Alternative Therapies

There are many different types of alternative therapies and modalities to consider.  This list, reproduced with permission from the Canadian Examining Board of Health Care Practitioners Inc will give you a brief definition of some of the therapies available.  You are encouraged to work with your primary health care practitioner to decide which therapies may be best for you, and your health care needs.

Active Release Technique

Active Release Technique, a hands-on touch and case management system, allows a practitioner to diagnose and treat soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue refers primarily to muscle, tendon, fascia and nerves. Specific injuries that may be treated by Active Release Technique are repetitive strains, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and rotator cuff injuries. Direct or indirect trauma to soft tissue can result in adhesions, tissue hypoxia and joint dysfunction.


Acupuncture is a means of contacting the electrical centres of the body and influencing the flow of energy (chi) to bring about a balance between positive and negative (yin-yang). The energy of chi travels throughout the body by means of pathways, called meridians. Needles are used to stimulate various points along these meridians. Massage and cauterization may also be used as stimulants. Officially, acupuncture arrived in the west from China. However, such techniques can also be found in ancient Egypt and among the Inuit and Brazilian Indian tribes.

Alexander Method

Fredrich Alexander believed that many illnesses can be traced to the way we use out bodies. Unconsciously, we have adopted poor body habits during childhood from those around us. Stressful urban life also contributes to the misuse of the body. The Alexander Method consists of techniques for unlearning the old habits so that the natural body can take over.

Applied Kinesiology

Established in the 1960s by chiropractor George Goodheart, Applied Kinesiology is a diagnostic tool using muscle testing as a way of discovering the locations and courses of poor health. The practitioner checks for organ or system weakness, or for vitamin/mineral deficiencies by either the practitioner or the client (depending on which authority is being used) touching key trigger spots on the body when the test is being done. Perceived strength or weakness of determines the prescription and dosage of medicines, natural vitamins and foods, as well as to diagnose allergies and to identify stress factors.


Aromatherapy is the enhancement of body, mind, and spirit with aromatic botanical essential oils. The essential oil of each plant is its life force containing both medicinal and aromatic characteristics, and it remains potent and stable when properly extracted from the plant. The oils provide tremendous healing and balancing properties when used according to proper guidelines. Most often used in baths, massage, and inhalations, they are readily absorbed through the skin and when inhaled, they affect the brain and its release of neuro-chemicals. Depending on the oil used, aromatherapy can help you relax, enjoy, rejuvenate, increase mental alertness, and much, much more.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is an established form of psychotherapy which facilitates self expression and self-awareness through the use of art materials and the creative process. The artwork becomes a visual expression of the person’s underlying driving forces, hopes, motivations, fears, and blocks. The images can reflect these forces back to us once they are on paper and they can then be explored within the safety of the therapeutic relationship, which can ultimately lead to self-understanding, personal change, and growth.

Aura and Colour Healing

The electromagnetic field which surrounds the body is the aura. It is said that illness begins in the aura long before it reaches the physical body. A sensitive healer is able to diagnose by means of his or her visual perception of the aura. A colour healer will apply remedial colors where deficiency exists or contrasting colors where there is an excess.

Ayurvedic Healing

Ayurvedic healing is an ancient Indian science of life whose purpose is to allow one to understand his/her constitutional makeup and then choose the diet and living condition best suited to his/her particular needs.

Bach Flower Remedies

Edward Bach believed that physical disease was caused by moods, such as worry, fear, shock, and so on. Bach used flower, bud, and twig essences to treat moods, and thus disease. Specific flowers are suggested for balancing specific mind states.

Bates Eye System

This system is used for strengthening and developing the eyes. All eyesight disorders are seen to be a result of strain that can be mental, emotional, or physical. In a relaxed state, the eye sees perfectly. Poor eyesight comes from chronic tension. Various exercises and techniques are practiced using the Bates Eye System.


Bioenergetics is bodywork based on the premise that the body contains and expresses everything that happens to the individual. The body reflects who I am and how I operate in the world. Bioenergetic exercises are designed to open blocked or tensed areas of the body. As the body opens, so does one’s emotions and attitudes.


Technological devices monitor the unconscious processes and feed this information back to the conscious mind. The conscious mind learns to control the unconscious, and to direct healing energy and restore balance.


