Pain alternativeTherapies
Pain

  • According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the goal of physical therapy or physiotherapy is to improve mobility, restore function, reduce pain, and prevent further injury by using a variety of methods, including exercises, stretches, traction, electrical stimulation, and massage. Special tools are used, such as hot or cold packs, crutches, braces, treadmills, prosthetics, compression vests, computer-assisted feedback, lasers, and ultrasound. Patients range in age from newborns to the elderly. Physical therapy was first documented in China around 3000 BC with the use of joint manipulation and massage to relieve pain. The ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates wrote about massage and hydrotherapy in 460 BC, and splints and exercises were used to treat wounded Roman gladiators. The modern discipline of physical therapy emerged to treat soldiers wounded in World War II. Physical therapy (PT) is commonly used for musculoskeletal injuries, joint pain or disorders, low back pain, cerebral palsy, and rehabilitation after injury or surgery, including heart surgery or mastectomy. Physical therapy, especially early physical therapy, can be painful, and many patients use medications for pain during therapy. In the United States, all states require physical therapists to graduate from an accredited physical therapy program and pass a licensing exam before they practice. A physical therapy program includes supervised clinical experience and coursework in biology, chemistry, anatomy, and therapeutic techniques. Physical therapists work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities, and patients' homes. Patients may be referred to a physical therapist by a doctor or may directly contact a physical therapist.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Various forms of hypnosis, trance, and altered states of consciousness have played roles across cultures throughout history. Hypnosis-like practices can be traced to ancient Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Persia, Britain, Scandinavia, America, Africa, India, and China. Wong Tai, a father of Chinese medicine, made an early written reference to hypnosis in 2600 BC. Hypnotic practices have played roles in religion and religious ceremonies. Mention is made in the Bible, Talmud, and Hindu Vedas, and trance-states are included in some Native American and African ceremonies. The term hypnosis is derived from the Greek word hypnos , meaning sleep. The origin of modern Western hypnotherapy is often traced to the Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). Mesmer believed that illness is caused by an imbalance of magnetic fluids in the body that can be corrected through "animal magnetism." He asserted that the hypnotist's own personal magnetism can be transferred to a patient. The term "mesmerize" is derived from Mesmer's name. In the mid 20th Century, the British and American Medical Associations and the American Psychological Association endorsed hypnosis as a medical procedure. In 1995, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a consensus statement noting the scientific evidence in favor of the use of hypnosis for chronic pain, particularly pain associated with cancer. The process of hypnotherapy can be divided into pre-suggestion, suggestion, and post-suggestion phases. The pre-suggestion component may include selective attentional focusing with distraction, imagery, and relaxation methods. An aim is to reach an altered state of consciousness in which the conscious mind is relaxed, the unconscious mind is more accessible, and the subject is susceptible to suggestion. In the suggestion phase, specific goals or impressions are presented, questions may be asked of the subject, or memories may be explored. The post-suggestion phase occurs after a return to a nor...
