Complementary Therapies

Acupuncture: A component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

  • A collection of procedures that involve penetration of the skin with needles to stimulate certain points on the body
  • Employs penetration of the skin by thin metal needles, which are manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation.
  • Fine needle puncturing skin surface correlations of the energy channels releases the flow and promotes homeostasis.
  • Stimulating specificacupuncture points corrects imbalances in the flow of qi through channels known as meridians.

Qi, pronounced ‘Chi’ or ‘Key’: Bodily functions are regulated by an energy called qi , which flows through the body.

  • Acupuncture points mainly found at specified locations along the meridians. Meridians are believed to be channels for Qi or energy to flow through the body.
  • Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for the development of illness and disease.
  • Homeostasis is the body running efficiently and effectively without illness, dysfunction, or disease.
  • In a sense, qi is defined by five “cardinal functions”- functions essential to life:
  1. Actuation– of all physical processes in the body, especially the circulation of all body fluids.
  2. Warming– the body, especially the limbs.
  3. Defense– against invaders like viruses and bacteria.
  4. Containment– of body fluids, i.e. keeping blood, sweat, urine, semen etc. from leakage.
  5. Transformation– of food, drink, and breath into blood and “fluids” and/or transformation of them into each other.

Massage is the manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, aid in the healing process, decrease muscle reflex activity, inhibit motor-neuron excitability, promote relaxation and well-being.

Massage Therapy is the practice of manipulating body tissues for the treatment of illness and dysfunction and has been proven to be one of the most powerful methods of stress management, and may prevent the development of stress-related illnesses (hypertension, heart attacks, depression, etc.).

  1. Massage involves working and acting on the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids.
  2. Target tissues may include muscles,tendons, ligamentsfasciaskin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system.
  3. Is applied with thehandsfingers, elbowskneesforearm, or feet while client lies on the floor or on a massage table or chair.

Types of Massage Therapy

Acupressure (a combination of “acupuncture” and “pressure”) is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique derived from acupuncture.  With acupressure physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points by the hand, elbow, or with various devices.

Aqua Massage is a dry-water hydrotherapy massage that involves the client laying down on a mattress, water jets pummel on the client, while keeping them dry.

Deep Tissue Massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles.

Thai foot massage, or simply foot massage, is the therapeutic massage of particular areas of the soles of the feet, and to a lesser extent the lower legs. The aim is to stimulate reflex points or lines that are believed to correspond to other parts of the body: to the internal organs, the glands, and the senses.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage is a technique used to gently work and stimulate the lymphatic system, to assist in reduction of localized swelling. The Lymphatic drainage massage is believed to help in detoxification of the body and in stimulating the body’s immune system.

Shiatsu (shi meaning finger and atsu meaning pressure) is a Japanese therapy that uses pressure applied with thumbs, fingers and palms to the same energy meridians as acupressure and incorporates stretching.

Stone massage uses cold or water-heated stones to apply pressure and heat to the body.

Swedish Massage uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage. The five basic strokes are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage  (kneading), tapotement  (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber) and vibration/shaking

Visceral Manipulation is one form is Mayan abdominal massage which is practiced in many countries in Latin America. Also known as manipulative therapy, or manual therapy is a physical treatment primarily used by physiotherapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, and osteopaths to treat musculoskeletal pain and disability; it most commonly includes kneading and manipulation of muscles, joint mobilization, and joint manipulation.

Each foot represents a vertical half of the body.

Reflexology is a system of massage used to relieve tension and treat illness, based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands, and head that correspond to every part of the body. It is also the scientific study of reflex action as it affects behavior.

  • The application of pressure to areas on the feet, hands, and ears.
  • Reflexologists use foot charts to guide them as they apply pressure to specific areas.
  • Sometimes these practitioners use items, such as rubber balls, rubber bands and sticks of wood, to assist in their work.
  • Practitioners of reflexology include chiropractors, physical therapists and massage therapists, among others.

How does reflexology relate to other therapies?

Reflexology is similar to acupuncture and acupressure in that it works with the body’s vital energy through the stimulation of points on the body. However, acupuncture/acupressure points do not always coincide with the reflex points used in reflexology.


Holistic & Alternative Medicine

Holistic medicine considers the whole person – body, mind, spirit, and emotions – for optimal health and wellness. One can achieve optimal health – the primary goal of holistic medicine practice – by gaining proper balance in life.

  • Uses all forms of health care, from conventional medication to alternative therapies, to treat a patient.
  • Healing takes a team approach involving the patient and doctor.
  • Uses a variety of treatment techniques to help their patients take responsibility for their own well-being and achieve optimal health.
  • Addresses all aspects of a person’s life using a variety of health care
  • Treatment is fixing the cause of the condition, not alleviating symptoms.

