Contact Us

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

Definitions of  Alternative
  Healing Modalities

Alternative Health Site

Top of Page

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
Now over 250 modalities! Check Here for More Definitions in the Future

A B C D E F G H I J K L M  N  O P Q R S  T U  V W X Y Z

GTop of Page
Geriatric Massage.  Although  there are no specific techniques which are unique to geriatric massage, the practitioner who specializes in this area may have had special training in working with a client population who exhibit a range of  physiological changes commonly associated with ageing, such as; loss of elasticity of the skin, thining of the subcutaneous layers, loss of muscle mass, tendency to bruise easily, osteoporosis, loss of range of motion  (ROM), etc. Any deep tissue techniques would be used with extreme caution.
Gestalt Therapy - A form of Psychology that uses techniques to locate the child, adult and parent parts of the ego.  This helps the Gestalt Therapist to identify where a given thought or subjective experience comes from - the child mind, the adult mind or the parental mind.  The process of identifying the activated ego component of the mind allows precision and speed in identifying the most appropriate healing and centering techniques for a given experience, thought or sentiment.
Guided Imagery involves using mental images to promote physical healing or changes in attitudes or behavior.  Practitioners may lead clients through specific visualization exercises or offer instruction in using imagery as a self-help tool.  Guided imagery is often used to alleviate stress and to treat stress-related conditions such as insomnia and high blood pressure.  It is also used by people with cancer, AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrom, and other disorders with the aim of boosting the immune system.
H  Top of Page
Hakomi Integrative Somatics - see Hakomi Therapy
Hakomi Therapy is a body-based psychotherapy developed by Ron Kurtz in the mid-1970s. The International headquarters are in Boulder, Colorado.  Hakomi uses body tentions and sensations to help clients probe non-verbal levels where core beliefs direct and influence their experiences. Body-mind awareness and touch are used to explore the body as a deep source of information, empowering the client to change their attitudes.
Harmonic Healing ( see Tuning )
Hatha Yoga is an easy-to-learn basic form of yoga that has become very popular in the United States. Hatha Yoga is the foundation of most body focused Yoga styles. It incorporates Asanas (postures), Pranayama (regulated breathing), meditation (Dharana & Dhyana) and kundalini (energy activation) into a complete system that can be used to achieve enlightenment or self-realization. It has become very popular in America as source of exercise and stress management. The ideal way to practice the Hatha Yoga poses (asanas) is to approach the practice session in a calm, meditative mood. Sit quietly for a few moments, then begin the series, slowly, with control and grace, being inwardly aware as the body performs the various poses selected for the practice session. Do not overdo the asanas or try to compete with others. Take it easy and enjoy.( see also Yoga )
Heliotherapy -  the healing use of light.
Healing Crisis - refers to symptoms which may occur as a result of detoxification or elimination of pathogenic conditions, drugs, environmental chemicals, parasites (fungus, molds, bacteria, virus or worms).  Because these toxins are being pulled from the tissues and are circulating in the blood before being eliminated through the skin, bowel or urinary tract, a person may experience mild symptoms of the disease caused by these pathogens or the die-off of these pathogens.  Loose bowel movements, rashes, headaches, nausea, muscle cramps, are common symptoms experienced during detoxification diets, fasting and flushes. As used by most alternative health care professionals, a healing crisis is an expected part of the healing process.  If detoxification is done too rapidly, it is termed a Herxheimer reaction.
Healing Touch incorporates a variety of energy based techniques to assess and treat the human energy system. Healing Touch assists in self healing by affecting  physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and healing. Developed by Janet Mentgen. It is practiced by registered nurses and others  to accelerate wound healing, relieve pain, promote relaxation, prevent illness, and ease the dying process.  The practitioner uses light touch or works with his or her hands near the client's body in an effort to  restore balance to the client's system.
Hellerwork.  Developed by former aerospace engineer (and one-time  Rolf Institute president) Joseph Heller, this technique combines deep-tissue muscle therapy and movement  reeducation with dialogue about the emotional issues that may underlie a physical posture.  Participants go through eleven, 60 to 90 minute sessions. Hellerwork is used to treat chronic pain or to help 'well'  people learn to live more comfortably in their bodies.
Herbal Medicine.  (also referred to as Herbalism) An ancient form of healing still widely used in much of the world, herbalism uses natural plants or plant-based substances  to  treat a range of illnesses and to enhance the functioning of the body's systems.  Though herbalism is not licensed in the United States, herbs are 'prescribed' by a range of practitioners, from holistic MD's to acupuncturists to naturopaths.
Herbalism ( See Herbal Medicine)
Herbal Bath - specifically blended herbs in the form of sachets, oils, or extracts are added to individualized baths to suit a client's needs. The hot water disperses the healing qualities of the herbs to the skin while opening the pores to facilitate transdermal absorption of the herbs.
Herbal Wrap - In an herbal wrap, the body is enveloped in warm linen sheets which have been soaked in a special blend of herbs. The herbs induce perspiration to draw toxins from the skin.  Relaxation is prolonged by the deep heating action.  Herbal wraps usually last 15 to 20 minutes and are often followed by a brief scotch hose spray to lower the body temperature and tonify tissue.

