Unnaturalistic Methods Glossary

Jack Raso, M.S., R.D.
March 25, 2007

acupoint (acupuncture point): Any of an indefinite number of points on or near the surface of the body that allegedly are susceptible to healthful activation.

alternative healthcare (alternative healing, alternative healing therapies, alternative health, alternative medicine, alternative therapeutics, alternative therapies, complementary health care, complementary medicine, extended therapeutics, Fringe Medicine, holistic healing, holistic health, holistic medicine, innovative medicine, mind body medicine, natural healing, natural health, natural medicine, New Age medicine, New Medicine, planet medicine, unconventional medicine, unconventional therapies, unconventional therapy, unorthodox healing, unorthodox therapies, wholistic medicine): Amorphous group of “therapeutic” and “diagnostic” methods chiefly distinguished from establishmentarian (science-oriented) healthcare by its acceptance of “spiritual health” as a medical concern. One of its general principles is that a practitioner is a teacher who can “empower” one. Its purported goal is not to cure, but to effect “healing”: an experience of physical, mental, and spiritual “wholeness.”

alternativism: Multifarious accumulation of antiestablishment and nonestablishmentarian movements. Alternativism encompasses alternative healthcare, apocalypticism, communalism, conspiracy theorizing, the Fortean movement, multilevel marketing (MLM, network marketing), naturism (nudism), organic farming, parapsychology, and UFO abductionism.

alternativist noun: A proponent of alternativism (especially medical alternativism) or a division or subgroup thereof. A proponent of a single alternativist method (e.g., the Alexander Technique or Natural Hygiene) is not necessarily an alternativist. adjective: Affirmative of or conforming to alternativism, especially medical alternativism.

A.T.C.: Certified Athletic Trainer.

aura: Alleged envelope of “vital energy,” generally invisible.

biofeedback: Any method that involves electronic monitors wherewith one tries to influence autonomic activities, such as the beating of the heart. Forms of biofeedback include electromyographic biofeedback, which measures muscle tension, and thermal biofeedback, which measures skin temperature.

body-centered psychotherapy (body-oriented psychotherapy, body psychotherapy, direct body-contact psychotherapy, humanistic body psychotherapy): Any combination of: (a) psychotherapy (see below), and (b) massage therapy, touch therapy, or “movement techniques.” Body-centered psychotherapy may include breathwork.

C.A.: Certified Acupuncturist.

clairaudience: 1. The supposed power to perceive sounds (e.g., music and voices) not within the known extent of human perception. 2. The supposed power to perceive sounds from “alien dimensions,” such as the voices of spirits.

clairvoyant: One who claims or appears to have clairvoyance, the alleged ability to obtain information in a way that does not involve using any of the known human senses.

collective unconscious (universal consciousness): Alleged inborn psychological bedrockcommon to all humans but varying with the particular society, people, or racethat enables telepathy.

C.S.W.: Certified Social Worker.

D.Ac.: Doctor of Acupuncture.

D.C.: Doctor of Chiropractic.

D.D.: Doctor of Divinity.

D.H.M.: Doctor of Homeopathic Medicine.

divination: Alleged supernatural (a) foreseeing of events or (b) attainment of occult knowledge.

D.N.: 1. Doctor of Naprapathy (see below). 2. Doctor of Nutripathy. 3. Doctor of Naturology.

D.O.: Doctor of Osteopathy.

D.Pharm.: Doctor of Pharmacy.

Ed.D.: Doctor of Education.

Five Elements (Five Phases): Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire as manifestations (“phases” or “transformations”) of chi. The expression “five elements” derives from two Chinese words: wu (“five”) and xing (“move” or “walk”). Its implicit meaning is “five processes.” According to ancient Chinese cosmology, the Five Elements compose everything. In Chinese medicine, each of the Five Elements symbolizes a group of physiologic functions: “Earth” (soil) represents balance or neutrality; Metal (coal, fossils, and inorganic matter), decay; Water (moisture), a state of maximum rest leading to a change of functional direction; Wood (organic matter), a growth phase; and Fire (gases), maximum activity.

food combining (food mixing): Any practice whose postulate is that the degree of a meal’s conduciveness to health depends chiefly or considerably: (a) on the proportion of carbohydrate, fat, protein, and acid in each of its macroscopic components, or (b) on nonmaterial attributes of these components.

hair analysis (hair element analysis, hair mineral analysis, hair-shaft analysis): “Diagnostic technique” that involves laboratory analysis of a sample of hair. It allegedly can be a “useful guide” to bodily well-being.

herbalism (medical herbalism): Ancient approach to “healing” characterized by using plants, or substances derived from plants, to treat a range of illnesses or to improve the functioning of bodily systems.

herbology: Purported science and art of using plants for healing.

hydrotherapy: 1. (hydrotherapeutics) Scientific external use of water to treat certain diseases (e.g., hot baths to relieve pain). 2. (water therapy) A variety of methods whose categories are: (a) external hydrotherapies (e.g., whirlpool baths) and (b) internal hydrotherapy (e.g., colonic irrigation). Some alternativists depict water as a universal remedy provided by “Nature.” Others say simply that it has powerful “healing properties.”

hypnotherapy: Generally, the use of hypnotism (induction of a sleeplike state) to treat chronic pain or to facilitate changes in behavior or disposition.

