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Alternative Healing Dictionary

A help for you and me
Sometimes when reading about healing and other esoteric arts I come across words that I would like to know what they stand for. I have now tried to compile a dictionary/glossary that includes different forms of healing, esoteric words, religions and information about the organs in the human body. This is by no means a complete alternative healing dictionary and some of you might even have an objection to my interpretation of certain words. Feel free to let me know your views and also if you would like to add a new word.
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Absent healing (distant healing, remote healing): A form of healing that involves the projection of  healing energy over a distance.

Acupressure:  A treatment that involves the surface stimulation of acupoints digitally, manually, or with tools held in the hand.

Acupuncture: An ancient Chinese medical system over 5000 years old, recently revived in China and becoming popular in the West. It deals with subtle energy flows (chi) in the body related to the cosmic principles of Yin and Yang. The balance of these energies in the human body affects health and disease. Acupuncture therapy alters these energy flows by inserting fine needles at key pressure points, for varying periods of time. Anesthesia for surgery can also be effected by acupuncture.

Adept: An individual highly experienced and proficient in a particular magical craft ie. an esoteric master.

Adrenal glands: Each kidney has an adrenal gland located above it. The adrenal is divided into an inner medulla and an outer cortex . The medulla synthesizes amine hormones. The cortex secrets steroid hormones.  Stimulation of the cortex by the nervous system causes the "fight or flight" response.

Aikido: Spiritual discipline and self-defense method that uses grappling, throws, and non-resistance to debilitate opponents.

Alexander Method: A means of integrating one's mental, physical, and spiritual aspects. According to its theory, maintaining alignment of the head, neck, and back leads to optimum overall physical functioning. Fredrick Matthias Alexander concluded that faulty posture was responsible for diverse symptoms.

Amulet: An object charged with personal energies through ritual or meditation, often used to ward off a certain force or person.

Angel: A spiritual being, especially in Persian, Jewish, Christian and Islamic theologies, that is commonly portrayed as being winged and as serving as God's messengers. The spiritual guide of an individual.

Archangel: An angel of high rank.

Aromatherapy: Herbal medicine, use of essential oils from plants, flowers, trees and herbs to achieve health, vitality and rejuvenation of the body, mind and spirit.

Astral Plane: A plane parallel to the physical world, traveled through by the astral body during projection.

Astral Travel: The experience, whether spontaneous or induced, of traveling through the astral realm in the form of the astral body

Astrology: An ancient system of divination that uses the position of the planets, moon and sun in the twelve Zodiac positions at the moment of one's birth to gain knowledge of the future.

Atlantis: A legendary island/continent said to have sunk beneath the ocean. It was located straddling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and was broken up as a result of continental drift or a major natural disaster. It is supposed to have had a highly advanced civilization.

Alternative Medicine: Any form of medicine or healing other than the type approved by medical doctors and hospitals.
A question worth thinking about is why Modern Western Medicine—which is five hundred years old at most—has come to be seen as traditional, whilst Indian Ayurvedic or Traditional Chinese Medicine—which both boast rich histories spanning thousands of years—have been deemed alternative, or at best complementary?!)

Attune: To open up bring different psyches into harmony. See also Reiki Attunement.

Aura: An energy field which surrounds living beings. An aura is most often visible only to those born with the skill to see it, or those who developed this ability. A visible aura contains various colors and tells about the spiritual and emotional persona of the plant, human, or creature surrounded by it. An aura can also be felt, heard, or sensed through other means. Read more one my Aura page.

Aura analysis: Direct or indirect examination of the vital energy that envelops each human. To some the aura is perceptible others can analyze it through Kirlian photography. The colors of the aura reveal the personal traits of the subject. One can also associate auric colors with glands, organs, organ systems, and psychological states such as anger and boredom.

Aura balancing: (aura cleansing, aura clearing, aura healing, auric healing): Multiform method characterized by treatment of the aura around a person's head or body.

