Holistic, Complementary, Integrative, Alternative Medicine… What Are We Talking About?

When it comes natural healing there are many different terms, systems, modalities, medicaments, remedies, herbs, and other substances to help a person achieve wellness. Some are not very well defined in common usage. Many terms are used interchangeably as if they have the same meaning. As I speak with people I find I continually have to untangle terms to make it easy for people to understand what I do and don’t do in my practice. The untangling process is good exercise for me as well. Here is another attempt to clear up misunderstandings.


ADJUNCTIVE THERAPEUTIC
A substance or activity having or exhibiting healing powers that in in conjunction with each other are supportive to the healing process. An adjunctive therapeutic can be a herb, homeopathic remedy, nutritional supplement, gemmotherapy, meditation, breathing exercises, visualizations, yoga, reading selection, flower essence, etc. I use adjunctive therapeutics in my practice.


ADJUVANT
A medicine or therapy which assists the action of another to which it is added.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE or COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE
According to a definition adopted by the British Medical Association: those forms of treatment which are not widely used by the orthodox health care professions and the skill of which are not taught as part of the undergraduate curriculum of orthodox medicine and paramedical health care courses.

Another definition from the Office of Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health: Complementary medicine and alternative medicine is defined through a social process as those practices that do not form part of the dominant system for managing health and disease.

AYURVEDA
Translates as the knowledge or science of life. Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India developed more than 4000 year ago. Traditional Chinese Medicine (commonly abbreviated as TCM) and Ayurveda are thought to have developed together and then split at some point. It is thought that Tibetan medicine is a blend of the two.

CHI, CH’I or QI And Li
From Chinese culture. Chi is an active principle forming part of any living thing. It is translated as energy flow.

Chu Hsi, a famous Taoist philosopher of the 12th Century states: In the Universe there is “li” and “chi”. The li is what is above shape, and is the source from which all things are produced. The chi is what is within the shapes and is the means by which all things are produced.*

It is my understanding that chi and the vital force are not equal. The vital force is unique to each individual and it is the vital force that interacts with homeopathic remedies.

COMPLEMENTARY REMEDIES or CONCORDANT REMEDIES
A homeopathic remedy which assists or reinforces another homeopathic remedy in its actions. For example, Sulphur (homeopathic remedy made from the element sulfur) and Nux vomica (homeopathic remedy made from a kind of nut) are complements because if Nux is given and seems to help the case but not in a complete way, the practitioner may choose Sulphur in order to finish what Nux started. Or wok began by Apis (homeopathic remedy made from a bee) is finished by Natrum muriaticum (homeopathic remedy made from sea salt); Aconite (homeopathic remedy made from a certain plant) is best followed with Sulphur, with the second remedy in each case being a deeper-working, more chronic version of the first.

HOLISM or ORGANICISM OR WHOLISM
A belief system based on the doctrine that the individual (or situation) must be studied or views as a whole (physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually). Thus, treating the ill person must be based on this premise. Holistic Medicine is based on on the awareness of Oneness.

To Quote Dr. Robert Ornstein (b. 1942), pioneer of the holistic model; We are psycho-physiological beings animated by spirit… We are a unity of spirit, mind and body, where rhythm, melody, harmony permeates multidimensional universe. The Universe is a hologram, a mental construct of a creation of consciousness itself.

Along this line Dr. Ralph Twentyman, a British philosopher and homeopath, made this comment about the homeopathic remedy; The mirror image changes consciousness.

A very early examination of holistic health was Dr. Abraham ben Isaac Wallich’s Sepher Refu’ot (Harmonia Wallichis Medica) published in 1700, In this book he endeavored to show that diseases o the spirit correspond to those of the body and require similar treatment.

HOMEOPATHY
A holistic therapeutic medical science based upon the teachings of its founder, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.

INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE
The combination of the practices and methods of alternative medicine with conventional medicine. The term is relatively recent, and is mainly promoted by proponents of alternative therapies in the west. And more recently in the US only those with a medical license may call themselves integrative doctors.

MEDICAMENT
An agent that promotes recovery from injury or ailment. In the US, homeopathic remedies are regulated as medicaments through the FDA and the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States.

NATUROPATHY or NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE
A system of therapeutic medical science comprising many natural healing techniques. It employs some or all of these therapeutics herbology, spinal and soft tissue adjustments, homeopathy, botanical medicines, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, nutritional guidance, and supplements.

PRANA
Prana is from Vedantic philosophy and a Sanskrit word for “vital life.” The notion of a vital energy that is the life-sustaining force of living beings. Prana is a central concept in Ayurveda and Yoga where it is believed to flow through the body. Prana is not the same as vital force. Prana is not the concept of vital force used in homeopathy. The vital force is unique to each individual.

VITAL FORCE
That energy which maintains life, or homeostasis, in the individual. It is unique from person to person, each being endowed with his or her own quality of it. The vital force is a unique principle distinct from chemical or physical phenomenon. Classical Homeopathy work at the level of the vital force.

It is my understanding that chi, li, prana and the vital force are not equal. The vital force is unique to each individual and it is the vital force that interacts with homeopathic remedies.

Vital Force and Soul are in the cell as well as in the body. The same thing rules the remedy and, stripped of its grossness and placed upon the tongue, it will be taken into the economy instantly. I went a 1000 miles to place a dose of Zincum [homeopathic remedy made from zinc] on the tongue of a paralyzed women who felt its effects in less than thirty seconds and in 6 weeks her paralysis left her. — James Tyler Kent (1849-1916)

In the healthy condition of man the Spirit-like Vital Force, the Dynamis that animates the material body, rules with unbounded sway and retains all the parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation, as regards both sensations and functions, so that our indwelling, reason gifted mind can freely employ this living healthy instrument for hte higher powers of our existence. — Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (Organon P. 43)

VITALISM
The theory that all animal functions are dependent upon a special form of energy or force, the vital force, distinct from any other of the physical forces.

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SOURCES
*Clark, Manning A. & Vanrenen, Bioenergetic Medicines East and West: Acupuncture and Homeopathy, North Atlantic Books, 1988
Yasgur, Jay, R.Ph., M.Sc., Yasgur’s Homeopathic Dictionary and Holistic Reference, 4th ed., Van Hoy Publishers, 2004
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Myra Nissen Homeopath Metabolic Balance Coach

Myra Nissen, CCH

 

Copyright © 2011 –, Myra Nissen.
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This article was brought to you by Myra Nissen, CCH, RSHom(NA), Board Certified Classical Homeopath. Myra teaches women how to recognize their body’s unique needs and cues and uses Homeopathy to help empower women to take control of their bodies, health and well-being. Find out more, visit her blog www.myranissen.com/blog.