Herxheimer reaction (also known as Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction or herx) occurs when the body is detoxifying too rapidly and toxins are being released faster than the body can eliminate them. This is frequently a result of antibiotic treatments. When this occurs, one will suffer from headaches, nausea, vomiting, and malaise.  Skin lesions may also occur or be exacerbated. 
High Colonic (see Colon Hydrotherapy  )
Holistic Health ( See Alternative Healing )
Holistic Vision Therapies ( see Vision Therapies, Holistic )
Homeopathic Medicine ( also referred to a Homeopathy) is a medical system that uses infinitesimal doses of natural substances (plant, mineral, or animal extracts) -- called remedies-- to stimulate a person's immune and defense system.  It is based on the principle that "like heals like."    The law of Similars, that is two similar diseases can not exist in the body at the same time. It uses highly diluted solutions of natural substances form plants, animals and minerals - called  "remedies" to stimulate the body's healing responses. Therefore, a remedy is chosen by it's ability to duplicate the same "totality of symptoms" as the person experiences. Because it uses energy not  chemicals, the incorrect remedy generally does nothing! For this reason, homeopathy is very safe for self use. 
A remedy  is individually chosen for a sick person based on capacity to cause, if given in overdose, physical and psychological symptoms similar to those a patient is experiencing. Common conditions homeopathy addresses are  infant and childhood diseases, infections, fatigue, allergies, and chronic illnesses such as arthritis. (Psycho-energetic homeopathy or constitutional  treatment matches an individual's personality type instead.)
Homeopathy (See Homeopathic Medicine)
Hot Yoga (see Bikram Yoga )
Hot Stone Massage is a deeply relaxing massage that combines the penetrating effect of hot stones with soothing manual massage. Basaltic river rocks are heated to between 125 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit and then either statically placed on or under the client or used as massage tools. The client should be insulated from hot stones direct from the heating unit until they have cooled somewhat. The therapy can relax deep muscular tissue and soothe aching joints while feeling gentle and relaxing. The use of the hot stones also benefits the therapist by reducing the physical stress of providing deep tissue massage. The heat soothes muscles and joints of the therapist's hands.  Contrast therapy with cold marble stones may be combined with hot stone therapy. LaStone Therapy is a modern copyrighted system of hot and cold stone therapy, but hot stones have been used in various healing modalities in many cultures for thousands of years. Caution must be used with any heat therapy to avoid contact burns and/or the negative effects from prolonged heat/cold application, especially with clients who may be unable to regulate body temperature, due to pregnancy, alchohol, drugs, injury or illness.  Advanced practitioner training is required to provide a safe therapeutic session.

Hydropathy - the treatment of disease by the use of water. Specifically a method of treatment that attempts to cure all diseases by the external or internal use of much water.  See Hydrotherapy and Colon Hydrotherapy.

