Sign up for our FREE Email Newsletter
Like most of the other natural or alternative health care methods, chiropractic
seeks to optimize your body's innate healing abilities. A strong body will be better
able to fight off the daily interactions--we all have--with bacteria, viruses, pollution
and stress. The primary method used by chiropractors to treat your ailments is the
chiropractic adjustment (also called chiropractic spinal manipulation). An adjustment
is performed when the chiropractor places his or her hands over the bony protrusions
of your spine and uses them as levers to reposition the mis-aligned vertebrae or
create motion in a joint that has been injured.
Common uses for chiropractic include mechanical problems such as; low back pain,
neck and shoulder pain, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Non-mechanical, or
"organic" problems treated by chiropractic include; asthma, digestive problems,
fibromyalgia, migraine headaches and general maintenance of health.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing arts known to man, dating back to 3000
B.C. in Inner Mongolia. However, it was not until the 1970's that it began to be
accepted by western medicine. Today acupuncture is often used to supplement the
treatment of many conditions, including low back pain, headaches, and other conditions
that are unresponsive to conventional therapies. The basic premise of acupuncture
revolves around the concepts of "yin" and "yang. These two basic elements are to
each other as the two sides of a coin, head or tails. Each can not exist without
the other, and each serves to balance the effects and attributes of its counter
part. Together these to concepts are attributes of the universal life force know
as "Qi" (pronounced "Chee").
Qi flows through everything, including each of our bodies. The pattern of energy
flow within us can be mapped as "meridians," or channels running on either side
of our bodies. There are six paired meridians on each side of your bodies, and two
unpaired that run down the center, controlling the other twelve. If one of these
channels becomes blocked or stimulated above normal levels, then the normal flow
of Qi is changed and the balance between yin and yang is disrupted. It is this imbalance
that allows disease to gain a foot-hold.
The acupuncturist attempts to restore the balance between yin and yang by opening
your energy channels. He or she does this by introducing a very thin needle into
a point along the effected meridian. These predetermined points are called "acupuncture
points." It is believed that Qi can exit and enter the body at these 365 known acupuncture
points. The insertion of needles, serves to stimulate or decrease the flow of Qi
into the affected point.
Massage therapy is most likely the oldest form of healing. Rubbing, pushing. holding
are all throw-backs to the grooming behaviors of our primitive ancestors. All of
the ancient cultures including the Chinese, Indians, Greeks, Romans and Japanese
utilized forms of massage therapy in the treatment of disease. In late 1800's a
Swedish "physiotherapist" name Per Henrik Ling, used massage techniques to treat
many ailments and injuries. Based on his methods, The Society of Trained Masseurs
was founded in 1894.
There are three basic types of massage strokes. Effleurage (light stroking or rubbing),
petrissage (deep kneading techniques) and tapotement (percussion therapies). Modern
techniques include, myofascial release (deep pressure to ligaments and tendons)
and cross friction massage (vigorous rubbing across a muscle or tendon).
Common uses for massage include, relaxation and stress reduction, muscle and joint
pains, low back pain, headaches, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and digestive
Energy therapies are one of the most controversial aspects of alternative health
care because they deal with the unseen forces of spirituality. While there are many
different forms of energy work, each of them holds that human beings are more than
just our physical forms. They contend, that we are also patterns of energy and spirit,
and that these patterns can be directed, re-enforced and repaired through the interaction
with the energy patterns of a healer. It is believed that our spiritual energies
flow within channels running up and down either side of our bodies (know as meridians)
or lie within energy centers know as "chakras". These energy centers and channels
give off and take in energy from the universal energy field that ties us all together.
When they become blocked or imbalanced, then the individual is not functioning at
100% and can potentially become diseased.
Some of the common energy therapies include, Reiki, Aura Cleansing, Biodynamic Massage,
Color and Light Therapies, Polarity Therapy, Qi Gong, Sound Therapy, Crystal Therapies
and Zero Balancing. Practitioners of energy healing claim to be able to feel or
even see these energy fields surrounding the body. By observing the color and intensity
of the various chakras, an energy worker can identify a blockage and attempt to
correct it by manipulating it with the use of his or her own personal energy.