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Definitions of  Massage, Bodywork, Energy, Alternative Medicine & Healing Modalities

No statements in the definitions below should be considered to be medical advice or taken as advice against seeking medical treatment, but are provided purely for their educational value. In the case of  serious acute, chronic or degenerative conditions immediately seek competent medical advice from your primary health care provider.
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U

Usui Method ( See Reiki).

Underwater Massage - is performed in drain down, specialized tubs filled with warm water.  The client first relaxes by floating on a continuous stream of air bubbles arising from the bottom of the tub.  There are underwater jets to massage the neck, shoulders, feet, calves, thighs, and hips intended to induce relaxation.  The client is then massaged underwater with a high pressure hose attachment with optional pressure work on specific problem areas.  This form of hydrotherapy is a particularly good treatment for increasing circulation, relaxing sore muscles, and stimulating the heart and other organs in the elimination of toxins.

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Vibrational Healing.  Practitioners of vibrational healing (also called vibrational medicine) use a variety of modalities that seek to promote healing by balancing the client's energy field.  Such modalities may include homeopathy, flower essences, acupuncture, and energy-based bodywork practices such as Therapeutic Touch and Polarity Therapy.

Vibrational Medicine (see Vibrational Healing)

Vichy Treatment - Needle-like showers of alternating cold and hot water are directed from overhead as the client reclines on a table.  It is usually followed by a body scrub.  European vichy treatment consists of a very fine shower of lukewarm water over the body along with a full body massage done by the therapist in wetroom attire.  In the U.S. the vichy shower is mostly used to rinse off body scrub or wrap products and not generally used therapeutically.

Vision Therapies, Holistic maintains that through exercise and relaxation techniques, vision may actually be improved to the point that glasses may no longer be needed.  Therapies are typically offered by licensed optometrists and opthalmologists.

Visceral Manipulation enhances the normal mobility and tissue motion of the organs of the visceral system.  Hypertonicity of the deep connective tissue (fascia), displacement, and adhesions can all cause organs to work against each other, creating chronic irritation and fixed, abnormal points of tension. The visceral organs are dependent on their ability to move freely in the abdominal cavity to work correctly and efficiently.  When they are pulled out of their effective positions, they cease to function properly.  By freeing each organ to work compatibly with the others, a therapist can potentially alter and improve the structure and functioning of the entire body.

Vodder Method - Dr Emil Vodder, Ph.D, of Copenhagen, Denmark, pioneered the prcatice of manual lymph drainage in the 1930s. (See Manual Lymph Massage)

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Water Shiatsu ( see Watsu )

Watsu, acquatic or water Shiatsu, began at Harbin Hot Springs where Harold Dull brought his knowledge of Zen Shiatsu that he had studied in Japan into a warm pool.  Zen Shiatsu incorporates stretches which release blockages along meridians, the channels through which our 'chi' or life force flows.  Dull found the effects of Zen Shiatsu could be amplified and made more profound by stretching someone while floating them in warm water. The practitioner guides the client through a series of dancelike movements while using Zen Shiatsu techniques (stretching and finger pressue). Watsu should not be confused with the very different spa therapy of underwater massage.

Western Medicine (See Allopathic Medicine)

Whirlpool. A hot pool with water rushing from jets on the sides at temperatures of 105 to 115 degrees F. used to stimulate the system and relax sore muscles.

Wholistic Health ( See Alternative Healing )

Women's Wholistic Health This field includes practitioners and clinics offering a range of services addressing women's health concerns, from PMS to menopause, natural hormone replacement therapy and infertility.

Wushu - Literally translated, "wu" is military, "shu" is art. It is a generic term which encompasses all Chinese martial arts. Wushu training focuses on stance training for balance, strength, stamina and flexibility; repetition of movement for control and speed; and series of movements for coordination and overall fitness.  Some training forms are changquan (long fist), nanquan (southern fist), broad sword, straight sword, staff, spear, Taiji quan (Taichi), Taiji sword, Nan Dao (southern sword), Taolu (competition forms) and San Shou (Sanda) and internal martial arts such as Qi Gong.  See also Martial Arts.

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Yoga translated as 'union', is a general term for a range of body, mind, energy, and spiritual exercise practices used to access higher consciousness and encourage physical, mental, and spiritual  well-being.  It may include prescibed postures ( asanas), controled breathing, chanting of mantras, or mental focus on a specific concept.  There are six main paths:

  • 1. JNANA YOGA - union by knowledge 
  • 2. BHAKTI YOGA - union by love
  • 3. KARMA YOGA - union by service
  • 4. MANTRA YOGA - union by speech meaning recitation of sacred syllables or mantras.
  • 5. RAJA YOGA - union by mental control meaning mastery of the mind and senses
  • 6. HATHA YOGA - union by bodily control including asanas, kriyas (cleansing processes with water and cloths), pranyamas (these maintain and channel the flow of energy), bandhas ('locks' or closing actions which prevent energy loss)

In the West, most students learn some form of Hatha yoga.  There are several schools of Hatha yoga depending on the name of a great teacher (such as Iyengar or Bikram) or style (such as Ashtanga). For a more in depth discussion of yoga go to the Kevala Center web site.

Yoga, Kundalini a form of Hatha Yoga in which the main energy channels of the body (Ida, Pingala and Shushuma) energy channels of the body are are activated and balanced to allow Kundalini energy (Shakti) to rise from the root chakra through the higher chakras to the crown, there by attaining a union of consciousness with the one.  These practices are a part of the Tantric tradition.

Yoga, Tantric (See Tantra and Tantric Yoga)

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Zen Shiatsu , (See also, Shiatsu ) This style was developed by Shizuto Masanuga, who proposed the treatment of meridian 'extentions' beyond those recognised in the classical Chinese view.  He also developed the widely-accepted 'two-hands' style, where one hand moves, applying pressure, while the other provides stationary support.  Zen Shiatsu by Shizuto  Masunaga & Wataru Ohashi, also published by Japan Publications Inc., ISBN 0-87040-394-x is recommended)

Zero Balancing.  Developed by Fitz Smith, MD, Zero Balancing is a simple method of aligning body energy with body structure.  It integrates fundamental principles of  Western science with Eastern concepts of body, mind and spirit. A Zero balancing session, which consists of gentle pressing, stretching, and bending, generally takes 30 minutes and is done through the client's clothing.

Zone Therapy ( See Foot Zone Therapy and Reflexology)

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