Alternative medicine

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD HEALTH

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THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD HEALTH

We take so much for granted, and don’t realize how fortunate we are until something or someone is taken from us.

Good Health starts from the very infancy. It is here that protection and care is needed, so that each organ functions well, each organ develops naturally, and there are no deformities, disabilities and diseases but often the health of children remain neglected, with the result that they grow unhealthily and that affects their education as well. A healthy child develops into a healthy adult. In case the child does not grow properly, and he remains handicapped in some way, his ill-health spoils his adult life. He cannot join any active service; he cannot be a successful professional, nor can he live his life happily.

Health is real wealth. A healthy person is an asset to himself, to his family and to his community. On the other hand an ailing person is a burden on all. He is a danger for coming generations because heredity plays an important part in this respect. Health is the pivot upon which a man’s whole personality and its well-being depend. An ailing and aching body saps the enthusiasm for pursuit. Unwholesome feelings and sensations retard the pace of functional activity, economic development and spiritual uplift.

Health cannot be achieved merely by taking one or two pills every day or by observing a few restrictions. It can be achieved only by understanding what health is, on what it depends and then applying this knowledge in every-day life.

The care of the body regarding food, cleanliness, exercise, rest and protection against disease, are essential for the preservation of sound health. Life is for living. Without health, life is deprived of not only much of its usefulness but also its joys and pleasures.

The stream of life will be rich and lasting in proportion to the sources which nourish it. These sources belong to every person. They are food, exercise, and proper posture, care of bodily functions, avoidance of alcohol and tobacco and wholesome mental and emotional attitudes.     If we ignore even the smallest of issues, get in to a doctor right away. Don’t think it will go away overnight; it could be something serious and lead to other issues.

Why is there a need to have an amputation?   Can’t the limb be saved?   Is there a reason why this American woman has an interest in such a topic?     Do we personally know anyone who has had an amputation?   I personally know what this all about especially after spending 5 ½ weeks in the hospital due to a serious infection in one of my limbs which ultimately resulted in the amputation of part of the limb. In time I will be getting a prosthetic limb and am learning how to do things in a new manner and more.

In the US, the majority of new amputations occur due to complications of the vascular system (the blood vessels), especially from diabetes. But there are many in the military that have lost limbs as a result of injuries sustained in war, so the numbers of amputees has substantially increased.     I understand the situation so very well with the loss of a limb and the need to relearn how to do even the basic tasks and things we routinely take for granted and do out of habit.

Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for such problems. A special case is that of congenital amputation, a congenital disorder, where fetal limbs have been cut off by constrictive bands. In some countries, amputation of the hands, feet or other body parts is or was used as a form of punishment for people who committed crimes. Amputation has also been used as a tactic in war and acts of terrorism; it may also occur as a war injury. In some cultures and religions, minor amputations or mutilations are considered a ritual accomplishment. Unlike some non-mammalian animals (such as lizards that shed their tails, salamanders that can regrow many missing body parts, and hydras, flatworms and starfish that can regrow entire bodies from small fragments), once removed, human extremities do not grow back, unlike portions of some organs, such as the liver. A transplant or prosthesis is the only options for recovering the loss.

In the US, the majority of new amputations occur due to complications of the vascular system (the blood vessels), especially from diabetes. Between 1988 and 1996, there was an average of 133,735 hospital discharges for amputation per year in the US.

Reasons for Amputation. Amputation is the surgical removal of all or part of a limb or extremity such as an arm, leg, foot, hand, toe, or finger. About 1.8 million Americans are living with amputations. Amputation of the leg — either above or below the knee — is the most common amputation surgery. The amputation I had is below the knee, so I am fortunate that it did not spread further and that I still have the knee, bone, tendons, muscles, nerves and other parts of the leg which will make things easier for me when I get my prosthetic limb.

There are many reasons an amputation may be necessary. The most common is poor circulation because of damage or narrowing of the arteries, called peripheral arterial disease. Without adequate blood flow, the body’s cells cannot get oxygen and nutrients they need from the bloodstream. As a result, the affected tissue begins to die and infection may set in.

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Other causes for amputation may include: (1) Severe injury (from a vehicle accident or serious burn, for example); (2) Cancerous tumor in the bone or muscle of the limb; (3) Serious infection that does not get better with antibiotics or other treatment; (4) Thickening of nerve tissue, called a neuroma; and (5) Frostbite

An amputation usually requires a hospital stay of five to 14 days or more, depending on the surgery and complications. The procedure itself may vary, depending on the limb or extremity being amputated and the patient’s general health.

Amputation may be done under general anesthesia (meaning the patient is asleep) or with spinal anesthesia, which numbs the body from the waist down. When performing an amputation, the surgeon removes all damaged tissue while leaving as much healthy tissue as possible.

A doctor may use several methods to determine where to cut and how much tissue to remove. These include: (1) Checking for a pulse close to where the surgeon is planning to cut; (2) Comparing skin temperatures of the affected limb with those of a healthy limb; (3) Looking for areas of reddened skin; and (4) Checking to see if the skin near the site where the surgeon is planning to cut is still sensitive to touch.

During the procedure itself, the surgeon will: (a) Remove the diseased tissue and any crushed bone; (b) Smooth uneven areas of bone; (c) Seal off blood vessels and nerves; and (d) Cut and shape muscles so that the stump, or end of the limb, will be able to have an artificial limb (prosthesis) attached to it.

The surgeon may choose to close the wound right away by sewing the skin flaps (called a closed amputation) (this was done in my case). Or the surgeon may leave the site open for several days in case there’s a need to remove additional tissue.

The surgical team then places a sterile dressing on the wound and may place a stocking over the stump to hold drainage tubes (if necessary) or bandages. The doctor may place the limb in traction, in which a device holds it in position, or may use a splint.

Recovery from amputation depends on the type of procedure and anesthesia used. It is important to have a positive outlook during the entire process, and have an excellent support team. Faith and trust are also important.

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In the hospital, the staff changes the dressings on the wound or teaches the patient to change them. The doctor monitors wound healing and any conditions that might interfere with healing, such as diabetes or hardening of the arteries. The doctor prescribes medications to ease pain and help prevent infection.

