Glossary of Naturally Healthy,
Green Building & Living Terms


This technique stimulates specific acupuncture points through applying pressure with the fingers or hands.


In 1997, the National Institutes of Health officially recognized acupuncture as an effective treatment for pain and nausea. Acupuncturists insert specially made needles into specific points to stimulate the body's natural energy. Licensed in Oregon and more than 30 other states, acupuncturists work as independent providers of health care for a range of conditions from pain management to women's health problems.


The Japanese name of this martial art literally means "the way of spiritual harmony." Like tai chi, Aikido exercises emphasize harmony and grace of movement.

Alexander Technique

In this form of movement education, the practitioner leads the client through a series of lessons designed to improve postural habits, increase freedom of movement, and reduce physical tension. Frederick Mathias Alexander (1869-1955) overcame vocal problems by eliminating tension in the head, neck and back. Today, teachers of his method address a wide variety of problems created initially by poor posture.

Alternative Building Blocks

Can be stacked to produce an energy efficient home.  Some examples are: Perform Wall, a cement block system with recycled polystyrene; and Faswall, a recycled wood-ber cement block that is manufactured here in the Willamette Valley.

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficency (AFUE)

The percentage of fuel a furnace uses that actually gets delivered as heat into your house. Every furnace sold in the U.S. now must have an AFUE of at least 78 percent. High-efficiency furnances have an AFUE of 90 or higher.

Applied Kinesiology

Developed in the 1960s by chiropractor George Goodheart, this technique evaluates an individual's structural, chemical and mental health through a form of muscle testing. Practitioners use a variety of therapeutic techniques including nutritional counseling, manipulation, acupressure, and exercise. See also Touch For Health.


French chemist Rene Gattefosse's experiments with pure essential oils derived from aromatic plants led him to coin the term "aromatherapy" to describe the physical and psychological benefits of the powerful scents given off by these oils. Today aromatherapy remains a specific and specialized branch of herbal medicine.

Art/drama/music Therapies

Using these "expressive" forms of art as a vehicle for change, self-awareness and growth, counselors guide their clients to a resolution of psychological or emotional problems.


For centuries, astrologers have theorized that the positioning and movement of the heavenly bodies can have enormous consequences for a person. Today, they use that information to counsel individuals about emotional, professional or health-related problems.

Aura Color Healing

Drawing equally from ancient Hindu beliefs and the work of modern psychic healers like Edgar Cayce, aura or color healers look for a dark or grayish area in a multi-colored aura field surrounding the body to indicate potential health problems. Color healers apply remedial colors where they notice a color deficiency.

Ayurvedic Medicine

In this ancient medical system from India, patients are classified according to three metabolic body types: vata, pitta and kapha. Natural means of disease prevention including herbs, oils, minerals, heat, water, massage, yoga, meditation, elimination therapy and counseling are recommended according to body type. Some practitioners use Maharishi Ayur-Ved, a modern interpretation inspired by the teachings of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the creator of Transcendental Meditation.

Bach Flower Remedies/ Flower Essences

A specific cross between homeopathy and herbal medicine developed by English practitioner Dr. Edward Bach, the thirty-eight Bach Flower remedies derived from English wildflowers serve as catalysts to alleviate the underlying causes of stress. Since then, many practitioners have gone beyond Bach to develop a whole range of Flower Essences from a wide variety of American, European and Australian wildflowers.


Something made from materials that, when exposed to nature, will break down rather quickly into naturally occurring elements.


A biofuel (see below) that can be a direct substitute for, or be mixed with, petroleum diesel. Pure biodiesel is sold as B100, and typical mixes are B20 or B80. Biodiesel is most environmentally advantageous when it is made from used vegetable oil or animal fat, such as recovered oil or grease from restaurants. This recovered sourcing is preferred over virgin plant oils. Interestingly, it is believed that Rudolf Diesel invented his engie to run on vegetable oil.


The tendency in ecosystems, when undisturbed, is to have a great variety of species forming a complex web of interactions. Human population pressure and resource consumption tend to reduce biodiversity dangerously; diverse communities are less subject to catastrophic disruption.


As a bodywork approach, bioenergetics focuses on the pattern of muscular tension in a person and how that tension directly relates to the person's emotional history and childhood relationships. Bioenergetic exercises such as breathing techniques seek to open blocked or tense areas of the body.