Your physical, mental, and emotional cycles all have a special and individual relationship to each other. By plotting and charting the physical 23 day cycle, the creative and emotional 28 day cycle and the intellectual 33 day cycle, you can take advantage of individual energy pattern in daily life.

Bowen Therapy

Bowen Therapy was developed by Thomas Bowen in Australia over 40 years ago. This therapeutic technique uses gentle, precise movements to balance the interaction between muscle and connective tissue. These movements stimulate the flow of energy within the body, assisting and redirecting the body’s capability for healing itself. Bowen Therapy may give relief to any muscular, skeletal or nerve imbalance, injury, or chronic condition.


Chakra is Sanskrit word, meaning wheel. The charkas are force centres or vortices through which energy flows from one of man’s bodies to another. Disciplines do not agree as to how many charkas exist-some believe 5, other believe 7, and still others believe 10. However many, all these wheels are perpetually rotating, and receiving and directing energies. There are corresponding areas on the physical body for each charka; at the base of the spine, over the spleen, at the navel or solar plexus, over the heart, at the front of the throat, just above the space between the eyebrows, and on the top of the head.

Chelation Therapy

Chelation Therapy is a non invasive procedure whereby an individual receives a series of intravenous infusions of harmless chelating agents, together with a specific vitamin therapy. It improves blood circulation and removes pollutants which damage body cells that cause hardening of the arteries. Chelation can be excellent for: those with coronary artery disease who want to avoid bypass surgery; angina pain’ diabetes; gangrene; macular degeneration; early Alzheimer’s; some forms of arthritis, osteoporosis, cold hands and feet; impotence and more.

Chi Nei Tsang

Chi Nei Tsang integrates Applied Chi Kung with the art of Abdominal Massage. Chi means energy and transformation, Nei Tsang means viscera or internal organs. Chi Nei Tsang addresses the very origin of health problems, including psychosomatic responses, and increases the resilience of the body’s defense system. A Chi Nei Tsang treatment may be self administered or given by a practitioner. Chi Nei Tsang practitioners work mainly on the abdomen with deep soft and gently touch to train internal organs to work more efficiently. All of the body systems are addressed-digestion, respiration, lymphatic, nervous, endocrine, urinary, reproductive, etc.


Chiropractic is the study of problems of heath and disease from a structural point of view. Special consideration is given to spinal mechanics and neurological relations-disease may be caused or aggravated by disturbances of the nervous system-disturbance of the nervous system may be caused by derangements of the muscular, skeletal structures. Chiropractic does not use drugs or medicines or operative surgery in its treatment.

Colon Hydrotherapy

Also known as colon irrigation or colonics, colon hydrotherapy is a method of internal cleansing. The process involves a controlled continual bathing of the large intestine with filtered water which dilutes the bacteria and toxic concentrations in the colon, cleansing the colon of feces, gas and mucus. One of the therapeutic effects of colon hydrotherapy includes improved muscle tone, which facilitates peristaltic action and enhances the absorption of nutrients while minimizing the absorption of toxic waste material.

Colour Therapy

Colour therapy is the science of using different colours to change or maintain vibrations within the body to a frequency which signifies good health and harmony. Understanding that each colour selectively stimulates the hypothalamus and that light re-establishes the integrity and functioning of the body, colour therapists use colour to stimulate each organ and thus restore balance to the body and body systems.

Craniosacral Therapy (CST)

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a gentle method of evaluating and enhancing the function of the craniosacral system, a physiological body system that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. This non invasive manual therapy enhances the body’s natural healing processes. It has been proven effective in treating a wide range of medical problems.

Crystal Therapy

Crystal therapy, also referred to as gem therapy, is the use of crystals or gems to activate energy centres in the body and promote healing. Practitioners believe that quartz crystals and gemstones emit electromagnetic energy for healing purposes. Crystal therapy is often used together with colour therapy.

Ear Candling

Ear candling is an ancient and painless method of withdrawing buildup of earwax from the ear canal. Hollow candles, made from cotton strips coated with 100% beeswax, are inserted into the ear and lit and the opposite end. As the candle burns, gentle warmth is drawn into the ear canal which softens and loosens Candida, wax, and other debris. The smoke gathers toxins from the sinuses and lymphatic system, then draws the toxins and debris up into the small opening of the candle where there is a gentle vacuum.

