Natural Health Glossary

Health Glossary terms

This OK In Health Glossary web-page contains some general information:

  • List of abbreviations
  • What are the major types of complementary and traditional medicine?
  • Are complementary medicine and medicine different from each other?
  • What is Integrative Medicine?
  • Definitions/ Glossary (What is Acupuncture?...What is Aromatherapy?...)
  • Notes and Links


List of Abbreviations

  • ND: Naturopathic Doctor (in BC, in order to practice as an ND, the doctor must have completed at least 3-years pre-medical training-most doctors complete a bachelor's degree, 4-years full-time medical training at an accredited naturopathic medical college, and the completion of provincial board exams prior to being granted license. NDs in BC are licensed and regulated by the College of Naturopathic Physicians.)
  • DC: Doctor of Chiropractic. Indicates this naturopathic doctor previously achieved a recognized degree to practice as a chiropractor.
  • DHANP: Diplomat in the Homeopathic Association of Naturopathic Physicians. An additional degree focused on classical homeopathy.
  • MSAOM: Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine. An additional degree focused on Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM.
  • RM: Registered Midwife. Indicates that this naturopathic doctor holds a valid licence as a midwife in BC. DNM Doctor of Natural Medicine
  • RMT Registered Massage Therapist CBI Certified BodyTalk Instructor
  • CBP Certified BodyTalk Practitioner BA Bachelor of Arts
  • RAC Reflexology Association of Canada
  • RHom Registered Homeopath, reg. with NUPATH ( National united proff. association of trained Homeopaths)
  • BCRPA BC Recreation and Parks Association
  • CCSRI  Diploma in Cranio-Sacral Reflexology

OK In Health is an Integrative Health & Healing website

The' IN' in OK In Health- represents the word 'Integrative' Health.


What is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine combines mainstream medical therapies and complementary / traditional medicine and medicine therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.


Are complementary and medicine different from each other?

Yes, they are different.

Complementary or traditional medicine is used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary therapy is using Healing Touch to help lessen a patient's discomfort following surgery.

Medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of a therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that has been recommended by a conventional doctor.


What are the major types of complementary and medicine?

1. Medical Systems medical systems are built upon complete systems of theory and practice. Often, these systems have evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used in the United States. Examples of medical systems that have developed in Western cultures include homeopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine. Examples of systems that have developed in non-Western cultures include traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.

2. Mind-Body Interventions Mind-body medicine uses a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms. Some techniques that were considered in the past have become mainstream (for example, patient support groups and cognitive-behavioural therapy). Other mind-body techniques are still considered, including meditation, prayer, mental healing, and therapies that use creative outlets such as art, music, or dance.

3. Biologically Based Therapies Biologically based therapies in use substances found in nature, such as herbs, foods, and vitamins. Some examples include dietary supplements, herbal products, and the use of other so-called natural but as yet scientifically unproven therapies (for example, using shark cartilage to treat cancer).

4. Manipulative and Body-Based Methods Manipulative and body-based methods are based on manipulation and/or movement of one or more parts of the body. Some examples include chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, rolfing and massage.

5. Energy Therapies Energy therapies involve the use of energy fields. They are of two types: Bio field therapies are intended to affect energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body. The existence of such fields has not yet been scientifically proven. Some forms of energy therapy manipulate bio fields by applying pressure and/or manipulating the body by placing the hands in, or through, these fields. Examples include Healing Touch, Qi gong, Reiki and therapeutic Touch. Bio electromagnetic-based therapies involve the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, magnetic fields, or alternating-current or direct-current fields.

6. Natural Healing usually refers to the use of non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical techniques to help heal the patient. When most people use the term Natural Healing, they are usually referring to physical healing techniques only.


Definitions of Health and Healing Modalities Terms

Acupuncture ("AK-yoo-pungk-cher") is a method of healing developed in China at least 2,000 years ago. Today, acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques. American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation.

Aromatherapy ("ah-roam-uh-THER-ah-py"): involves the use of essential oils (extracts or essences) from flowers, herbs, and trees to promote health and well-being.

Ayurveda ("ah-yur-VAY-dah") is a CAM medical system that has been practiced primarily in the Indian subcontinent for 5,000 years. Ayurveda includes diet and herbal remedies and emphasizes the use of body, mind, and spirit in disease prevention and treatment.

Chiropractic ("kie-roh-PRAC-tic") is a CAM medical system. It focuses on the relationship between bodily structure (primarily that of the spine) and function, and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. Chiropractors use manipulative therapy as an integral treatment tool.

Cranio-Sacral Reflexology is a complete treatment in its own right. It is non-invasive and very effective for all ages. It was devised by Dr Martine Faure Alderson an Osteopath, specializing in Cranio-Sacral Therapy and Relexology. By using the gentle techniques of Cranio-Sacral Reflexology” the practitioner is able to release the strain patterns found and support the body in its attempt to return to an ideal state of balance and function for healing to progress.