Using a biofeedback machine, practitioners teach patients how to control and change such autonomic body functions as blood pressure, heart rate, circulations, digestion and perspiration. Through monitoring "feedback" using auditory or visual cues, users extend their understanding of physiological functioning far past the normal five senses.


Fuels made from renewable, biological sources, such as plant or animal by-products. In order to be considered a biofuel, the fuel must contain over 80 percent renewable materials.


Any organic material made from plants or animals. Domestic biomass resources include agricultural and forestry residues, municipal solid wastes, industrial wastes, and terrestrial and aquatic crops grown solely for energy purposes.


A shallow depression created in the earth to accept and convey stormwater runoff. A bioswale uses natural means, including vegetation and soil, to treat stormwater by filtering out contaminants being conveyed in the water.

Body-oriented Psychotherapy

This growing and wide-ranging field combines counseling with bodywork. Practitioners believe the most effective changes come when they involve all levels of being: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Massage, movement techniques, breathing and body awareness are emphasized.

Body/mind Counseling

Body/Mind Counseling covers a number of techniques intended to change negative patterns learned from infancy. Counselors in this field tend to use a less structured process than psychotherapists, utilizing bodywork techniques, lifestyle counseling and even nutritional advice.


The original Bowen Technique was developed in the 1950's by the late Tom Bowen of Geelong, Australia. Bowenwork is a gentle, non-invasive form of bodywork. Subtle moves performed over the muscles and connective tissue send messages deep into the body stimulating the nervous system to reset and initiate healing.

Carbon Footprint

Measure of the impact of activities have on the environment, and in particular climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating, transportation, etc.

Certified Wood

Lumber and other wood products that are sourced from certified forests. The highest standard for certified for certified forests is currently the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). See below.

Chelation Therapy

First developed as a treatment for lead poisoning, chelation therapy removes toxins and heavy metal from the bloodstream through intravenous drips of EDTA, a synthetic amino acid. Today, specially trained physicians use chelation as a method to improve blood circulation for sufferers of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and other degenerative diseases.

Chinese (Oriental) Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) encompasses a vast range of therapies including acupuncuture, herbs, bodywork, exercise and diet. From ancient art of Tai Chi to the modern practice of Zero Balancing, the Chinese view of the body as an interrelated system of energy and physical matter permeates many different forms of alternative medicine.


Modern chiropractors, following principles first developed by Daniel David Palmer (1845-1913), seek to improve general health by adjusting spinal vertebrae to their normal position as well as using adjustments to treat specific problems such as back pain. Licensed in all 50 states, chiropractic doctors make up the largest single group of alternative medicine practitioners in the United States.

Clean Energy

Energy created from renewable sources with low environmental impact.


A structural substance made from clay, sand and straw, which creates a mixture that is flexible and sculptural. Cob homes are energy efficient and cost effective, but they present challenges with permits and financing.

Colon Hydrotherapy

Colon hydrotherapy cleanses the colon through gentle water infusions. This specific form of hydrotherapy first gained wide-spread popularity in the great health spas of the Edwardian age.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)

Lamps that are many times more energy efficent that incandescent bulbs, using some 75% less energy, which they can replace in most applications.


Nature's process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost, which makes an excellent fertilizer.

Cool Roof

Any roof made to reflect sunlight to minimize temperature and therefore reduce interior cooling costs.


A design concept that has been widely promoted by architect William McDonough. With a cradle-to-cradle perspective, things are created so that they not only have a minimal ecological footprint during their creation and useful life, but their components continue to have a useful afterlife. The components are seen as either "biological nutrients" that safely re-enter the environment or as "technical nutrients" that can be recycled or reused with no loss of quality.

Craniosacral Therapy

By gently manipulating the bones of the skull, practitioners seek to enhance the functioning of the CranioSacral system, a fluid circulatory system that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. Practitioners of the Upledger method follow the teachings of Dr. John Upledger, based on his practice and research at the Michigan State University.

Dance & Movement Therapy

As a form of psychotherapy, teachers in this field seek to use rhythmic or guided movement for emotional and psychological healing.


Uses natural light in manydifferent ways in a building. By using variousdesign methods, this light decreasesreliance on electricity by using windows,skylights and solar tubes.

Deep Tissue Bodywork

This term covers a range of therapies such as myofascial release, Bonnie Prudden method, Hellerwork and Rolfing. All these techniques go deeper than the standard Swedish massage, applying deep pressure to the actual muscle tissue itself to open and release tension.

