Glossary of Terms about topics discussed on the Watershed Website



Here is a growing list of words and phrases frequently used on the Watershed website that you may not know. Please feel free to contact us to suggest other words you would like us to try defining.

Acupuncture or Acu-moxa : one modality under the umbrella of Chinese medicine, which involves the application of needles, heat, pressure and other things to special areas of the body that have an impact on your health and everyday experiences. Acu-moxa as a term attempts to point to the fact that acupuncture goes beyond needles.

Chinese Medicine / East Asian Medicine / Oriental Medicine (sic) : all of these terms are, from one perspective, interchangeable. They all refer to the system of medicine developed chiefly in China and eventually developing into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) during the Cultural Revolution. It involves particular theories, diagnostics and modalities such as acupuncture in order to impact health and well-being. “Chinese medicine” does not, then, necessarily mean “Chinese Herbs,” in English though some people use these as synonyms.

Classical Chinese Medicine : a particular lineage or perspective on the overall tradition of Chinese medicine that attempts to keep front-and-center the founding documents and principles of the medicine as expressed by sages and practitioners that form the history of the medicine. While all Chinese medicine plays homage to the classical texts and theories, those who claim to be “classically oriented” are those who adhere to them with a high degree of integrity. Often used as a contrast to “Traditional Chinese Medicine,” a lineage formed during the Cultural Revolution in China.

Japanese v Chinese v Korean medicine : you will notice sometimes discussions of the medicine of a particular Southeast Asian country. The medicine that was born in China went many places as cultures intermixed and differentiated, and then eventually some people developed sophisticated medical systems of their own. Some US based practitioners do learn these country-specific forms of “Chinese medicine.”

Moxibustion : another modality under the umbrella of Chinese medicine, specifically referring to the use of mugwort (sometimes alone, sometimes with other herbs added) as a vector for application of a penetrating, soothing kind of heat to relevant areas of the body during an acupuncture treatment.

Naturopathic medicine : a complete medical perspective mostly based on conventional biomedical understandings of anatomy and physiology, Naturopathic doctors are well qualified to be primary care physicians but will always take a more holistic point of view when providing you with treatment options. Some Naturopaths are more inclined to what is known as “Nature cure” medicine, the more traditional, simpler approaches to healing such as are present in hydrotherapy. Others do quite a bit of conventional primary care, prescribing pharmaceuticals and giving vaccines and adding natural approaches when and where they are most appropriate for their patient population. There are many, many modalities, approaches and philosophies in Naturopathic medicine and yet all are united by the Naturopathic oath and rigorous education & licensing standards.

Written by Watershed Team