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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Definitions of Therapeutic massage, bodywork, energy healing and alternative therapy modalities.


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Definitions of  Bodywork & Alternative Health Modality Terms

No statements in the definitions below should be considered to be medical advice or taken as advice against seeking medical treatment, but are provided purely for their educational value. In the case of  serious acute, chronic or degenerative conditions immediately seek competent medical advice from your primary health care provider
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Chakra Energy Balancing - Subtle energy centers located near the spine in the body.  A chakra is a wheel (literal Sanskrit meaning) of energy. There are 7 major chakras (energy centers); Root, Navel, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, & Crown and 72,000 nadis (energy channels) of which there are three major channels; Sushumma (carries Kundalini energy up the spine), Pingala, & Ida  (which carry solar and lunar energy respectively in a spiral around the Sushumma and chakras). The seven main chakras in our subtle system, relate to the stages of evolution and the endocrine system. Once awakened, they begin to vibrate. Physical, mental and emotional problems can be traced to an imbalance in one or several chakras. The chakras may be balanced using physical vibration, sound ( toning, tuning & music ), colors ( see Esogetic Colorpuncture ) or meditation.

Chelation Therapy - refers to several methods for detoxification of the blood and or organs.  Several natural foods such as ( walnut and walnut extract taken orally ) chelate heavy metals from the body.  Another method uses intravenous (IV) therapy to increase blood flow and decrease excessive deposits of plaques in arteries and organs such as the liver, kidneys, heart and brain. Typically a substance known as ETDA is used chelate the blood intraveneously.

Chi Nei Tsang - an internal organ massage technique that may be done on one-self or on another.  Based on the theory that by stimulating and manipulating the organs and deep tissues, metabolism is corrected and the immune, energetic, and emotional systems are normalized.

Chi-Kung ( See Qi-Gong )

Chinese (Oriental) Medicine - Also Traditional Oriental Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Oriental medical practitioners are trained to use a variety of ancient and modern therapeutic methods -- including acupuncture , herbal medicine , massage, moxibustion (heat therapy), and nutritional and lifestyle counseling -- to  treat a broad range of both chronic and acute illnesses.  There are 14 major meridians or channels of vital energy (chi) that connect specific points on the body and relate to the energy balance (and thereby  health) of organ systems as conceptualized in Oriental medical philosophy.  The fourteen major meridians are: Stomach, Gallbladder, Kidney, Spleen, Governing Vessel, Heart, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Lung, Bladder, Liver, Triple Warmer, Pericardium, & Conception Vessel.  Energy may  be weak, balanced, or excessive.  The 'Law of Five Elements' Earth, Water, Fire, Metal, and Wood as well as the concepts of Pernicious Influences such as Heat, Cold, Dampness, Dryness and Wind are used to evaluate a client's condition.  Doctors of Oriental Medicine (DOM) are licensed in New Mexico and many other states. Variations include Oriental Medical Doctor (OMD) and Licensed Acupuncturist (L. Ac.). Suggested Reading to better understand the philosophy ( not a 'how-to') underlying Oriental Medicine: "The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine" by Ted J. Kaptchuk, McGraw Hill - NTC; ISBN: 0809228408.

Chiropractic -  The  chiropractic system is based on the premise that the spine is literally the backbone of human health:  Misalignments of the vertebrae caused by poor posture or trauma result in pressure on the spinal nerve roots,  which may lead to diminished function, pain and chronic as well as acute illness.  The chiropractor seeks to analyze and correct these misalignments through spinal manipulation or adjustment.  Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) are licensed in  New Mexico as well as many other states.

Chiropractic, Network - refers to a network of independent chiropractic offices that use Network Spinal Analysis, a method characterized by the sequential applications of a number of gentle, specific chiropractic adjusting techniques.  Care progresses through a a series of levels that parallel spinal and quality-of-life changes.

Cold Plunge - Deep, cold water pool plunge causing rapid contraction of the capillaries stimulating circulation after a sauna.

Colon Hydrotherapy - Also referred to as Colon Irrigation, Colonic, or High Colonic.  Uses a gentle, pulsed flow of body temperature purified water to cleanse the large intestine (colon).  The therapist may also use herbal 'teas' to further relax, cleanse or tonify the mucus wall and supportive connective tissue of the colon.  A single colonic treatment is said to be equivalent to several enemas in removing toxic debris from the colon.  Often used in conjunction with fasting or other intentional detoxification diets or treatments.