Dentistry (holistic, Biological Or Natural)

Natural dentistry may include such innovative treatments as dental acupuncture, homeopathic remedies, and non-toxic mercury-free fillings. Holistic dentists aim to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease while minimizing the use of drugs or surgery.

Detoxification Therapy

Found in almost all alternative medical systems from Ayurveda to naturopathic, detoxification techniques seek to cleanse the body of chemicals, pollutants and other toxins to improve overall health. See also Environmental Therapy.


Counselors use a client's dreams to help awaken a better understanding of psychological or emotional disturbances. Some methods focus on teaching a client to do effective dreaming to change basic behavioral patterns or overcome certain problems.

Dual Flush Toilet

Has two different settings, usually 0.8 gallons for liquid removal and 1.6 gallons for full-flush solid removal. On the average, they use about 2,500 gallons per year, compared to a 1.6 single flush that uses about 4,500 gallons per year.

Earth Sheltered Design 

A home or other building designed to be built partially or completely below ground, either by digging into existing ground or by covering over parts of the house. This design utilizes the constant temperature of the soil to improve energy efficiency and reduces environmental impact.


An ecosystem is a complete community of living organisms and the nonliving materials of their surroundings. Thus, its components include plants, animals and microorganisms; soil, rocks and minerals; as well as surrounding water sources and the local atmosphere.


Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.

Embodied Energy

The total energy that is necessary to produce a specific product or service, including extraction, manufacturing and transportation to market. It is also the molecular energy already existing in a product’s content.

Emotional Release Work

A number of bodywork techniques can be adapted for emotional release work. Practitioners often combine bodywork with verbal counseling to encourage the spontaneous release of fears, emotional traumas and phobias.


Remedies in empathology include affirmations, exercise and dietary changes. Practitioners emphasize a body/mind approach, using applied kinesiology and other means to assess physical and emotional imbalances in a person.

Energy Star

A government-backed program that sets a standard for energy efficient products in some 50 categories. Only the products that meet the strictest standards in each category earn the Energy Star label. Government agencies and utilities offer rebates and tax credits to households and businesses that purchase some of the Energy Star products. Energy Star now has expanded programs that include complete buildings – homes & commercial.

Environmental Justice

Refers to inequitable environmental burdens borne by groups such as racial minorities, women, residents of economically disadvantaged areas or residents of developing nations. Environmental justice proponents seek to redress inequitable distributions of environmental burdens (pollution, industrial facilities, crime, etc.) and equitably distribute access to environmental goods such as nutritious food, clean air and water, parks, recreation, health care, education, transportation, safe jobs, etc. Self-determination and participation in decision making are key components of environmental justice.

Environmental Therapy

Through environmental therapy, practitioners seek to identify significant factors and probable causes of illness or allergy in the individual's life, home, and work. They then work with the individual to lessen or eliminate the impact of toxins and allergens.

Enzyme Therapy

By using natural plant and pancreative enzymes as supplements, practitioners seek to improve digestion and correct potential problems created by the malabsorption of essential nutrients.

Factory Farm

Otherwise known as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation(CAFO), where farm animals are raised in an extremely high-density environment for the sole purpose of lowering costs per “unit” and increasing output. CAFOs are roundly criticized on a number of issues, including their universally cruel treatmentof animals, and for their suspected status as breeding grounds for disease that sometimes crosses over to humans (e.g., the H1N1 “swine flu”). CAFOs are also criticized for their widespread use of antibiotics, their use of inappropriate feed,their poor quality and contamination of the food they produce, and for being a major source of pollution to our waterways and groundwater. They are also a very significant contributor to greenhouse gases. Today nearly all meat, eggs and dairy consumed in the U.S. is sourced from CAFOs, but better alternatives are increasingly available.

Fair Trade

A system that ensures that workers and producers receive fair value for their products, and mandates sustainable practices in producing those products.

Feng Shui

This ancient Chinese art holds that arranging one’s environment into certain harmonious patterns can bring a sense of abundance, balance and happiness into one’s life. From the proper placement of the headboard to the addition of water to a garden, Feng Shui combines beautiful design concepts with an underlying sense that a person's space can be an important factor in their psychological and spiritual well-being.

Food Miles

The distance food travels from where it’s produced, to the consumer.

