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

Definitions of  Alternative
  Healing 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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Salt Scrubs - (also Salt Glow and Salt Rub ) A cleansing, exfoliating spa proceedure using a paste made from sea salt and water or almond oil. The compound is gently massaged over the body and then rinsed off with fresh water.
Sauna - see Steam & Sauna

Scotch Hose - is the use of alternating hot and cold water sprays to massage a standing client. It is a relatively high pressured hose, used at a specific distance and gives a very specific hydromassage of the body.
Seaweed Body Wrap - After a light massage with an essential oil, the body is painted with a seaweed mixture and then may or may not be wraped in a plastic sheet.  Usually no heat is applied, but use of a specialized electric blanket which is programmed for targeted zones of the body may be used in some spas.  The wrap is maintained for twenty minutes to enhance perspiration and detoxification.  The client is then given a shower treatment and an application of marine lotion for maximum skin tissue remineralization.

Self-Help or Self-Improvement - the act or instance of improving one's self without assistance from others. This usually entails resolving or eliminating poor self-image, non-productive thought patterns, painful memories of past trauma, habits, addictions or improving confidence, physical conditions or skills through repeated positive affirmations.  It may include self-healing, personal growth, self-hypnosis, guided imagery or subliminal messaging.
Shamanic Drumming is a term used to encompass a range of drumming beats and techniques used to induce a shamanic trance state during which the practitioner (shaman) or the client will journey in non-ordinary reality to; gain information, meet and retrieve power animals or spirits, or effect a cure to a physical, emotional or spiritual situation.  The Shaman or an assistant will beat the drum at 120 to 180 beats per minute for several minutes (twenty minutes to as long as an hour).  It is thought that the sonic driving force of the percussion actually slows the brain wave frequency to an alpha or even theta brain wave pattern, thus facilitating the waking trance state.  At the discretion of the shaman or the assistant a pre-agreed rhythm will signal that the journey should end and the client return to ordinary reality. Other drum beats may be used to connect with mother earth, the six directions, to give thanks, or prepare the space for ritual drumming.  See also Drumming circle.
Shamanism ( See Spiritual/Shamanic Healing )
Shiatsu is a Japanese word that means 'finger pressure'. The most widely known form of acupressure, shiatsu has been used in Japan for more than 1,000 years. It is a  system based on the body's energy meridians. Utilizing traditional Chinese acupuncture points , this bodywork technique uses thumb, finger and palm pressure  rather than needles.  Shiatsu massages are normally done fully clothed and involve pressing points on the body and stretching and opening of the energy meridians.  Its proponents view it as a  form of  treatment alternative to medicine or surgery. Although the term is sometimes used as synonymous with acupressure, Shiatsu as practiced in the Western world is more like a full body massage therapy treatment, while  acupressure addresses finger pressure on  specific points for a specific effect. There are many variations of Shiatsu which are practiced in the U.S.; Zen Shiatsu, Five Element Shiatsu, Ohashiatsu are a few.  (Toru Namikoshi's Complete Book of Shiatsu Therapy -- published by Japan Pubs., Inc. with ISBN 0-87040-461-x in 1981 -- claims to be the definitive work;
Soft Tissue Release (STR) is a powerful sports injury treatment technique developed by Stuart Taws while working with the British Athletic Team.  STR deals directly with the reasons for soft tissue disfunctions and subsequent referred pain and nerve entrapment.  In accute situations, STR affects the insidious way scar tisue is formed and in chronic conditions STR breaks up the fibrotic and adhered mass of scar tissue to quickly allow the muscle to return to its natural resting length.