Electro-Dermal Screening

Electro-Dermal screening is the process of gathering information from the client or patient by information from the client or patient by introducing a small electrical current to predetermined points on the body and then collecting the data for evaluation. A trained practitioner is able to detect energy patterns produced by this screening and can incorporate the finking into the patient’s overall healthcare plan.


Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais believes that movement and the organization of movement is a key to understanding the relation of lifestyle, self organization, and health. Even more important, he sees the reorganization of movement as a pathway to the kind of self reorganization resulting in the ability to lead a more healthy, stress adaptable, and efficient life. To this end, he has spent the last 40 years of his life developing a teaching based on awareness to help people learn to use themselves in less destructive and healthier ways.


Genvironetics is an experiential, personal development process which takes into account the influences of genetics (heredity) and environment (circumstances - situation). The pre-natal, birth, and post-natal experiences as parts of the environment, and the genetic component determine perception - interpretation of the environment and the reaction - response. Discomfort, discontent, provocation, aggravation, or suffering occurs, to some degree, from minor frustrations to extreme cases of emotional or physical illness (depression, heart disease, cancer etc). This holistic approach may heal the mind, body, and spirit. It facilitates: (a) understanding of self, others, and relationships b) acceptance of reality (past and present), c) overcoming the barriers that are blocking the realization of the individual's optimum potential-Creating life transformation to Joy and Peace; Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual Health: Powerfulness and Success.


Gestalt is much more a way of living than a therapy. Gestalt focuses on moment-to-moment awareness of the individual in all his/her detail and complexity. Gestalt is first a philosophy, a way of being, and then, superimposed, are ways of applying knowledge so that others may benefit.


Formulated in the early 1800s by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy's basic premise is a substance which, in overdose, causes symptoms in a healthy person, will cure these same symptoms in a sick person when given in infinitesimal doses. However, before a homeopath prescribes, the entire person, as well as the symptoms, is researched quite carefully.


Hypnosis is an extraordinary phenomenon. Viewed by some as a psychic or mystical manifestation, the British and American Medical Associations have fully accepted and integrated it as a viable practice in soothing a wide range of physical and mental conditions. The remarkable feature of the hypnotic trance is to induce desired changes in response to affirmations given by the hypnotherapist. The principle is the ultimate mastership of mind over matter. Hypnotized subjects are highly suggestible and subconsciously influenced by affirmations from the hypnotist. Hypnotized subjects are highly suggestible and subconsciously influenced by affirmations from the hypnotist, although they can’t be made to follow instructions that conflict with their ethics. While there are no documented harmful side effects, when used by untrained persons it may have undesirable effects. Therefore, it should be practiced by professionals only.



Iridology is a means of revealing the pathological and functional disturbances in the body by reading the markings in the iris and surrounding areas of the eye. Location of disease, its history and progression, and even clues to the cure can be read in the eyes.

Kundalini Yoga

This form of yoga involves the releasing of the coiled serpent energy which resides at the base of the spine. This release is brought about by practicing a combination of postures, breathing patterns, mudras (hand or finger positions), and mediation techniques.


Macrobiotics was begun over 70 years ago and was popularized by Dr. George Oshawa, who broadened the system to embrace the whole individual. He treated illness with natural foods and used no medicines. The diet is based on the yin yang principle-all foods fall into one or the other category. If foods are properly chosen and combined, bodily balance can be restored in those who have fallen ill. Brown rice is said to perfectly balanced between yin and yang. Proper or balanced diet is said to eliminate illness, fatigue, and to stimulate creative life.

Magnetic Healing

In magnetic healing, the healer attracts and transmits energy necessary to counteract the patient’s disease. At the same time, the healer draws the energy associated with the illness from the patient. That energy is absorbed by the healer and later either transformed or shed. Most practitioners have favorite ways of ridding themselves of energy associated with sickness.

Massage Therapy

There are many different kinds of massage, but all of them touch the self or another in varying intensities of pressure. The contact can be used in a variety of ways; to increase the circulation by dilating the blood vessels, to stimulate the lymph circulation which aids in the elimination of wastes/ toxic debris, to increase the blood supply and nutrition to the muscles and tissues and to improve muscle tone.