Fossil Fuels

The energy-rich organic substances, traced back to the remains of organisms that lived 300 to 400 million years ago. The most common fossil fuels inuse today are petroleum (oil), natural gas (methane) and coal. Burning fossil fuels is considered the number one contributor to global warming (climate change).

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)

An independent organization started by environmentally concerned groups. The FSC certifies what it deems as sustainably harvested forest and wood products, including lumber, furniture woods and papers. FSC certification is a higher and much more reliable environmental standard than SFI certification. The SFI (Sustainable Forest Initiative) was started by the wood products industry trade group and has only recently become an independent nonprofit.

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)

Genetic engineering is a process whereby genes from one organism are moved into the genome of another organism. These crossed organisms can be from entirely different species, or even kingdom s(bacteria DNA inserted into a plant genome or plant DNA inserted into an animal genome, for example). Critics worry that genetic engineering of food has the potential for enormous unintended human health and environmental consequences, including the loss of biodiversity and uncontrollable cross-pollination with other species of plants or animals.

Geothermal Heat Pump

Used for space heating and cooling, as well a swater heating. Its great advantage is that it works by concentrating naturally existing heat, rather than by producing heat through combustion of fossil fuels.


Wastewater produced from baths, washers and bathroom sinks that isonly lightly contaminated and generallyconsidered safe for reuse for non-potableuses such as irrigation. Capturing andreusing graywater can play a major role indesigning for water conservation.

Green Roof (eco-roof)

A growingroof system that uses a specialized undercarriage for the waterproof membrane and excess water removal. Various types of vegetation in a special growing medium help to replace displaced vegetation in the building footprint as well as greatly reduce the heat-island effect of a roof, especially in hot climates.

Greenhouse Gases

Gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that contribute to global climate change. Large amounts of these gases are produced directly and indirectly from human activities, including burning and processing fossil fuels. Global warming itself is also overwhelming natural systems — such a sthe melting permafrost releasing methane.


A term playing off “whitewash” to describe products that are labeled as energy-efficient and sustainable when they’re really not. It’s also aterm sometimes used to describe the distribution of misleading information by a business or an organization to conceal its abuse of the environment.

Guided Imagery

This technique concentrates on using images or symbols to train the mind to create a definitive physiological or psychological effect. Practitioners may teach clients how to relieve physical problems caused by stress, such as tension headaches. The technique has also been effectively used in some cancer treatment programs for pain management.


This particular form of exercise draws on the principles of dance, yoga, t’ai chi, gymnastics and swimming while using custom-designed equipment that emphasizes proper ergonomics. Also known as Gyrotonics Expansion System or GXS.

Healing Touch

This form of energy therapy uses a very light hands-on approach to align and balance the human energy field. See also Therapeutic Touch.

Heat Island Effect

Typically seen in urban areas, where the temperature can be several degrees hotter than it is in surrounding, less developed areas. It is believed that the heat island effect can be mitigated through several green building measures, including cool roofs.

Heat Recovery Systems

Mechanical devices used to capture waste heat from another system to replace the heat tha twould otherwise come from a primary energy source.


Developed by Joseph Heller, an early student of Ida Rolf, Hellerwork fuses movement education and deep tissue bodywork into a specific sequence designed to realign the body and release chronic pain or stress.

Herbalism/herbal Medicine

The use of botanicals for their nutrients, chemical constituents, healing actions and their energies for maintaining, improving and restoring health. Herbalists are practitioners of herbalism, applying the effects of herbs on the structure and function of the body and mind. It is a traditional form of healthcare worldwide. Many licensed healthcare professionals such as acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors, a few medical doctors and even some veterinarians also incorporate the use of herbs in their practices.

Holistic Counseling

Practitioners focus on the whole person, with a special emphasis on how the mind is connected directly to the body, and how a person thinks and feels affects him or her at a cellular level.

Holistic Medicine

The philosophy of holistic medicine states that the practitioner must use safe methods of diagnosis and treatment while emphasizing the care of the whole person, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Most forms of natural medicine adher to this basic definition of holistic medicine.


Based on the hypothesis of "like cures like" and a deep emphasis on the principles of holistic medicine (treat the whole person), homeopathy first flourished in North America and Europe during the mid-19th century, when many physicians believed it to be an effective treatment for cholera. Homeopathic remedies work by stimulating via the introduction of tiny doses of natural substances that should trigger a person’s body to correct itself naturally. Extremely popular throughout the world today, naturopathic physicians and other trained homeopaths have led a resurgence of this therapy in the United States in the last decade.


