Vav Simon
(Mhairi Simon)

DC AMC FRCC
Clinical Director

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Jargon used in Natural Therapies

Professionals have to use specialist technical language with each other because it helps them discuss the professional facts and opinions they come across in the course of their work. It is a short-hand for professionals.

It can be difficult for other professionals - like lawyers or engineers - to understand therapist's jargon. (And vice versa!)

In this context, the term 'complementary' is related to 'alternative', but people feel it brings up a conflict, whereas it was actually just intended to be a different option.

Now, we tend to call them 'natural therapies' as they work with nature's healing processes in the body, rather than instead of them.

So, 'complementary' simply means 'not the orthodox approach medicine' which often means 'not available on the NHS'.

BUT, the NHS has had homeopathic hospitals since it was founded in 1948 (that's 57 years ago!) and BUPA has complementary therapies available from many of its hospitals too...
And in 2007, the NHS started to accept chiropractic as an 'orthodox' treatment so doctors can refer patients to chiropractors working in the NHS. (However, most chiropractors prefer to work outside the NHS - it is faster, has less admin and more flexibility.)


Read more: Why Natural Therapies?

'Healing' is another term that can be confusing. Some people use it to mean 'getting better', others use it to mean 'an invisible energy force that heals'. You will find both uses on this website.

For examples of the 'invisible energy force', see:

Just giving you good vibrations

Healing Hands Make for Healthy Animals

Horse Healers

Either way, we believe that 'healing is a process' - it rarely happens instantly. But healing can still happen quite quickly. It can happen much quicker than the process of getting ill. Some problems develop very fast - a fall can break a leg, a sneeze can put your back out, a viral illness can develop overnight. But many gather seriousness slowly - like obesity and arthritis, etc. So improvements within a few sessions can seem amazing.

And we feel it is important to say we don't believe in 'cure'. It is difficult to say when any condition has completely disappeared. But we do recognize when improvement has reached a suitable point to stop treatment. And we can easily leave the door open for the future.

In this context, the term 'complementary' is related to 'alternative'. Some years ago, it was fashionable to talk about alternative therapies, but people began to feel it brought up a conflict, whereas it was actually just intended to be a choice. We tend to call them 'natural therapies' as they work with nature's healing processes in the body, rather than instead of them.

Nowadays, 'complementary' simply means 'not the orthodox approach medicine' which often means 'not available on the NHS'. BUT, the NHS has had homeopathic hospitals since it was founded in 1948 (that's 57 years ago!) and BUPA has complementary therapies available from many of its hospitals too... And in 2007, the NHS started to accept chiropractic as an 'orthodox' (but rare) treatment with doctors being able to refer patients.


The term 'holistic' applies to those approaches that examine the whole animal. Based on scientific theory about the mind-body system, it says that results are:

For examples of the 'invisible energy force', see:

Getting the Measure of Tapeworm

It's important to look at the wider picture

An Adjustment in Time…

The term 'system' applies to a structure that allows a set of behaviours to form.

A car has lots of systems: for fuel, lubrication, vacuum, braking, steering and so on. These systems behave in known ways to allow the car to become a safe and useful transportation system.

Systems display 'holistic' characteristics. You can examine parts, but you can't make sense of the whole unless you look at the whole. That is called systemic thinking.

Living systems all seem to have the property of self-healing - called innate intelligence by chiropractors.