If the patient has problems with phantom pain (a sense of pain in the amputated limb) or grief over the lost limb, the doctor will prescribe medication and/or counseling, as necessary.

Physical therapy, beginning with gentle, stretching exercises, often begins soon after surgery. Practice with the artificial limb may begin as soon as 10 to 14 days after surgery.

Ideally, the wound should fully heal in about four to eight weeks. But the physical and emotional adjustment to losing a limb can be a long process. Long-term recovery and rehabilitation will include: (a) Exercises to improve muscle strength and control; (b) Activities to help restore the ability to carry out daily activities and promote independence; (c) Use of artificial limbs and assistive devices; and (d) Emotional support, including counseling, to help with grief over the loss of the limb and adjustment to the new body image..

 Kathy Kiefer

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AEROBIC EXERCISE

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AEROBIC EXERCISE

Aerobic exercise (also known as cardio) is physical exercise of relatively low intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process. Aerobic literally means “relating to, involving, or requiring free oxygen”, and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Generally, light-to-moderate intensity activities that are sufficiently supported by aerobic metabolism can be performed for extended periods of time.

When practiced in this way, examples of cardiovascular/aerobic exercise are medium to long distance running, jogging, swimming cycling and walking.

Aerobic exercise and fitness can be contrasted with anaerobic exercise, of which strength training and short-distance running are the most salient examples. The two types of exercise differ by the duration and intensity of muscular contractions involved, as well as by how energy is generated within the muscle.

New research on the endocrine functions of contracting muscles has shown that both aerobic and anaerobic exercise promote the secretion of  myokines, with attendant benefits including growth of new tissue, tissue repair, and various anti-inflammatory functions, which in turn reduce the risk of developing various inflammatory diseases. Myokine secretion in turn is dependent on the amount of muscle contracted, and the duration and intensity of contraction. As such, both types of exercise produce endocrine benefits.

In almost all conditions, anaerobic exercise is accompanied by aerobic exercises because the less efficient anaerobic metabolism must supplement the aerobic system due to energy demands that exceed the aerobic system’s capacity. What is generally called aerobic exercise might be better termed “solely aerobic”, because it is designed to be low-intensity enough not to generate lactate via pyruvate fermentation, so that all carbohydrate is aerobically turned into energy.

Initially during increased exertion, muscle glycogen is broken down to produce glucose, which undergoes glycolysis producing pyruvate which then reacts with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water and releases energy. If there is a shortage of oxygen (anaerobic exercise, explosive movements), carbohydrate is consumed more rapidly because the pyruvate ferments into lactate. If the intensity of the exercise exceeds the rate with which the cardiovascular system can supply muscles with oxygen, it results in buildup of lactate and quickly makes it impossible to continue the exercise. Unpleasant effects of lactate buildup initially include the burning sensation in the muscles, and may eventually include nausea and even vomiting if the exercise is continued without allowing lactate to clear from the bloodstream.

As glycogen levels in the muscle begin to fall, glucose is released into the bloodstream by the liver, and fat metabolism is increased so that it can fuel the aerobic pathways. Aerobic exercise may be fueled by glycogen reserves, fat reserves, or a combination of both, depending on the intensity. Prolonged moderate-level aerobic exercise at 65% VO2 max (the heart rate of 150 bpm for a 30-year-old human) results in the maximum contribution of fat to the total energy expenditure. At this level, fat may contribute 40% to 60% of total, depending on the duration of the exercise. Vigorous exercise above 75% VO2max (160 bpm) primarily burns glycogen.

Major muscles in a rested, untrained human typically contain enough energy for about 2 hours of vigorous exercise. Exhaustion of glycogen is a major cause of what marathon runner’s call “hitting the wall”. Training, lower intensity levels and carbohydrate loading may allow postponement of the onset of exhaustion beyond 4 hours.

Aerobic exercise comprises innumerable forms. In general, it is performed at a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period of time. For example, running a long distance at a moderate pace is an aerobic exercise, but sprinting is not. Playing singles tennis, with near-continuous motion, is generally considered aerobic activity, while golf or two person team tennis, with brief bursts of activity punctuated by more frequent breaks, may not be predominantly aerobic. Some sports are thus inherently “aerobic”, while other aerobic exercises, such as fartlek training or aerobic dance classes, are designed specifically to improve aerobic capacity and fitness. It is most common for aerobic exercises to involve the leg muscles, primarily or exclusively. There are some exceptions. For example, rowing to distances of 2,000 m or more is an aerobic sport that exercises several major muscle groups, including those of the legs, abdominals, chest, and arms. Common kettlebell exercises combine aerobic and anaerobic aspects.

Among the recognized benefits of doing regular aerobic exercise are: (a) Strengthening the muscles involved in respiration, to facilitate the flow of air in and out of the lungs; (b) Strengthening and enlarging the heart muscle, to improve its pumping efficiency and reduce the resting heart rate, known as aerobic conditioning; (c) Improving circulation efficiency and reducing blood pressure; (d) Increasing the total number of red blood cells in the body, facilitating transport of oxygen; (e) Improved mental health, including reducing stress and lowering the incidence of depression, as well as increased cognitive capacity; and (f) Reducing the risk for diabetes.

As a result, aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular problems. In addition, high-impact aerobic activities (such as jogging or using a skipping rope) can stimulate bone growth, as well as reduce the risk of osteoporosis for both men and women.

In addition to the health benefits of aerobic exercise, there are numerous performance benefits: (a)   Increased storage of energy molecules such as fats and carbohydrates within the muscles, allowing for increased endurance; (b) Neovascularization of the muscle sarcomeres to increase blood flow through the muscles; (c) Increasing speed at which aerobic metabolism is activated within muscles, allowing a greater portion of energy for intense exercise to be generated aerobically; (d) Improving the ability of muscles to use fats during exercise, preserving intramuscular glycogen; and (e) Enhancing the speed at which muscles recover from high intensity exercise.

Some downfalls of aerobic exercise include: (a) Overuse injuries because of repetitive, high-impact exercise such as distance running; (b) Is not an effective approach to building lean muscle; and (c) Only effective for fat loss when used consistently.

