CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine)

Includes healthcare systems, treatments, and products that exist outside of conventional medical practices. Complementary medical techniques are used in conjunction with conventional medical therapies. Alternative medicine, in contrast, replaces conventional therapies.


Traditional Chinese pressure-point massage uses finger pressure applied to key points on the body to stimulate energy flow, ease muscle tension, relieve pain, and promote relaxation. Often referred to as “acupuncture without needles.”



Traditional Chinese healing technique meant to maintain or restore the body’s balance of energy (“chi”). Administered by inserting fine needles into energy centers (meridians) to stimulate energy flow, acupuncture is used to treat underlying causes of conditions including addiction, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches, lower back pain, menstrual irregularities, arthritis, allergies, high blood pressure, and sciatica.



The Feldenkrais method is named for its Russian-born originator, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. An education-based system for restoring physical function to a burdened or impaired body, the method consists of intensive verbal and touch-therapy workshops designed to reorganize the body’s fundamental movements and relationship with the central nervous system. Certified practitioners must complete 800-1,000 hours of training in a three- or four-year period.


Functional Medicine

A systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual's illness.



German for “cure.” A planned course of spa treatments that typically involves soaking in mineral waters, mud baths, body wraps, and massage. “Taking the kur” might be a process lasting ten to 20 days.


Holistic Medicine

System of health care that looks at the entire person, taking into account physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual and lifestyle values, and avails itself all modes of diagnosis and treatment including drugs and surgery in the absence of a safe alternative. The patient is urged to make personal efforts to achieve balance and well-being.



ho-mee-AH-pa-thee Form of medicine based on the principle that “like cures like.” To stimulate healing, patients are treated with minute quantities of natural substances that cause symptoms much like those of the disease they are meant to cure.


Inhalation Therapy

Steam vapor treatments that are deemed especially helpful for those suffering from impaired respiratory function due to illness or a smoking habit. Vapor is often mixed with herbal elements such as eucalyptus and chamomile. This form of therapy is often found at spas with access to a mineral or thermal spring.



The study of patterns and structures in the iris (colored part of the eye) to diagnose disease. Though the practice is disputed by most in the mainstream medical field, but many holistic health professionals claim that the response of nerves in the iris to bodily phenomena (including disease) can be interpreted through close scrutiny of visible features in the eye. Some even believe that iridology can prevent the onset of disease by discerning warning signs in the iris.



nay-chur-AH-pa-thee Holistic medical system based on the healing power of nature and the ability of the body to heal itself. Naturopathy focuses on prevention and treating causes, not symptoms, using natural foods, vitamins and supplements, exercise, herbal medicine, lifestyle changes, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and mind-body therapies.


Preventive Medicine

A holistic approach to health in which a combination of conventional, traditional, and alternative methods are employed to stave off or reverse disease, as opposed to a solely conventional medical model that seeks to cure existing maladies.


Rolfing Structural Integration

Deep massage system developed by Dr. Ida Rolf to achieve changes in posture and structure by manipulating the body’s muscular-skeletal system. She believed proper alignment would relieve pain and chronic stress. Treatments progress from localized areas to larger body segments.


Sound Healing

A practice that uses vibrations (vocal or instrumental-like gongs, Tibetan singing bowls and tuning forks) in order to relax your mind and body. Some proponents also believe it can relieve certain ailments, including anxiety and insomnia.