Alternative Health Information


Sclerology is a non-invasive alternative medicine practice in which the sclera is examined for information about a patient's systemic health.
According to advocates, examination of the sclera reveals a great number of disease processes and is capable of revealing much more information than iridology. They claim sclerology requires no clinical tools and is an inexpensive, non-invasive method to enhance the evaluation of patients' health.

Sclerology has been used perennially by indigenous cultures for at least a millennia. Ancient Chinese medical texts (Secrets of the Bronze Man, written 1046AD in the Song Dynasty, translated by Dr. Stuart Mauro of Dallas TX) show that the method was used in China over 1000 years ago. American Indians (Nez Percé and Blackfoot) practiced it but kept no written records.

Similar to criticism which has been leveled at iridology and other alternative practices, skeptics point out that sclerology is founded in pseudoscience, claiming that there is no reason to assume that the condition of the sclera has any causal relation to a patient's condition in general. They also claim it is ineffective and may be harmful to patients if it delays the diagnosis and treatment of a true medical problem.


Autosuggestion (or autogenous training) is a process by which an individual trains the subconscious mind to believe something, or systematically schematizes the person's own mental associations, usually for a given purpose. This is accomplished through self-hypnosis methods or repetitive, constant self-affirmations, and may be seen as a form of self-induced brainwashing. The acceptance of autosuggestion may be quickened through mental visualization of that which the individual would like to believe. Its success is typically correlated with the consistency of its use and the length of time over which it is used. Autosuggestion can be seen as an aspect of prayer, self-exhorting "pep talks", mation, and other similar activities. A trivial example of self-improvement by autosuggestion is the New Year's resolution, especially if it is followed up by systematic attention to the resolution.
Autosuggestion is most commonly accomplished by presenting (either through caressing or bombarding) one's mind with repetitive thoughts (negative or positive), until those thoughts become internalized. Practitioners typically hope to transmute thoughts into beliefs, and even into actualities. Visualizing the manifestations of a belief, verbally affirming it, and thinking it using one's "internal voice", are typical means of influencing one's mind via repetitive autosuggestion. Autosuggestion is normally thought of as a deliberate tool, but it can also refer to an unintentional process.
The French psychologist Emile Coué wrote extensively on the theory and practice of autosuggestion.
Applications of deliberate autosuggestion are intended to change the way one believes, perceives, or thinks; to change one's acts; or to change the way one is composed physically or physiologically. An example might be individuals reading nightly aloud a statement they have written describing how they would like to be, then repeating the statement in their mind until they fall asleep. People have attributed changes to such a nightly routine or similar employment of autosuggestion, for example, increased confidence, the conquering of life-long fears, heightened mental faculties (e.g., ability to calculate mathematics or read at a quicker rate), eradication of diseases or infections from one's body, and even improved eyesight and growing taller. It is not uncommon to hear people claim that they have been able to get rid of warts on their hands, simply by making a point of saying, "There go my warts!" every time they saw a garbage truck or a trashcan, but it is not clear whether such anecdotal reports should be taken as evidence of the power of autosuggestion.
The same type of effect that deliberate autosuggestion may achieve can also be seen in individuals not consciously trying to program themselves through autosuggestion. The dominant thoughts that occupy a person's conscious mind, if constantly present over an extended period of time, may have the effect of training that person's subconscious mind to organize that individual's beliefs according to those thoughts. In this sense, the mechanisms of pathological fixations and obsessions to some extent resemble the process of autosuggestion.
Autosuggestion is differentiated from brainwashing or hypnosis in that the suggestions given during the sessions originate with the individual, rather than originating with suggestions from others.

Thought Reform: A Brief History of the Model and Related Issues: Part I By Lawrence A. Pile Pile works for the Wellspring Retreat & Resource Center, a residential treatment facility for victims of thought reform and cultic abuse, located in the USA
Émile Coué, La maîtrise de soi-même par l'autosuggestion consciente (Autrefois: De la suggestion et de ses applications), Société Lorraine de psychologie appliquée (1922)

Academy for Hypnotic Studies - Dedicated to the study, practice, and teaching of traditional and Ericksonian Hypnosis.
Academy for Professional Hypnosis Training - Professional hypnosis instruction and certification classes in Hollywood, California and the Midwest. Upon successful completion, participants receive national certification as hypnotherapists.
Academy of Curative Hypnotherapists Ltd - A non-profit organisation teaching the use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes. Code of ethics, contact information, and workshop dates.
Academy of Human Sciences - Since 1977 teaching Psychophysical Therapies and Humanistic & Clinical Hypnotherapy to professional level. Forster (NSW midnorth coast).
The Academy of Professional Hypnosis - Offers Certification in Basic, Advanced, and Advanced Clinical HypnoCounseling. Licensed by The New Jersey Dept. of Education.
Alchemy Institute of Healing Arts - Founded for the purpose of preparing students to work as spiritual hypnotherapists, hypnotherapeutic body workers, and group therapy facilitators. California.
Arkansas Hypnosis Hypnotherapy Behavior Modification Center and School - Site contains hypnosis and hypnotherapy information, training, and related art and artwork.
Association for the Alignment of Past Life Experience - (AAPLE) is the organization that trains members in the Netherton Method of past lives therapy, which includes clinical hypnotherapy.
Atkinson-Ball College of Hypnotherapy and HypnoHealing - Advanced hypnotherapy training for existing therapists and medical practitioners.
Atlanta National Hypnotherapy Institute - ANHI is a state authorized school of hypnosis in Georgia.