Both the health benefits and the performance benefits, or “training effect”, require a minimum duration and frequency of exercise. Most authorities suggest at least twenty minutes performed at least three times per week.

Aerobic capacity describes the functional capacity of the cardiorespiratory system, (the heart, lungs and blood vessels). Aerobic capacity refers to the maximum amount of oxygen consumed by the body during intense exercises, in a given time frame. It is a function both of cardiorespiratory performance and the maximum ability to remove and utilize oxygen from circulating blood. To measure maximal aerobic capacity, an exercise physiologist or physician will perform a VO 2 max test, in which a subject will undergo progressively more strenuous exercise on a treadmill, from an easy walk through to exhaustion. The individual is typically connected to a respirometer to measure oxygen consumption, and the speed is increased incrementally over a fixed duration of time. The higher the measured cardiorespiratory endurance level, the more oxygen has been transported to and used by exercising muscles, and the higher the level of intensity at which the individual can exercise. More simply put, the higher the aerobic capacity, the higher the level of aerobic fitness. The Cooper and multi-stage fitness tests can also be used to assess functional aerobic capacity for particular jobs or activities.

The degree to which aerobic capacity can be improved by exercise varies very widely in the human population: while the average response to training is an approximately 17% increase in VO2max, in any population there are “high responders” who may as much as double their capacity, and “low responders” who will see little or no benefit from training. Studies indicate that approximately 10% of otherwise healthy individuals cannot improve their aerobic capacity with exercise at all. The degree of an individual’s responsiveness is highly heritable, suggesting that this trait is genetically determined.

Higher intensity exercise, such as High-intensity interval training (HIIT), increases the resting metabolic rate (RMR) in the 24 hours following high intensity exercise, ultimately burning more calories than lower intensity exercise; low intensity exercise burns more calories during the exercise, due to the increased duration, but fewer afterwards.

Kathy Kiefer

REIKI AND MASSAGE THERAPY

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REIKI AND MASSAGE THERAPY

What is a Reiki massage? Reiki is not really a massage, but can be combined with massage for reiki healing.   Reiki healing is the usage of spiritual energy to heal a person’s aura or situation.

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

Reiki healing is the usage of spiritual energy to heal a person’s aura or situation.   The word “Reiki” actually translates to “Universal Life Force Energy.”   Massage is the process or rubbing or kneading different parts of the body for therapeutic reasons or purposes.

The word Reiki comes from two Japanese words –Rei which means “Gods Wisdom or the Higher Power” and KI which is “life force energy.” So Reiki is actually “spiritually guided force energy.”

A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows though and around you.   Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and well-being. Many have reported miraculous results.

Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing an self-improvement that everyone can use.

It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.

An ancient Japanese massage technique, reiki is a formula to help stress reduction and promote healing. This is a hands-on healing technique through massage that generates life force energy flowing through the body. If the energy levels are low individuals can feel fatigue, experience negative emotions, and have physical complications with organs and glands. Various healing techniques that enable the qi and meridians to connect with the chakras in the body exist. These are all energy fields that, when depleted, result in emotional and physical ill health. Here you will learn what a reiki massage is and what it can do for you.

The patient is fully clothed and lays face up on a massage table. The practitioner places their hands in specific positions on the body, starting from the head and ending at the feet. These positions used depend on the energy levels of the patient, as there may be blockages in some organs more than others. The patient then lays face down so the practitioner can perform treatment on the back. The practitioner stores energy in their own body so the heat and flow can translate to energize the meridians, qi, and chakras in the body.

The main benefits are that the patient feels less stress and relaxed. Depending on the depletion of energy in the body, the patient may feel heat radiating from the practitioner. They also may feel a tingling sensation that is the energy coming to life and connecting within the body. As a relaxation technique, some patients fall asleep during the session. After treatment, the patient may feel sleepy yet as they move around, they will be energized more than before.

Reiki and massage are two separate things.   The usual treatment of Reiki massage begins at the head and works its way through the seven different chakras.   The hand placements coincide with these chakras or energy centers of the physical body.

Reiki massage has been used to help patients manage pain and to increase their quality of living. Reiki massage is different from normal massage because the practitioner does not knead or manipulate the tissues or muscles of the patient.   Instead the hands of the practitioner remain still, and the energy of healing is sent through the channels of the practitioner into the patient.

If you are nervous about your first massage treatment combining Reiki and traditional massage, there is no need.   The practitioner will not do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.   You remain completely clothed, as it is not necessary for there to be skin-to-skin contact.   Reiki massage can even be used to send energy to broken bones or injuries that are covered by casts and bandages.

Reiki is also used to treat conditions such as TMJ (also known as lock-jaw), muscle pain, tension, stress, injury healing, pain management and over 60 other medical ailments.   IN the Western world, there are four different areas of chakras of the body used for treatment.   They are the head, body, legs/fee and back, respectively.

Reiki treatments are said to be one hundred percent safe; they don’t incur any side effects or injuries.  There are sensations that are felt, but are different for different people. Some people experience a sensation of warmth or tingling.   Others experience a spirit of relaxation and balance.

Reiki is a form of faith healing developed by a Japanese Buddhist in the early part of the 20th century. Pronounced “ray-key,” this complementary therapy is known as a road to healing, and a system of   divine enlightenment.

The word “reiki” in Japanese roughly translates as “universal life form energy.” It would explain why reiki can only be   passed from master to apprentice, and why the theory behind this spiritual practice upholds that only a skilled reiki practitioner can absorb energy from the universe and then channel it into a patient in order to improve their health and well-being.   In this way it is much like touch therapy, with the reiki master acting as the conduit – removing bad energy and replacing it with good energy.   This channeling of good energy will then encourage the patient to heal.

The actual channeling  procedure involved in reiki works something like this: the reiki master holds their hands over the recipient’s body – sometimes actually making contact with the         body – and uses their spiritual expertise to administer the healing treatment.   Some schools of reiki prescribe specific spots on the bod y for hand placement; while others believe that the hands of the reiki master should be used to detect the right place to administer treatment.   This second school believes the practitioner should intuitively recognize places of imbalance in our bodies.