Soma Neuromuscular Integration This bodywork method seeks to improve posture, joint function, and body alignment through deep manipulation of of the muscular and connective tissue.  The ten-session process, which incorporates movement training and other adjuncts, also seeks to promote greater access to the functioning of each hemisphere of the brain.  People with conditions such as chronic back pain, arthritis, asthma, scoliosis. and headaches have sought relief from this method.
Sound Therapy - The therapeutic use of sound and music to reduce anxiety and emotional stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and promote healing. ( see also Toning & Tuning )
Spa Therapies.  A variety of body treatments administered in spas which may or may not include massage.  Aromatherapy, Body Scrubs, Herbal Baths, Herbal Wraps, Kneipp therapy, Loofah body scrubs, Mud baths, Parafango, Salt scrubs, Scotch hose, Seaweed body wraps, Steam & Sauna, Swiss Shower, Thalassotherapy, Hydrotherapy treatments, etc.
Spiritual/Shamanic Healing.  Practitioners of both  spiritual and shamanic healing often regard themselves as conductors of healing energy from the spiritual realm.  Both may call upon spiritual 'helpers' such as power animals (characteristic of the shaman), angels,  guides, inner  teachers, the client's higher self, or other spiritual forces.  Futhermore spiritual healing emphasizes that the healing energy is not that of the practitioner, but of higher forces outside of the  practitioner, which they are channeling or focusing on the client. It is up to the client to heal themselves (or not) using the additional energy supplied through the practitioner.  This is distinct from psychic healing in which the practitioner focuses their personal energy on a client with the intent to heal a specific condition, thereby 'forcing' a healing on the client.  By this definition, Reiki  is spiritual healing, while Therapeutic touch and Mariel are psychic healing.  Both spiritual and shamanic forms of healing can be used as part of treatment for a range of emotional and physical illnesses.
Sports Massage ( See Massage, Sports) (see also article by Don Gillmore,"What is Spots Massage" )
Sports Medicine involves the prevention and treatment of injuries to athletes and other physically active people, as well as the use of exercise for recovery from non-sports injuries. Orthopedic (musculoskelatal system) surgeons (MDs) often specialize in sports medicine.  This is a specialization of Allopathic medicine and is not necessarily an alternative or holistic healing modality.
St. John's Method - Paul St. John,  founder and director of St. John Neuromuscular Therapy Seminars and the St. John Neuromuscular Pain Relief Institute, is named the modern developer of Neuromuscular Therapy by Milady's Theory & Practice of Therapeutic Massage, 2nd edition.(See Neuromuscular Therapy)
Steam & Sauna Rooms - These are highly therapeutic heated rooms, which are often used prior to a scrub, wrap, massage or hydrotherapy treatment such as a cold plunge, swiss shower or scotch hose.  A steam room is a ceramic lined room with wet heat. Steam should not exceed 110 to 130 degrees Farenheit (120 degrees Farenheit is ideal).  The traditional Finnish sauna is a wood lined room with dry heat generated by a stove over which a small amount of water is thrown onto a heap of heated stones. Temperature in a sauna should not exceed 160 to 216 degrees Farenheit ( 180 to 190 degrees F is ideal).  A recent popular variation of the dry heat sauna is the Far Infrared (FIR) Sauna, which relies on radiant heat panels in the far infrared spectrum. These saunas transmit heat deep into the tissues without heating the surrounding air. Elevated air temperatures are achived from the re-radiated heat of the sauna walls.  The exposure to full body heat should be limited and monitored.