Hydrotherapy techniques can range from Russian baths, steam inhalation, sitz baths, ice packs to hot compresses. For all, it's the application of hot or cold water that creates the benefit to the patient.


First developed by Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), hypnotic techniques can induce everything from a light to a heavy hypnotic state to help a client overcome psychological or physical problems. From helping people to overcome a craving for cigarettes to managing chronic pain from an illness or accident, trained hypnotherapists work with a wide variety of problems.

Indigenous Materials

Building materials that are produced in an area nea rto where the construction is taking place. This reduces building costs and helps to boost local economies.

Infant Massage

Infant Massage seeks to enhance the bonding between parents and infant, improve digestion, and establish good sleeping patterns. Practitioners can use a wide variety of techniques derived from Swedish massage, reflexology, yoga and other bodywork forms.

Insulating Concrete Forms (icfs)

Light weight blocks, commonly made of expanded polystyrene or extruded polystyrene that are filled with concrete and remain in place to provide thermal insulation for concrete walls.

Integrated Pest Management (ipm)

An integrated approach to controlling plant pests using careful monitoring of pests and weeds. It may include use of natural predators, chemical agents and crop rotations.

Intuitive/medical Intuitive

Intuitives help their clients reach a better understanding of their characters, past influences and future prospects. Practitioners may choose to use various forms of divination (tarot, astrology, numerology) in their work or they may rely on natural psychic talents. Medical intuitives focus on health issues affecting the client.

Invasive Plants

An exotic plant adapted to very similar growing conditions as those found in the region to which it is imported. Because such a species usually has no natural enemies (pests, diseases or grazers), it flourishes, disrupting the native ecosystem and forcing out native plant species, resulting in habitat loss,water-table modification and other serious problems. 


Based on the theory that each organ of the body can be matched to a corresponding section of the iris, iridologists have mapped 90 specific areas and 180 zones thought to reveal important information about the condition of the body.

Leadership In Energy And Environmental Design (leed)

The LEED program was developed by th eU.S. Green Building Council as a system for rating new and existing commercial, institutional and residential buildings. It evaluates the overall environmental performance during the lifecycle of a building and provides a tangible methodology for analyzing the standards of a green building.

Life Cycle Analysis (lca)

The assessment of a product’s full environmental costs, from raw material to final disposal, in terms of consumption of resources, energy and waste.

Light Emitting Diode (led)

Tiny light bulbs that are part of a semiconducto rcircuit. They emit light when electric current passes through the semiconductor. LEDs are used in many applications such as video displays and, increasingly, as general sources of light. They are even more energy-efficient than CFLs.


A floor covering made of natural ingredients that include linseed oil combined with cork dust or wood flour. Good quality linoleum floors are known for their durability.


Someone who is committed to eating foods that have been grown nearby. Nearby might be defined in miles, within certain local counties, or within a bioregion, such as the Willamette Valley.

Low Biocide

Paint that does not contain toxic additives, such as fungicide or pesticide.

Low- And No-voc Paints And Finishes

Contain little or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that outgas and lower air quality.

Low-e Windows

These windows have a low-emittance coating. The glass has microscopically thin (virtually invisible) metal or metallic oxide layers that reduce the U-factor by repressing radiant heat flow.

Martial Arts

While the West often thinks of the martial arts as a sport or form of self-defense, these techniques originally developed in the East to increase mental acuity, health, and spiritual development through intense physical training. The many forms range from more externally oriented types such as karate and tae kwan do, which emphasize muscle and endurance, to the internally oriented tai chi and aikido, which seek to restore harmony and balance to the body.

Massage Therapy

Popular around the world, massage incorporates the use of touch to stimulate circulation, relax muscles and promote a sense of well-being. Licensed in Oregon state, massage therapists can combine a variety of techniques for their client's benefit.


A mental technique, meditation helps to focus and calm the mind, creating a restful state of physical being.


Midwives work with women so they can experience a healthy pregnancy and a safe natural childbirth as well as provid them with necessary education and follow-up care. In Oregon licensure is voluntary for midwives who perfom non-hospital births, but these "lay midwives," may not legally perform medical procedures such as suturing and adminstering IV fluids and medications.  Licensed direct-entry midwives (LDM or LM) can perform these prcedures and must meet educational and experience requirements that include passing a national exam.  They can perform births in non-hospital settings such as homes and birth centers.  Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are RN's with hospital-based midwifery training, and are the only midwives with hospital privledges. 