Zang Fu

To differentiate between western or eastern concepts of organs the first letter is capitalized (Liver, instead of liver, Spleen instead of spleen). Because Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is holistic, each organ cannot be explained fully unless the TCM relationship/homeostasis with the other organs is understood. TCM also looks at the functions of the organs rather than fixed areas and, therefore, describes different organs that are not actually physical, like the Triple Burner (San Jiao). This also leads to controversy about the validity of TCM, which comes a lot from the difficulty of translating and lack knowledge about TCM concepts and Chinese culture. So, to avoid conflict and to keep an open mind, please realize that these notions evolved in a different culture and are a different way of viewing the human body.
Zang-Fu theory translates roughly into "theory about solid organ-hollow organ". It is a concept within traditional Chinese medicine and part of the TCM model of the body. There are five zang (臟 pinyin zang1 心、肝、脾、肺、腎) and six fu (腑 pinyin fu3 胃、小腸 、大腸、膀胱、膽、三焦).
The association between the zangfu and particular souls or spirits is a later accretion and has been largely absent from the discourse of traditional Chinese medicine for at least the past 200 years.
This theory treats each of the Zang organs as organs that nourish the body. The Zang systems include organs, senses, emotions, and the musculoskeletal system--essentially, the entire person divided into five categorical systems. Zang organs are also known as yin organs, and each has a Fu partner, a yang organ (see Yin Yang). Fu organs can be viewed as hollow organs that aid in digestion. In addition to bodily functions, each Zang organ is the home of an aspect of the spirit.
With a thorough understanding of the Zang Fu organs, practitioners can achieve therapeutic results accordingly. The theory is always in service of practical, therapeutic application, with the goal of an "elegant" treatment. An elegant treatment uses the least amount of force for the greatest therapeutic benefit, and requires true mastery of the art of traditional Chinese Medicine.
The five elements are associated energetically with the following Zang-Fu organs
Wood: Liver, home of the Hun (魂, Ethereal Soul), paired with the Gall Bladder
Fire: Heart, home of the Shen (神, Aggregate Soul) paired with the Small intestine (and secondarily, the San Jiao or Triple burner and Pericardium)
Earth: Spleen, home of the Yi (意?, Intellect), paired with the Stomach
Water: Kidney, home of the Zhi (志?, Will), paired with the Bladder
Metal: Lung, home of the Po (魄, Corporeal Soul), paired with the Large Intestine

See also
Five elements
Traditional Chinese medicine

External link
Five organs site
Amalgam Illness: Diagnosis and Treatment of Mercury Poisoning - Explains how to find out if someone has mercury poisoning (e.g. chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, ADHD, autism) and what to do to cure it.
The Circle of Healing - Cathy Holt on strengthening and deepening relationships with the self and other people.
DNA Activation - Learn how to do The Orion Healing Technique and the 12 Strand DNA Technique, known as DNA Activation, with author and medical intuitive, Vianna Stibal.
Energy 101 - Jan Meryl's New Age healing manual. Free excerpts.
Healthy Treatments - A resource guide for specific common ailments and illnesses.
How to Grow Taller System - Provides adaptable, flexible, and step-by-step instructions and techniques needed to gain inches in height.
I Dare To Heal - Offering self-help psychology, improved spirituality, health, relationships, and love. Describes alternative medicine techniques. Joel Vorensky.
Ice Cream for the Soul - Over 100 playful activities for joy and wisdom.
Infinite Grace - Written by Diane Goldner. Focuses on energy medicine, healing, science and consciousness.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the Mind-Body Connection - Authored by William B. Salt II, MD. A method for healing combining science with a mind, body, spirit approach.
Life More Abundant - A guide and sourcebook for the west of the teachings of Ming Pang.
Mixed Signals - A book by Hugh Crone that explains how neurotransmitters, hormones and other chemical messengers control all bodily reactions to outside events.
Muscles Testing in the 21st Century - Offers a broad understanding of allergies. Learn to muscle test and remove all guesswork. Easy to learn, step by step, educational book that includes a comprehensive list to test from and suggestions on how to remedy the source.
Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques - A holistic treatment for the permanent elimination of food and environmental allergies, which may be the cause of a wide range of illness.
The Natural Alternative - Recipes for making body products, creams, lotions, cosmetics, salves and herbal medicines.
Natural Therapy of Exercises to Relieve Pain and Stress - Exercises for back pain relief and stress reduction. Manual, classes, and online help. Christy Friederich is based in Davis, California.

Chinese food therapy

Chinese food therapy is a practice of healing using natural foods instead of medications.
Chinese food therapy is a modality of traditional Chinese medicine, also known as Chinese Nutrition therapy. It is particularly popular among Cantonese people who enjoy slow-cooked soups. One of the most commonly known is a rice soup that goes by many names including congee and jook. This is a traditional breakfast of Asian people all over the world. Congee recipes vary infinitely, depending upon the desired health benefits as well as taste.
Chinese food therapy dates back as early as 2000 BC. However, proper documentation was only found around 500 BC. The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine also known as the Niejing, which was written around 300 BC, was most important in forming the basis of Chinese food therapy. It classified food by four food groups, five tastes and by their natures and characteristics.
1 Philosophy about Food
2 Cantonese classification of food
3 Some common food therapy items and recipes
3.1 Bird nest
3.2 Korean or Chinese ginseng
3.3 American ginseng
3.4 A Cantonese cough remedy
4 See also

Philosophy about Food
The ideas of yin and yang are used in the sphere of food and cooking. Yang foods are believed to increase the body's heat (eg. raise the metabolism), while Yin foods are believed to decrease the body's heat (eg. lower the metabolism). As a generalization, Yang foods tend to be dense in food energy, especially energy from fat, while Yin foods tend to have high water content. The Chinese ideal is to eat both types of food to keep the body in balance. A person eating too much Yang food might suffer from acne and bad breath while a person lacking Yang food might be lethargic or anemic.
As a separate categorization, some foods are considered to be especially restorative/healing to the body.