Colon Irrigation (see Colon Hydrotherapy )

Colonic (see Colon Hydrotherapy )

Color Therapy - is based on the theory that the cells of our body, not just our eyes, respond to the energy of various frequencies and can use these frequencies to communicate information through the body. Each color has a different frquency and therefore has a different effect on our health and well-being.  For example:  Blue has a very calming effect on our psyches.  It is a great color to paint your bedroom to help you relax and sleep well.  Blue is also used to relieve all sorts of pain.  If you have a burn or cut, steadily shinning blue light on the area will reduce the pain.  Yellow helps to promote mental alertness.  To help your child concentrate while studying, have them study in a room with yellow light or yellow walls. Red increases blood circulation. In order to promote healing, after the initial pain, bleeding or infection have stopped it is good to apply red light to the area to increase blood flow in the area and thereby support the healing.  Orange is the color of joy.  It lifts the spirits.  If you suffer from depression, get a pair of orange glasses (sold in many health food stores) and wear them daily for 20 - 30 minutes.  Violet stimulates awareness and spiritual strength.  To deepen your daily meditation, have a violet light shining nearby or paint the walls of your meditaion room in soft violet.  (see also Esogetic Colorpuncture ).

Colorpuncture ( see Esogetic Colorpuncture )

Connective Tissue Massage (CTM) - These techniques are designed to specifically affect the connective tissue of the body.  Various schools of CMT may focus on either the superficial connective tissue of the skin and muscles or the deeper connective tissue of the tendons, ligaments, and periosteum (which surrounds and nourishes the bony structure of the body).  In Germany, It is considered a physical therapy technique; in many parts of Europe it is considered a medical technique.  In the United States, Connective Tissue Massage is taught in many massage schools. ( See also  Bindegewebsmassage)

Cranio Sacral Therapy ( see Craniosacral Therapy )

Craniosacral Therapy - is a manual therapeutic procedure for remedying distortions in the structure and function of the Craniosacral  mechanism -- the membranes that contain the cerebrospinal fluid within the head and spinal column, as well as the cranial (head and face) bones to which these membranes are attached.

The CranioSacral practitioner uses a light touch, generally no more weight than a nickel, to check for restrictions in the craniosacral system.  This is done by monitoring the rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid as it flows through the system.

A craniosacral session last at least an hour.  The client remains dressed, while lying in a relaxed position on the practitioner's table.  The positive effects of the therapy rely to a large extent on the body's natural self-corrective activities.  The therapist's light, hands-on approach simply assists the hydraulic forces of the craniosacral system to improve the body's internal environment, and strengthen its ability to heal itself. 

CranioSacral Therapy strengthens your body's ability to take better care of you.  It helps alleviate a range of illness, pain and dysfunction, including: Migraines and Headaches, Chronic Neck and Back Pain, Motor-Coordination Impairments, Stress- and Tension-Related Problems, Infantile Disorders, Traumatic Brain and Spinal Core Injuries, Chronic Fatigue, Scoliosis, Central Nervous System Disorders, Emotional Difficulties, Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), Learning Disabilities, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Orthopedic Problems, And Many Other Conditions

Cryotherapy - the therapeutic use of ice. The application of ice to a site of trauma will constrict capillaries, reduce swelling and numb nerves.  Cold should be used for the first 24 to 72 hours after injury.  After that time Heat may be applied to promote healing. See also R.I.C.E.

Crystal/Rock Healing - uses other life forms whose vibrations open up, energize or modify specific emotional, energetic or spiritual pathways in human and other systems.  Crystals and rocks store information that can be accessed for healing and knowledge.  They are often set on the client at specific points or in specific patterns as deemed appropriate by the practitioner.

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Deep Tissue Bodywork -  This is a general term for a range of therapies that seek  to improve the function of the body's connective tissues and/or muscles. For example:  Connective tissue massage, Neuromuscular Therapy, and Pfrimmer Method are considered to be Deep Tissue Massage.  Relaxation, Craniosacral , Esalen, and Swedish massage are generally not considered to be deep tissue techniques.  Among the conditions deep tissue bodywork treats are whiplash, low back and neck pain, and degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis. 

