With so many people moving toward natural health modalities, it seems appropriate to review some common terms in the natural health field. There are countless methods of natural healing that have been used since the dawn of humankind. Families, tribes, and communities of people have been utilizing natural medicine long before the development of the MRI and Prozac. This is just a brief snapshot of some common terms in natural health. Stay tuned for future segments.
Alternative Medicine – Refers to any health-related practice that is not typical of modern-day (allopathic, western) medicine; includes acupuncture, herbal remedies, homeopathy, and much more.
Ayurveda – A centuries-old practice of holistic health that originated in India. Ayurveda involves everything from yoga and meditation to foods, herbs and lifestyle practices. Translates as “Life Science” and is based on three body/personality types called Doshas.
Herbology – The study of the use of plants in restoring or maintaining health and balance. Plants or plant extracts are used internally or externally to treat or support a wide variety of conditions from wound healing, to constipation, to stress and much more.
Holistic – Emphasizes whole health of body, mind and spirit.
Homeopathy – Often confused with “Holistic”. Homeopathy was developed by a physician named Samuel Hahnemann. It is a method of treating disease by balancing energy and restoring the life force of the recipient. Homeopathic remedies are ultra-diluted solutions of materials that originated from plant, mineral or animal sources. Homeopathy operates under the “Law of Similars” or “like treats like” where a remedy contains the essence of a substance that would cause the same symptoms that it is used to treat, if it were given at substantially higher doses.
Integrative Medicine – Combines (integrates) modalities of both eastern and western medicine, such as using herbs or acupuncture to relieve the side-effects of chemotherapy.
Life Force – The energy that flows through a living body. Called Qi (chi) in Chinese medicine and Prana in Ayurveda and Yoga. The life force flows through channels in the body called meridians and extends beyond the body in the aura.
Naturopath – Refers to natural health professionals who are trained as either Traditional Naturopaths or Medical Naturopaths. These people focus on treating and preventing disease and restoring/maintaining balance using natural methods. Each Naturopath will have a variety of modalities that they implement based on their unique training specialties.
Traditional Chinese Medicine – Often abbreviated as TCM; a centuries-old practice of holistic health that originated in China. Treatments and lifestyle practices revolve, somewhat, around which personality type you are; earth, fire, wood, metal or water. Includes analysis of the tongue and use of herbs, foods, and practices such as acupuncture to balance Qi. To determine your personality type, take the online quiz at http://www.horseharmonytest.com/Person/
Whole Food Diet – Many natural health modalities have their foundation in nutrition and most recommend a diet including whole foods. Whole foods are straight from nature. They are unadulterated and unprocessed before they get to your house. Typically a whole foods diet is predominantly vegetarian with small portions of organic or naturally produced animal products included. A few examples of whole foods are apples, barley, basil, raw nuts, carrots, eggs and beans.
To determine your Ayurvedic Dosha, visit: http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/
Consider investigating one or more of the terms listed above and enjoy the many benefits of natural health!