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Throughout history, many cultures have used imagery for therapeutic purposes, including the Navajo, ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese. Religions such as Hinduism and Judaism have also practiced imagery. In modern times, the term "guided imagery" may be used to refer to a number of techniques, including metaphor, story telling, fantasy, game playing, dream interpretation, drawing, visualization, active imagination, or direct suggestion using imagery. Therapeutic guided imagery may be used to help patients relax and focus on images associated with personal issues they are confronting. Experienced guided imagery practitioners may use an interactive, objective guiding style to encourage patients to find solutions to problems by exploring their existing inner resources. Biofeedback is sometimes used with imagery to enhance meditative relaxation. Interactive guided imagery groups, classes, workshops, and seminars are available, as well as books and audiotapes.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Delores Krieger, RN, PhD, and Dora Kunz, a natural healer, developed Therapeutic Touch (TT) in the early 1970s. TT is an adaptation of several religious and secular healing traditions and is commonly used in nursing practice for many different conditions. TT practitioners hold their hands a short distance from the patient without actually making physical contact. The purpose of this technique is to detect the patient's energy field, allowing the TT practitioner to correct any perceived imbalances. Nurse Healers Professional Associates, Inc. is the primary training organization for Therapeutic Touch and teaches a standardized technique. TT treatment consists of four steps: centering (calming the mind and focusing attention on the patient), assessing the patient's energy field for irregularities, intervention to facilitate symmetrical flow of energy through the field, and evaluation/closure to verify the effects and conclude the treatment. Treatment sessions usually last from five to thirty minutes. Currently there is a lack of formal certification or competency-based assessment for this therapy. The concept of "life energy" or "life force" has sometimes been compared to spiritual rather than scientific principles. Some critics argue that because of its religious roots, TT should be treated as a religion rather than as a healthcare therapy. Skeptics have sought to eliminate Therapeutic Touch as a nursing practice, due to questions surrounding the mechanism of action. However, suggestive results from several human studies, positive clinical experience, and case reports have led to increasing use of TT. Several variations have emerged from the original treatment but aspects of centering and intent have remained the foundations of this technique. Janet Mentgen founded healing touch in the 1980s based on the principles of therapeutic touch. Healing touch adds patient empowerment, practitioner self care, and focuses on the impact of the practitioner-patient relationship...
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Reiki is a Buddhist practice that is approximately 2,500 years old. The name "Reiki" is derived from two Japanese words: rei meaning universal spirit and ki meaning life energy. Mention of Reiki can be found in the Tibetan sutras and in ancient records of cosmology and philosophy. Hichau Mikao Usui, a Japanese physician and Buddhist monk, revitalized the practice of Reiki in the 19 th Century. It is said that after 21 days of fasting, Reiki was presented to Usui on Mt. Kurama, a Japanese mountaintop near Kyoto during a spiritual experience. By this account, light struck him upon the forehead opening up a "third eye" possessing the highest source of power in the human body. Usui passed down his teachings, and Hawayo Tokata, a Japanese Hawaiian, introduced Usui Reiki to the West in 1930. In modern times, multiple styles and historical accounts of Reiki are taught and practiced. In general, there are three levels of certifications/attunements associated with the practice of Reiki. A Level I degree often involves a weekend course that teaches the potential practitioner to transfer "universal life energy" to him/herself and to others. Students are trained in the concepts and hand positions of Reiki. Four ceremonies (attunements) are performed with the goal of opening students' inner healing channels to engage them in the flow of energy. The Level II degree includes an initiation ceremony that aims to enhance the practitioner's ability to interact with the flow of energy. Other training may include distant healing, teaching of symbols, and enhancement of mental/emotional/spiritual healing. In some cases, practitioners receive a Level II degree after 'intuitively' receiving Sanskrit symbols from spirit guides that are believed to increase their healing powers. The Reiki Master degree (Level III) takes years of close training with a Reiki Master and allows the practitioner to teach Reiki to others. Reiki practitioners conduct sessions with the intention to heal specific ...
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Relaxation techniques include behavioral therapeutic approaches that differ widely in philosophy, methodology, and practice. The primary goal is usually non-directed relaxation. Most techniques share the components of repetitive focus (on a word, sound, prayer phrase, body sensation, or muscular activity), adoption of a passive attitude towards intruding thoughts, and return to the focus. Deep and brief methods exist. Deep methods include autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), and meditation (although meditation is sometimes distinguished from relaxation based on the state of "thoughtless awareness" that is said to occur during meditation). Brief methods include self-control relaxation, paced respiration, and deep breathing. Brief methods generally require less time and often represent an abbreviated form of a deep method. Other relaxation techniques include guided imagery, deep breathing/breathing control, passive muscle relaxation, and refocusing. Applied relaxation involves imagination of relaxing situations with the intention of inducing muscular and mental relaxation. Another popular technique is progressive relaxation, in which the individual is taught what it feels like to relax by comparing relaxation with muscle tension. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is said to require several months of practice at least three times per week in order to be able to evoke the relaxation response within seconds. Relaxation technique instruction is available in many hospitals, in the community, in books, or on audiotapes/videotapes. The term "relaxation response" was coined by Harvard professor and cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD in the early 1970s to describe the physiologic reaction that is the opposite of the stress response. The relaxation response is proposed to involve decreased arousal of the autonomic nervous system and central nervous system as well as increased parasympathetic activity characterized by lowered musculoskeletal and cardiovascu...