Detox, Detoxification or Detoxifying the Body - refers to a myriad of therapies, which are intended to rid the body of accumulated cell wastes, drugs, environmental chemicals, and parasites (fungus, mold, pathogenic bacteria, virus, or worms). It may also include the elimination of negative thought patterns and emotions.  The liver detoxifies our blood, but may have been stressed to the point that it can not detoxify itself.  The lymph system filters fungus, mold, and bacteria from our blood, but may also habor these organisms in a latent state. Gall stones are usually a combination of cholesterol, bile and/or mineral salts, which can accumulate in the gall bladder.  Kidney stones are crystaline structures which can accumulate in the kidney.  Drugs and environmental chemicals can be stored in our adipose (fat) tissue.  Due to cosmetics, antiperspirants or lack of sweating our skin pores may be blocked from normal elimination of cell wastes. Our colon may harbor parasites (fungus, mold, pathogenic bacteria, virus, or worms).  Therapies my include,but are not limited to: detoxification diets, fasting, collodial silver, ozonated water or air, colon hydrotherapy , massage, manual lymphatic drainage, liver detox, gall bladder flush, use of heat (saunas) to induce sweating, ion cleanse, and pulsed electromagnetic therapies. Side effects of detoxification programs may include, but are not limited to: weight loss, dehydration, loss of electrolytes and minerals, loose bowel movements, rashes, fatique, headaches, nausea and non-specific aches and pains due to a "healing crisis".  Severe symptoms may be the result of a Herxheimer's reation.  Anyone wishing to initiate a detoxification program should consult with their primary health care provider to confirm that they are physically fit to start such a treatment program and be under the supevision of a qualified health care professional.

Dream Analysis - is based on the belief that dreams are expressions of our deeper selves and that understanding our dreams can give us valuable insight that we can use in our waking lives. In our dreams we sort out our feelings, make plans for action, and rehearse skills that we need. Our dreams have a logic of their own and may be based on a symbolism which is unique to each of us as well as shared or collective archetypes. The dream analyst attempts to find the relevance of the dream in each persons life in the present.  For a more extensive disscussion of dream analysis, plese visit The Dream Interpretation Center.

Do-In - a system of self-massage promoted most recently by Michio Kushi.  More than 5,000 years ago, Chinese Taoist monks observed that it was instinctive for a person to touch or hold an injured or painful body part, a form of self-healing.  They developed a system called Tao-Yinn, Tao meaning "the way" and Yinn meaning "a gentle approach".  Today it is called Do-In and is used to sustain overall health as well as treat specific physical problems.

Drumming - Many cultures use the drumbeat as a way to enter the trance state, meditate or pray.  Drums or percussion instruments generally may be the oldest forms of musical instruments.  People often sense that there is a very deep connection to our human tribal past when listening to a rhythmic drum beat.  Drumming can facilitate emotional, spiritual and physical wellness in a supportive environment. (See also Shamanic Drumming )

Drumming Circle - a drumming circle forms when a group of people intentionally drum together.  The drumming may be 'free-form' or improvisational where each person drums what ever beats or rhythm 'feels right' to them. The many different sizes and styles of drums that are brought to a druming circle can create a complex and wonderful harmony.  Drumming circles may be more structured where a specific round is 'lead' by one person with others joining the rhythm.  Often drumming circles are formed at times corresponding with new or full moons, seasonal changes (equinoxes and solstices), or for healing purposes.

Dynamic Spinal Therapy - was developed by Rolf Ott in Rapperswil, Switzerland in the 1980's.  The technicue works with body posture and energetic (acupuncture) system.  It consists of three parts: ear reflexology test, the swiss therapeutic cushion, an dapplication.

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Ear Candling - ( also refered to as Ear Coning ) involves placing the narrow end of a specially designed hollow candle at the entry of the ear canal, while the opposite end is lit.  Primarily used for wax buildup and related hearing problems, ear candling is also used for ear infections and sinus infections.

Effeurage - A smooth gliding stroking motion applied with the fingers, hands, or forearm that usually follows the direction of the underlying muscle or fascial tissue.  One of the four basic strokes of Swedish massage.