Types of Holistic Treatments

  • Patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness. This may include diet modification, exercisepsychotherapy, and more.
  • Complementary and alternative therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, herbal remedies or botanical pharmacology, aromatherapy, massage therapy, and others.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

  • Term for medical products and practices not a part of standard care.
  • Complementary medicine is used together with standard medical care.
  • Alternative medicine is used in place of standard medical care.

Aromatherapy: A form of alternative medicine that uses volatile plant materials, known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering a person’s mind, moodcognitive function, or physical health.

How does Aromatherapy work?

  • Volatile chemical compounds in the oils stimulate nerves in the nose when inhaled and nerves send impulses to the part of the brain that controls memory and emotion.
  • Oils interact with the glands that excrete hormones and enzymes to cause changes in blood pressurepulse, and other body functions.
  • Used to treat a wide range of physical and mental conditions, including burns, infections, depressioninsomnia, and high blood pressure.
  • Aromatherapy does not cure conditions, but helps the body to find a natural way to cure itself and improve immune response.

Mechanisms of Action:

  1. Influence of aroma on the brain, especially the limbic system through the olfactory system.
  2. Direct pharmacological effects of the essential oil compounds on the body.

Materials Used in Aromatherapeutic Treatments

What about Mineral oil? Mineral oil is not used in aromatherapy because they do not penetrate the skin, therefore the EO will not be absorbed.

ALMOND, SWEET OIL: Absorbs moderately, slightly oily and leaves the skin feeling slightly oily. Almost completely clear with a trace of yellow. Considered to be the perfect all-purpose carrier oil. Blends well with Avocado Oil.

COCONUT OIL: Easy to spread and non-oily, can blend a 10% dilution of coconut oil with another carrier oil.

EVENING PRIMROSE OIL: Thin and its not oily on the skin. Excellent for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis. Evening Primrose Oil can go rancid quickly. It is also expensive, so you can blend a 10% dilution of evening primrose oil with another carrier oil. Can be used in creams.

GRAPESEED OIL: Thin fine texture, leaving no oily residue. Inexpensive. May have some trace amounts of chemical solvent in the oil because of the manner in which it is extracted. It has the possibility of turning rancid quickly. If it is stored in a dark bottle in a cool dark area, you may not have any problems with rancidity. Blends well with Avocado Oil.

OLIVE OIL: Heavy and oily. Use the greenest oil you can possibly purchase. The greener the oil, the closer it is to pure cold pressed.

Popular Uses:

  • Lemon and sweet orange essential oils are said to be uplifting and to relieve stress.
  • Red Thyme oil is highly antibiotic and antiseptic, especially against E. Coli, Streptococcus, and Candida.
  • Peppermint oil is often used to deter ants, by applying a few drops on their trail; spiders and mice will avoid its aroma as well.
  • LavenderJasmine, and Chamomile are used for anti-stress, anti-anxiety, and as an anti-depressant.

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. Tibetan medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine both have their roots in Ayurveda. Early Greek medicine also embraced many concepts originally described in the classical ayurvedic medical texts dating back thousands of years.

  • Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life; Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential.
  • Provides guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior and the proper use of our senses, Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.
  • Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments:

Movement – Vata (Wind)

Transformation – Pitta (Fire)

Structure – Kapha (Earth)

  • These forces are responsible for the characteristics of mind and body; each has a unique proportion of these three forces that shapes our nature.
  • For each element, there is a balanced and imbalance expression. An important goal of Ayurveda is to identify a person’s ideal state of balance, determine where they are out of balance, and offer interventions using diet, herbs, aromatherapy, massage treatments, music, and meditation to reestablish balance.
Seven basic tissues (dhatu):

plasma (rasa)

blood (rakta)

muscles (māmsa)

fat (meda)

bone (asthi)

marrow (majja)

semen (shukra)

Twenty gunas (characteristics):

1.  heavy/light,

2.  cold/hot,

3.  unctuous/dry,

4.  dull/sharp,

5.  stable/mobile,

6.  soft/hard,

7.  non-slimy/slimy,

8.  smooth/coarse,

9.  minute/gross,

10.      viscous/liquid.

Botanical Pharmacology: The study of the interaction between life forms and the chemicals created by plants.

  • The knowledgeable utilization of a multitude of skillfully prepared herbal remedies or “herbal prescriptions” to treat common ailments and complicated diseases.
  • Medicinal herbs, flowering fruits, grasses, and tough, aromatic roots all provide some physical benefit to the human body.
  • Developed because of the simple understanding that naturally sourced, plant based remedies and therapies are more effective for our physical makeup.
  • Plant extracts are not single isolated constituents but a multitude of affective chemical compounds that work synergistically to bring about proper, healthy physical function.