Dietary Supplements. Congress defined the term "dietary supplement" in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. A dietary supplement is a product (other than tobacco) taken by mouth that contains a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet. Dietary ingredients may include vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, and metabolites. Dietary supplements come in many forms, including extracts, concentrates, tablets, capsules, gel caps, liquids, and powders. They have special requirements for labeling. Under DSHEA, dietary supplements are considered foods, not drugs.

Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs, also called electric and magnetic fields) are invisible lines of force that surround all electrical devices. The Earth also produces EMFs; electric fields are produced when there is thunderstorm activity, and magnetic fields are believed to be produced by electric currents flowing at the Earth's core.

Energy Therapies- Energy therapies involve the use of energy fields. They are of two types:

  1. Bio field therapies are intended to affect energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body. The existence of such fields has not yet been scientifically proven. Some forms of energy therapy manipulate bio fields by applying pressure and/or manipulating the body by placing the hands in, or through, these fields. Examples include Healing Touch, qi gong, Reiki, and Therapeutic Touch.
  2. Bio electromagnetic-based therapies involve the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, magnetic fields, or alternating current or direct current fields.

Healing Touch is derived from an ancient technique called laying-on of hands. It is a bio field therapy that is an energy based approach to health and healing. It uses touch to influence the human energy system, specifically the energy field that surrounds the body, and the energy centers that control the energy flow from the energy field to the physical body. These non-invasive techniques utilize the hands to clear, energize, and balance the human and environmental energy fields thus affecting physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and healing.

Homeopathic ("home-ee-oh-PATH-ic") medicine is a CAM medical system. In homeopathic medicine, there is a belief that "like cures like," meaning that small, highly diluted quantities of medicinal substances are given to cure symptoms, when the same substances given at higher or more concentrated doses would actually cause those symptoms.

Indian Head Massage This age old system from India has been used to improve the health by stimulating the scalp with oils that are very beneficial to the body's system. Like reflexology stimulates the nerve endings of the feet, Indian scalp massage stimulates the nerves from the head area. Circulation improves, relaxation occurs and the entire body receives improved health.

Massage ("muh-SAHJ") therapists manipulate muscle and connective tissue to enhance function of those tissues and promote relaxation and well-being.

Naturopathic ("nay-chur-o-PATH-ic") medicine, or naturopathy, is a CAM medical system. Naturopathic medicine proposes that there is a healing power in the body that establishes, maintains, and restores health. Practitioners work with the patient with a goal of supporting this power, through treatments such as nutrition and lifestyle counselling, dietary supplements, medicinal plants, exercise, homeopathy, and treatments from traditional Chinese medicine.

Osteopathic ("ahs-tee-oh-PATH-ic") medicine is a form of conventional medicine that, in part, emphasizes diseases arising in the musculoskeletal system. There is an underlying belief that all of the body's systems work together, and disturbances in one system may affect function elsewhere in the body. Some osteopathic physicians practice osteopathic manipulation, a full-body system of hands-on techniques to alleviate pain, restore function, and promote health and well-being.

Qi gong ("chee-GUNG") is a component of traditional Chinese medicine that combines movement, meditation, and regulation of breathing to enhance the flow of qi (an ancient term given to what is believed to be vital energy) in the body, improve blood circulation, and enhance immune function.

Reiki ("RAY-kee") is a Japanese word representing Universal Life Energy. Reiki is based on the belief that when spiritual energy is channelled through a Reiki practitioner, the patient's spirit is healed, which in turn heals the physical body.

Reflexology is a natural, non-invasive healing art that is based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears that correspond to every part of the body. The physical image of the body is mapped onto the feet in a logical, anatomical pattern; the toes represent the head, the ball of the foot represent the chest area, the soft part of the foot corresponds to the internal organs and the heel of the foot corresponds to the pelvic region in our body.

Therapeutic Touch is derived from an ancient technique called laying-on of hands. It is based on the premise that it is the healing force of the therapist that affects the patient's recovery; healing is promoted when the body's energies are in balance; and, by passing their hands over the patient, healers can identify energy imbalances.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is the current name for an ancient system of health care from China. TCM is based on a concept of balanced qi (pronounced "chee"), or vital energy, that is believed to flow throughout the body. Qi is proposed to regulate a person's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin (negative energy) and yang (positive energy). Disease is proposed to result from the flow of qi being disrupted and yin and yang becoming imbalanced. Among the components of TCM are herbal and nutritional therapy, restorative physical exercises, meditation, acupuncture, and remedial massage.


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1Conventional medicine is medicine as practiced by holders of M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degrees and by their allied health professionals, such as physical therapists, psychologists, and registered nurses. Other terms for conventional medicine include allopathy; Western, mainstream, orthodox, and regular medicine; and biomedicine.
2 Other terms for complementary and medicine include unconventional, non-conventional, unproven, and irregular medicine or health care.
3 Some uses of dietary supplements have been incorporated into conventional medicine. For example, scientists have found that folic acid prevents certain birth defects and that a regimen of vitamins and zinc can slow the progression of an eye disease called age-related macular degeneration.

Links for more information
Health Canada
US -The National Center for Complementary and Medicine (NCCAM) is 1 of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD) is the regulating authority for natural health products (NHPs) for sale in Canada

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