Reiki can be administered in one of two ways – either in person or via distance healing.

In-person – During an in-person reiki treatment, the client will be asked to lie down on a massage table or mat.   They remain fully clothed throughout the treatment and the practitioner never makes contact the patient’s skin.   The environment is totally relaxed, with candle light, soothing music and aroma-therapy are used to put the client in a totally relaxed state.   The reiki practitioner will transfer energy from their own hands to the client, by gently touching different areas on the client’s body.

Distance healing – the client is asked to set up a relaxing environment in their home or place of their choice.   The reiki practitioner will then transfer the energy from themselves to their patient from a distance.

While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It has no dogma, and there is nothing you must believe in order to learn and use Reiki. In fact, Reiki is not dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not. Because Reiki comes from God, many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it.

While Reiki is not a religion, it is still important to live and act in a way that promotes harmony with others.

Kathy Kiefer

THE KEY TO THE HEALING POWER OF TOUCH

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THE KEY TO THE HEALING POWER OF TOUCH

The key for healing through the power of touch is in the art of showing compassion in your touch!     It’s the human touch in the world that counts.   Which means far more to the sinking heart than shelter or bread or wine.    For shelter is gone when the night is over, and bread lasts only a day.  But the touch of the hand and the sound of the voice live on in the soul always.

The healing power of touch cannot be refuted. Human touch rules our very lives. Without human touch we die – maybe not our bodies, but our minds and our souls. The sense of touch and feeling are at the very core of our being, of the body-mind-soul connection. Experiencing the world through your senses is the way you process information that is useful to you. Imagine a world without sight, hearing, smell, taste or touch. Even if you lost only one of your five senses, it would be a much less enjoyable world. The sense of touch and feeling is a sense that is paramount to your survival. A baby is enveloped in the warmth of the womb, and the amniotic fluid, gently cushioned against the hostile world as it develops. The embrace and warmth of the mother, after birth, is vital for the maternal-infant bond, and is essential for the baby’s survival. The word ‘feeling’ itself is a metaphor for the sense of touch and the emotion that it elicits. Touch equals emotion, or a ‘feeling.’ You feel with your physical body and you ‘feel’ with your emotions. This is the power of touch. To touch and feel is the power of the body-mind-soul connection at work

I believe that this use of language for ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ is no coincidence. When you ‘feel’ emotions, you also ‘feel’ it in your physical body, even though you have not actually ‘felt’ with your hands or the physical body. This is another reason why it is so important to understand the connection between the body-mind-soul. They are one.  The physical manifestations of your emotions that help you discover who you really are. You can speak to one another through the healing power of touch. The physical language of the soul is through the power of touch and the emotions that it elicits. When nothing is left to say, or you don’t know what to say, you can convey your understanding and compassion, solely through a truly heartfelt, physical touch. This is the healing power of touch.  We can instantly tell the difference between a business-like touch and a compassionate, healing touch. You can communicate that you care or don’t care, in the way you touch. How is this possible? How is this message conveyed, if touch were only a physical experience? Yet you even speak this metaphor when you say, “I was ‘touched’ by his words.” You are ‘touched’ by the act of kindness that both your mind and your physical body ‘feels.’ Others ‘touch’ your life. You say “Let’s keep in ‘touch.'” The healing power of touch, the physical experience combined with the emotional experience to heal the soul is yet another example of the connection of the body-mind-soul or the body-mind connection that leads to healing of the soul.  Touch is not an isolated physical event. The caring or lack of caring is transmitted through your hands, through the power of your touch. If what is said, and the physical sensation of touch you actually feel are incongruent, the physical touch will prevail. Physical touch has power over words – every single time. The power of touch is that significant. If caring is transmitted through my hands by means of physical touch, but I am emotionally detached, the sensation of caring will not be transmitted. If I ‘care’ for a patient by bathing and dressing him/her but do not do it in a compassionate manner, while remaining detached, the physical touch will be read as cold, uncaring, hurried or at the very best, neutral. This is why the old adage, when you were being paddled as kids, when the parent said, ‘This is hurting me more than it is hurting you,’ or ‘spare the rod, spoil the child,’ never worked. You never felt loved during this process. One never says, “My parents were so good to me, and I felt deep acceptance for who I was, and I felt love and understanding while I was being paddled!” Or for that matter, immediately after you were paddled. Or when you became an adult and thought about the paddling. In fact, what you probably felt when you were paddled was anger, defiance, feelings of being out of control and even rage, or perhaps submission to your repressed rage. Then these powerful emotions have to be suppressed, for later dealings. In fact these feelings were most likely felt over and over again in you, if you were paddled and are honest with yourself. Correction of the misdeeds of children should never be coupled with physical pain of any nature, in my opinion. The power of touch that is applied in a manner intended to hurt, hurts us physically and emotionally and may leave deep scars. A child, who is coddled, and touched with the full love and caring that the power of touch can convey, that honors the child as an individual, is a healthy child. A child is always able to discern the physical touch that was meant to care and that which is detached, abusive or meant to harm. When you want to care for a person that is grieving, hurting or suffering in any way, and you cannot find words to say, a caring, compassionate touch is all that is needed to convey your love. This is such an effective way to communicate. The power of touch done in a loving, compassionate manner will convey all. No words will be needed. The healing power of touch encompasses all and heals all. We often touch our pets, our dogs and cats with more caring and compassion than we do our fellow human beings! A child that is touched inappropriately in an adult manner will be scarred for life. The kind of ‘caring’ that this abuse portrays to the child will forever distort his/her concept of love. The only healing that can occur after abuse is the surrender to the emotions that are currently manifested in your body. What is supposed to be the most powerful expression of love, human compassion and understanding is the single most abused sense you own – physical touch. You may have also experienced horror through touch – physical beating, detachment and abuse. You all deserve more. When the power of touch is abused, the entire being, the body-mind-soul is affected. The physical body retains these scars and this deeply held pain. The power of touch needed to heal your soul and heal your scars when you have suffered abuse is immense. You will need to at first recognize that Love and physical touch was not meant to be conveyed in an abusive manner but that Love could be experienced through the healing power of touch. Seeking professional help from practitioners that convey this healing power of touch instead of the abusive power of touch will help you receive love and help you to heal. Seeking Love through grace will help you too. Self-love and self-caring of your physical body through seeking its messages can also help you if you have a deep desire for self-healing. You will need to re-connect with your body and love your body.   If you ignore your body, ignore its messages, your dis-ease will only grow deeper. The only way to portray caring through the physical act of touch is to be totally present to the individual you are touching. Remember that through the power of touch, physical touch also ‘touches’ the body-mind-soul. Your mind must be empty of your own self-absorption. You cannot provide caring and warmth through your hands if you are thinking about what you will be cooking for dinner or who won last night’s game.    You must be thinking about the other person, and how it would feel to receive your touch.  Being present to the other person is so important in all your interactions with others. You all too often do not hear what others are saying, but are already formulating what you will say next. We all think 2-5 steps ahead of the present moment, almost unconsciously. We are all so self-absorbed and not in the present moment! Forget about words. Touch with your heart and soul. Honor the other being.