Cantonese classification of food
Cantonese people pay much attention to the body's reaction to food. Food items are classified accordingly, and diet is adjusted based on the body's conditions. In effect, many Cantonese people practice food therapy in day to day situations. The following is a list of common food classifications:
Cantonese name
rough translation
related symptoms/effects
dry fire (yang)
causes dryness of skin, chapped lips, nose bleed etc.
chili pepper, deep fried food, dried meat, lychee.
any yin or cooling food
wet heat (yang)
causes mouth sore, urinary burning etc. probably due to the acidity or alkalinity.
mango, pineapple, cherry.
chrysanthemum, sugar cane (竹蔗), Imperata arundinacea (茅根), 夏枯草
cause dizziness, weakness, pale or green face (low oxygen level in blood) etc.
watermelon, cantelop, honeydew and certain kinds of melon-type fruits or vegetables, green tea.
any boosting or dry fire food

cause indigestion, stomach gas etc.
all fibrous food, e.g. yam, chestnuts
haw (fruit 山楂), malt (麥芽)

cause pus or swelling in wound, outbreak of acnes, hemmorrhoid etc.
duck, goose, bamboo shoot, all shellfish
abstinence at outbreak
cause gastric upset, runny stool, outbreak of acnes etc.
all greasy food, e.g. bacon etc.
abstinence at outbreak
mild yin type that counteract the dry fire type. Also listed as yin when overused.
beer, lettuce, sugar cane (竹蔗), Imperata arundinacea (茅根), American ginseng.
not needed if not overused
moisturizing, soothing
apple, pear, fig, winter melon, longan, 淮山, lotus seed, lily bulb etc.
not needed
replenishing blood and Qi. Also listed as dry fire when overused.
Mutton, snake, wild games, beef, red dates (紅棗).
not needed if not overused
circulating blood and Qi.
red wine, Korean ginseng.
not needed
健脾, 開胃, 生津, 養心, 強筋, 強骨 etc.
generating, strengthening
improves various internal functions
not needed
The yin yang type of each individual determines how susceptible the person is to these effects of food. A neutral person is generally healthy and will have strong reactions to these effects only after overconsumption of certain kind of food. A yang type person usually can eat all yin type food with no ill effect, but may easily get a nose bleed with small amount of yang type food. A yin type person is usually very unhealthy and is reactive to either yin or yang food. Boosting or nourishing type of food is needed to bring a yin person back to health.

Some common food therapy items and recipes

Bird nest
Oral secretion of swiftlets, collected from the binding material of their nests.
· Alleged effects: promote beautiful skin for women; "strengthen the spleen and open up the stomach" (健脾開胃 meaning improve appetite.)
· vegetables and fruits are believed to nullify the effect of bird nest if taken within the same day.
· The dried material is soaked in water to rehydrate.
· The soaked bird nest is cleaned by hand to remove other nest building debris such as grass and feathers.
· The cleaned and crumbled bird nest is double steamed with rock sugar as a dessert or with a small amount of pork as a soup.

Korean or Chinese ginseng
Root of a plant that has the Yang properties.
· Alleged effects: promote circulation, increase blood supply, revitalize and aid recovery from weakness after illness.
· The ginseng root is double steamed with chicken meat as a soup. (See samgyetang.)

American ginseng
Root of a plant similar to Korean ginseng, but it has the Yin properties.
· Alleged effects: cleansing of excessive Yang in the body.
· The ginseng is sliced, a few slices are soaked in hot water to make a tea.
· Most American ginseng is produced in Wisconsin, USA.

A Cantonese cough remedy
Dried duck gizzards, watercress, apricot kernels:
· Alleged effects: relieve both Yin (resulted from cold) or Yang (resulted from dryness) type of coughing.
· Watercress is for removing excessive yang in the body.
· The sweet apricot kernels and bitter apricot kernels target the lungs.
· The dried duck gizzards are used to balance the Yin Yang of the recipe.
· Watercress is available in most supermarkets while the rest of the ingredients can be found in most Chinese herb stores.
· The ingredients are slow cooked for couple of hours into a soup, a small piece of pork is optional for flavor.
· Do not use beef or chicken in this recipe because they nullify the effects of the water cress.

See also
· Double steaming for more food therapy receipes.
· Chinese cuisine

Gua Sha

Gua sha (刮痧) is a technique used by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Gua sha (pronounced "gwa shar,") involves firmly rubbing a person's skin with a ceramic soup spoon or large coin. The goal is to relieve stagnation, or in other words, to clear some illness from the body by getting it to move. Gua sha is used commonly on respiratory illnesses, for example, where the skin of the upper back, neck, and chest may be rubbed. Gua sha is known for leaving red and purple marks on the skin that look painful but are not. Well-meaning practitioners of western medicine are sometimes shocked at the sight of these marks and fear that a child with the marks has been abused. For professionals in this position, it is helpful to be familiar with the appearance of gua sha marks and to understand its traditional therapeutic value. It is helpful to be able to make the distinction between gua sha marks and signs of abuse. Gua sha is not known to be harmful. The technique called cupping also leaves distinctive, bruise-like marks on the skin, but is also harmless.
In 2001, a movie called "Gua Sha" (aka "The Treatment") was made addressing this practice and the cultural misunderstandings it causes. The movie stars Tony Leung Ka-Fai.

Related Links

The Cork Clinic Of Chinese Medicine - The Chinese therapies used in our clinic include Tuina Chinese Medical Massage, Vacuum Cupping, Ear Seeds, Gua Sha, Moxibustion.-- Regional: Europe: Ireland: Health: Alternative and Complementary Therapies: Acupuncture (1)
Arya Nielsen - Offers Gua Sha (Guasha) Chinese medicine, pain treatment and acupuncture in New York City.-- Health: Alternative: Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine: Practitioners: North America: United States: New York (1)
A Body In Balance Integrative Health Center - Offers acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine including craniosacral therapy and adjunctive techniques such as moxabustion, cupping and gua sha. Provides a list of conditions treated.-- Regional: North America: United States: Massachusetts: Localities: H: Holden: Health (1)
Equilibre - Rolf Eggenschwiler bietet Wissenswertes über sein Angebot: Akupressur, Chinesische Massage, Ohrpunktur, Moxa, Schröpfen, Puls- und Zungendiagnose, Gua-Sha, Kräuter, Chinesische TDP Wärmelampe und Fussreflexzonen nach TCM. CH-2502 Biel]-- World: Deutsch: Gesundheit: Alternative Medizin: Traditionelle Chinesische Medizin: Therapeuten (1)
Truckenthanner Volker - Shiatsu-Praktiker informiert ausführlich über Shiatsu, Moxa, Schröpfen, Gua Sha und Anwendungsmöglichkeiten, die philosophischen Grundkonzepte der fernöstlichen Heilkunde, Kurse und Vorträge von Ai Ki two und über sich selbst, bietet den Zugang zum Shiatsu-Forum und weiterführende Links. [A-4861 Schörfling]-- World: Deutsch: Gesundheit: Alternative Medizin: Shiatsu: Praktiker: Österreich (1)


