea that spinal misalignment can interfere with the nervous system and result in ill health. Some practitioners use other holistic treatments along with spinal readjustment.
Chiropractic is based on the belief that the body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. These functions are controlled by the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body. The skull protects the delicate tissues of the brain. The moving bones of the spine protect the vulnerable communication pathways of the spinal cord and nerve roots. If the nervous system is impaired, it can cause malfunction of the tissue and organs throughout the body. Chiropractic is the science of locating offending spinal structures, the art of reducing their impact on the nervous system, and a philosophy of natural health care based on the body’s inborn potential to be healthy.
Counseling takes place when a counsellor sees a client in a private and confidential setting to explore a difficulty the client is having, distress they may be experiencing dissatisfaction with their life, or loss of a sense of direction and purpose. By listening attentively and patiently the counselor can begin to perceive the difficulties from the client’s point of view and can help them to see things more clearly, possibly from a different perspective. Counselling is a way of enabling choice or change or reducing confusion. It does not involve giving advice or directing a client to take a particular course of action. Counsellors do not judge or exploit their clients. In the counselling sessions, the client can explore various aspects of their life and feelings, talking about them freely and openly in a way that is rarely possible with friends or family. The counselor will encourage the expression of feelings and as a result of their training will be able to accept and reflect the client’s problems without becoming burdened by them.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST)
Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system – comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. It is used to treat a range of illnesses including; migraines, chronic neck and back pain, autism, colic, spinal cord injuries, learning disabilities, chronic fatigue, stress and emotional difficulties.
Feldenkrais teaches easier options for movement through gentle exercises. It can improve coordination and flexibility. Dancers are often attracted to it, as are those who want to reduce their pain. Advocates claim that improving a person’s ability to move can improve their overall well-being.
Flower essences are dilute extracts of various types of flowers and plants that are used to treat animals and people. They are similar to homeopathic remedies in that they are diluted and potentised to make them more effective than just using the original flower as an herbal extract. The flower remedies act to balance disharmony in the emotional and spiritual body and bring about gentle healing by bringing the body back in balance with itself.
Herbal Medicine, sometimes referred to as Herbalism or Botanical Medicine, is the use of herbs for their therapeutic or medicinal value. A herb is a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, aromatic or savoury qualities. Herb plants produce and contain a variety of chemical substances that act upon the body. Herbs or herbal remedies are used to maintain health and to prevent, alleviate, or cure disease. Herbal medicine is the oldest form of healthcare known to mankind. Herbs have been used by all cultures throughout history.
Holistic counselling helps you look at all aspects of self and helps you to find the cause of current presenting issues, using tools such as inner child healing, visualisation and meditation, intuitive art, Reiki (and many others). It is about helping you to connect to your intuition and helps you to begin to know who you are and what you want within every moment. It recognises that every person is unique and has a different way of expressing themselves, and through using different tools you begin to feel comfortable and confident expressing yourself. It is ultimately about taking responsibility for oneself and finding self-empowerment!
Homeopathy treats patients with specially prepared diluted substances that, in undiluted doses, produce similar symptoms in healthy people. Homeopaths believe this strengthens the ability of the body to heal itself. It takes into account an individual’s personality, lifestyle and hereditary factors, as well as the history of the disease.
Homeopathy is based on the principle that substances, that are poisonous in large doses, can be very beneficial in small doses. Homeopathy is a form of medicine that treats the body as a whole and helps it to heal itself. It can be used for acute and chronic illnesses. The objective is to prevent the patient from getting the illnesses again. The name homeopathy comes from the Greek word “homios” which means “like” and the word “pathos” meaning “suffering”. Thus homeopathy simply means treating like with like. Homeopathy looks at each patient and develops an individualised remedy or treatment plan. It invokes the powers of healing inherent in individuals (the immune system) to develop a successful therapy. The more that is known about the patient, the symptoms, likes and dislikes, and what makes them better or worse, helps in developing a “symptom picture”, which can lead to a successful treatment. Homeopathic remedies are made from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral substances.
Hypnotherapy is used to lead people into a state where the mind and body are relaxed and nearly asleep, but awake enough to be aware. A hypnotherapist will guide you by voice, but you cannot be hypnotised if you’re unwilling. It’s used to modify behaviour such as stress and cure habits such as smoking.