Some examples of botanical treatments include:

  • Herbal teas are prepared by combining a small amount of dried or fresh crushed herbs, flowers, stems, barks, or roots and steeping in freshly boiled water for 5 to 60 minutes.
  • Decoctions are stronger, medicinal preparations for more serious illnesses and is typically for tough plant materials like seeds, barks, and roots and includes boiling for longer period to ensure chemical extraction.
  • Glycerites are vegetable glycerin based herbal extracts for allergies, hormonal issues, and insomnia.
  • Tinctures are alcohol based herbal extracts with long shelf lives and are treatments for allergies, infections, coughs, and headaches.
  • Infused Oils & Honeys: great for gentle applications, due to low dilutions.

Chiropractic: A complementary and alternative medicine health care profession and an approach to healing concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders of the nerve, muscular, and skeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health.  Characterized as a health profession, that emphasizes the conservative management of the nerve, muscular, and skeletal systems, without the use of medicines and surgery.

  • Emphasizingmanual physical therapy including joint adjustment and manipulation by hand, with particular focus on joint dysfunction and/or subluxations.
  • Subluxation implies the presence of anincomplete or partial dislocation  of a joint or organ.
  • Regularly visiting a chiropractor can have a significant positive impact on your overall well-being.

Ongoing chiropractic maintenance care may offer significant health benefits, including but not limited to, management/relief of:

Back and neck conditions

Leg pain (Sciatica) and Neuropathy

Hip, knee, foot, and ankle pain

Hand, wrist, shoulder, or elbow pain

Migraine and tension headaches

High blood pressure

Sleep disorders

Fibromyalgia and Neuralgia

Bursitis and Arthritis

Chronic injuries

Homeopathy: system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann, based on his doctrine of like cures like, or the “law of similars”, according to which a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people.

  • Illness and disease are a result of a disturbance in the flow of vital energy or life force within the body.
  • Believed that the energetic, not chemical, content of homeopathic remedies that assist in aligning the energy flow, thus allowing for reversal of illness and disease.
  • The doses of homeopathic remedies are minuscule, or immeasurable, meaning little to no actual physical chemical compounds are found within them.
  • Through succussion, or rapid and sharp controlled tapping of the bottle containing the extract, also known as the process of potentization, the vital force from the plant, mineral, chemical, or animal extract are released and are diluted multiple times in alcohol and/or water.
  • Only about one or two drops of the liquid are used at a time, usually by dropping onto sugar pellets.

This philosophy based on the premise that less is more. The higher the dilution, or the amount water or alcohol in ratio to the compound diluted, of the extract the higher the overall effectiveness within the body.

What is homeopathy used for?

Historically, people have used homeopathy to maintain health and treat a wide range of long-term illnesses, such as allergies, atopic dermatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. They have also used it to treat minor injuries, such as cuts and scrapes and muscle strains or sprains. Homeopathic treatment is not considered appropriate for illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, major infections, or emergencies.

Naturopathic medicine:scientific form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism.

Vitalism: posits that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation.

Naturopathy: favors a holistic approach with non-invasive treatment and generally avoids the use of surgery and drugs, but will implement their use if deemed necessary or when other treatments have not worked, as a last resort.

  • This system of treatment is divided into three categories: traditional naturopaths; naturopathic physicians; and other health care providers that provide naturopathic services.
  • In the US they can be Naturopathic physicians that employ the principles of naturopathy within the context of conventional medical practices.
  • Comprises many different treatment modalities such as nutritional and herbal medicine, lifestyle advice, counseling, flower essence, homeopathy and remedial massage.
  • Prevention through stress reduction and a healthy diet and lifestyle is emphasized, and pharmaceutical drugs, ionizing radiation, and surgery, are generally avoided.
  • Focuses on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment.
  • Helps to facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health.
  • It’s role to help identify and remove barriers to good health by helping to create a healing internal and external environment.

9 or 10 Dimensions of Wellness?

Wellness is the full integration of states of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Wellness includes social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, financial, intellectual and physical wellness.

Spiritual Wellness is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives. Spirituality is a personal matter involving values and beliefs that provide a purpose in our lives.

  • Do I make time for relaxation in my day?
  • Do I make time for meditation and/or prayer?
  • Do my values guide my decisions and actions?
  • Am I accepting of the views of others?

Physical Wellness is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress.

  • Do I know health numbers, like cholesterol, weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels?
  • Do I get annual physical exams?
  • Do I avoid using tobacco products?
  • Do I get sufficient amount of sleep?
  • Do I have an established exercise routine?