The concept of meridians (Chinese: "jing-luo") arises from the techniques and doctrines of traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture and acupressure. According to these practices, the body's vital energy, "qi", circulates through the body along specific interconnected channels called meridians. Disruptions of the body's energy flow (such as stagnations, blockages and redirection) are thought to cause emotional and physical illness. To release those disruptions, specific points on the meridians called acupoints, or tsubo in the Japanese practice, are stimulated via needles, pressure or other means.
The aligned water theory of meridians conjectures that meridians are made up of clusters of "aligned water" in the body that allow ions, light, and sound waves to flow more readily. Aligned water clusters are said to occur where large numbers of water molecules align electrically to form a stable cluster. These have supposedly been photographed outside the body with an electron microscope by Shui-Yin Lo, who calls them IE crystals. These aligned water molecules are said to flow between the cells, forming a chain that completes a circuit around the body. When these water molecules "fall out of alignment" this supposedly has a negative impact on health.
The Chinese meridians have their counterpart in the Mayan acupuncture techniques practiced in the Yucatan. The analogous concept is that of wind channels. Curiously, most of the key points in Mayan acupuncture correspond exactly with key acupuncture points in the Chinese meridian model. (See "Wind in The Blood" by H. Garcia et. al.)
Aside from speculation and ad hoc hypothesising, there is little objective scientific evidence to suggest that meridians or "aligned water" exist, and indeed their existence is not compatible with a conventional understanding of physics, anatomy and physiology. Some experts consider these conjectures to be pseudoscience [1], [2].

See also
• Terms and concepts in alternative medicine
• Water memory

External links
• Science of meridians
• Acupuncture, Qigong, and "Chinese Medicine" — Quackwatch article on Chinese medicine
• Water cluster pesudoscience — Article by a chemistry professor about water cluster claims.

• Lo S.Y. (2002) Meridians in acupuncture and infrared imaging. Medical Hypotheses 58(1):72-76.


Moxibustion (Chinese: 灸; pinyin: jiŭ) is an oriental medicine therapy utilizing moxa, or mugwort herb. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff; practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a stick that resembles a (non-smokable) cigar. They can use it indirectly, with acupuncture needles, or sometimes burn it on a patient's skin. Terminology
The word "moxa" comes from Japanese mogusa (艾), with a silent u. Yomogi (蓬) also serves as a synonym for moxa in Japan. Chinese uses the same character as mogusa, but pronounced differently: ài, also called àiróng (艾絨)(meaning "velvet of ài").
The Chinese character for moxa forms one half of the two making up the Chinese word that often gets translated as "acupuncture" zhēnjiǔ (針灸).

Theory and practice
Practitioners use moxa to warm regions and acupuncture points with the intention of stimulating circulation through the points and inducing a smoother flow of blood and qi. Scientific research has shown that mugwort acts as an emmenagogue, meaning that it stimulates blood-flow in the pelvic area and uterus. It is claimed that moxibustion militates against cold and dampness in the body and can supposedly serve to turn breech babies.
Medical historians believe that moxibustion pre-dated acupuncture, and needling came to supplement moxa after the 2nd century BC. Different schools of acupuncture use moxa in varying degrees. For example a 5-element acupuncturist will use moxa directly on the skin, whilst a TCM-style practitioner will use rolls of moxa and hold them over the point treated.
Practitioners consider moxibustion to be especially effective in the treatment of chronic problems, "deficient conditions" (weakness), and gerontology. Bian Que (fl. circa 500 BC), one of the most famous semi-legendary doctors of Chinese antiquity and the first specialist in moxibustion, discussed the benefits of moxa over acupuncture in his classic work. He asserted that moxa could add new energy to the body and could treat both excess and deficient conditions. On the other hand, he advised against the use of acupuncture in an already deficient (weak) patient, on the grounds that needle manipulation would leak too much energy.
A huge classical work, Gao Huang Shu (膏肓俞), specialises solely in treatment indications for moxa on a single point (穴).
Note that Taoists use scarring moxibustion along with Chinese medical astrology for longevity.
Practitioners may use acupuncture needles made of various materials in combination with moxa, depending on the direction of qi flow they wish to stimulate.

Parallel uses of mugwort
In North and South America, indigenous peoples regard mugwort as a sacred plant of divination and spiritual healing, as well as a panacea. Europeans placed sprigs of mugwort under pillows to provoke dreams; and the herb had associations with the practice of magic in Anglo-Saxon times.

See also
• Traditional Chinese medicine
• Traditional Japanese medicine (Kampo)
• Traditional Korean medicine


Kampō (or Kanpō , 漢方) medicine is the Japanese study and adaptation of Chinese medicine. The first Chinese medical works to be introduced to Japan is said to have occurred around the 4th or 5th Century A.D. Since then, the Japanese have created their own unique herbal medical system and diagnosis. Kampo utilizes most of the Chinese medical system including acupuncture and moxibustion, but is primarily concerned with the study of herbs.

Today in Japan, Kampo is integrated into the national health care system. Since 1967, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has approved 148 Kampo formulas for coverage and reimbursement in the national health insurance plan. Every approved formula produced by different manufacturers is composed of exactly the same ingredients under the Ministry’s standardization methodology. The formulas are therefore prepared under strict manufacturing conditions that rival pharmaceutical companies. Rather than modifying formulas as in Chinese medicine, the Japanese Kampo tradition uses fixed and precise combinations of herbs in standardized amounts according to the classical literature of Chinese medicine. Extensive modern scientific research in Japan has validated the efficacy of Kampo formulas. Today, fully 75% of Japanese physicians prescribe Kampo formulas.

