Integrative Medicine | Glossary of Terms

Here are some common terms you will find on this website and elsewhere with regards to Integrative and Complementary Medicine.

Acupressure (Shiatsu)
Finger pressure applied at predetermined strategic points along the body’s surface to have a positive impact on all levels of functioning, including emotional, mental and spiritual.

The process of applying tiny needles to the various acupuncture points on the body stimulates the nervous system to release specific chemicals in the brain. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities and in promoting physical and emotional well being.

Acupuncture Points
There are over 300 points located on the body (see figure at right). Each point and combination of points treat specific ailments.

Art for Healing
A program that allows patients to express themselves and process their hospital experience in a creative way. Creativity enhances the body-mind’s ability to work with any form of medical treatment. While working with an artist, patients visualize and create images that allow them to participate in their own healing. The creative process is therapeutic and helps to reduce stress, transform pain and tension, and bring empowerment and meaning to the healing environment. No prior experience necessary.

Craniosacral Therapy
Using the rhythm of the craniosacral system the therapist touches the bones of the skull and spine detecting and gently correcting the imbalance in the craniosacral system.

Geriatric Massage
Gentle massage designed for the special needs of older adults.

Guided Imagery
Guided imagery is an ancient form of meditation that uses the imagination (images and pictures we experience through any of our sensory perception) to reconnect to their inner resources for healing. This process, often guided by a practitioner or audio tape, can help boost the immune system, promotes a reduction in anxiety and pain, and a greater sense of wellbeing.

Infant Massage
Gentle soothing strokes and pressure applied to the babies’ muscles promoting relaxation of babies and parents and helping - with babies’ digestion, weight gain, and elimination - babies’ sleep better - lessen irritability - babies be more responsive to outside stimuli - relieve the symptoms of gas and colic.

Integrative Medicine
The practice of incorporating various complementary therapies into traditional medical care for a more holistic approach to healing of mind, body, spirit.

Manual Lymph Draining
Manipulation of tissue to assist in the functioning of the lymphatic system by improving the circulation of lymph as it flows through the lymph system.

A healing touch that applies pressure on the muscles of the body. Benefits of massage include an enhanced feeling of well-being, less muscle tension, improved blood and lymph circulation, lower blood pressure, increased range of motion, less anxiety relief from depression, less trouble sleeping, relief from depression.

Massage Therapy (Thereputic Massage)
Massage therapy is an ancient healing touch that provides comfort through applying pressure to the muscles of the body. Massages may be given lying down or seated at a massage chair and, may be total body or specific areas of discomfort. Benefits may include relaxation, increased energy, pain relief, improved circulation, digestion, and sleep, and a greater sense of well-being.

A relaxation technique that achieves a state of profound relaxation, inner harmony, and increased mental awareness through focsing on the breath, a word, an object, a silent prayer, etc.

Energy pathways located in the human body that connect acupuncture points and internal organs.

The burning of an herb (Mugwort) over an acupuncture point to elicit a healing response.

Music Therapy
Music therapy is the use of specific music (with specific vibrational frequencies) to promote relaxation and healing. Although most healing music is soft and soothing, individual patient preferences (jazz, classical, etc.) can also be relaxing and therefore healing to that individual.

Myofascial (deep tissue release)
A deep Western massage, releasing tension in the fascia (connective tissue) as a means of restoring balance to the body and its’ systems.

Preparation for Surgery Class
This class teaches relaxation techniques (often called mind-body techniques) to help patients prepare emotionally and physically for surgery. This program promotes: - Feeling calmer before surgery - Experiencing less pain - Healing faster Whenever possible patients should sign up for the class 1-2 weeks preop by calling 545-1888. The class is offered: Mondays 6-8 pm in several community locations.

Pronounced “Chee”- the life force in all body functions, including breathing, heartbeat, metabolism, and even emotions.

The term Qigong (pronounced chee gung) is made up of two Chinese characters, "Qi" and "Gong". A literal translation of the two words together would be "manipulation of vital energy", "energy exercise" or "exercise of Qi". Qigong is an ancient art in which people train to achieve the sensation of Qi (also referred to as chi) and manipulation of Qi by exercising the mind, breath and body. Qigong is a holistic exercise system to maintain good health, prevent disease, relieve sickness and prolong life. An alternative spelling, Chi Kung is sometimes used.

A way of stimulating the internal organs and increasing blood circulation to all areas of the body through the compression of reflex points on hands or most commonly, the feet.

Reiki is a Japanese touch therapy for relaxation and pain relief that also promotes healing. Although Reiki is “hands-on”, unlike massage, Reiki is administered through a very gentle touch. While the patient is seated or lying down and fully clothed, the practitioner’s hand are placed along energy centers and pathways on the head, neck, shoulders, upper chest, abdomen, legs, and feet (similar to those used in acupuncture).

Manipulating the fascia by using pressure and lifting or a spreading motion to loosen up and re-organize the soft tissue of the body.

Swedish Massage
Promotes health and relaxation by relieving muscle tension and improving circulation.

Tai Chi
Tai Chi is an ancient martial arts exercise. The gentle movements and postures are designed to achieve a harmonious flow of energy (chi) in the body. The movements are coordinated with breathing patterns and performed slowly so that the practitioner can focus on changes in balance, flexibility, and muscle tension. This can improve balance, stability, flexibility, and skill and promote a sense of relaxation, wellbeing and improved health.

Two semicircles of light and dark which form a complete circle and merge into each other is known in Chinese as the Tai Chi, and represents moving harmony (see image). The theory of Yin-Yang holds that every object or identity or phenomenon in the universe is composed of two opposite aspects (as represented in the symbol). The relationship between Yin and Yang is the principle, the cause, the force, and the balance for the flourishing and perishing of all things in the universe. They stand for heaven and earth, sun and moon, day and night, heat and cold, positive and negative, etc.

Integrative Medicine