Hydrotherapy.  Although ancient Greece and Rome had both adopted the beliefs  that water had healing properties, it was the Romans that integrated hydrotherapy into their social  life, building temples and baths near natural springs.  Father Sebastian Kneipp from Worshofen, Bavaria,  however is the true father of modern-day hydrotherapy in Germany.  Various hydrotherapy massage  techniques exist and are generally utilized by massage/body worker practitioners, physical therapists, physicians, and spa technicians.  Spa therapies utilizing hydrotherapy are provided at luxury spas.  These  include geo-thermal mineral baths, underwater massage, herbal wraps, thalassotherapy, Kneipp therapy, vichy treatments, scotch hose, and Swiss shower.
Hypnosis see Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy refers to a range of techniques that allow practitioners to bypass the concious mind and access the subconcious, where suppressed memories, repressed emotions, and forgotten events may remain recorded.  What the mind created, the mind can change. When we eliminate the problems from the subconscious mind, problems disappear. Hypnotherapy is a natural method of lulling the conscious mind in order to reach the subconscious. When the subconscious is spoken to directly,  old patterns and conditioning can be reprogrammed and new ideas and positive suggestions can be introduced. Common methods include visualization, guided imagery and suggestions.   Hypnosis may facilitate behavioral, emotional, or attitudinal change.  Often used to help people lose weight or stop smoking, it's also used as an adjunct in the treatment of illnesses.  Modern hypnotic methods in medicine were popularized worldwide by Dr. Milton Erickson during the middle third of the 20th century. Approved by the American Medical Association since 1958.
For an excelent summary of the history of 'mesmerism' and it's evolution to modern hypnosis using "Erickson method" visit
I  Top of Page
I-Ching (ee-ching) - Ancient method of divination dating back at least 3,000 years.  Coins are tossed six times to cast a hexagram of broken (yin) and unbroken (yang) lines.  A reader interprets the pattern and advises you on how best to proceed, giving you philosophical counsel on what you may still need  to consider or reconsider to secure a favorable outcome.
Inner Child Therapy - an aspect of the emotional level of being, also associated with second level of auric field. Part of each person that maintains the wonder and spirit of a child, which if allowed to mature, grow and remain intact through out life, will develop into powerful creative visualization in the Adult. Various  practitioners may use this concept to help heal early physical, emotional or spiritual  traumas, which have created unproductive patterns  for adult clients.
Infant Massage (See Massage, Infant)
Ingham Method is a form of zone therapy or reflexology.  In the 1930's Eunice Ingham, a psychotherapist working for a physician, used zone therapy on patients.  She mapped the entire body as represented on the feet.  At first used to reduce pain, Ingham developed the work into the Ingham Reflex Method of Compression Massage. later known as Reflexology.  Only the hands are used to apply the pressure to the reflex points on the feet. (See also Reflexology)
Interactive Guided Imagery (see also Guided Imagery) is a mind-body modality in which the practitioner helps clients explore their own unconcious imagery for therapeutic purposes, rather than merely having clients listen to predetermined imagery scripts.  Interactive Guided Imagery is used for a variety of illnesses, stress management, anxiety disorders, depression, pain management, addiction recovery, and as a part of brief psychotherapy and marital counseling.
Intuitive Arts.  A general term for various methods of divination, such as numerology, psychic reading, and tarot card reading.  Individuals may consult practitioners to seek  information about the future or insights into personal concerns or the personality. 
Intuitive, Medical.  A growing field in which practitioners use a variety of techniques  to 'connect' with a client's physical, emotional, energetic, or spiritual body either in the office or remotely for the purpose of assessing the underlying cause of acute, chronic or degenerative conditions which may be  eluding a western medical diagnosis. The practitioner may 'see', 'feel' or 'hear' literally or symbolically what is creating the problem.  They may also be able to send healing energy to the client or refer them to  an appropriate health practitioner once the cause is discovered.

Ion Cleanse, Ion Detox Foot Bath, Ion Spa & Ionic Body Balancer.  Is a technique of body detoxification, cleansing and balancing. The client's feet or hands are immersed in an electrically conductive water bath where metal electrodes connected to a direct current (DC) power source create negative (OH) ions, which are absorbed into the body by osmosis.  Cell wastes and/or other toxins may be pulled out of the body by the same process.  The lymphatic and other body systems are stimulated to detoxify themselves through the urinal and intestinal tract during the next 24-36 hours.  Using this system, cells are energized by the ions to release oils, acids, heavy metals, fats, cellular debris, and other toxins which have accumulated in your body's tissues and joints over your lifetime.  Some people have also reported elimination of pain in their shoulders, elbows and arms by placing their forearm & hand in the spa tub, instead of their feet.  Ion Cleansing detoxifies the body more effectively and faster than any herbal or fasting protocols with little or no stress to the patient. Used properly, the Ion Cleanse provides a comfortable and relaxing way to rid the body of toxins without healing crises and Herxheimer's reactions.