Never underestimate the healing power of touch. The power of touch to touch the soul for health and healing is great. Bodywork practitioners who perform their art in this fashion are the greatest healers of all. Seek out such practitioners who are more meditative in their presentation to healing. The traditional art of Thai Yoga Massage requires the practitioner to enter the session with a prayer-like, meditative and healing attitude!    If only all our healthcare practitioners approached us in this manner with the power of healing touch on their hearts and minds. The world would be full of healthier and more whole individuals. For now, seek your own physical, bodily truth.

Kathy Kiefer

ZEN

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ZEN

 

Is Zen religion?

Or is a belief in something spiritual?

Or even ancient teachings on how to live life?

Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that developed in China during the 6th century as Chan. From China, Zen spread south to Vietnam, northeast to Korea and east to Japan. The word Zen is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word dzjen, which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyana, which can be approximately translated as “absorption” or “meditative state.”

Zen emphasizes insight in Buddha-nature and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefits of others. As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrine and favors direct understanding through zazen and interaction with an accomplished teacher. The teachings of Zen include various sources of Mahayana thought, especially Yogacara, the Tathagatagarbha Sutras and Huan, with their emphasis on Buddha-nature, totality, and the Bodhisattva-ideal. The Prajnaparamita literature and, to a lesser extent, Madhyamaka have also been influential.

The history of Chan in China can be divided in several periods. Zen as we know it today is the result of a long history, with many changes and contingent factors. Each period had different types of Zen, some of which remained influential while others vanished.  (a) The Legendary period, from Bodhidharma in the late 5th century to the An Lushan Rebellion around 765 CE, in the middle of the Tang Dynasty. Little written information is left from this period. It is the time of the Six Patriarchs, including Bodhidharma and Huiheng, and the legendary “split” between the Northern and the Southern School of Chán; (b)   The Classical period, around 950 CE. This is the time of the great masters of Chan, and the creation of the yu-lu genre, the recordings of the sayings and teachings of these great masters; and (c) The Literary period, from around 950 to 1250, which spans the era of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). In this time the gongan-collections were compiled, collections of sayings and deeds by the famous masters, appended with poetry and commentary. This genre reflects the influence of literati on the development of Chan. This period idealized the previous period as the “golden age” of Chan, producing the literature in which the spontaneity of the celebrated masters was portrayed.

Four phases in the history of Chan: (1) Proto-Chan (c. 500-600) In this phase, Chan developed in multiple locations in northern China. It was based on the practice of dhyana, and is connected to the figures of Bodhidharma and Huike. Its principal text is the Two Entrances and Four Practices; attributed to Bodhidharma; (2) Early Chan (c. 600-900)  In this phase Chan took its first clear contours. Prime factions are the Northern, Southern and Oxhead Schools; (3) Middle Chan (c. 750-1000) In this phase developed the well-known Chan of the iconoclastic Zen-masters. Prime factions are the Hongzhou school and the Hubei faction; and (4) Song Dynasty Chan (c. 950-1300). In this phase Chan took its definitive shape, including the picture of the “golden age” of the Chan of the Tang-Dynasty, and the use of koans for individual study and meditation.

When Buddhism came to China from India, it was initially adapted to the Chinese culture and understanding. Buddhism was exposed to Confucianist and Taoist influences. Chan has been referred to as a “natural evolution of Buddhism under Taoist conditions.” Buddhism was first identified to be “a barbarian variant of Taoism”.

Judging from the reception by the Han of the Hinayana works and from the early commentaries, it appears that Buddhism was being perceived and digested through the medium of religious Daoism (Taoism). Buddha was seen as a foreign immortal who had achieved some form of Daoist non-death. The Buddhists’ mindfulness of the breath was regarded as an extension of Daoist breathing exercises. Taoist Te a practice termed ko-i, matching the concepts, while the emerging Chinese Buddhism had to compete with Taoism and Confucianism.  The first Buddhist recruits in China were Taoists. They developed high esteem for the newly introduced Buddhist meditational techniques, and blended them with Taoist meditation. Representatives of early Chinese Buddhism like Sengzhao and Tao Sheng were deeply influenced by the Taoist keystone works of Laozi and Zhuangzi. Against this background, especially the Taoist concept of naturalness was inherited by the early Chan disciples: they equated – to some extent – the ineffable Tao and Buddha-nature, and rather than feeling bound to the abstract “wisdom of the sutras”, emphasized Buddha-nature to be found in “everyday” human life, just as the Tao.

The actual origins of Chan may lie in ascetic practitioners of Buddhism, who found refuge in forests and mountains. Chan was repressed in China during the 1960s in the Cultural Revolution, but subsequently had been re-asserting itself on the mainland, and has a significant following in Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as among Overseas Chinese.   Although it is difficult to trace when the West first became aware of Zen as a distinct form of Buddhism, the visit of a Japanese Zen monk to Chicago during the World Parliament of Religions in 1893 is often pointed to as an event that enhanced its profile in the Western world. It was during the late 1950s and the early 1960s that the number of Westerners, other than the descendants of Asian immigrants, pursuing a serious interest in Zen began to reach a significant level.

