Healing Modalities

Descriptions of Healing Modalities

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health divides various Complementary and Alternative modalities into four domains. In addition, NCCIH studies CAM whole medical systems, which cut across all domains. 

These links will take you to the AHNA, The American Holistic Nurses Association.

 •  Whole medical systems 
•  Manipulative and body-based practices 
•  Mind-body medicine 
•  Biologically-based practices 
•  Energy medicine

Whole Medical Systems

Homeopathy: A system of medicine which stimulates healing through the administration of substances prescribed according to three basic principles: (1) like cures like, (2) the more a remedy is diluted, the greater the potency; and (3) illness is specific to the individual. Homeopathy is based on the belief that symptoms are signs of the body's effort to get rid of disease; treatment is based on the whole person, rather than on the symptoms.

Osteopathic Medicine: A form of medicine that focuses on the relationship between the structure of the body and its function, and recognizes that both structure and function are subject to a range of disorders. In treatment of the individual, osteopaths use various forms of physical manipulation, to facilitate the body's self-healing mechanism, as well as more conventional medical therapies. Osteopaths are fully licensed to diagnose, treat, and prescribe.

Healing Modalities

Manipulative and Body-Based Practices


 Definition Is the use of finger and hand pressure over specific points on the body to relieve pain and discomfort and to influence the function of internal organs and body systems. Different approaches are used to release tension and help restore the natural flow of energy in the body. Includes reflexology, zone therapy and acupoint therapy.

Healing Modalities


Definition by the Medical Dictionary - The Free Dictionary 

"Acupuncture is one of the main forms of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine. It involves the use of sharp, thin needles that are inserted in the body at very specific points.This process is believed to adjust and alter the body's energy flow into healthier patterns, and is used to treat a wide variety of illnesses and health conditions."

Alexander Technique: Teaches re-balancing the body through awareness, movement and touch. The student explores new ways of reorganizing neuromuscular function, the body and is reacquainted with relaxed, healthy posture and direct, efficient movement.

AMMA Therapy: AMMA is a type of oriental massage which focuses on the balance and movement of energy within the body. 

Aromatherapy: Uses essential oils that are extracted from plants and herbs to treat physical imbalances, as well as to achieve psychological and spiritual well-being. The oils can be inhaled, applied externally, or ingested.

Body Work: Therapies that involves touch and/or pressure on the body. The term is used to describe the use of two or more therapies by a single practitioner, either in separate sessions or during a single session, according to the needs of the client.

Breema Bodywork: Breema incorporates simple and playful bodywork which are sequential. They are along with stretch and movement exercises that help create greater flexibility, relaxed body, clear mind, and calm, supportive feelings. 

Chiropractic Medicine: An Alternative health-care system focusing on structural alignment of the spine. Adjustments include the manipulation of the spine and joints to re-establish and maintain normal nervous system functioning. Often chiropractors use additional therapies, such as massage, nutrition, and specialized kinesiology.

Cranial Osteopathy: Gentle manipulation of the skull to re-establish its natural configuration and movement. Such correction often have a positive influence on disorders manifested throughout the body.

Healing Modalities

Cranio-sacral Therapy: Diagnostic and treatment of imbalances in the cranio-sacral system. Tiny adjustments are made to the system through light touch and gentle manipulations.

Dance Therapy: Therapy in which dance and music combine to allow the body, mind, soul, and spirit to be uplifted and allows the freedom that natural bodily movement. 

Feldenkrais Method: Taught through movement and gentle manipulation, to enhance self-image and restore mobility. Students are taught to observe how they are using their bodies, and how to improve their posture and move more freely.

Jin Shin Jyutsu: A bodywork technique which attempts to balance the body energy as it travels along specific pathways. Certain combinations of healing points are held with the fingertips to restore balance and harmony.

Lymphatic Therapy: A vigorous form of massage that helps the body release toxins stored in the lymphatic system—excellent for the immune system and rebuilding the body.

Massage: The uses pressure on the body to release tension, increase circulation and relieve muscular pain. Can be an excellent method of releasing emotional as well as bodily tension.

Movement Therapy: Series of movements and body work to open energy pathways and help healing.

M Technique: A method of gentle, structured touch for the very fragile or actively dying or when the giver is not trained in massage. It was developed by a nurse for nurses.