Structural Integration A systematic approach to relieving patterns of stress and impaired functioning, structural integration seeks to correct misalignments in the body created by gravity and physical and psycological trauma.  As in Rolfing , in ten sessions the practitioner uses hands, arms, and elbows to apply pressure to the fascia, or connective tissue, while the client  participates through directed breathing.
Subliminal Images - a form of subliminal messaging, which bypasses the concious minds ability to evaluate and reject information.

Subliminal Messaging - the use of images, sounds or thoughts, which bypass our concious mind's ability to block or negate information.  A self-help technique. The premiss is that our sub-concious minds are always listening to our thoughts and accepts them at face value.  However, if we have a negative self-image or low self-esteem, our concious mind will reject any suggestion that we are as an example: attractive, intellegent or worthy of finding happiness.  Subliminal messaging attempts to bypass the concious gate guard and plant the seeds of positive affirmations, which will lead to real change.
Swedish massage (See Massage, Swedish)
Swiss shower - is one in which fresh water is sprayed over the body from both overhead and side-positioned needle-like jet valves.  A massaging and invigorating effect is created by varying the spray velocity and temperature.
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Tai Chi - ( also Tai Chi Chu'an, Taiji or Taiji Quan) Consists of graceful, continuous movements combined with breathing control to promote relaxation, balance, flexibility, muscle tone, and coordination while improving participants overall physical and mental agility. Tai chi teaches the cultivation, balancing and focusing of internal energy (chi).  This ancient art that dates back to the 8th century is based on traditional defensive and offensive techniques. In addition to bare hand techniques, weapons such as the sword, saber and spear are also used. Several schools of Tai Chi include the Chen, Yang, Wu and Sun. Tai chi has been used as part of treatments for back problems, ulcers, and stress. See also Martial Arts.
 Tai Chi Chih originated by Justin F. Stone, an artist, writer, and Tai Chi Ch'uan instructor in the 1970s, who felt the need for a simpler more direct way for westerners to learn a system of 'moving meditation'.  There are only 19 movements and one pose.  The simple flowing moves of Tai Chi Chih cultivate, refine, and balance one's internal chi (vital force energy).
Tantra - There are three traditional schools of Tantra, Kuala, Mishra and Samaya.  Each school focuses on energzing different chakras, but all seek enlightenment through activation of Kundalini energy rising to pierce the crown chakra (ajna) there by attaining union with the one.  Within these schools activation of the Kundalini energy may be sought through left hand (physical senses) or right hand (symbolic/mental) exercises.  Read definitions of the Tantric schools by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati.  In the West, we seem to focus on a very specific subset of left handed Kuala Tantra which seeks transformation using sexual energy symbolizing the male within the female.  Within each of us when the male principle of consciousness (in the  head) and the female principle of earth (in the body) are in loving union, enlightenment manifests - light into matter, the whole universe embodied within. To learn more about Tantric yoga, visit the Tantra Magazine Online.
Tapotement; Springy tapping, chopping or close fisted movements, generally applied to the body at a steady, rapid pace to create rhythmical compression to the tissue also known as percussion. One of the four basic strokes of Swedish massage.

Thai Massage ( also called Traditional Thai Medical Massage or Nuad Bo Rarn ) has been taught and practiced in Thailand for about 2,500 years. Although the origins are somewhat vague, credit for the origin of Thai Massage is given to a famous Indian doctor, Shvago Komarpaj, who was the personal physician of the Buddha and Magadha king.  It is said to have originated in the Vajrayana Yogic medicine of Tibet before coming to Thailand.  Historically, manipulation was one of the four branches composing traditional Thai ceremonies or magical practices.  This is based on the theory that the body is made up of 72,000 Sen, or energy lines, of which ten hold top priority.  Thai massge also involves peripheral stimulating, meaning it acts as an external stimulant to produce specific internal effects.  This point serves as a main division between Thai and Western massage.  Another difference is that Thai massage is practiced on a firm matt on the floor instead of on a table.  This is instrumental in the effective use of the practitioner's  body weight for compression and stretching.  The Thais believe that stretching, compressing, and applying torque to the musculo-skelatal system create energy as well as releasing blockages and allowing relaxation.  Thai massage has been called 'Lazy Man's Yoga'.  Within Thailand there are two 'styles' of massage 'Northern' and 'Southern' Thai massage.  Except for the feet, the client remains fully clothed, so draping is not necessary.
Thalassotherapy - is the use of sea water or a seaweed product in a hydrotherapy treatment.  Sea water and seaweed contain trace elements, vitamins, and minerals which help stimulate blood circulation, eliminate toxins, tone and remineralize the body.
The Work ( see Byron Katie Work )
Therapeutic Massage See Massage, Therapy )
Therapeutic Touch This laying-on of hands therapeutic technique was developed by Delores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N., and Dor Kunz, clairvoyant and gifted healer, in the 1970s in the  United States.  Used extensively by registered nurses in hospitals to nurture premature babies and to increase the recovery of some patients, including in the emergency room.  Gentle and non-invasive, it works  on and above the body.  Using a meditative process, Therapeutic Touch disperses blocked energy and allows the practitioner to channel healing energy to the client.  The reciever may be sitting or lying down  and may be concious or unconcious during the treatment.  The receiver ultimately heals herself.  The practitioner's role is only to give of her own energy reserves in order to boost the healing process in the  receiver.
Therapy, Holistic.  This is a generic term which can be applied to a range of treatments for healing a combination of body, mind and/or spirit.  The underlying  premiss being that imbalances in thought patterns, energy patterns, emotions, and/or spiritual connection will ulimately manifest as an acute, chronic or degenerative physical ailment(s).