Zen teachings can be likened to “the finger pointing at the moon”. Zen teachings point to the moon, awakening “a realization of the un-impended interpenetration of the dharmahatu”. But the Zen-tradition also warns against taking its teachings, the pointing finger, to be this insight itself.  There are two different ways of understanding and actually practicing Zen. These two different ways are termed in Chinese pen chueh and shih-chueh respectively. The term pen chueh refers to the belief that one’s mind is from the beginning of time fully enlightened, while shih-chueh refers to the belief that at some point in time we pass from imprisonment in ignorance and delusion to a true vision of Zen realization: “Our enlightenment is timeless, yet our realization of it occurs in time.” According to this belief experiencing a moment of awakening in this life is of central importance.

Dogen, the founder of Soto in Japan, emphasized that practice and awakening cannot be separated. By practicing shikantaza, attainment and Buddhahood are already being expressed. For Dogen, zazen, or shikantaza, is the essence of Buddhist practice. Five forms of zen have been discerned: (1) Bompu Zen, aimed bodily and mental health; (2) Gedo Zen, practices like dhyana, Yoga and Christian contemplation which are akin to Zen, but not Buddhist; (3) Shojo Zen, the Hinayana, aimed at one’s own liberation; (4) Daijo Zen, the Mahayana, aimed at attaining kensho and the realization of Zen in daily life; and (5) Saijojo Zen, in which practice is enlightenment.

Central to Zen-practice is dhyana or meditation. The Zen tradition holds that in meditation practice, notions of doctrine and teachings necessitate the creation of various notions and appearances that obscure the transcendent wisdom of each being’s Buddha-nature. This process of rediscovery goes under various terms such as “introspection”, “a backward step”, “turning-about” or “turning the eye inward”.

During sitting meditation, practitioners usually assume a position such as the lotus position, half-lotus, Burmese, or seiza postures, using the dhyana mudra. To regulate the mind, awareness is directed towards counting or watching the breath or put in the energy center below the navel. Often, a square or round cushion placed on a padded mat is used to sit on; in some other cases, a chair may be used. This practice may simply be called sitting dhyana, which is zuochan in Chinese, and zazan in Japanese.

In the Soto school of Zen, meditation with no objects, anchors, or content, is the primary form of practice. The meditator strives to be aware of the stream of thoughts, allowing them to arise and pass away without interference.  Considerable textual, philosophical, and phenomenological justification of this practice can be found throughout the “Principles of Zazen” and the “Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen”. In the Japanese language, this practice is called Shikantaza.

Intensive group meditation may be practiced occasionally in some temples. While the daily routine may require monks to meditate for several hours each day, during the intensive period they devote themselves almost exclusively to the practice of sitting meditation. The numerous 30–50 minute long meditation periods are interleaved with short rest breaks, meals, and sometimes, short periods of work should be performed with the same mindfulness; nightly sleep is kept to seven hours or less. One distinctive aspect of Zen meditation in groups is the use of a flat wooden slat used to keep meditators focused and awake. In the Japanese language, this practice is called Sesshin.

Koan-inquiry may be practiced during sitting meditation, walking meditation, and throughout all the activities of daily life. Koan practice is particularly emphasized by the Japanese Rinzai School, but it also occurs in other schools or branches of Zen depending on the teaching line.

A practice in many Zen monasteries and centers is a daily liturgy service. Practitioners chant major sutras such as the Heart Sutra, the Lotus Sutra (often called the “Avalokiteshvara Sutra”), the Song of the Jewel Mirror Awareness, the Great Compassionate Heart Dharani and other minor mantras.

The Butsudan is the altar in a monastery where offerings are made to the images of the Buddha or Bodhisattvas. The same term is also used in Japanese homes for the altar where one prays to and communicates with deceased family members. As such, reciting liturgy in Zen can be seen as a means to connect with the Bodhisattvas of the past. Liturgy is often used during funerals, memorials, and other special events as means to invoke the aid of supernatural powers.

Chanting usually centers on major Bodhisattvas like Avalokiteshvara and Manjusri.  According to Mahayana Buddhism, Bodhisattvas are beings who have taken vows to remain in Samsara to help all beings achieve liberation from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Since the Zen practitioner’s aim is to walk the Bodhisattva path, chanting can be used as a means to connect with these beings and realize this ideal within oneself.

Though in western Zen the emphasis is on Zen-meditation, and the application of Zen-teachings in daily life, Japanese Zen also serves a function in public religion. Funerals play an important role as a point of contact between the monks and the laity. Statistics published by the Soto school state that 80 percent of Soto laymen visit their temple only for reasons having to do with funerals and death, while only 17 percent visit for spiritual reasons and a mere 3 percent visit a Zen priest at a time of personal trouble or crisis.

Contrary to popular image, literature does play a role in the Zen-training. Zen is deeply rooted in the teachings and doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism. Unsui, Zen-monks, “are expected to become familiar with the classics of the Zen canon”. What the Zen tradition emphasizes is that enlightenment of the Buddha came not through conceptualization, but rather through direct insight. But direct insight has to be supported by study and understanding of the Buddhist teachings and texts. Intellectual understanding without practice is called yako-zen, wild fox Zen, but “one who has only experience without intellectual understanding is a zen temma, “Zen devil””.

The Zen-tradition developed a rich textual tradition, based on the interpretation of the Buddhist teachings and the recorded sayings of Zen-masters. Religion is not only an individual matter, but “also a collective endeavor”. Though individual experience and the iconoclastic picture of Zen are emphasized in the western world, the Zen-tradition is maintained and transferred by a high degree of institutionalization and hierarchy. In Japan, modernity has led to criticism of the formal system and the commencement of lay-oriented Zen-schools. How to organize the continuity of the Zen-tradition in the west, constraining charismatic authority and the derailment it may bring on the one hand, and maintaining the legitimacy and authority by limiting the number of authorized teachers on the other hand, is a challenge for the developing Zen-communities in the west.