Music/sound Therapy

Therapists in this field utilize music or sound to improve a client's sense of emotional, physical and spiritual health and well-being. Various experiments with music have shown a range of benefits for all types of situations, from the elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s to young people with learning disabilities.


Myotherapists apply pressure to trigger points (tender spots in the muscle or other soft tissue) to relieve tension. While similar to acupressure, myotherapy relies on a Western view of anatomy.

Native Plants

A plant whose presence and survival in a specific region is not due to human intervention. Certain experts argue that plants imported to a region by prehistoric peoples should be considered native. The term for plants that are imported and then adapt to survive without human cultivation is naturalized.

Natural Capitalism

An economic theory or practice which assigns a financial cost to the use, maintenance, abuse or depletion of natural resources and ecosystems. The term has been popularized by the book of the same title – authors are Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins.

Naturopathic Medicine

Adhering to the principles of holistic medicine, naturopathic doctors can use various natural methods to treat patients, including nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, homeopathy and lifestyle counseling. In the state of Oregon, naturopathic doctors (ND) are legally defined as physicians licensed to diagnose and treat in a general family practice. Some NDs are also licensed midwives or licensed acupuncturists.

Net-zero Building Or Zero Energy Building (zeb)

A building that produces as much or more energy than i tuses. The energy it produces must be from renewable resources such as solar, wind, biofuels or on-site hydroelectric.

Network Chiropractic

First developed by Donald Epstein DC in the late 1970s, network chiropractic uses a slightly different sequence of adjustments than standard chiropractic methods. Practitioners focus on the patient's emotional as well as physical well-being.

Neuro-linguistic Programming (nlp)

This set of techniques works on almost a hypnotic level to change unconscious patterns of thought, behavior and language. NLP practitioners look for clues in a person’s set speech and behavior patterns and then provide the mental tools that clients can use to alter that behavior.

Neurodevelopmental Therapy

This drug-free approach seeks to treat neurobehavioral disorders such as ADD/ADHD or dyslexia at the root of the behavior. Neurodevelopmental therapists work with clients to identify weak pathways and subsystems in the brain and nervous system while developing a movement and mental rehearsal programs to create enhanced functioning of these systems.

Neuromuscular Therapy

This form of deep tissue massage seeks to balance the central nervous system with the structure and form of the musculoskeletal system.

Non-point Source Pollution

Runoff contamination from an overall site or land use and not discharged from a single pipe, such as sediment from construction sites, oils from parking lots or fertilizers and pesticides washed from farm fields, lawns and gardens.

Nursing, Holistic

Trained in regular nursing programs, practitioners apply the principles of holistic medicine (see above) to their care of patients, incorporating many natural therapeutic techniques along with standard nursing practices.

Nutritional Counseling

Nutritionists counsel clients on a wide variety of issues ranging from proper levels of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to weight loss, food allergies and optimal health. Many follow a "whole foods" approach to proper diet.

Optometry, Holistic

Holistic optometrists use exercises, nutrition and relaxation techniques to help patients avoid the use of artificial aids, like glasses, as much as possible.


Short for organically-grown or produced. Generally, it means plants grown without the use of chemical-based pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides. GMO’s and products grown using sewage sludge or processed with radiation also do no tqualify as “organic” with any certifying group, including the USDA. Animals that produce meat, eggs and dairy products are considered “organic” if they have lived on an organic diet and do not receive growth hormones or antibiotics, unless required for treatment of disease.


Ortho-Bionomy combines gentle movements and comfortable body positions to stimulate an inner awareness of natural balance and physical and emotional well-being.

Orthomolecular Therapy

Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling coined this term to describe the therapeutic use of naturally occurring substances, especially nutrients and vitamins, as supplements to maintain health or combat disease.

Osteopathic Medicine

Most osteopathic doctors (DOs) work as primary care physicians, combining conventional Western medicine (drugs/surgery) with specific manipulative techniques taught in the osteopathic medical colleges. Osteopathic medical training focuses on preventive care with a special emphasis on the musculoskeletal system. Because their medical degree and license is legally recognized as the equivalent of a MD in the United States, DOs can utilize all recognized diagnostic and therapeutic methods in their practice.