Neuromuscular Therapy: Massage which provides pressure over muscles and nerves, as well as on trigger points, is used to decrease pain and tension

Physical Therapy: The treatment of body damage or injury, using procedures designed to reduce swelling, relieve pain, strengthen muscles, restore range of motion and return functioning to the patient

Qi Gong: Chinese practice that uses breathing techniques, gentle movement, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate the life energy. 

Shiatsu: An energy-based system of bodywork using rhythmic pressure held on specific points, designed to awaken acupressure meridians. 

Trigger Point Therapy: Compression of sensitive points in the muscle tissue, along with massage and passive stretches, for the relief of pain and tension. It can decrease swelling and stiffness and increases range of motion.

Healing Modalities

Mind-Body Medicine

Art Therapy: Uses art to discover how to restore, maintain or improve physical and mental health. The art therapist is able to formulate treatment plans specific to the individual.

Color Therapy: The use of electronic instrumentation and color receptivity to integrate the nervous system and body-mind. It can increase feelings of well-being, and can be helpful for many acute and chronic ailments.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): An accelerated information processing method using alternating stimuli—either eye movements or sounds--to desensitize and reprocess emotional wounds and replace with a healthier belief system. It is effective with post traumatic stress syndrome, childhood trauma, depression, addictions, compulsions, unhealthy patterns and future-oriented solutions.

Guided Imagery: Helps clients to connect with their inner knowledge at the thinking, feeling, and sensing levels, promoting their inner healing abilities. It is an effective way to work with: pain, symptom, grief, and stress management; conflict resolution; self-empowerment issues; and preparing for medical-surgical interventions. 

Hypnotherapy: Focused attention, achieved through guided relaxation, to access the unconscious mind. Hypnosis is used for memory recall, medical treatment, and skill enhancement or personal growth.

Meditation: Helps relax and quiet the mind to relieve muscle tension and facilitate inner peace. There are many types of meditation used by individuals and groups.  Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard University showed that inducing a relaxed state of mind is good both for the health and immune-system response. 

Music Therapy:  Helps the individual move into harmony and balance through the use of music, individuals explore emotional, spiritual and behavioral issues.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): An approach to changing behavior through changing patterns of thinking.

Healing Modalities

T'ai Chi (Chuan): Enhances coordination, balance and breathing, and promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Tai Chi is taught in classes or as private lessons, and requires home practice to be effective.

Yoga Therapy: Uses postures, controlled breathing, relaxation, meditation, and nutrition to release muscular and emotional tension, improve concentration, increase oxygen levels in the blood, and assist the body in healing itself.

Biologically Based Practices

Biofeedback: A relaxation technique involving careful monitoring of vital functions (such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure) which are known to improve health. Using conscious thought, visualization, movement or relaxation, one can learn which actions result in desirable changes in these vital functions. Biofeedback is used for medical problems related to stress and for conditions such as incontinence, irregular heartbeat and epilepsy.

Herbal Therapy: Herbs can alleviate specific conditions or to support the function of various body systems. Herbal formulas have 3 basic functions: elimination and detoxification, health management and maintenance, and health building.

Hydrotherapy: The use of water, ice, steam, and hot and cold temperatures to restore health. Treatments include full body immersion, steam baths, saunas, and the application of hot and cold compresses.

Nutritional Counseling: A practitioner uses diet and supplementation therapeutically as the primary treatment for illness. Approaches include food combining, macrobiotics, and orthomolecular theory.

Healing Modalities

Energy Medicine

Chi Kung Healing Touch: Uses breath and gentle movements which follows the Chinese five-element theory and works with the meridian system.

Energy Work: Body work using seven major energy centers (chakras) and the flow of energy around and through this field. As the body's energy field is balanced and strengthened, healing may occur on both the physical and non-physical levels.

Healing Touch:  Touch is used to help the energy system, affecting physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and healing. The purpose is to restore harmony and balance, promoting self-healing.

Magnetic Therapy: Uses magnets to generate controlled magnetic fields which can benefit the functioning of the nervous system, organs and tissues, and stimulate healing.

Reiki: Uses hands and visualization to direct energy to various parts of the body to help healing and relaxation. Reiki can help mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual balance.

Therapeutic Touch: Balances the energy flow in the body through human energy transfer. Therapeutic Touch promotes balance to improve health and in health there is growth, order and wholeness.

Touch for Health:  Applied kinesiology, acupressure, massage and nutrition which intends to maximize the physical and emotional health. It emphasizes the uniqueness of the individual, and uses measurement of muscle strength as a biofeedback mechanism to determine the unique needs of the individual.

Healing Modalities

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