Emotional Wellness is the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring.

  • Am I able to maintain a balance of work, family, friends, and other obligations?
  • Do I have ways to reduce stress in my life?
  • Am I able to make decisions with a minimum of stress and worry?
  • Am I able to set priorities?

Social Wellness is the ability to relate to and connect with other people in our world.

  • Do I plan time to be with my family and friends?
  • Do I enjoy the time I spend with others?
  • Are my relationships with others positive and rewarding?
  • Do I explore diversity by interacting with people of other cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs?

Environmental Wellness is the ability to recognize our own responsibility for the quality of the air, the water and the land that surrounds us.

  • Do I recycle, reuse, or donate?
  • If I see a safety hazard, do I take the steps to fix the problem?
  • Do I volunteer time to worthy causes?
  • Am I aware of my surroundings at all times?

Creative Wellness is the ability to participate in arts and culture activities for the purpose of self-expression, stress-relief, and skill-building.

  • Do I take time to be creative?
  • Do I enjoy observing art or making art?
  • Am I aware of my own creative talents?
  • Do I appreciate the creative talents of others?

Occupational (Career) Wellness is the ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives.

  • Do I enjoy my life most days?
  • Do I have a manageable workload at home?
  • Do I feel that I have accomplished my goals?

Financial wellness is an intricate balance of the mental, spiritual and physical aspects of money.

  • Do I have extra cash in my pocket?
  • Do I balance my checkbook regularly?
  • Do I protect myself from fraudulent activity?

Intellectual Wellness is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment.

  • Am I open to new ideas?
  • Do I seek personal growth by learning new skills?
  • Do I search for learning opportunities and stimulating mental activities?
  • Do I look for ways to use creativity?

The 10th and very important, but often forgotten or neglected, dimension of our wellness is our:

Sexual Wellness includes intimate physical contact and close personal relationships. No matter what we are told by churches or parents sex is an important part of human life. Whether or not we want to admit it we are animals and have the same drives and urges. Sexual health is an integral part of your overall wellness as you age. Countless scientific studies have shown the many benefits of a healthy and active love-life including; living longer, obtaining greater success in business and a greater overall well-being.

  • Am I able to interact with all genders in appropriate and respectful ways?
  • Do I feel comfortable discussing sexual issues?
  • Am I able to effectively communicate sexual limits?
  • Am I able to express physical feeling of attraction without focusing on the genitals?
  • Am I able to discuss desires and fantasies with partners?
  • Do I take steps to prevent unwanted pregnancies?
  • Do I take steps to protect myself from sexually transmitted diseases?
  • Am I able to develop friendships without sexual agendas?
  • Do I appreciate my own body? Am I comfortable in my skin?
  • Do I understand the physical and emotional consequences of sexual activity?


Introduction to Health & Wellness

What is Holistic Health & Wellness?

  • An ancient concept prescribing treatment according to the overall health status of the individual, not picking one specific symptom for treatment.
  • Holistic means consideration of the entire individual – mind, body, and soul – when treating illness and disease.
  • Holistic Wellness is an individual’s perception of and acceptance of or satisfaction with their overall health status.
  • The entire individual taken into account when prescribing herbal remedies and spiritual practices developed over generations to ward off and treat illness.
  • Holistic practices view individual health from the perspective of the Eight Dimensions of Health and Wellness.
  • Holistic health and wellness is a healthy balance of every function of the individual – mental, physical, spiritual, social, and emotional.

Achieving Wellness: changes in lifestyle to slow aging and prevent disease.

  • Consume a well-balanced and nutrient dense diet of fresh and unprocessed meats, nuts and beans, dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and excessive amounts of sugar and caffeine.
  • Drink at least 32 oz of water, herbal teas, animal or vegetable milk and/or fruit or vegetable juices each day to prevent dehydration and maintain strength of hair, skin, and nails.
  • Green, black, and oolong teas as well as coffee, soda, and energy drinks with artificial sweeteners all have a diuretic effect on the body and work to reduce water consumed.
  • Remaining active and walking often throughout life will promote muscle retention well into aging and reduce the risk of accidents due to muscle weakness.
  • Regularly participating in educational or community settings will promote mental, emotional, and social wellbeing well into aging.
  • Dealing with life’s stresses in a calm and conscious manner will reduce the damage to the heart and nervous system that accumulates from stress throughout life.

Welcome to HHWEP!

Those of us here at HHWEP are working hard to create new content for this blog.

Thank you for stopping.

Please join us for a class in Lakewood, Colorado. Check the Calendar for more info.

Please do not hesitate to check out the ALL NEW website and leave your questions or comments!