CAM Glossary
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Acupressure A traditional Chinese medicine technique which involves placing physical pressure by hand on specific energy points on the body.
Acupuncture A process of inserting needles into specific targets to balance yin and yang to regulate qi to correct, restore and/or optimize health. The western definition is that acupuncture points stimulate the brain to release chemicals which affect the nerves, muscles and immune system. See www.aaom.org
Acupuncturist A person who is trained and credentialed to perform acupuncture.
Alternative Therapy A treatment used instead of conventional cancer treatment.
Aromatherapy The belief that certain aromas can be stimulating and calming. Most aromatherapy uses essential oils from plants and herbs.
Art Therapy Uses a creative process to allow awareness and expression of emotions when it is otherwise difficult to do so. See www.arttherapy.org
Biofeedback Uses electrical monitoring devices to document changes in bodily functions as a result of increased relaxation. Once this process is learned, the patient is then able to self-regulate behavior without the use of the electrical devices. See www.aapb.org
CAM An abbreviation for complimentary and alternative medicine.
Ch' i (pronouced chee) Also is spelled qi and is the flow of energy which is influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang.
Chiropractic Therapy A treatment primarily focused on the spine and the manual manipulation of the body's musculoskeletal system. See www.amerchiro.org
Complimentary Treatments A treatment used in addition to conventional cancer treatment.
Dance Therapy Is a therapy to allow the expression of feelings with the goal of building self-esteem and restoring balance between the mind and body. See www.adta.org
Electroacupuncture Is the use of electrical current to stimulate specific target sites which restore the flow of energy balance.
Focused Breathing Techniques used to promote diaphragmatic breathing which is associated with decreased stress, a sensation of calmness and relaxation.
Folk Medicine A set of beliefs and traditions, typically handed down from generation to generation, practiced by a specific group or culture.
Guided Imagery A technique of diverting mental attention to create images evoke physical changes of relaxation and promote healing processes. See www.healthy.net/agi
Herbal Medicine Chinese medicine uses natural material from plants, animals or minerals to introduce certain qualities into the body to balance what the illness may have disrupted.
Herbs Are naturally occurring substances in nature that are used to balance and/or heal the body. See www.herbalgram.org
Holistic A term used to describe the "whole" of a person which includes the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual parts.
Homeopathic Medicine Natural remedies are matched to a patients set of symptoms. Proponents of this type of medicine believe that modern medical treatment weakens the body's ability to heal itself. See www.homeopathic.org
Hypnosis Is a process of receiving instructions to enter into deep concentration characterized by an altered psychological state and minimal motor functioning. The goal is to enter into the unconscious mind which is believed more likely to accept suggestion.
Macrobiotic Diet A diet based on the Eastern philosophy of yin and yang. The goal is to achieve balance through healthy lifestyle and diet. The diet consists of whole grains, vegetables, beans, soup, fish, seasonal fruits and nuts all planned to meet specific health needs. See www.macrobiotics.org
Massage Therapeutic massage is the manual stroking, kneading or tapping the body's tissue to decrease muscle tension, improve circulation and general relaxation. The massage therapist should be licensed. Massage therapy is generally safe for cancer patients but it is important to consult with a physician prior to starting massage therapy. See www.amtamassage.org
Meditation Is the intentional self-regulation of one's attention. There are two types of meditation: concentrative methods which one uses repeated phrases and mindfulness-based stategies which start with the observations of thought, emotions and sensations without judgement to improve awareness. See www.
Music Therapy The controlled use of music by a music therapist to reduce anxiety and depression. See www.musictherapy.org