Oxygen Therapy

Hydrogen peroxide therapy, ozone therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) supply increased ozygen to the body.

Pain Management

Several kinds of practitioners offer pain management, including medical doctors, dentists, chiropractors, psychologists, dietitians, acupuncturists and others. Techniques vary depending of the practitioner's training.

Passive House

The term passive house refers to a rigorous, voluntary, standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.

Permeable Paving

is pavement that allows for the passage of water into the ground. There are a variety of permeable pavement methods, including spaced pavers with soil infills and specialized asphalt and concrete applications that allow rainwater to pass through the surface and help to keep the water table from being depleted. Permeable paving also reduces the demand on stormwater drainage and protects streams and waterways from runoff pollution.


Chemicals derived from petroleum.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists use a variety of techniques to help patients gain or regain better control of their physcial bodies following injury or illness.


The Pilates Method of body conditioning uses special equipment and individualized instruction to promote physical harmony, balance and conditioning.

Polarity Therapy

Pracitioners of this type of therapy seek to establish a balanced flow of energy through the body through gentle touch, diet counseling and exercise.

Post-consumer Recycled (pcr)

Contents are materials that have been recovered after use, as opposed to being recovered from the waste in manufacturing, which would be pre-consumer recycled content.


Practiced by nearly 200 million people every day, Qigong (also known as Chi-Kung) combines movement, meditation and breathwork to increase the flow of vital "qi" energy in the body, improve blood circulation and strengthen the immune system.


A measurement ranging from 1 to 60 that refers to the insulating abilit yto resist heat flow, affected by the insulation’s coverage, density, airflow (near and through the insulation), and water presence within the insulation.

Radiant Floor Heating

A heating system typically consisting of liquid filled tubes placed in the flooring that can be heated; radiant heat can be zoned to provide heat only in the rooms that need it.

Rainwater Harvesting

The collection and storage of rain. Collection is usually from rooftops and in catchment tanks. Stored water can be used for non-potable purposes such as irrigating lawns, washing cars or flushing toilets.


As first developed by Leonard Orr, Rebirthing sought to help people experience a rush of healing energy while releasing long-held psychological or physical pain. By using focused, circular breathing techniques, practitioners work with clients to free stored tensions from the mind and body.

Reclaimed Lumber

Lumber reclaimed by “deconstruction” of a building or structure.T his lumber can be used for nonstructural applications such as paneling and flooring and, if re-graded, can be used in structural applications.


Collecting goods that have reached the end of their lives and processing them, their parts, or some of their parts, into the raw materials from which new goods are made.


Like acupressure, reflexology utilizes pressure on certain points to stimulate the organs and glands. Foot reflexology links specific points on the foot to these organs and glands.


Reiki is a form of therapy that uses simple hands-on, no-touch, and visualization techniques, with the goal of improving the flow of life energy in a person. Reiki (pronounced ray-key) means "universal life energy" in Japanese, and Reiki practitioners are trained to detect and alleviate problems of energy flow on the physical, emotional, and spiritual level.

Renewable Energy

Energy resulting from natural sources; sources which can quickly replenish (sun, wind, moving water, organic plant, biomass, geothermal heat).


Developed by Ida Rolf, this system of body restructuring and movement education works with gravity to realign the body. Rolfers often focus bodywork on the myofascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, to release tension.

Shamanism/Shamanic Healing

Many people associate shamanic healing with the use of Native American rituals to help correct a spiritual or physical imbalance within a person. However, every culture has its shamanic healing rituals in its spiritual traditions, and today shamanic healers in North America may draw from Tibetan rituals or African teachings as easily as from Native American thought.

Shen Therapy

As a form of touch therapy, SHEN (specific human energy nexus) Therapy seeks to enable normal energy flows through the body through light hand placements.


The Japanese form of massage combines the application of pressure on specific points with massage. Traditional practitioners may have the patient rest on a pad on the floor for the performance of certain stretches (see also Watsu).

Socially Responsible Invessting (sri)

Integrating personal values and societal concerns with investment. SRI considers both the investor’s financia lneeds and an investment’s impact on society.

Solar Photovoltaics (pv)

Solar cells that absorb sunlight and convert it directly into electricity. Solar cells are thin semi-conductor wafers, typically made of silicon. PV’s are commonly referred to as solar panels.