Aurasomatherapy : A variation of color therapy and a form of aura balancing and chakra healing.

Avatar: An earthly manifestation of one of the gods in human or animal form, e.g., Krishna is an avatar of Vishnu, Jesus is an avatar of Jehovah. A being through whom God manifests himself. The spiritual founder of an age or a dynasty. Such a one has supposedly progressed beyond the need to be reincarnated.

Ayurveda: (ancient Indian medicine, Vedic medicine): Ancient Hindu medical-metaphysical healing science based on the harmony of body, mind and universe through diet, exercise, herbs, and purification procedures. It emphasizes the capability of the individual for self-healing using natural remedies to restore balance.

Allegedly, the most complete system of natural medicine and the mother of all healing arts. Ayurvedic theory includes a subtle anatomy that includes: nadis, canals that carry prana (cosmic energy) throughout the body; chakras, "centers of consciousness" that connect body and soul; and marmas, points on the body beneath which vital structures (physical and/or subtle) intersect. Ayurvedic diagnosis involves examination of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, nails, and pulse. The pulse is important because of the belief that the heart is the seat of the underlying intelligence of nature ie human consciousness.


Bach flower therapy: (Bach flower essence method, Bach flower essence system): Homeopathic system of  diagnosis and treatment developed in the 1930:s by British physician Edward Bach (1886-1936). Bach held that disease was essentially beneficial and that its design was to subject the personality to the Divine will of the soul. He psychically discovered the specific healing effects of 38 wildflowers. The life force ("soul quality" or "energy wavelength") of each of these flowers is transferable to water and thence to humans.

Bardo: A human soul between the stages of after-death and rebirth.

Biorhythm: The system that deals with the three biological cycles of humans, the body's physical, emotional and intellectual energy based on date of birth. Used to determine the patterns of a person's critical days and periods of high and low energy.

Bladder: Organ that stores urine after its formation by the kidneys. Average normal capacity of the adult bladder is about half a liter.

Bodhisattava: A being who has supposedly earned the right to enter into Nirvana or into illumination, but instead voluntarily turns back from that state in order to aid humanity in attaining the same goal. The Christ is said to be a Bodhisattva.

Buddha: Sanskrit meaning Enlightened One. There are many who have attained Buddhahood, or supreme enlightenment. The best known is Siddhartha Gautama Buddha (586-511 BC). He was born in northeastern India and received spiritual enlightment through meditation. During his lifetime, his spiritual insights and teachings became a major alternative to Hinduism throughout India.

Buddhism: World religion based on the spiritual teachings of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. There are a number of versions or sects of Buddhism generally teaching paths to Nirvana (enlightenment or bliss) though the four noble truths (recognizing existence and source of suffering) and the eight fold path (correct understanding, behavior and meditation).


Centering: Grounding your energy through meditation or other means often before rituals or healing treatments to help harness and direct the balanced energy.

Chakras: Energy centers in the body which are best cleansed, opened, and balanced. Too much or too little energy in one chakra can be the cause health problems or frustrations in everyday life. See my chakra page.

Chakra healing (chakra balancing, chakra energy balancing, chakra therapy, chakra work): Any method akin to aura balancing and relating to chakras.

Channeling: Transmission of information or energy from a nonphysical source through humans. These persons called "channels," "channelers," or "mediums" are sometimes in an apparent trance during the communication. Sources include angels, discarnate former humans, extraterrestrials, and levels of consciousness.

Chant: Repetition of magical phrases, syllables, or words to produce a desired effect as well as bring the chanter to a deeper meditative state. See also Mantra.

Chi: A Chinese term for the all-encompassing universal life force that flows in and around our body. Also called Ki, Prana, Mana and many other names in other belief systems.