Modern scientific research on the history of Zen discerns three main narratives concerning Zen, its history and its teachings: Traditional Zen Narrative, Buddhist Modernism, Historical and Cultural Criticism. An external narrative is Nondualism, which claims Zen to be a token of a universal nondualist essence of religions.

 Kathy Kiefer

ALLOPATHY/ALLOPATHIC MEDICINE

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ALLOPATHY/ALLOPATHIC MEDICINE

 

What is Allopathy? What does it do? Is it helpful with homeopathy? I hope that I will be able to answer these and other possible questions with this article. Allopathic medicine is an expression commonly used by homeopaths and proponents of other forms of alternative medicine to refer to mainstream medical use of pharmacologically active agents or physical interventions to treat or suppress symptoms or pathophysiologic processes of diseases or conditions. The expression (allopathic medicine and allopathy) was coined in 1810 by the creator of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, (1755–1843). In such circles, the expression “allopathic medicine” is still used to refer to “the broad category of medical practice that is sometimes called Western medicine, biomedicine, evidence-based medicine, or modern medicine”. The practice of medicine in both Europe and North America during the early 19th century is sometimes referred to as heroic medicine because of the extreme measures (such as bloodletting) sometimes employed in an effort to treat diseases. The term allopath was used by Hahnemann and other early homeopaths to highlight the difference they perceived between homeopathy and the medicine of that time. With the term allopathy (meaning “other than the disease”), Hahnemann intended to point out how physicians with conventional training employed therapeutic approaches that, in his view, merely treated symptoms and failed to address the disharmony produced by the underlying disease. Homeopaths saw such symptomatic treatments as “opposites treating opposites” and believed these conventional methods were harmful to patients. Practitioners of alternative medicine have used the term “allopathic medicine” to refer to the practice of conventional medicine in both Europe and the United States since the 19th century. The term allopathic was used throughout the 19th century as a derogatory term for the practitioners of heroic medicine, a precursor to modern medicine that did not rely on evidence. One form of verbal warfare used in retaliation by irregulars was the word “allopathy.” …”Allopathy” and “allopathic” were liberally employed as pejoratives by all irregular physicians of the nineteenth century, and the terms were considered highly offensive by those at whom they were directed. The generally uncomplaining acceptance of [the term] “allopathic medicine” by today’s physicians is an indication of both a lack of awareness of the term’s historical use and the recent thawing of relations between irregulars and allopaths. The controversy surrounding the term can be traced to its original usage during a heated 19th-century debate between practitioners of homeopathy and those they derisively referred to as “allopaths.” Hahnemann used “allopathy” to refer to what he saw as a system of medicine that combats disease by using remedies that produce effects in a healthy subject that are different (hence Greek root allo- “different”) from the effects produced by the disease to be treated. The distinction comes from the use in homeopathy of substances that cause similar effects as the symptoms of a disease to treat patients (homeo – meaning similar). As used by homeopaths, the term allopathy has always referred to the principle of curing disease by administering substances that produce other symptoms (when given to a healthy human) than the symptoms produced by a disease. For example, part of an allopathic treatment for fever may include the use of a drug which reduces the fever, while also including a drug (such as an antibiotic) that attacks the cause of the fever (such as a bacterial infection). A homeopathic treatment for fever, by contrast, is one that uses a diluted and succussed dosage of a substance, usually containing no actual particles of that substance, that is undiluted and unsuccussed form would induce fever in a healthy person. Hahnemann used this term to distinguish medicine as practiced in his time from his use of infinitesimally small (or nonexistent) doses of substances to treat the spiritual causes of illness. The Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine states that “Hahnemann gave an all-embracing name to regular practice, calling it ‘allopathy’. This term, however imprecise, was employed by his followers or other unorthodox movements to identify the prevailing methods as constituting nothing more than a competing ‘school’ of medicine, however dominant in terms of number of practitioner proponents and patients.” In the nineteenth century, some pharmacies labeled their products with the terms allopathic or homeopathic. Contrary to the present usage, Hahnemann reserved the term “allopathic medicine” to the practice of treating diseases by means of drugs inducing symptoms unrelated (i.e., neither similar nor opposite) to those of the disease. He called the practice of treating diseases by means of drugs producing symptoms opposite to those of the patient “enantiopathic” or “antipathic medicine”. After Hahnemann’s death, the term “enantiopathy” fell into disuse and the two concepts of allopathy and enantiopathy have been more or less unified. Both, however, indicate what Hahnemann thought about contemporary conventional medicine, rather than the current ideas of his colleagues. Conventional physicians had never assumed that the therapeutic effects of drugs were necessarily related to the symptoms they caused in the healthy: e.g., James Lind in 1747 systematically tested several common substances and foods for their effect on scurvy and discovered that lemon juice was specifically active; he clearly did not select lemon juice because it caused symptoms in the healthy man, either similar or opposite to those of scurvy. Use of the term remains common among homeopaths and has spread to other alternative medicine practices. The meaning implied by the label has never been accepted by conventional medicine and is still considered pejorative by some. More recently, some sources have used the term “allopathic”, particularly American sources wishing to distinguish between Doctors of Medicine and Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine. William Jarvis, an expert on alternative medicine and public health, states that “although many modern therapies can be construed to conform to an allopathic rationale (e.g., using a laxative to relieve constipation), standard medicine has never paid allegiance to an allopathic principle” and that the label “allopath” was “considered highly derisive by regular medicine.” However, many conventional medical treatments do not fit this definition of allopathy, as they seek to prevent illness, or remove the cause of an illness by acting on the etiology of disease.

Kathy Kiefer

HOLISTIC HEALTH

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HOLISTIC HEALTH

What is holistic health?  What about holistic medicine?    Why is it important?

Holistic health (or holistic medicine) is a diverse field of alternative medicine in which the “whole person” is focused on, not just the malady itself.

Holistic health is a term used by alternative medicine advocates to describe medical care that views physical, mental and spiritual aspects of life as closely interconnected and balanced. Advocates of the holistic health philosophy typically seek or use a wide variety of alternative practices, which include acupuncture, Siddha, chiropractic, naturopathy, yoga, aromatherapy, homeopathy, massage, Tai Chi, Chinese herbology, medicinal herbs.