J.D.: 1. Doctor of Jurisprudence. 2. Juris Doctor.

Kirlian photography (corona-discharge photography, electrography): Purported means of recording one’s aura (see above). Soviet electrician Semyon Davidovich Kirlian and his wife, Valentina, developed Kirlian photography in the early 1940s.

L.Ac. (Lic.Ac.): Licensed Acupuncturist.

laying on of hands: Contact healing.

life energy: See “vital force.”

L.M.T.: Licensed Massage Therapist.

massage therapy (massotherapy, somatotherapy): Any method that involves pressing or similarly manipulating a person’s soft tissues to promote the person’s well-being.

M.F.A.: Master of Fine Arts.

mono-diet (monophagic diet): Any regimen characterized by: (a) restriction of food intake to one specific kind of food, or (b) restriction of each meal to one specific kind of food (e.g., porridge alone for breakfast, fruits alone for lunch, and meat alone for dinner).

M.S.W.: Master of Social Work.

Naprapathy: System of bodywork founded in 1905 by chiropractic professor Oakley G. Smith, author of Modernized Chiropractic (1906). It encompasses nutritional, postural, and exercise counseling. Naprapathic theory holds: (a) that soft connective tissue in a state of contraction can cause “neurovascular interference,” (b) that this “interference” may cause “circulatory congestion” and “nerve irritation,” and (c) that reducing this “interference” (primarily by hand) paves the way for optimal homeostasis. The major form of Naprapathy in the United States is the Oakley Smith Naprapathic Method, taug
ht by the Chicago National College of Naprapathy.

N.D.: Doctor of Naturopathy.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP, neurolinguistics): Quasi-spiritual behavior-modification (or “performance psychology”) technique whose crux is “modelling,” or “NLP modelling”: imitating the behavior of high achievers. Richard Bandler and John Grinder initially formulated NLP in 1975, reputedly duplicating the “magical results” of several top communicators and therapists. (These included Milton H. Erickson, M.D., the originator of Ericksonian Hypnosis.) Advanced Neuro Dynamics, Inc., in Honolulu, Hawaii, has promoted a style of NLP that “recognizes the importance of the human spirit and its connection with the mind and body.” Pure NLP is the brand of NLP promoted by The Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

NLP: Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

N.M.D.: 1. Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. 2. Naturopathic Medical Doctor.

nonaccredited (unaccredited): Without institutional, departmental, or programmatic accreditation whose source is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education or by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation (CORPA). The U.S. Secretary of Education and CORPA autonomously decide whether: (1) to grant recognition to any functioning or would-be accreditor that expressly wants it, or (2) to withhold or withdraw it from such an entity. In practical terms, recognition constitutes publicizing acceptance of such an entity as an accreditor.

O.M.D.: Oriental Medical Doctor. (“D.O.M.” stands for “Doctor of Oriental Medicine.”)

orthomolecular medicine (orthomolecular nutritional medicine, orthomolecular therapy): Approach to therapy whose centerpiece is megavitamin therapy. Orthomolecular medicine encompasses hair analysis, orthomolecular nutrition (a variation of megavitamin therapy), and orthomolecular psychiatry. Linus Carl Pauling, Ph.D. (19011994), coined the word “orthomolecular.” The prefix “ortho” means “straight,” and the implicit meaning of “orthomolecular” is “to straighten (correct) concentrations of specific molecules.” The primary principle of orthomolecular medicine is that nutrition is the foremost consideration in diagnosis and treatment. Its purported focus is “normalizing” the “balance” of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and “similar” substances in the body.

psychokinesis (PK, cryptokinesis, telekinesis, telergy): Alleged production or control of motion, or influencing of an event, mentally, without the use of bodily mechanisms. The word “telekinesis” implies involvement of the occult.

psychospiritual: Pertaining to mental health and spirituality.

psychotherapy (psychotherapeutics, therapy): Treatment of illnessparticularly mental and emotional disordersor “adjustment” problems mainly with psychological techniques. Its major categories are individual psychotherapy and group psychotherapy. Psychotherapy ranges from specialistic therapy to informal conversations, and from science-oriented techniques (e.g., rational-emotive therapy [RET]) to quackery, applied pop psychology, religious counseling, and methods akin to mesmerism. Psychotherapists include clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, “counselors,” psychiatric nurses, and psychiatrists.

P.T.: Physical Therapist.