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Animal companionship has been used as an informal source of comfort and relief of suffering across cultures throughout history. For over 40 years, pet therapy has been a subject of serious study for nursing and other healthcare disciplines concerned with emotional well-being and quality of life. Pet therapy is used with people of all ages, but particularly with children and the elderly. Pet therapy offers psychological benefits in terms of emotional connection, stress reduction, and reduced feelings of loneliness or isolation. Pet therapy is used in clinical programs to treat social or emotional difficulties and communication disorders.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Focusing (experiential therapy) is a method of psychotherapy that involves being aware of one's feelings surrounding a particular issue and understanding the meaning behind words or images conveyed by those feelings. The focusing-oriented psychotherapist attributes a central importance to a person's capacity to be aware of the meaning behind his/her words or images, the ability to sense feelings and meanings that are not yet formed. In every situation, humans experience an emotion or feeling. Proponents of focusing claim that the entire human body reacts to that emotion. Focusing is similar to other mind/body approaches in that it provokes a relaxation response. It is different from other relaxation techniques in that the person hopes to gain access to the personal meanings they carry in the body, which are usually inaccessible to conscious awareness. Despite theories of how focusing may work, focusing oriented or experiential therapy is purported to work with a level of human process that is still not well understood by all. For the past 40 years, focusing has been employed to enhance psychotherapeutic success. In the 1960s, Professor Eugene Gendlin and Carl Rogers researched why psychotherapy was helpful to some but not others by studying hundreds of hours of taped therapy sessions. Success in psychotherapy depended upon the way in which people attended to and verbalized their inner experience. The term 'focusing' was used to describe the method of emotional healing based on attending to and verbalizing an inner experience and body sensation. Focusing is now practiced by thousands of people all over the world and has been integrated into many cognitive therapies. There are several studies investigating the practice of focusing among schizophrenics, domestic crime prison inmates, neurotics, cancer patients, those with pain and those with Epstein-Barr virus; however, more research is needed to make any firm recommendations. Focusing is being integrated into nursi...
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • The practice of acupuncture originated in China 5,000 years ago. Today it is widely used throughout the world and is one of the main pillars of Chinese medicine. There are many different varieties of the practice of acupuncture, both in the Orient and in the West. The most common forms available to westerners are as follows. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) usually combines acupuncture with Chinese herbs. Classical acupuncture (also known as five element acupuncture) uses a different needling technique and relies on acupuncture independent of the use of herbs. Japanese acupuncture uses smaller needles than the other varieties. Medical acupuncture refers to acupuncture practiced by a conventional medical doctor. Auricular acupuncture treats the entire body through acupuncture points in the ears only. Electroacupuncture uses electrical currents attached to acupuncture needles. Aside from needles, other methods of stimulation are also considered forms of "acupuncture." These include the use of heat from the burning of herbs placed on specific points ("moxibustion") and the placement of herbal pastes on specific points. Research on the effectiveness of acupuncture has special challenges. These include the diversity of approaches, the practice of individualizing treatment for each patient, differing skill levels between practitioners, and difficulty separating out the effects of acupuncture from placebo effects (i.e., how the patient's beliefs and expectations affect his/her perception of symptoms). Based on acupuncture's long history of use as well as the limited research available, both the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health have identified many conditions for which it may be recommended. However, many common uses do not yet have formal scientific evidence to support them.