 Toning - Using the human voice to make healing sounds of any nature.  These sounds open up our body to become more ourself. Several vowel sounds are thought to be particularly effective.  For example: Ahh, Eehh, Oohh, Ohmm.  In "Chakra Therapy", Keith Sherwood suggests the following sound correspondences:
      U -- in the lower part of the spine
      O -- in the belly
      A -- in the heart, chest
      E -- in the throat
       I -- in the third eye
      Hm -- in the crown
Touch for Health Developed by chiropractor John Thie, Touch for Health combines methods and techniques which include acupuncture principles,  acupressure, muscle testing , massage , and dietary guidelines.  The method of treatment requires a second person who performs muscle testing.  This determines which muscles  are strong or weak, indicating if a physical problem or organ malfunction exists.  Once weak muscles are determined, a variety of methods are used as part of a muscle strengthening program.  Such techniques as  finger pressure on neuro-vascular holding points on the head and pressure on the acupressure holding points.  After the muscles are strengthened, Touch for Health theory states that energy then flows through the  body, improving vitality and ability to maintain good health.
Traditional Chinese Medicine ( See Chinese Medicine )
Traditional Oriental Medicine  ( See Chinese Medicine  )
Traditional Thai Medical Massage - See Thai Massage
Trager Psychophysical Integration developed by Milton Trager (usually just called Trager) uses light, gentle, non-intrusive movements to facilitate the release of deep-seated physical and mental patterns.  Each part of the client's body is moved rhythmically so that the recipient experiences the possibility of moving lightly, effortlessly, and freely on their own. A Trager session should help reduce stress from chronic  tension, teach more effective ways to recover from stressful situations, enhance conscious awareness and flexibility, improve self-image, expand energy, restore free flowing movement and full self-expression by reducing  constriction and rigidity. A Trager session can bring about the experience of peace and serenity -- a high-energy state of well-being beyond relaxation.
Trigger Point Myotherapy ( also referred to as Trigger Point Therapy ) is a  pain-relief technique to alleviate muscle spasms and cramping. The therapist locates and deactivates `trigger points', which are often tender areas  where muscles have been damaged or acquired a reccurring spasm or `kink' that worsens painfully when aggravated. Trigger Points typically 'refer' pain to areas surrounding or even very distant from the 'tender'  point'. The major goals are to reduce spasm inducing new blood flow into the affected area. The spasms are partly maintained by nervous system feedback (pain-spasm-pain) cycle. Spasms also physically reduce blood flow to the trigger point area (ischemia), reducing oxygen supplied to the  tissues and increasing the spasm. ( see also, Bonnie Pruden Myotherapy ).
Pressure is applied to trigger points, for a short time (between about 7 to 10 seconds per  point), which can be momentarily painful but is greatly relieving. It is common to hit the  same trigger points several times during a session, but you won't be leaning into a sore spot for several minutes. Often  ice or another cooling agent is used to reduce nervous system response, making the area easier and  more comfortable to work. Then the muscles are gently stretched to complete the relaxation process, hence the name  `spray and stretch'.
Tui Na - The term Tui Na first appeared in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) texts as pediatric tui na (xiao or tuina). "Tui" means literally to push and "Na" is a  squeezing and lifting technique.  The names of these two techniques are used to represent the system.  Practitioners of tui na claim that there are over 365 different hand techniques, although they can  generally be placed in the categoriy of either pressing, rubbing, waving, shaking, percussion, or manipulating.
Tuning (Harmonic Healing) - Using harmonic vibrations to bring the body's vibrational frequencies back into their healthy normal resonant states. Developed by Christopher Tymmes to  replicate the effect of Tibetan monk chanting.
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