Hypnotherapy is the application of hypnotic techniques in such a way as to bring about therapeutic changes. An external influence, the therapist, assists in activating the inner resources of a person in order to achieve realistic goals. It can be used to help with phobias, thoughts feelings and habits. It involves two main elements. Trance – an altered state of consciousness, where the conscious mind is less active and the subconscious mind is more dominant. This state of mind is distinguishably different from alertness or ordinary sleep and is brought on by repetitive verbal rituals, known as the induction procedure. www.ahahypnotherapy.org.au
Intuitive art is about connecting to your creativity and feeling comfortable with it. It is about enjoying your personal creative journey and letting go of judgment and criticism. Intuitive art is about the process, not the final product. It enables you to find JOY within your creativity and helps teach you how to live your life creatively.
Iridology is a non-invasive practice in which characteristics of the iris are examined for information about a person’s health. Iridologists believe they can highlight systems and organs in the body that are overactive, inflamed or distressed. These are thought to predict health problems.
Kinesiology means “the study of movement” and uses muscle monitoring to access information. It identifies the elements that inhibit the body’s natural energies and provides techniques to assist the natural healing process. It stems from chiropractic and is also based on the ancient Chinese acupuncture theory of chi energy.
Kinesiology is primarily defined as the use of muscle testing to identify imbalances in the body’s structural, chemical, emotional or other energy, to establish the body’s priority healing needs, and to evaluate energy changes brought about by a broad spectrum of both manual and non-manual therapeutic procedures. It is a system of natural health care that combines muscle monitoring with the principles of Chinese medicine to assess energy and body function, applying a range of gentle yet powerful healing techniques to improve health, well-being and vitality.
Coaching is a professional service providing clients with feedback, insights, and guidance from an outside vantage point. The profession of coaching is similar to the practice of a physician, attorney, or psychologist. The major difference is that coaching is an ongoing collaborative partnership built on taking action. People hire a coach when they are making a career transition, starting a new business, feeling dissatisfied, re-evaluating life choices, or simply looking for personal and professional breakthroughs.
Therapeutic massage is the manipulation of the soft tissue of whole body areas to bring about generalised improvements in health, such as relaxation or improved sleep, or specific physical benefits, such as relief of muscular aches and pains. It involves the systematised manipulation of soft tissues for the purpose of normalizing them. Practitioners use a variety of physical methods including applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, or causing movement to the body. Therapists primarily use their hands, but may also use their forearms, elbows, or feet. The basic goal of massage therapy is to help the body heal itself.
Meditation describes a state of deep concentration in either a solid object (such as a candle flame) or an abstract thought (such as calmness). It usually involves turning the attention inward, and many practise meditation in order to achieve peace of mind or to deal with daily stress; some seek enlightenment.
Meditation takes many forms including prayer, TM (Transcendental Meditation), mindfulness meditation, and from the Eastern tradition, Zen meditation, Buddhist meditation, and Taoist meditation. The main focus of meditation techniques is to quieten the busy mind. The intention is not to remove stimulation but rather to direct concentration to one healing element – one sound, one word, one image, or one’s breath. When the mind is “filled” with the feeling of calm and peace, it is less likely to take off on its own and worry, stress out, or get depressed. Meditation encompasses diverse methods including: Formal sitting in which the body is held immobile and the attention controlled, expressive practices in which the body is let free, and the practice of going about one’s daily round of activities mindfully.
Naturopathy is a system of healing that aims to provide whole-body health care by drawing on several traditional systems of medicine. It uses the natural healing powers of the body to cure itself. it focuses on treating the cause of a disease. It’s not an alternative to modern medicine, but is an additional therapy or alternative for some non-serious medical conditions.
Naturopathic Medicine, or Naturopathy, is a practice of preventing, assessing and treating conditions of the human mind and body. By integrating conventional health sciences with a range of natural therapies and traditional medicines, naturopathy treats the patient’s mental, emotional and physical states for a lasting effect. The foundation of Naturopathic Medicine is the philosophy of the “healing power of nature”. This means that the body has its own healing energy within and with the help of naturopathic treatment, the body can repair itself and recover from illness if it is in a healthy and supportive environment. Naturopathy helps the body to heal itself by using non-invasive treatments such as nutrition, massage and herbal medicine. Many of the basic beliefs of naturopathy, such as the importance of diet and exercise, have been adopted by conventional medicine.
Neuroskeletal Dynamics (NSD) is a method of realigning the body without manipulation.
Light pressure is placed on specific points of the body, which stimulate the nervous system and cause the body to readjust and move into its ideal alignment. NSD is gentle safe and appropriate for babies and the elderly, including people with osteoporosis or other degenerative diseases.
NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a name that encompasses three influential components involved in producing human experience: neurology, language and programming. The neurological system regulates how the body functions, language determines how individuals interface and communicate with other people and a person’s programming determines the kinds of models of the world they create. Neuro-Linguistic Programming describes the fundamental dynamics between mind (neuro) and language (linguistic) and how their interplay effects the body and behavior (programming). The basic premise of NLP is that; the words we use reflect an inner, subconscious perception of our problems. If these words and perceptions are inaccurate, as long as we continue to use them and to think of them, the underlying problem will persist. In other words, our attitudes are, in a sense, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Osteopathy emphasizes the role of the musculoskeletal system in health and disease. It’s a “whole body” system of manual therapy that uses a wide range of techniques to treat musculoskeletal problems and other functional disorders of the body. It has developed to the point where it’s now widely recognised as one of the most scientifically validated and effective “complementary” therapies.
Pilates (pronounced Pi-lah-tees) is a system of body conditioning designed to strengthen and lengthen the body’s muscles with an emphasis on reducing the incidence of back pain and injury.
Pilates was developed over 80 years ago by Joseph Pilates. It is appropriate for all ages because it tones and strengthens the muscles without impacting the joints. It improves posture and strengthens the parts of the body that age attacks, including the stomach muscles, inner thighs and upper arms. Many forms of exercise create a tightening of certain muscles while over-stretching others. Pilates is a method that aims to create a balance in the body, designed to cater for the needs of the individual.
Polarity Therapy is the detailed science of stimulating and balancing the flow of subtle energy to bring physical, emotional, mental and spiritual imbalances into equilibrium. Polarity Therapy finds out what is out of alignment, and then balances the positive, negative and neutral poles of the body. Using light and deep pressure point massage, gentle rocking and stretching, as well as nutritional advice, verbal dialogue and Polarity Yoga. Polarity Therapy has the effect of being both relaxing and at the same time recharging one’s energy. Polarity Therapy is a powerful healing technique that reduces stress, releases muscular tension, balances emotions, improves postural habits, alleviates pain and discomfort, strengthens the immune system, and prevents disease while maintaining a sense of health and well-being. (Courtesy of www.SpiritualPage.com.au/Polarity)
Psychotherapy and Counseling are professional activities that utilise interpersonal relationships to enable people to develop an understanding about themselves and to make changes in their lives. Professional Psychotherapists and Counselors work within a clearly contracted, principled relationship that enables individuals to obtain assistance in exploring and resolving issues of an interpersonal, intrapsychic, or personal nature. Professional Psychotherapy/Counseling utilises Counseling, Psychotherapeutic, and Psychological theories, and a set of advanced interpersonal skills which emphasise processes of facilitation. Such processes are based on an ethos of respect for clients, their values, their beliefs, their uniqueness and the right to self-determination.
Rebirthing Breathwork is a body-centered therapy that uses a gentle yet powerful breathing technique, to help activate and release stored stress, pain, and emotional trauma of all degrees. The process also includes identifying limiting beliefs that are formed before, during, and after birth. Rebirthing works to reverse such beliefs, helping to bring about change that may have been previously difficult to achieve. Rebirthing is a Yoga Breathing process. The client breathes fully, freely and without hindrance.
Reconnective Healing is a form of healing. It reconnects us to the fullness of the universe as it reconnects us to the fullness of our beings and of who we are. It is considered to be able to reconnect us to the universe and to our very essence not just through a new set of healing frequencies, but through possibly an entirely new bandwidth. The reality of its existence has demonstrated itself clearly in practice as well as in science laboratories.
The Reconnection is the umbrella process of reconnecting to the universe, which allows Reconnective Healing to take place. These healings and evolutionary frequencies are of a new bandwidth brought in via a spectrum of light and information. It is through The Reconnection that we are able to interact with these new levels of light and information, and it is through these new levels of light and information that we are able to reconnect. This is something new. This is different. This is real — and it can be entrained in each of us. (Courtesy of www.thereconnection.com)
Reflexology practitioners believe the foot is divided into a number of zones corresponding to zones of the body’s energy. It’s the practice of stimulating points on the feet, hands and ears to encourage good health in other parts of the body. It doesn’t seek to cure, but to balance the body’s energy.