Electromagnetism - A form of energy that comes from an electric charge in motion, electromagnetism is used in medicine to relieve muscle aches, suppress pain, stimulate knitting of broken bones, pulverize kidney stones, and more.  To heal broken bones, specialized electrodes that create a weak electromagnetic field are applied externally across a plaster cast or fracture site and worn during sleep until complete healing. (See also Magnetic Energy Healing )

EMDR - Eye Movement Desenitization and Reprocessing - Uses left/right stimulation of the brain, through sight, sound or touch to accelerate the brain's information processing system.  Originated by Francine Shapiro in 1987 to help people address emotional issues.

Energy Work - Therapies in which practitioners seek to restore proper circulation and a balance of the energy field in and around the client's body, to relieve stress and promote healing.  Treatment may involve physical laying-on of hands. ( See Auric Healing, Chakra Energy Balancing, PolarityTherapy, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, & Touch for Health. )

Equine Sports Massage -  Just like people, horses get sore muscles and joints, but they can't express where the pain is.  Rather, the owner and/or rider notices the horse doesn't want to perform that day, or is moving stiffly or is just having an 'off day.' Horses are asked to perform regardless of what pain they may be in.  We can alleviate their discomfort, help prevent lameness, and assist in correcting behavioral problems by performing equine massage. 

Equine Sports Massage Therapy is designed for any horse at any age.  It is a vigorous type of massage that gets the blood and lymph moving in the body and assists is relaxing the muscles as well.  The horse feels looser and more energetic after a session.  Its performance, whether in the ring or just a pleasure ride, is greatly enhanced.

Benefits of Equine Sports Massage are: Enhances muscle tone and increases range of motion. Assists in balancing the body by treating the body as a whole, rather than each individual part. Reduces inflammation and swelling in the joints, thereby alleviating pain. Promotes healing by increasing the flow of nutrients to the muscles, and carrying away excessive fluids and toxins. Creates a positive effect on the contractual and release process of the muscles.  When tension is released, muscles relax.  Stimulates circulation by "defrosting frozen muscles", thereby releasing ENDORPHINS – natural pain killers.  Improved circulation also increases the excretion of toxins through the skin. Helps maintain the WHOLE body in better physical condition.  For More information about Horse Events, Clinics and related businesses in New Mexico visit Horse Talk - New Mexico Horse Directory.

Equissage - A trademarked name for Equine Sports Massage , the shool by that name and a term sometimes used by the therapists (ESMT) certified by the school.  Click here to learn more about Equissage certification.

Erickson Method - See Hypnotherapy

Esalen Massage -  Developed in the 1960's, this style originated at the Esalen  Institute located in Big Sur, California, and is based on a combination of Oriental and Swedish massage techniques.  Esalen is light and gentle in nature, emphasizing nurturing and empathy.  The strokes are  soft, easy, and slow, prompting deep relaxation. Used to reduce stress, relieve pain, improve sleep, aid digestion, and promote healing.

Esogetic Colorpuncture - is an advanced healing technique in which gentle, non-invasive vibrations of light are introduced to the body via acupuncture (and other) points on the skin to energize powerful healing impulses in the body.  It was developed by German scientist and naturopath Peter Mandel.  He has conducted over 25 years of empirical research to develop this unique system of healing. In colorpuncture treatments, frequencies of colored light are focused on the skin using a hand held acu-light tool which emits different colors of light and through focused tips.  Each color consists of different wavelength frequencies of light and therefore communicates different energetic information.  As the light is absorbed by the skin and transmitted along energetic pathways or meridians deep into the body, it stimulates the intra-cellular communication which supports life.  Coloropuncture treatments support the body's natural healing processes in regards to nervous system stress, colds & bronchitis, spinal relaxation, headaches and immune strengthening. (see also Color Therapy ).  For more information about esogetic colorpuncture go to www.colorpuncture.com/whatis.html

Eutony - Developed by Gerda Alexander of Germany.  "Eu" meaning good, exact. "Tonus" meaning tone tension.  Based on the theory that there is a constant interaction between muscular tone and physical activity.  Acting on muscle tone can affect the whole being. 

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Fango Treatment - A mud pack or body mask (as opposed to a full mud bath ) intended to promote the release of toxins and relieve muscular and arthritic pain. see also Parafango.

Facial - deep cleansing of the face with steam.  Facials may include exfoliation, extraction, the application of creams, lotions, cleansers, masks, peels and massage.Facials are most often performed by licensed aetheticians or cosmotologists.