Chinese medicine: originated over 3,000 years ago, but it became dogmatic and stagnated for centuries; overall its development has been slow. It probably stems from shamanism. The basis of Chinese medicine is Taoism, a religion according to which spirits (shen) inhabit the human body and take care of its functions. The foundational text of Chinese medicine—known as the Classic of Internal Medicine, the Huangdi Neijing, the Inner Classic, the Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor, the Neiching, the Nei Jing, The Yellow Emperor's Classic, The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, and the Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon — was completed by the first century C.E.

Chiropractor: Healer using therapy that attributes disease to neural malfunction with treatment primarily based on manipulation of the spinal column. Originally, a healer who used his hands to manipulate the body.

Christ: (Greek) Pure, perfect, ideal, or anointed. The only begotten Son of God, the creator or essence of all that can be known.

Clairvoyance: The paranormal ability to see psychic information, including historical or future events or other phenomena, that cannot be discerned naturally through the five material senses. Also called ESP.

Cleansing: Purification through a ritual bath or through meditation to cleanse the psyche. Traditionally performed before every ritual.

Color therapy: (chromopathy, chromotherapy, color healing): Method that states that colors — e.g. of light, food, and clothing — have wide ranging curative effects. Supposedly, cures result from correction of "color imbalances." Color therapy often is a form of chakra healing.

Confucius: (551-479 BC) The most famous philosopher of ancient China. According to tradition, he was born in Lu, China. Author of the Ch'un Ch'iu (Spring and Autumn Annals) and possible compiler of some early poetry.

Conversion: Turning from one religion (or no religion) to a particular religion.

Crystal Ball: A ball made of quartz crystal or glass that is used for scrying.

Crystal Healing: The therapeutic application of crystals and gemstones for healing the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies. See also Gem Therapy and Gemstone-Reiki Therapy.

Crystalomancy: Divination or fortune telling by gazing into a crystal rock or crystal ball.


Dalai Lama: Spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, considered an emanation of Avalokiteshvara, an enlightened being who embodies the compassion of past, present, and future Buddhas. Each Dalai Lama, regarded as a reincarnation of the previous one, is identified through a combination of oracles, dreams, and visions. The present and fourteenth Dalai Lama, born in eastern Tibet in 1935, has lived in exile in India since 1959, nine years after the Chinese takeover of Tibet. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for peaceful efforts to preserve Tibetan culture in his homeland and among refugee communities. He has worked to democratize the Tibetan government in exile, and is considering new methods for choosing the next Dalai Lama.

Dharma: The ultimate law, or doctrine, as taught by Buddha, which consists of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

Diaphragm: Wide muscular partition separating the thoracic, or chest cavity, from the abdominal cavity (just below ribs). Contraction and expansion of the diaphragm are significant in breathing and in stimulating digestion.

Diamond Sutra: A Mahayana Buddhist scriptural text that expounds the doctrine of the Perfection of Wisdom. The Diamond Sutra was written in India in Sanskrit and then carried into East Asia, where it was translated into Chinese (ca. 400) and became one of the most revered summaries of the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism.

Digestive System: A series of connected organs whose purpose is to break down, or digest, the food we eat. Food is made up of large, complex molecules, which the digestive system breaks down into smaller, simple molecules that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. The simple molecules travel through the bloodstream to all of the body's cells, which use them for growth, repair and energy.

Divination: Method of inquiring into a situation through tools, some examples of divination are scrying, tarot and runes. See dowsing below.

Dowsing: (divining, questing, water witching): The skill of divining for underground sources of water or other practical and spiritual matters by means of a divining rod or variety of other means, such as the pendulum, or even by device less techniques. Used to locate people, objects, or substances, and to diagnose illnesses.

Dream Changing: Form of visual therapy. Dream Changing is a technique that involves attempting to turn unsatisfactory dreams into satisfying daydreams.

Dreamwork: Any systematic inquiry into or use of dreams with the purpose of healing or self-development.

Druidism: An ancient Celtic religion which has undergone a modern revival.



The Main Chakras
The Aura
The Meridians
The Human Body
Reiki Hand Positions
Reiki Treatments
The Reiki Symbols
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