Alexander Technique is a form of posture and movement re-education. The primary aim is to teach people to move with more self-awareness, less tension, more ease, more control, rather than being bound by sheer mechanical habit. The process also aims to correct breathing habits. Although it is not a treatment for specific conditions, many different kinds of disorders may resolve in the re-educational process.
Attachment therapy is a controversial form of therapy aimed at children with alleged 'attachment disorders', usually fostered or adopted children. It is substantially based on the belief in suppressed rage due to early adverse experiences. It uses a variety of confrontational and physically coercive techniques of which the most common form is holding therapy, accompanied by parenting methods which emphasize obedience. Following implication in a number of child death and maltreatment cases in the USA, there has been a move away from coercion by some leading theorists and practitioners.
Ayurveda is a system of holistic healing that originated 5000 years in India. It means "science of life" or "knowledge of living". Therapies include herbal and mineral remedies, massage, yoga and breathing exercises. It is widely practiced in India and is becoming more popular in the West.
Bates method is related to the visual acuity. It is based on the belief that errors in visual accommodation are due to mental strain, and that vision may be improved by appropriate relaxation techniques.
Biologically based therapies is an NCCAM classification for alternative treatments that use substances found in nature and/or some other natural therapy such as Chinese food therapy or Urine therapy.
Biofeedback is a technique to learn to become aware of a normally automatic bodily function, such as heart rate, and how to control it. Biofeedback has been found to be effective for the treatment of headaches and migraines.
The Biomedical model of health is a conceptual model of illness that excludes psychological and social factors and includes only biological factors in an attempt to understand a person's illness. According to this model, health constitutes the freedom from disease, pain, or defect, thus making the normal human condition health. The model's focus on the physical processes, such as the pathology, the biochemistry and the physiology of a disease, does not take into account the role of social factors or individual subjectivity. The model also overlooks the fact that the diagnosis (that will affect treatment of the patient) is a result of negotiation between doctor and patient.
Bodywork is any therapeutic, healing, or personal development work that involves some form of touching, energetic work, or the physical manipulation of a practically oriented physical and somatic understanding of the body.
CAM is an acronym for complementary and alternative medicine, a large range of treatments and theories on the nature of health and illness, many of them unrelated, which have in common that they are not commonly employed by the conventional medical establishment.
Chelation therapy is the use of chelating agents such as EDTA to remove heavy metals from the body. While in conventional medicine, chelation therapy is used only to treat heavy metal poisoning, some alternative practitioners advocate the use of chelation therapy to treat coronary artery disease.
Colour therapy uses the different colours and their energy frequencies to correct psychological or physical imbalances. Also known as Chromotherapy.
Craniosacral therapy (or CST) is a treatment founded by John Upledger in the 1970s. A CST practitioner claims to correct positioning and motion of the cranial bones. This is in contrast to the now-debated traditional medical belief that, by adulthood, the cranial bone sutures are fused and don't have movement. CST has been criticized as pseudoscience. CST has not been shown to be effective in treating any disease  and there are a lack of studies that examine anecdotal reports of reduced headaches, tension, and stress. 
Eclectic medicine was a nineteenth-century system of medicine used in North America that treated diseases by the application of single herbal remedies to effect specific cures of certain signs and symptoms.
Energy medicine is the name of a NCCAM classification, for alternative treatments that involve the use of veritable (i.e., that which can be measured) and putative (i.e., that which have yet to be measured) energy fields.
Feldenkrais Method is an movement educational system, aiming to improve physical function, and to promote general wellbeing by increasing students' awareness of themselves and by expanding students' movement repertoire.
Grahamism, named for Sylvester Graham, recommended hard mattresses, open bedroom windows, chastity, cold showers, loose clothing, vegetarianism, pure water and vigorous exercise. Best known for inventing the graham cracker.
Heroic medicine is any medicine or method of treatment that is aggressive or daring in a dangerously ill patient. It generally includes the pre-scientific treatments of 18th-century doctors, such as bloodletting.
Hydrotherapy is the external use of hot and cold water in the medical treatment of disease, such as through the use of baths, compresses or sheet packs, and shower sprays. These applications use water as a medium for delivery of heat and cold to the body, capitalising on the thermoregulatory properties such as vasodilation and vasoconstriction to irrigate tissue, purge waste products, and speed healing.
Hypnosis is a technique that taps into a person's subconscious by inducing a light trance state. The practitioner will guide the person using visualisation, breathing and relaxation to help them overcome habits such as smoking or deal with fears, obsessions and emotional disorders.