Iridology is a diagnostic system based on the premise that every organ has a corresponding location within the iris of the eye, which can serve as an indicator of the individual organ's health or disease. The practitioner studies the eye, its textures, pigmentation and changes in the iris structure as it pertains to your health. The iris reveals inherent characteristics of tissues, metabolic and nutritional imbalances, various stages of inflammation and general health level. Nerve filaments in the  iris receive impressions from every organ of the body via the autonomic and cerebrospinal nervous systems. Changes in the body chemistry disturb the process by which iris color is maintained. Discoloration appears as a  sign before any clinical change in the blood or urine chemistry.  Iridology is used by  natruopaths and other practitioners, particularly when diagnosis achieved through standard methods is unclear.
Iyengar Yoga a form of hatha yoga named for the well known instuctor, B. K. S. Iyengar a student of Krishnamacharya. Iyengar style yoga makes extensive use of mats, straps, bolsters, walls, plus wall mounted bars and straps to assist the student to attain proper alignment for asanas.( see Yoga )
J  Top of Page
Jin Shin Do  (translated as the way of the compassionate spirit) is derived from acupressure. The technique involves applying gentle fingertip pressure to thirty  specific points along the body to release, smooth and balance vital `chi'  energy. Practitioners meditate and try to transfer chi to clients by using knowledge of where energy flows and patterns meet. According to  its practitioners, Jin Shin Do pervades all aspects of our being by affecting  general muscle tension, improving circulation, balancing emotions and raising the spiritual state of being.
 Jin Shin Jyutsu is an oriental system intended to harmonize the flow of the energy through the body.  The system holds that tension, fatigue, or illness can trap energy in the body's twenty-six "safety energy locks".  Practitioners use their hands to restore balance and reduce stress.  Jin Shin Jyutsu is not a form of massage, however, as it does not involve physical manipulation of the muscles.
KTop of Page
Kinesiology, the sudy of the principles of mechanics and anatomy related to human body movement, specifically the action of individual muscles or groups of muscles that perform specific  movements.
Kinesiology, Applied ( See Muscle Testing)
Kneipp Therapy - Often employed as a Spa Therapy it consists of a series of cold or alternating hot and cold water treatments on various parts of the body.  Herbal extracts are combined with water in an assortment of bathing methods to energize the system and soothe the mind. Certain herbal remedies are used for Detoxification. Father Sebastian Kneipp from Worshofen, Bavaria, is the true father of modern-day hydrotherapy.
Kripalu Bodywork Based on the principles of Kripalu Yoga, this bodywork method seeks to promote a deep sense of relaxation and to help recipients reconnect with the healing wisdom of their bodies. Along with specific massage strokes, Kripalu bodyworkers use verbal and nonverbal means to guide recipients into a meditative state wherein physical and mental tension may be accessed and released.
Kripalu Yoga uses classical hatha yoga postures and breathing techniques to help students enter a state of "meditation in motion."   The principles of Kripalu Yoga are the foundation for Phoenix Rising yoga therapies and Kripalu bodywork. ( see also Yoga )
Kundalini Awakening - The process of self-realization consists of the Kundalini rising energy (Shakti) from the root (muladhara) chakra near the perineum, piercing the  spiritual centers or chakras along the innermost channel (Shushuma) within the spine, and emerging from the top of our brain. When this takes place, the union (yoga) of the Kundalini and the Self manifests. To realize this Self within us is to achieve  absolute fulfillment. See also Yoga, Kundalini.
L  Top of Page  

LaStone Massage Therapy (see Hot Stone Massage)
 Labyrinth - A tool for creating sacred space, journeying inward and reconnecting with the Earth and sky.  Made as a single winding path, folding back on  itself, leading to the center. Unlike a maze which has multiple paths and dead ends, in a labyrinth you leave by the same path which you enter. Many cultures create labyrinths such as the centuries old design from the  cathedral in Chartres, France.
Light Therapy - Exposure to Whole Spectrum Light.  Controlled exposure to sunlight, full-spectrum, ultraviolet, colored, or laser light as a treatment for chronic pain and depression, or to stimulate the immune system. Associated with a stronger immune system response, as well as, prevention of cancer, fatigue,  carbohydrate cravings, insomnia, bulimia, PMS, SAD, migraines and memory disturbances. Especially beneficial during the dark months of winter. Also, different colored light bulbs can be used on the chakra system and the  secondary vortices.  ( See also Color Therapy and Esogetic Colorpuncture )
Light Worker - A person who has recognized their ability and power to restore and transform consciousness with the highest intent. Someone who facilitates the return of the earthly plane to a healthy, happy state.   Someone who is aware of the truth about themselves and the nature of their existence.  Someone who finds their powers coming into fuller and fuller expression and as it should be with proper usage.
Lomilomi - Hawaiian massage.
Loofah is a course, natural fiber sponge used to slough off rough and dead skin.  Body scrub treatments are given using loofahs with gels, herbal soaps, or exfoliating lotions.  A loofah scrub can be a "dry" scrub or a product scrub done with a loofah.  The treatment may begin with a gentle full body massage using a blend of almond meal, almond oil, or sea salt to lift dead skin cells and stimulate circulation.  This gentle massage is followed by a full body scrub and shower treatment which leaves the skin revitilized, healthy, and radiant.
Lymphatic Therapies. (See Manual Lymphatic Drainage) A range of therapies that seek to affect the  body's lymphatic system, which is important to the effective functioning of the immune system.
previous pages  A-B  C-F   next pages   M-N  O-R  S-T  U-Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M  N  O P Q R S  T U  V W X Y Z

[Home] [About_Us] [Massage] [Definitions] [Self-Help ] [Catalog] [Links]

Site Created: Tuesday, September 26, 2000
Site last modified :Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Copyright 1997-2009 by: Earth Spirit Therapies
Page last modified:Wednesday, May 20, 2009