[ Browse by Service Category : Specialized Treatment and Prevention : Sub-Topics of Alternative Medicine (12) ]

Acupuncture

Programs that produce regional anesthesia, eliminate or reduce pain or treat other health problems by passing long needles through the skin to specific points. The free ends of the needles are twirled or in some cases used to conduct a weak electrical current to increase stimulation at the desired point. In some cases moxibustion is used in combination with traditional acupuncture to enhance the treatment. Moxibustion involves the burning of dried herbs (mugwort) at or near specific acupuncture points or whole areas of the body. Benefits come both from the heat of the smoldering leaves and from the nature of the herb itself.

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Biofeedback

Programs that offer training that is designed to develop an individual's ability to control some of the functions of the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. After learning the technique, the person may be able to control heart rate, blood pressure and skin temperature, and relax targeted muscles to ameliorate migraine or tension headaches, cardiac arrhythmia, muscle spasms, hypertension or other conditions in which stress or tension play a significant role. The most common forms of biofeedback therapy are electromyography (EMG) biofeedback which measures muscle tension, thermal biofeedback which measures skin temperature, galvanic skin response biofeedback which measures sweat gland activity and neurofeedback or electroencephalography (EEG) which measures brain wave activity.

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CranioSacral Therapy

Programs that utilize a technique which applies manual pressure to skull and spine as a means of restoring the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. CranioSacral therapy has been used to treat chronic pain, reduced mobility, ear infections, headaches, menstrual and menopausal problems and other conditions.

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Massage Therapy

Programs that utilize any of a wide variety of techniques involving the application of methodical pressure, kneading and friction to manipulate the muscles and surrounding structures of the body to stretch and loosen muscles, increase blood and lymphatic circulation, improve mobility, reduce stiffness and pain, and facilitate general relaxation. Included are manual massage by trained professionals and the utilization of a variety of equipment including hydroneumatic devices and electric vibrators.

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Naturopathy

Programs that utilize an approach to health and healing which relies on a combination of natural treatments including dietetics; therapeutic fasting; nutritional supplements; medications of plant or animal origin; exercise; therapeutic manipulations of muscles, bones and the spine; acupuncture; homeopathic medicine; diagnostic radiology and other imaging techniques; and minor surgery. Major surgery and utilization of synthetic drugs are not employed.

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Reflexology

Programs that utilize special techniques for massaging the feet (or other parts of the body like the ears or hands) in order to induce relaxation, relieve tension and stress, and produce a general sense of well-being.

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Spiritual Healing

Programs that utilize psychic awareness, compassion, religious faith or therapeutic touch techniques, as in the laying on of hands, to strengthen vital energy and restore health.

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Traditional Indigenous Healing

Programs that offer alternative treatments that are based on Indigenous traditions about health and illness. Traditional healing is holistic in nature, comes from ancient beliefs about how individuals fit in the web of life, generally focuses on restoring harmony and connectedness to universal powers and may involve sweat lodges, talking circles, ceremonial smoking of tobacco, shamans, herbalism, animal spirits or "vision quests". The techniques by themselves are not "traditional healing". They are only steps towards becoming whole, balanced and connected.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.