Holistic Health addresses the whole person – body, mind, spirit and emotions. Learn about natural holistic remedies through the reliable sources offered here. Included are holistic products and alternative health services such as supplements for male and female health and performance, natural baby products, children’s health, general health, enzymes, herbals, books, self-help, clean air and water, problem skin care, daily skin care, weight loss, herbal supplements, herbal products, detox products, quality sleep products, prostate health, water filters, holosync tapes, acne treatment products, subliminal tapes, hypnosis downloads, air filtration, bodywork therapies, holistic health articles, free holistic health reports and much more. Your source for holistic health education, holistic products, and alternative healing!

Taking a holistic approach to your life helps to create a balance in your personal life, family relationships, community activities, and work environment. Find “wholeness” through acknowledging, honoring, and healing all your individual parts (mind, body, spirit and emotions)!

The Holistic philosophy acknowledged in the pioneering work in California is as follows: First, Holistic is not new; it has been around for thousands of years. Holistic is just new to our health care system. It refers to the theory that whole entities such as human beings have an existence and a reality greater than the sum of their parts.

Applying the term holistic to concepts of health and fitness means that achieving and maintaining good health involves much more than just taking care of all the various components that make up the physical body.

When the concepts of holistic health are put into practice within the health care system, the approach to therapy takes on a new dimension. We see traditional medical care expanded to encompass a broad spectrum of therapies coordinated to meet that totality of a particular individual. The focus then is not just on the disease but the whole person.

The role of the patient changes in learning how choices, actions and attitudes affect the present condition, and how one can be an active participant in the healing process.

The ideal of Holistic Health is the realization of our human potential as total beings, and our desire to live fulfilling and satisfying lives. The goal is not just to be “well” in the physical body, but also to be in harmony with our environment and ourselves at all levels, body, mind and spirit. Also, life-style, social responsibility and relationships are taken into consideration when creating the optimum health that Holistic is about.

Advocates of alternative medicine often employ the use of the holistic health philosophy to claim that conventional medicine does not address the needs of the patient as a whole. Supporters of conventional medical practices dispute that claim, pointing to trends within conventional medicine that could also be described as “holistic”, such as wellness programs focused on achieving whole-body health through nutrition, exercise, meditation and preventive care. This is a result of the Holistic Health movement.

Some of the more extreme holistic health practitioners encourage their patients to not seek conventional medical help, which has led to various lawsuits and convictions (often negligent manslaughter, if the patient died nonetheless when conventional medicine would have had a chance of saving him

The holistic concept in medical practice, which is distinct from the concept in the alternative medicine, upholds that all aspects of people’s needs including psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole. A 2007 study said the concept was alive and well in general medicine in Sweden.

 Some practitioners of holistic medicine use alternative medicine exclusively, though sometimes holistic treatment can mean simply that a physician takes account of all a person’s circumstances in giving treatment. Sometimes when alternative medicine is mixed with mainstream medicine the result is called “holistic” medicine, though this is more commonly termed integrative medicine.

According to the American Holistic Medical Association it is believed that the spiritual element should also be taken into account when assessing a person’s overall well-being.  Holistic health is a diverse field in which many techniques and therapies are used. Practitioners of alternative approaches may include many methods including colon therapy, metabolic therapy and orthomolecular medicine.

Holistic health and alternative healing information.  Holistic Health addresses the whole person – body, mind, spirit and emotions. Learn about natural holistic remedies through the reliable sources offered here. Included are holistic products and alternative health services such as supplements for male and female health and performance, natural baby products, children’s health, general health, enzymes, herbals, books, self-help, clean air and water, problem skin care, daily skin care, weight loss, herbal supplements, herbal products, detox products, quality sleep products, prostate health, water filters, holosync tapes, acne treatment products, subliminal tapes, hypnosis downloads, air filtration, bodywork therapies, holistic health articles, free holistic health reports and much more. Your source for holistic health education, holistic products, and alternative healing!   Taking a holistic approach to your life helps to create a balance in your personal life, family relationships, community activities, and work environment. Find “wholeness” through acknowledging, honoring, and healing all your individual parts (mind, body, spirit and emotions)!

Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person — body, mind, spirit, and emotions — in the quest for optimal health and wellness. According to the holistic medicine philosophy, one can achieve optimal health — the primary goal of holistic medicine practice — by gaining proper balance in life.

Holistic medicine practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.

How to understand (and then unload!) the clutter that drags you down.  Have you ever found yourself gazing longingly at the spare and tidy living rooms, kitchens, and home offices in a furniture catalog and wishing you could live in that world? No mess, everything neatly in its place — it’s a setup that would last, oh, approximately seven seconds here on planet Earth! Fact is, you have a big, hectic, possibly messy real life — a life that you’ll enjoy a lot more…

A holistic doctor may use all forms of health care, from conventional medication to alternative therapies, to treat a patient. For example, when a person suffering from migraine headaches pays a visit to a holistic doctor, instead of walking out solely with medications, the doctor will likely take a look at all the potential factors that may be causing the person’s headaches, such as other health problems, diet, sleep habits, stress and personal problems, and preferred spiritual practices. The treatment plan may involve drugs to relieve symptoms, but also lifestyle modifications to help prevent the headaches from recurring.

Holistic medicine is also based on the belief that unconditional love and support is the most powerful healer and a person is ultimately responsible for his or her own health and well-being. Other principles of holistic medicine include the following:

  • All people have innate healing powers.
  • The patient is a person, not a disease.
  • Healing takes a team approach involving the patient and doctor, and addresses all aspects of a person’s life using a variety of health care practices.
  • Treatment involves fixing the cause of the condition, not just alleviating the symptoms. Holistic practitioners use a variety of treatment techniques to help their patients take responsibility for their own well-being and achieve optimal health. Depending on the practitioner’s training, these may include:
  • Patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness. This may include diet, exercise, psychotherapy,  relationship and spiritual counseling, and more
  • Complementary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, massage therapy, naturopathy, and others
  • Western medications and surgical procedures

Kathy Kiefer