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • The practice of applying finger pressure to specific acupoints throughout the body has been used in China since 2000 BC, prior to the use of acupuncture. Acupressure techniques are widely practiced internationally for relaxation, wellness promotion, and the treatment of various health conditions. Multiple human studies suggest the effectiveness of wrist-point (P6) acupressure for treating nausea. Shiatsu means finger ( Shi ) pressure ( Atsu ) in Japanese. Shiatsu technique involves finger pressure at acupoints and along body meridians. It can incorporate palm pressure, stretching, massaging, and other manual techniques. Shiatsu practitioners commonly treat musculoskeletal and psychological conditions, including neck/shoulder and lower back problems, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. Tuina (Chinese for "pushing and pulling") is similar to shiatsu but with more soft tissue manipulation and structural realignment. Tuina is a common form of Asian bodywork used in Chinese-American communities.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Music is an ancient tool of healing that was recognized in the writings of the Greek philosophers Pythagoras, Aristotle, and Plato. The modern discipline of music therapy began early in the 20th Century with community musicians visiting veterans' hospitals around the country to play for those suffering from the traumas of war. Patients' responses led to the hiring of musicians by hospitals. Music is used to influence physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being and improve quality of life for healthy people as well as those who are disabled or ill. It may involve either listening to or performing music, with or without the presence of a music therapist. Music therapists are professionally trained to design specialized applications of music according to an individual's needs using improvisation, receptive listening, song writing, lyric discussion, imagery, performance, or learning through music. Sessions can be designed for individuals or groups based on the specific needs of the participants. Infants, children, adolescents, adults, the elderly and even animals can all potentially benefit from music therapy. Music therapists work in psychiatric hospitals, prisons, rehabilitative facilities, medical hospitals, outpatient clinics, day treatment centers, agencies serving developmentally disabled persons, community mental health centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior centers, nursing homes, hospice programs, correctional facilities, halfway houses, schools, and private practice.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Psychotherapy is an interactive process between a person and a qualified mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, licensed counselor, or other trained practitioner). Its purpose is the exploration of thoughts, feelings, and behavior for the purpose problem solving or achieving higher levels of functioning. Psychotherapists are bound by professional and legal standards of ethics, such as protecting the confidentiality of information provided by clients or patients, not engaging in inappropriate behavior with a client or patient, and protecting the safety of children by reporting suspected child abuse to legal authorities. The generally acknowledged father of modern psychotherapy was Sigmund Freud, a neurologist in 1880s Vienna, Austria, who noted that some of his patients did not seem to have a physical cause for their symptoms. Freud became intrigued with the relationship between the mind and physical symptoms. In 1886, he opened an office for the practice of what he named "psychoanalysis," which incorporated dream interpretation, free association, and the three levels of consciousness: the id (primitive drives and impulses), the ego (normal waking mental functioning), and the superego (conscience, self-regulation of right and wrong). Psychoanalytic theory is one of four major approaches to psychotherapy. The others are behavioral (primarily concerned with behavioral processes and outcomes), humanistic (focused on existential issues, meaning, and self-actualization), and transpersonal (focused on transcendent awareness and the spiritual dimensions of life). These four main approaches are blended in many different varieties of psychotherapy. To define diagnoses and symptoms of mental disorders, the American Psychiatric Association published the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1952 with around 60 disorders. The DSM was last revised in 2000, creating the DSM-IV-TR. This is the standard refer...
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Acustimulation is the mild electrical stimulation of acupuncture points to control symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. A low intensity electrical current is used to penetrate just slightly below the surface of the skin. It may be delivered by acupuncture needles attached to electrodes or, more commonly, by battery-powered appliances that can be worn on the body (touching the surface of the skin). The Neiguan point (P6) is an acupuncture point on the wrist that has been used in acupuncture (without electricity) for approximately 3,000 years to overcome gastric symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. This is the most common point used in acustimulation.
    Source:NaturalStandard
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