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Geriatric Massage, Gestalt Therapy, Guided Imagery, Hakomi Intergrative Somatics,  Hakomi Therapy, Happy Ending Massage, Harmonic Healing, Heliotherapy, Healing Crisis, Healing Touch, Hellerwork, Herbal Medicine, Herbalism, Herbal Bath, Herbal Wrap, Herxheimer Reaction, High Colonic, Holistic Health, Holistic Vision Therapies, Homeopathioc Medicine, Homeopathy, Hydrotherapy, Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, Alternative Medicine


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Definitions of  Massage, Bodywork, Energy, Alternative Medicine & Healing Modalities

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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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 syndrome, and other disorders with the aim of boosting the immune system.

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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 tensions and sensations to help clients probe nonverbal 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.

Happy Ending Massage This is not a "therapeutic" massage and licensed massage therapists are prohibited from providing sexual services by codes of ethics and state licensing boards.  Apparently, some non-licensed individuals have used this term as a euphemism for sexual services.

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 tone 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, alcohol, 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 geothermal 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 conscious mind and access the subconscious, 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 excellent summary of the history of 'mesmerism' and it's evolution to modern hypnosis using "Erickson method" visit

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