In the United States, Kampo is practiced mostly by acupuncturists, Chinese medicine practitioners, naturopath physicians, and other alternative medicine professionals. Kampo herbal formulas are studied under clinical trials, such as the clinical study of Sho-saiko-to (H09) for treatment of hepatitis C at New York Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and liver cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C at UCSD Liver Center.Both clinical trials are sponsored by Honso USA, Inc., a US branch of Honso Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Nagoya, Japan.

Recommended Reading:

1. Research in Japanese Botanical Medicine and Immune Modulating Cancer Therapy - Kampo, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, August, 2001 by Dan Kenner, Ph.D.

2. Complementary Medicine: The Yin and the Yang: Two Party System for Healing by Alan Glombicki, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of Texas, Houston, TX

3. KAMPO MEDICINE: The Practice of Chinese Herbal Medicine in Japan by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon

4. Treating Chronic Liver Disease with Kampo Formula Sho-saiko-to by Dan Wen, MD, Phoenix, Arizona

健康チェック - 体力、食生活、疲労度などの項目別チェックとアドバイス。
-- World: Japanese: 健康: 体調・症例: 家庭の医学 (1)

あおやまクリニック - 中区。漢方と西洋医学を組み合わせて適用。診療案内、適応症。
-- World: Japanese: 地域: アジア: 日本: 愛知: 市町村: 名古屋市: 健康 (1)

かんぽ - 郵便局の簡易保険の紹介、かんぽの宿の空室照会、住所変更届。
-- World: Japanese: 社会: 政治・行政: 官公庁: 総務省: 日本郵政公社 (1)

観峰塾 - 観峰流の書道教室、観峰美術館とミュリエル・ガチーニ女史による西洋カリグラフィーのスクール紹介。
-- World: Japanese: アート: ビジュアルアート: 書・カリグラフィー: 書道 (1)

Kyoto Journal - A non-profit volunteer-based quarterly magazine with essays, poetry, fiction, and photos.
-- Regional: Asia: Japan: Prefectures: Kyoto (1)

Transcendental meditation

The Transcendental Meditation technique, or TM, is a form of meditation. Proponents have claimed it to be a simple, natural, easy-to-learn mental technique whose regular practice leads to significant, cumulative benefits on all levels of life, including mind, body, behavior and environment.
• 1 History
• 2 Technique and procedures
o 2.1 Stress
o 2.2 The mantra
• 3 TM and religion
• 4 Effects and claims
• 5 Criticism
• 6 Notable practitioners
• 7 See also
• 8 External links
o 8.1 Biography of founder of TM - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

In 1957, at the end of a big "festival of spiritual luminaries" in remembrance of the previous Shankaracharya of the North, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, his disciple Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (or simply "Maharishi") inaugurated a "movement to spiritually regenerate the world". That was the formal beginning of TM spreading all over the world.
In the movement's initial stages, Maharishi emphasised the spiritual aspects of TM and operated under the auspices of an organisation named the 'Spiritual Regeneration Movement'. However, the requirements of the West made him adopt a more secular approach in the 1970s. He focused on western science both to show theoretical parallels with his thinking and practical verification of the results of TM. The main emphasis was on relaxation, relief from stress, and improved personal effectiveness.
In the early 1970s, Maharishi launched "The World Plan" to have a TM teaching centre for each million of the world's population, which at that time would have meant 3,600 TM centres. Many such centres were established for a time, but not all are operational now. Today, there are TM-centers and facilities all around the world, and over five million people have learned the technique. Since 1990, Maharishi co-ordinates his global activities from the town of Vlodrop in the municipality of Roerdalen in Holland.

Technique and procedures
TM is practiced for fifteen to twenty minutes twice daily while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. In essence, the TM technique comprises the silent mental repetition of a simple sound known as a mantra, allowing the repetition to spontaneously become quieter and quieter, until it disappears and one is left conscious, but without thoughts. This is the goal of the inward stroke of meditation and is called pure consciousness (in Sanskrit: turiya or samadhi; with Abraham Maslow: peak experience). Alongside the settling down of mental activity, the body also settles to a state of deep rest, and this allows for the release of deep-seated stresses from the system. The release of stress is bodily activity, and this increase in bodily activity results in corresponding activity on the level of the mind, i.e., thoughts return to the mind. This is the outward stroke of meditation. After the purification has finished, the inward stroke starts again. This whole cycle is repeated many times during each sitting of meditation.
The way of learning TM is a prescribed procedure in itself, with several lectures and checking sessions. Before the core instruction, the teacher performs a ceremony of thanksgiving to the "holy tradition" that has passed on the knowledge about TM.

In Hans Selye's definition, stress is a neutral concept, simply meaning "load". He distinguishes eustress and distress, roughly meaning "challenge" and "overload". According to Selye, the physical changes during TM are the opposite of the body's reaction to stress. (In common usage, the word stress has taken on a meaning close to Selye's distress.)
In TM-lingo, stress is defined as "structural or material impurities resulting from overload on the physiology", which includes both body and mind. The assumption is that it is possible to purify the physiology completely, and that that is the goal of human life, equal to gaining enlightenment. (Compare Maslow's self-actualization.)

The mantra
According to the TM organisation the mantras are sounds specifically chosen to have a soothing effect upon the individual's nervous system.
There is some controversy as to whether or not TM actually is a religion. The primary argument for TM being a religion is that it involves spirituality, and the primary argument for TM not being a religion is that it does not involve faith or worship.
The TM organization encourages practitioners to keep their mantra private and never to repeat it aloud, since it allegedly has the purpose of moving inwards into the 'refined' levels of the mind.