Reflexology is based on the principle that congestion or tension in any part of the foot mirrors congestion or tension in a corresponding part of the body. These parts, known as reflex points, can also be found on the hands and other body parts, however, the most commonly treated area is the feet. Reflexology has many beneficial and lasting effects. Some treatments are gentle in nature, aiming to restore systems for better function, while others are more specific, addressing the client’s particular conditions. It is a healing process that can be safely used when it is not convenient to treat other body parts. It is a non-intrusive technique, healing indirectly. Reflexology can be a relaxing therapy that works on many levels, soothing, calming, balancing and boosting the entire body.
Reiki is a safe, non-invasive healing practice. Most reiki treatments don’t involve touching; the practitioner holds their hands a few centimetres away from the body to address the patient’s own energy. that energy is then used to restore balance to the patient’s body. Common effects of treatment include improved sleep and mood, reduced anxiety and pain relief.
Reiki is a Japanese form of healing. Reiki involves the transfer of energy from practitioner to patient to enhance the body’s natural ability to heal itself through the balancing of energy. Reiki practitioners channel energy in a particular pattern to heal and harmonise. Unlike other healing therapies based on the premise of a human energy field, Reiki seeks to restore order to the body whose vital energy has become unbalanced. In Reiki, the healer places the hands above the recipient, and the recipient draws the energy as needed.
Rolfing is a method of structural integration that frees restricted muscles and joints. It relieves feelings of stiffness and common problems with poor posture. Once good posture is achieved through correct alignment of the muscles, chronic aches and pins are reduced and sometimes disappear. People try rolfing as a way to ease pain and chronic stress.
Shiatsu is a hands-on massage therapy that originated in Japan. To differing degrees, various styles incorporate aspects of Japanese massage traditions, traditional Chinese medicine and anatomy and physiology.
Shiatsu is a form of Oriental Therapy that evolved from a 5000-year-old tradition of healing arts. Shiatsu utilises a combination of pressure and assisted-stretching techniques, some of which are common to other therapies, such as Massage, Physiotherapy, Acupressure, Osteopathy, Lymphatic Drainage, Do-in and others. The treatment stimulates the circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluid, releases toxins and deep-seated tensions from the muscles, stimulates the hormonal system and the immune system, and acts on the autonomic nervous system, allowing the recipient to relax deeply and to get in touch with their own healing power.
Thought Field Therapy
Thought Field Therapy (TFT( is a technique for relieving emotional pain. A simple tapping therapy, it works on the body’s energy meridians. TFT works on the idea that traumatic experiences create ‘perturbations’, or imbalances in the body’s energy flow. Sequences of tappings (‘algorithms’) are used to access energy pathways, removing emotional distress at its source. TFT aims to release the effects of grief, sadness, fears, phobias, addictions, traumas, anger, guilt, depression, anxiety/stress, and panic attacks.
It deals with negative childhood programming and traumas that affect adult behaviours and lives.
Tomatis Listening Method
The Tomatis Listening Method uses electronically modified music to re-educate a person’s listening system, by stimulating and improving the way in which auditory information is processed and thus the way an individual listens and communicates. According to Tomatis practitioners, difficulties in processing sound to its full potential can affect brain functioning, causing problems in attention and behaviour, communication skills, coordination, energy levels, learning abilities and sensory integration. The Tomatis Listening Method involves training people to improve or enhance their ability to process sound, and to overcome weaknesses or further develop listening-related skills. Listening to the program literally exercises and tones tiny muscles in the ear and helps to build stronger multi-sensory pathways in the brain, improving the ability to process sound and enhance communication and cognitive abilities.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a range of traditional medical practices used in China, including herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage. TCM says that a healthy body has an abundant supply of “qi” or life energy. If the flow of qi through the body is blocked, disease or illness may occur.
Yoga has been in existence for more than 5,000 years. The word Yoga means “to join” or “bring together” and it brings the body, mind and spirit together into one harmonious experience. A more traditional translation is a union between the Jivatman and Paramatman, that is a union between one’s individual consciousness and the Universal Consciousness. Therefore in a traditional interpretation yoga refers to a certain state of consciousness as well as to methods that help one reach that goal or state of union with the divine.
Yoga is usually understood to mean Hatha Yoga, which contains three main elements, exercises, breathing, and meditation. The exercises or postures of Hatha Yoga essentially stretch and strengthen the body, thereby improving natural flexibility and durability. Breathing techniques gently increase breath control and help improve the health and function of both body and mind. The postures and breathing prepare the body and mind for meditation, enabling the mind to become quiet and allowing release from everyday stress. Regular practice of Yoga enhances the clarity of the mind, ensures a strong and supple body, and can help to support and maintain health and well-being.