Iridology (also known as iridodiagnosis) is an alternative medicine technique whose proponents believe that patterns, colors, and other characteristics of the iris can be examined to determine information about a patient's systemic health. Practitioners match their observations to iris charts which divide the iris into zones corresponding to specific parts of the human body.
Life extension is the study of maximizing longevity, including length and quality of life, especially in mammals. Methods include nutrition, supplements and hormone replacements, exercise, avoidance of detrimental lifestyle habits, and so forth.
Lifestyle is the particular attitudes, habits, or behaviors associated with an individual.
Lifestyle diseases are diseases that appear to increase in frequency as countries become more industrialized and people live longer.
Macrobiotics is a diet based on whole grains and cereals, and unprocessed vegetables and fruits. Refined and processed foods and most animal products are avoided. It claims to bring a balance of yin and yang within the body.
Manipulative and body-based methods is the name of a NCCAM classification, for alternative treatments that are based on manipulation and/or movement of one or more parts of the body.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a type of gentle massage which is believed by proponents to encourage the natural circulation of the lymph through the body.
The mind-body connection idea says that the causes, development, and outcomes of an illness are determined as much from the interaction of psychological and social factors as they are due to the biological factors of health. Many mind-body therapists take the definition of "mind-body connection" further and state that the root cause of illness is actually in the mind and spirit, and that for complete and permanent eradication of an illness, the cause must be addressed and cure focused there.
Mind-Body Intervention is the name of a NCCAM classification, that covers a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of moxa or mugwort, a small, spongy herb, near the body to promote healing. It has been practised throughout Asia for thousands of years.
Pilates is a system of exercise that builds muscle strength and flexibility.
Prana is a Sanskrit word which means "life force", a universal energy which is believed to flow throughout the body. In Aryuvedic medicine it is the vital energy that animates life. The poses, meditation, and breathing techniques performed in yoga are designed to enhance and balance the flow of prana.
Qi or Chi in traditional Chinese Medicine is the universal life force that flows through and permeates all life. The correct balance and flow of Qi is believed to be essential to health and well being.
Qigong is a physical movement practice within Chinese medicine, which is intended to practice the movement of Qi. Qigong is mostly taught for health maintenance purposes, but it is sometimes used for therapeutic interventions. There are hundreds of different schools, and it is also an adjunct training of many East Asian martial arts.
Reiki is a form of treatment developed by Mikao Usui in Japan around 1922. Practitioners use their hands on or above the patient in order to control, increase or open up a postulated energy, "ki", in the body. Training is usually through short courses, after which one can become certified as a "Reiki master".
Reflexology is an alternative medicine involving the application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based a system of zones and reflex areas that are claimed to reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands.
Structural Integration is an approach to improving posture, alignment and body awareness. Practitioners use bodywork to reposition tissue, as well as movement retraining for basic actions such as sitting and standing, as well as more complex actions such as yoga poses or sports. Rolfing is the most well-known brand of Structural Integration. Other forms include Hellerwork, The Guild for Structural Integration, KMI, and SOMA.
Therapeutic music is music played live at the bedside of persons who are faced with physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges, generally in the person’s home, a hospice or in a clinical setting.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a system of health care which is based on the Chinese notion of harmony and balance inside the human body as well as harmony between the body and its outside environment. TCM can include or address the following components:
Water cure (therapy) in the therapeutic sense is a course of medical treatment by hydrotherapy. In the nineteenth century, the term "Water Cure" was used synonymously with "hydropathy", which itself is the 19th century term for hydrotherapy. Conceptually, water cures include a broad range of practices – essentially any therapeutic uses of water. See Water cure (therapy) and Hydrotherapy for further discussion and links.
Wellness has been used in CAM contexts since Halbert L. Dunn began using the phrase "high level wellness" in the 1950s, based on a series of lectures at a Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, VA. Wellness is generally used to mean a healthy balance of the mind-body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being.
Yoga is a diverse and ancient East Indian practise. There are many different styles and schools of yoga. Yoga combines of breathing exercises, physical postures (asana), and meditation, that calms the nervous system and balances body, mind, and spirit. It is thought to prevent specific diseases and maladies by relaxing the body, deepening respiration and calming the mind. Yoga has been used to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve flexibility, concentration, sleep, and digestion. It has also been used as supplementary therapy for such diverse conditions as low back pain,cancer,heart disease,anxiety,insomnia, and addiction.
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