TM and religion
With regard to religion, Maharishi states that:
• Religion and meditation are both necessary -- "One without the other will not survive."
• Everyone should follow their own religion.
• At its beginning, every religion included transcendental meditation.
• Now that religions have forgotten the technique, they are "like bodies from which the soul has departed".
This presents a more generic picture of TM than is commonly used, also within the TM movement: it can be true only for the core practice, not for the systematized way of learning and teaching, including the "puja" or thanksgiving ceremony. E.g. Jesus would certainly have done this differently, and most probably also have used different mantras.
The above points are gathered from Science of Being and Art of Living, where Maharishi also discusses God, distinguishing between impersonal and personal God.
Maharish's claims have been disputed by others. One U.S. court case -- (Malnak v. Yogi, 440 F.Supp. 1284 (1977), affirmed, 592 F.2d 197 (3rd Cir. 1979) -- whose principal findings have not been overturned by a higher court, found that many of the concepts behind TM were in essence religious concepts. It disallowed any government funding of TM courses.

Effects and claims
The TM movement has referenced many medical and sociological studies (see the TM link for specific results and references). The more basic claims of lowering blood pressure, decreasing cholesterol and strengthening the immune system do seem to be more robustly confirmed. Hans Selye has examined the changes measured in TM-practitioners, and found that the therapeutic effect was clearest in conditions caused by wrong ways of adapting and reacting to stress.
According to the proponents of TM, the practice helps in attaining "higher consciousness", which every human being allegedly possesses in common, and which allegedly interacts with one's daily choices. Proponents also assume that in daily existence, humans of flesh and blood do not stand as close to this higher consciousness as they could. TM therefore basically aims to get closer to this consciousness. Since the higher consciousness allegedly equates to the good, people approaching this higher consciousness should more readily understand, intuitively, what 'good' means and will thus more likely behave well. This leans on a belief that it is desirable to act well, and undesirable to act badly, in line with arguments proposed by Plato's Socrates in Meno and in The Republic.
In the late 1970s the claims for the TM technique and associated advanced "Siddhi Techniques" became more radical and increasingly targeted at existing adherents. Propounded benefits include a measurable decreased crime rate in cities with 1% of the population practising TM, or the square root of that number practising the TM-Sidhis program (this phenomenon being called "the Maharishi Effect"), and extraordinary effects including metaphysical levitation.
The more recent interpretations of TM's significance mostly examine its health claims, such as reduced blood pressure and better concentration. In these areas its supporters can view TM as simply the most effective form of waking relaxation. Some of the contemporary proponents of meditation claim that it can lead to reductions in stress, hostility, illusions and attachments, and can help in treating mental illness.

Critics of TM assert that transcendental meditation consists simply of standard meditation as practised by many religions, and that absolutely no basis exists for anyone to claim that they invented it or spread it. Many cult researchers consider TM a cult, according to them one of the largest of the present day.

Notable practitioners
• Hugh Jackman, actor
• Beach Boys, musicians
• The Beatles, musicians
• Stevie Wonder, musician
• Céline Dion, singer
• Donovan, musician
• Clint Eastwood, actor
• Mia Farrow, actress
• Heather Graham, actress
• Doug Henning, magician
• John Hagelin, physicist, presidential candidate and HiFi designer
• William Hague, former leader of U.K. Conservative Party
• Andy Kaufman, comedian
• David Lynch, film director
• Christopher Reeve, actor
• Howard Stern, radio personality
• Itzhak Bentov, inventor, kundalini researcher, author

See also

External links
• The Transcendental Meditation Program official website
• Scientific research on Transcendental Meditation
• The David Lynch Foundation For Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace

Trigger points

Trigger points are hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers. The palpable nodules are the result of small contraction knots in muscle tissue. They are an extremely common cause of pain and are frequently misdiagnosed as some other problem, which often leads to a great deal of anguish for the patient.
A trigger point does not really cause a contraction, it causes a contracture. A contraction is muscular activity mediated by the nervous system, while a contracture is a mechanical "sticking" of the muscle fibers with no involvement from the nervous system. Usually an event of muscular overload causes a prolonged release of Ca++ ion from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (storage unit for the muscle cell) which results in a sticking of the untrained or overloaded cells. This leads to a compression of capillaries and results in an increased local energy demand and local ischemia (loss of blood circulation) to the area. This "energy crisis" (as it is termed in the seminal work on trigger points) causes the release of chemicals that augment pain activity. Since an involved muscle is weakened by this sustained shortening, surrounding muscles can be made to pick up the slack and develop trigger points themselves.
Trigger points are extremely painful on compresson and often elicit referred pain, tenderness and motor dysfunction in predictable patterns.
Trigger points have been a subject of study by a small number of doctors for several decades although this has not become part of mainstream medicine. The existence of tender areas and zones of induration in muscles has been recognized in medicine for many years and was described as muscular rheumatism or fibrositis in English; German terms included myogelose and myalgie. However, there was little agreement about what they meant. Important work was carried out by J.H.Kellgren at University College Hospital, London, in the 1930s and, independently, by Michael Gutstein in Berlin and Michael Kelly in Australia (the latter two workers continued to publish into the 1950s and 1960s). Kellgren conducted experiments in which he injected saline into healthy volunteers and showed that this gave rise to zones of referred pain lower down the limbs.
It was however an American physician, Janet Travell, who was responsible for the most detailed and important work. She published more than 40 papers between 1942 and 1990 and in 1983 the first volume of The Trigger Point Manual appeared; this was followed by the second volume in 1992. A second edition of this work has now been published. In her later years Travell collaborated extensively with her colleague David Simons. A third edition is soon to be published by Simons and his wife, both of whom have survived Travell.
In spite of all this work, the trigger point concept is unknown to most doctors, who still learn little or nothing about the subject at medical school. Other health professionals, such as physiotherapists, osteopaths, and chiropractors are generally more aware of these ideas and many of them make use of trigger points in their clinical work. According to Travell and Simon's seminal work on the subject, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, around 75% of pain clinic patients had a trigger point as the sole source of their pain. In addition, the following conditions are often diagnosed (incorrectly) when trigger points are the true cause of pain: carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, tendinitis, angina pectoris, sciatic symptoms, along with many other pain problems. Arthritis is often cited as the cause for pain even though pain is not always concomitant with arthritis. The real culprit is a trigger point, normally activated by a certain activity involving the muscles used in the motion, by chronically bad posture, structural deficiencies such as a lower limb length inequality or a small hemipelvis, or nutritional deficiencies.
The main innovation of Travell's work was the introduction of the myofascial pain syndrome concept. This is described as a focal hyperritability in muscle that can strongly modulate central nervous system functions. It needs to be distinguished from fibromyalgia, which is characterized by widespread pain and tenderness and is described as a central augmentation of nociception giving rise to deep tissue tenderness that includes muscles. It is considerably more difficult to treat.
Trigger points can be classified as latent or active, depending on whether they are giving rise to symptoms. Latent trigger points can cause muscle shortening and weakening but not spontaneous pain. The causes of activation include acute or chronic muscle overload, indirect activation by other trigger points, visceral or joint disease, emotion, and radiculopathy. The radiation effects include pain and also other sensations; the affected muscles may also be weak.
Diagnosis of trigger points is mainly by manual palpation. There are changes in the "feel" of the tissues and the patient will report local tenderness, sometimes with radiation effects. There may be a twitch in the affected muscle.
Treatment of trigger points may be by local compression, injection of a local anesthetic such as procaine hydrocloride (novocain), or "spray-and-stretch" using a cooling (vapocoolant) spray. Practitioners of medical acupuncture often use trigger points as the basis for their treatment and studies have shown a considerable similarity between the locations of trigger points and classic acupuncture points