Solar Water Heating

This process occurs through collection tubes inside an insulated box, typically mounted on the roof. The tubes absorb the sun’s heat and transfer that heat to water or another liquid flowing through the tubes to heat the water used in the home.

Soma Neuromuscular Integration

Soma combines deep manipulation of muscular and connective tissue with movement training to address various health issues such as chronic back pain or limited mobility due to arthritis.

Sports Medicine

This branch of medicine began as a special focus on athletic injuries caused by competition or participation in organized sports, but many of the techniques have been adapted to treat other types of physical injuries.

Straw Bale Construction

Utilizes straw bales that are compressed, baled and tied together to form the walls of a home. The straw bales may be load bearing or infill, where a frame is incorporated to carry the structural load. Straw is a renewable material that provides excellent insulation.

Stress Management

Practitioners teach patients how to lessen the impact of stress on their well-being. Exact techniques vary depending on the practitioner's training and interests.


Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To be truly sustainable, a human community must not decrease biodiversity, must not consume resources faster than they are renewed, must recycle and reuse virtually all materials, and must rely primarily on resources of its own region.

Swedish Massage

The best known form of massage in the United States uses five basic strokes, including soothing, tapping, rubbing, pummeling and kneading, to relieve sore muscles and joints.

Tai Chi

This Chinese Taoist martial art form combines mental concentration, coordinated breathing and slow, graceful body movements to increase well-being, lessen stress, and strengthen the body.

Tankless Water Heater

An on demand system that only turns on and heats the water when you need it. It heats the water very quickly when you turn on any hot water faucet. The advantages are much greater energy efficiency and tankless water heaters take less space.

Therapeutic Touch

Therapeutic Touch Therapeutic Touch, a specific method of healing touch developed by Dolores Krieger, is taught in many nursing colleges throughout the United States. Used for relaxation and reducing anxiety, Therapeutic Touch is based on the assumption that a human energy field extends slightly beyond the skin.

Thermal Mass

A property that enables building materials to absorb, store and later release significant amounts of heat. Particularly important in passive solar heating and cooling.

Touch For Health

Dr. John F. Thie developed this version of applied kinesiology (see above) in the 1970s. Touch for Health attempts to balance the body’s energy by applying gentle pressure to contracted muscles.

Trager® Approach (tragerwork)

Believing that discomfort or tension can be released by sending different signals to the nervous system, Milton Trager, M.D., developed the Trager® Approach. This movement education/bodywork approach uses gentle and non-intrusive movements to produce deep relaxation, increase flexibility/mobility, and relieve pain.


Someone who eats an entirely plant-base d diet that excludes all animal derived ingredients, including dairy and eggs. The vegan lifestyle also eschews allanimal-derived non-food products, such as leather.


Someone who eats no flesh foods, but may or may not eat other animal-derived products, such as diary (lacto-vegetarian), eggs (ovo-vegetarian)or both (lacto-ovo vegetarian).

Veterinary & Holisic Animal Services

Holistic veterinarians adher to the principles of holistic medicine, choosing to emphasize the use of safe natural methods when treating animals.

Volatile Organic Chemicals (vocs)

Emitted as gases from certain solids and liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products, numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides,building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copypaper, graphics and craft materials (including glues and adhesives) permanent markers, and photographic solutions.

Watsu (water Shiatsu)

This specific form of bodywork developed by Harold Dull combines traditional shiatsu pulls and stretches while floating the patient in a pool of warm water. Because of the support of the water, practitioners can often work with patients whose physical disabilities may preclude the use of normal shiatsu.

Wind Power

Uses turbines that “capture” wind to generate electrical power. Surplus electricity is then storedin a battery storage system for future use, or power is restored back into the utility, thereby lowering usage rates.


Landscaping design that conserves water and protects the environment; utilizes native plant selection, practical turf areas, efficient irrigation, mulches and appropriate maintenance.

Yoga Instruction

Yoga instruction is a general term for a range of body-mind exercise practices used to access consciousness and encourage physical and mental well-being. Some forms concentrate on achieving perfection in posture and alignment of the body; others aim at mental control to access higher consciousness. Between these two forms are yogas that focus on the interrelationship of body, mind, and energy.

Yoga Therapy

Some yoga teachers emphasize yoga exercises that relieve stress, improve circulation or boost the immune system. This gentle form of low impact exercise can often be tailored to help people with limited mobility due to stroke, arthritis or other chronic diseases. See also Ayurveda.

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