Santa Clara University


Alternative and Complementary Medicine

While the term alternative medicine may sound familiar to you, do you know the current definition? According to the National Institute of Health, alternative medicine is defined as: "an unrelated group of non-orthodox therapeutic practices, often with explanatory systems that do not follow conventional biomedical explanations."

A variety of complimentary medical practices are available today.

Folk Medicine

Folk medicine consists of "cures" and treatments that have been passed down through folk tales and folklore.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicines are medicines that have been cultivated from botanicals for medicinal purposes.


Homeopathy uses your body's natural defenses to help prevent and treat illness. Currently there is no scientific proof that homeopathic medicine offers any prevention and/or cure of medical ailments.

Faith Healing

Faith healing is said to be the healing power of a divine presence. Most often it has been tied in to Evangelists who would travel the country and "heal" people. As with homeopathic medicine, there is no scientific basis of work that proves that faith healing is a viable method of treating physical and/or mental illnesses.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care focuses on the nervous system's interaction with the entire body. Through changes and correction of the neuromusculoskeletal disorders, chiropractic care seeks to promote the body's natural healing ability.


Naturopathy utilizes dietary modifications, vitamin and food supplements, detoxifying and purifying processes with the goal of boosting the body's immune system, restoring good health and preventing disease.

New-Age Healing

New-Age Healing can be a bit difficult to define. There are many different "spiritualities" within New-Age, with mixed reviews from the scientific medical community. New-Age combines alternative medicine, religion, music, and lifestyle to promote a holistic approach to health.


Acupuncture is mainly recognized for the pain relief the treatments offer. While there is one "Western" acupuncture technique known as trigger-point therapy, the "schools" of acupuncture include Chinese, Korean and Japanese techniques.


Acupressure is a type of massage that is quite effective in releasing tension in muscles.


Massage is most commonly thought of as a means to relieve muscle aches and pains. Research has also shown massage to help relief symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress as well as boosting the immune system by stimulating blood flow through the body. There are a variety of massage styles to choose from, with Swedish massage still being one of the most well known.

Music Therapy

Music therapy "is the prescribed use of music by a qualified person to effect positive changes in the psychological, physical, cognitive, or social functioning of individuals with health or educational problems."