Qi (chi [chee], ki): Broadly, the alleged “vital force” that underlies functioning of body, mind, and spirit. According to Qigong theory, Qi encompasses air and internal Qi, or true Qi, which includes essential Qi (“vital energy”).

strong holism: An aspect of supernaturalistic pantheism, or Spinozism, which holds that nature is divine. According to strong holism, the universe is uninterrupted in substancean unbroken wholeand all things have instantaneous interconnections.

subtle energy: See “vital force.”

Swedish massage: The most common form of bodywork in Western countries. Its originator, Peter Hendrik (Per Henrick) Ling (17761839), of Sweden, was a fencing master, physiologist, and poet. His method was called the “Ling system” or the “Swedish movement treatment.” Dr. S.W. Mitchell introduced Swedish massage in the United States. It is based on scientific anatomy and often vigorous. The purported aim of Swedish massage is to improve circulation of blood and lymph.

synchronicity (synchronistic principle): “Acausal connecting principle,” the supposed equivalent of a cause. Carl Jung (see “Jungian psychology”) posited synchronicitywhich he equated with the Taoto describe meaningful but apparently accidental concurrences or sequences of events.

Tao: In a word, everything; the experience of the “universal Way” (“essential reality”).

TCM: Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Th.D.: Doctor of Theology.

Transactional Analysis (TA): System of psychotherapy created by psychiatrist Eric Berne, M.D. (d. 1970), and the subject of two bestsellers: Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships (1964) and I’m OKYou’re OK (1967). Fundamental to TA is the hypothesis that “ego states”attitudes during transactions and corresponding sets of behavior patternsfall into three categories: parental (preceptive or didactic, admonitory), adult (evaluative), and childlike (emotional and creative).

veganism: Practice of avoiding consumption of all foods derived from animals.

vital force (bioenergy, cosmic energy, cosmic energy force, cosmic force, cosmic life energy, cosmic life force, élan vital, energy of being, force of life, force vitale, inner vital energy, internal energy, life energy, life force, life force energy, life power, life source energy, nerve energy, nerve force, personal energy, spirit, subtle energy, universal energy, universal life energy, universal life energy power, universal life force, universal life force energy, universal life principle, vital cosmic force, vital element, vital energy, vital energy force, vitality, vital life force, vital life force energy, vitalistic principle, vitality energy, vital life spirit, vital magnetism, vital principle, vital spirit): An alleged nonmaterial “force” that sustains life. Its aspects include the following. Related systems or methods are in parentheses.
animal magnetism (mesmerism)
archetypal energy (dreamwork)
astral light (Theosophy)
aura (energy field work, Kirlian diagnosis)
bioelectrical energy (magical aromatherapy)
biological energy (neural therapy)
biomagnetic energy (Physio-Spiritual Etheric Body healing)
biomagnetism (de la Warr system)
bioplasmic energy (Bioplasmic healing)
body energy (Magno-Therapy, Zero Balancing)
chi (Chinese medicine)
core energy (inner self healing process)
Divine Energy (7 Keys Meditation Program)
divine healing energy (Emotional Energetic Healing)
divine power (religious healing)
dynamis (homeopathy)
Earth energy (Iron Shirt Chi Kung)
eck (Eckankar)
energy body (core energetics, Pranic Healing)
essence (Diamond Approach)
etheric body (curative eurhythmy)
etheronic force (Edgar Cayce tradition)
God Force (Rainbow Diet)
healing dolphin energy (Lifeline)
healing light energy (Chi Nei Tsang)
innate healing energy (homeovitics)
Innate Intelligence (chiropractic)
jariki (Zazen)
ki (shiatsu)
kundalini (kundalini yoga)
libidinal energy (Jungian psychology)
life-fields, L-Fields (radionics)
liquid light of sex
Living Energy (Living Energy Training)
magical energies (magical diet)
magnetic energy (magnet therapy)
mana (kahuna healing)
MariEL (MariEL)
Moon energy (Celtic magic)
orgone (Reichian Therapy)
pneuma (bioenergetics)
prana (Ayurveda)
psychic energy (psychic healing) reiki (Reiki)
ruach, ruah (Judaism)
seichim (Seichim)
seiki (seiki-jutsu)
sexual energy (Gnosis, Tantra)
shakti (spiritual midwifery)
Shin-ki (Shinkiko)
Shintsu-Riki® (Kobayashi Technique)
soul (Christianity)
tachyon energy (electromagnetic healing)
transformation energy (Cellular Theta Breath)
universal creative healing energy (Planetary Herbology)
Universal Fifth Dimensional Energy (Alchemia)
vis medicatrix naturae (naturopathy)

The expression “healing energy” is synonymous with most of these expressions. Similar concepts relevant to alternative healthcare include: bio-current, biomagnetic waves, entelechy, M-fields, morphogenic fields (morphogenetic fields, morphic fields, morphic resonance), odic force, paraelectricity, psi-fields, psi plasma, vis formativa, and zero-point energy (virtual energy).


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