Mitzvah Technique

The Mitzvah Technique was developed in Toronto by M.Cohen-Nehemia, and is quickly gaining world-wide recognition as fundamental remedial and preventative body re-education. It has been offered as an elective from two Ontario universities in their Faculties of Medicine. People pursue the Mitzvah Technique for a variety of reasons: postural problems (scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis), auto accident and other injuries, headaches, tension/stress, and body performance. Auto injuries may be covered by insurance. Body misuse and faulty postural patterns including slouching are overcome through gentle and effective hands on guidance with stool, chair and table work. The body’s inherit of the spine ripple upwards is used during sitting, standing and walking. Healthy postural habits become part of daily living. Improvement in body mechanics as a result of the Mitzvah Technique promote the release of tension and stress, alleviates pain and traumas, improves alignment, mobility, coordination, body performance, circulation, breathing concentration, voice and general health. The Mitzvah Technique is suitable for all ages, benefiting everyone from sedentary to active.


Moxibustion is a Chinese herbal therapy in which a Chinese herb, moxa (Artemesia Vulgaris or mugwort) is burned on very close to the body at an identified affected site in order to increase circulation and promote healing. Moxibustion is often done along with acupuncture, reflexology, and some forms of massage.


Naturopathy is a form of primary health care that has been practiced in North America since the turn of the century and under Ontario Law since 1925. Naturopaths recognize the inherit ability of the body to heal itself and act to identify and remove obstacles to its recovery. The Naturopathic practitioner seeks to detect and eliminate the underlying causes of illness, rather than to merely suppress the symptoms. Naturopathic practitioners treat the account each patient’s physical and mental health, genetic predispositions, and environmental influences. They also emphasize a preventive approach to disease and encourage self responsibility for health care. The Naturopathic approach can prevent minor illnesses from developing into more serious or chronic degenerative diseases. 
Patients are taught the principles by which to live a healthy life. The modern naturopathic practitioner provides a comprehensive range of diagnostics, treatments and therapies and if necessary, referral to the appropriate specialists.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is defined as a detailed operational model of the processes involved in human behaviour and communication. While it is not itself a psychotherapy, NLP’s principles can be used to understand and make changes in any realm of human experience and activity. NLP has been applied to therapeutic concerns and the result is a powerful, rapid and subtle technology for making extensive and lasting changes in human behaviour and capacities. NLP deals with modifying and redesigning thinking patterns, promoting flexibility and forging new capacities and abilities.


Osteopathy is a system of healing that concerns itself with the structural and mechanical problems of the body and how they affect health. While recognizing that human beings are complex entities influenced by a wide range of factors, osteopathy helps primarily with re-establishing and maintaining the structural integrity of the body through various methods. Those methods include techniques and soft tissue treatment, venous and lymphatic drainage, and correction of posture.


Pilates is a form of body conditioning/exercise, developed by Joseph Pilates, which stretches, tones, and lengthens the muscles. It is often used for physical therapy.

Polarity Therapy

Polarity Therapy views the body mind as a intermeshing of patterned fields of bioenergy. These energetic fields are responsible for, and responsive to changes at the physical/emotional/spiritual levels. Polarity energy balancing, for healing personal or transformation may address and affect many and all of these levels. The polarity tools include energy, bodywork, awareness training, attitudinal healing, polarity yoga, and nutritional recommendations.


Also known as Chi Kung, Qigong is an ancient Chinese art of the self-healing and a preventative and therapeutic health care. For thousands of years, The Chinese practice of Qigong has been used to help overcome sickness and to enhance the overall well-being of the body. There are many kinds of Qigong. Qi means life force energy. Qi is present in everyone and supplies nutrition to our blood. Gong refers to work or method. Qigong can be understood as a method to create energy.


Reflexology is a natural healing therapy based on the principle that there are reflex points on the feet and hands that correspond to every part of, gland and organ of the body. With the application of pressure on these reflex points, reflexology can reduce stress and tension through your entire body, help improve circulation, help your body to eliminate more efficiently, and help to bring about a balance in the body’s system. Reflexology may help you with stress, headaches, TMJ, migraines, toxic overload, constipation, indigestion, P.M.S. and menstrual concerns, allergies, asthma, colds, arthritis, foot-related concerns, bladder concerns, and more.