The technique of visualization (or visualisation) consists of creating a mental image of a desired outcome, and repeatedly playing that image in the mind.
A survey released in May 2004 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine focused on who used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), what was used, and why it was used in the United States by adults age 18 years and over during 2002. According to this recent survey, visualization, or guided imagery, was the 10th most commonly used CAM therapy (2.1%) in the United States during 2002 ([1] table 1 on page 8) when all use of prayer was excluded. Consistent with previous studies, this study found that the majority of individuals (i.e., 54.9%) used CAM in conjunction with conventional medicine ( page 6). "The fact that only 14.8% of adults sought care from a licensed or certified CAM practitioner suggests that most individuals who use CAM prefer to treat themselves (page 6).
In alternative medicine visualization sometimes occurs in conjunction with medical treatment, including cancer treatment (see oncology).
In one example of a visualization, one can imagine cancer cells as some slimy form of sea life being consumed by white sharks, which represent the body's immune cells.
Athletes sometimes use visualization to try to help them succeed at their sport.
Visualization forms part of Rosicrucianism and Esotericism in general. Magick also employs visualization.
Compare with mation and with petitionary prayer.

University of Illinois Chicago Biomedical Visualization Program - Graduate program that ties traditional medical illustration with communication in the health sciences. Includes information on admissions, courses of study, and galleries.-- Arts: Illustration: Specialized: Medical and Scientific: Education (2)
Health Journeys: The Guided Imagery Resource Center - Website offers visualization audiotapes, books, research and resources on guided imagery, a complementary medicine and holistic mind and body healing process.-- Health: Mental Health: Self-Help: Products and Services (1)
Hodges' Health Career Model - Provides a framework for the assessment and evaluation of health care delivery, associated with models of health and visualization in health care. Includes history, objectives, and frequently asked questions.-- Health: Nursing: References (1)

Alternative Health Retreats - Body/Mind Restoration Retreats are an alternative health program that includes a raw food diet, internal cleansing, exercise, guided visualization, meditation and instruction in preventative medicine.-- Health: Alternative: Fasting and Cleansing: Retreats and Vacations (1)
Spiritual Birth Counseling - This sites promotes the services of a birth counselor, hypnotherapist, childbirth educator (relaxation and visualization) and consultant. I support "babymoon bonding", teen pregnancy and parenting, and pre-birth bonding. I'm a strong advocate of waterbirth, breastfeeding, and holistic health.-- Health: Reproductive Health: Pregnancy and Birth: Childbirth: Prepared: Hypnosis and Imagery (1)
University of Michigan Biomedical Visualization - Graduate program combining traditional medical illustration with modern health communication studies. Information on courses, admissions and departmental resources.

Tui Na

Tui na (推拏 or 推拿, both pronounced tūi ná), is a form of Chinese manipulative therapy often used in conjunction with acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbalism and qigong.
Tui na uses traction, massage and manipulation in conjunction with acupressure and is used for both acute or chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as certain non-musculoskeletal conditions. It is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine. Tui na is taught in acupuncture schools as part of formal training in Oriental medicine, and many East Asian martial arts schools teach tui na to their advanced students for personal and professional use.

Tui Awards, The - Information on the New Zealand Music Awards including the artists, the competition and the winners.-- Arts: Music: Awards (1)
Tui's Travels - Photos and descriptions of the places visited whilst working on cruise ships including Scandinavia and the Med.-- Recreation: Travel: Travelogues: Europe (1)
FOX-TOURS Reisen GmbH - Spezialisiert auf innovative Gruppen- und Sonderreisen innerhalb der World of TUI.-- World: Deutsch: Freizeit: Reisen: Reisebüros (6)
Teatro Principal de Tui - Dispone de datos sobre su historia, arte, estatutos, crónica gráfica e información sobre como colaboorar con el centro.-- World: Español: Países: España: Comunidades Autónomas: Galicia: Pontevedra: Municipios: Tui (3)
Tui Balmes & Waxes - New Zealand manufacturer of natural bees wax massage oil.-- Shopping: Health: Massage Equipment: Massage Oil (1)
TUI AG - Logistics - Dictionary of shipping terminology.-- Reference: Dictionaries: By Subject: Business: Logistics (1)
The Technical University of Iceland (TUI) - Located in Reykjavík. Offers higher education leading to a B.S. degree as well as providing a preparatory programme.-- Reference: Education: Colleges and Universities: Europe: Iceland (1)