Far Infrared (FIR) Heat Therapy - relies on the use of ceramic or carbon fiber heating elements which emit heat in the non-visible infrared spectrum.  Infrared heat frequencies are just below visible light frequencies on the electromagentic spectrum. The longer wave lengths (2 to 25 microns or micro meters) furthest away from red light are called far infrared.  Humans preferentially absorb and re-radiate infrared heat in the 9 to 10 mircron range.  Far infrared therapy equipment ranges from lamp like units used  on specific areas to infrared emitting heating pads to full body sauna rooms.  The benefits of far infrared therapy are: pain relief due to arthritis, sprains, or spasms; relaxation of soft tissues such as muscle, tendon and ligaments; reduction of scar tissue and cellutite; reduced time to heal wounds; and if combined with high air temperatures (120-130 degrees fharenheit) to promote sweating, it can cleanse skin pores and aid in detoxifying the body. For more information on the benefits of far infrared heat therapy, please read our facts and benefits page.  Click here to purchase a 30 minute far infrared sauna session at Earth Spirit Therapies in Albuquerque, NM

Fascia - the fascial (connective tissue) system is one continuous, laminated, three-dimentional connective-tissue web that spreads without interruption throughout the entire body. It provides the underlying support to and connects the skin (dermis), musculo-skeletal system, membranes and organs of the body.

Fascial Mobilization - Fascial mobilization allows therapists to locate and address restrictions in the fascial system that are causing asymmetries, postural malalignment, abnormal tensions, and pressures that can lead to pain and dysfunction.  The goal of fascial mobilization is to produce a well-ballanced, symetrical and mobile body within the skeletal, soft-tissue, and craniosacral systems. See also Connective Tissue Massage.

Fasting/Natural Hygiene - Natural Hygiene is a health system that seeks to remove the causes of disease and encourage the body's self-healing capacity through natural-food diets and therapeutic fasting. Fasts may last from a few days to a month or more.  They are rarely water only fasts. Therapeutic Fasts may include vegetable broths, juices, vitimin, mineral, and herbal supplements to provide cleansing or detoxification, and maintain nutrition during a prolonged fast. Colon Hydrotherapy is ofter recommended during fasting to aid in flushing toxins from the system.  Wholistic counselors as well as primary care doctors (MDs, Osteopaths, Chiropractors, naturopaths, and Doctors of Oriental Medicine) may specialize in fasting supervision as a part of natural hygiene care. Healing crisises may occur during a prolonged fast. An inexperienced person should not enter into a prolonged fast without supervision.

Feldenkrais - Russian born Israeli educator Moshe Feldenkrais based his method on the importance of awareness in human functioning.  The Feldenkrais method consists of two branches, Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration.   He believed that awareness had to be experienced, not taught verbally.  Functional integration involves treating the nervous system primarily through the skeletal structure using hands-on, painless manipulation.

Feng Shui - (pronounced "fung shway") is the ancient Chinese pracatice of configuring home or work environments to promote health, happiness, and prosperity. The ancient Chinese art of placement that literally means wind & water, shorthand for natural surroundings. Symbolically, it means gentle wind, clear water, warm sun and lush vegetation. Feng Shui consultants may advise clients to make adjustments in their surroundings - from color selection to furniture placement - in order to promote a healthy flow of 'chi', or vital energy.

Five Element Shiatsu - Shiatsu is a Japanese word that means 'finger pressure'.  Five element shiatsu is based on classical Chinese medicine's Law of the Five Elements.  The Five Element system views the human body as a microcosm of the Universe with the tides of energy and emotions waxing and waning. (See also Shiatsu )

Flower Essences - Popularized in the '30s by Edward Bach, M.D., flower essences are intended to alleviate negative emotional states that may contribute to illness or hinder personal growth.  Drops of a solution infused with the captured "essence" of a flower are placed under the tongue or in a beverage.  The practitioner helps the client choose appropriate essences, focusing on the client's emotional state rather than on a particular physical condition. 

Flower Remedies ( See Flower Essences )

Foot Zone Therapy - is based on the premise that energy flows in the body through meridians from the brain all the way to the foot.  Every organ and every cell of your body has a representative point on the foot.  When pressure is applied to a specific point on the foot, the brain then sends a signal to the corresponding part of the body to facillitate healing and to restore balance. ( see also Ingham Method and Reflexology )

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