Reiki is an ancient form of healing which can be tracked back to Tibet, thousands of years ago. This technique was re-discovered in the 19th century by Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese Christian educator. Reiki is a hands-on, non-invasive healing technique. The word Reiki is a combination of Japanese symbols which, when combined, present the concept of the Universal life force energy.’94 The client participates in their own healing. The Reiki practitioner is a channel and a clear vessel through which the healing energy flows.


Rolfing is a deep massage technique, also known as Structural Integration, developed by biochemist Ida Rolf. This method used deep manipulation of the fascia (connective tissue) to restore the body’s natural alignment which may have become rigid through injury, emotional trauma, or inefficient movement habits. The process typically involves 10 sessions, each focusing on a different part of the body and stretching and lengthening the connective tissue associated with that part of the body.


Shi , which means finger and atsu, which means pressure in Japanese, is a safe and a therapeutic hands-on therapy developed and systemized by Tokujiro Namikoshi in the 1920s and practiced throughout Japan under their Health Care Act since 1955. In Shiatsu therapy, there is no use of drugs, needles, moxibustion, elbows, knees, or mechanical devices. The practitioner uses only thumbs, palms, and fingers, and applies pressure to various anatomical points to draw out the natural healing ability which is in the patient’s body. People of all ages find it beneficial, including children, the elderly and even pregnant women.

St. John Method Neuromuscular Therapy

This is a comprehensive system of soft-tissue manipulation techniques that balance the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) with the musculo-skeletal system (skeleton and muscles of the body). Therapists use these soft-tissue correction techniques to restore proper functioning to muscles, which helps relieve pain and dysfunction.

Swedish Massage

This form of massage is a basic method used in traditional European massage. It is an active system which uses long strokes, kneading, and a variety of rubbing, vibrating, and pressure techniques, working on the surface layers of your muscles.

Synergy Method for Holistic Skin Care

This method helps people with such conditions as acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea acne, rashes and hair and scalp problems. The synergy method focuses on food as the main remedy: the right kind of food to eat and how to prepare it in a healthy way. For external use, the homeopathic and 100% natural applications are very effective. Homeopathic remedies and synergy method complement each other by speeding he healing process, enabling the entire system to recover from accumulated damage done to the skin. Together, not only the skin but also other seemingly unrelated health will respond to this approach.

Therapeutic Touch (TT)

The ability of TT to promote relaxation, reduce pain, and enhance healing within a very few minutes, as well as its background of research, has made this a consistently reliable modality widely accepted by health care professional and the public. Of benefit both to practitioner and recipient, it can be easily learned by anyone who wishes to do so. TT is recognized as a nursing intervention by the College of Nurses in Ontario.

Time Line Therapy

Time Line Therapy, developed by Tod James in the 1980s, is a model for accessing and clearing the roots of issues that cause problems in our daily lives. As the storage of our memories affects our life affects our life experience, cleansing our past frees us from old patterns and pain. Through release of past painful memory, we can move towards what we want in our lives. Time Line therapy combines and distills knowledge of NLP and Hypnosis with the wisdom of eastern and shamanistic traditions.

Trager Approach

The Trager Approach is based on a simple concept: Much discomfort, tension, stiffness, and fatigue can be released by imparting to the nervous system a different set of signals. In this case, motion of the muscles and joints is used to communicate with sensations of lightness, ease, freedom, pleasure, and aliveness. To experience these feelings in moving and being is to learn how to replace restriction with freedom. These positive pleasurings are imparted (1) Via gentle, non-invasive body work (Psychophysical Integration) and (2) through the teaching of simple, mindful movement explorations. (Mentastics which the client uses to generate these sensations on his/her own.

Voice Dialogue

Voice Dialogue is a dynamic process which allows one to explore the personality structure and to speak directly with the different selves that form the personality. In this work, one develops a centre from which it is possible to appreciate the self.


Yoga, which comes from the Sanskrit word YUJ meaning to yoke. This is an ancient Indian technique combing physical exercise, breathing techniques, and meditation. The purpose of Yoga is to yoke (join or balance) the mind, body and breath. This philosophy and exercise system combines movement and simple poses with deep breathing and meditation to unite the human soul with the universal spirit

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