Auriculotherapy is an east-west hybrid medical system, founded by Dr. Paul Nogier of France in the 1940s.
Auriculotherapy began with the traditional Chinese medical (TCM) use of the surface of the auricle or external ear for acupuncture or other therapeutic stimulation. Initially, the Chinese used a small number of acupoints scattered on the surface of the ear for treating a variety of maladies. Through the trade routes between Europe and China, TCM had influenced the local folk medicine of France, particularly in the use of cauterization of an acupoint specific for treatment of sciatica. Dr. Nogier noticed that a number of his patients had these cauterizations, and when questioned, explained the successful treatment of sciatica by local folk medicine healers. Curious, he began to research and explore the traditional use of ear acupuncture, eventually developing the practice into a complete therapeutic system called Auriculotherapy, or sometimes referred to as Nogier. Like TCM, auriculotherapy is generally considered complimentary or alternative medicine.
Auriculotherapy is a microsystem, meaning that the entire body is reflected on the ear, and can be treated by use of the ear exclusively. A similar microsystem is the reflexology system which utilizes the sole of the foot for treatment of any part of the body. There are literally thousands of acupoints on the surface of the auricle. These points can be treated with acupuncture, with laser therapy, or by taping a small bead or pellet on the point. Pellets can be gold, silver, titanium, surgical steel, a seed from a plant that has been soaked in medicinal herbs, or other materials.
Auriculotherapy depends upon a specific use of the radial pulse on the patient's wrist in order to obtain a high level of accuracy, both in the choice of acupoints used, and the accuracy in locating such a small point. This use of the pulse is neither the traditional Western pulse-taking technique, nor is it the traditional Chinese pulse-taking technique, but a third approach to using the pulse diagnostically.
Auriculotherapy is practiced by both TCM specialists and Western medical practitioners. The technique and the accompanying theory is very complex and can prove difficult to learn. Auriculotherapy has migrated back to China, to be simplified in its application to create the modern approach to ear acupuncture. This simplified approach is also commonly used in the treatment of drug addiction in rehab centers throughout the world. Auriculotherapy in its complex form remains a relatively obscure modality of treatment.

List of branches of alternative medicine

· Acupuncture
o Acupressure
o Auriculotherapy
o Korean hand acupuncture
o Medical acupuncture
o Meridian therapy
o Sonopuncture
· Acupressure
· Alexander Technique
· Alternative Medical Systems
o Ayurveda
o Homeopathy
o Naturopathic medicine
o Osteopathy
o Traditional Chinese medicine
· Applied kinesiology
· Apitherapy
· Aromatherapy
· Astrology
· Auriculotherapy
· Ayurveda

· Bach Flower Therapy
· Bates Method
· Biologically Based Therapies
o Apitherapy
o Bates Method
o Chinese food therapy
o Fasting
o Herbal therapy
o Macrobiotic lifestyle
o Natural health
o Natural therapy
§ Diet and Food
§ Dietary supplements
§ Exercise
o Naturopathy
o Orthomolecular medicine
o Urine therapy
· Bowen Technique
· Body-Based Manipulative Therapies
o Body work or Massage therapy
o Bowen Technique
o Chiropractic medicine
o Craniosacral Therapy
o Medical acupuncture
o Osteopathy
o Rolfing
· Body work or Massage therapy

· Chelation therapy
· Chinese food therapy
· Chinese medicine
· Chinese pulse diagnosis
· Chinese martial arts
· Chiropractic medicine
· Chromotherapy
· Coin rubbing
· Colloidal silver therapy
· Color Therapy
· Colon Hydrotherapy (Colonics)
· Concentration mation
· Craniosacral Therapy
· Crystal healing
· Cupping

· Dermovision

· Ear Candling
· Electrodermal screening
· Energy diagnosis
· Energy therapies
o Magnet therapy
o Reiki
o Qigong
o Shiatsu
o Therapeutic Touch
· Eyology

· Facial diagnosis
· Faith healing
· Fasting
· Flower essence therapy
· Feldenkrais method
· Chinese food therapy
· Functional medicine

· Gua Sha

· Hair analysis
· Hatha yoga
· Hawaiian massage
· Healing touch
· Health psychology
· Herbal crystallization analysis
· Herbology
· Herbal therapy
· Holistic medicine
· Homeopathy
o Bach flower remedies
o Flower essence therapy
o Isopathy
· Hypnosis
· Hypnotherapy

· Integrative medicine
· Iridology
· Isopathy

· Journaling

· Korean hand acupuncture


· Magnetic healing
· Manipulative therapy
· Massage therapy
· Medical acupuncture
· Medical intuition
· Medical Qigong
· Mation
o Concentration mation
o Mindfulness mation
o Transcendental mation
· Mega-vitamin therapy
· Meridian therapy
· Mind-Body Interventions
o Alexander Technique
o Aromatherapy
o Autosuggestion
o Bach Flower Therapy
o Feldenkrais method
o Hatha yoga
o Hypnotherapy
o Journaling
o Mation
o Music therapy
o Prayer
o Rebirthing
o Self-hypnosis
o Support groups
o T'ai Chi Ch'uan
o Visualization
o Yoga
· Mindfulness mation
· Moxibustion
· Music therapy

· Natural Health
o Natural therapies
§ Diet and Food
§ Dietary supplements
§ Exercise
o Home remedies
· Natural hygiene
· Naturopathic medicine
o Nutrition
o Botanical medicine
o Homeopathy
o Hydrotherapy
o Physical manipulation
o Pharmacology
o Minor surgery

· Orgonomy
· Orthomolecular medicine
· Osteopathy

· Plum blossom
· Pranic healing
· Prayer
· Psychosocial interventions
· Power yoga
· Psychic surgery

· Qigong
· Quantum touch

· Rebirthing
· Reflexology
· Reiki
· Rolfing

· Sclerology
· Self-hypnosis
· Seitai
· Somapractic
· Sonopuncture
· Support groups

· T'ai Chi Ch'uan
· Tantramassage
· Thalassotherapy
· Therapeutic Touch
· Tibetan eye chart
· Tongue diagnosis
· Traditional Chinese medicine
o Acupressure
o Acupuncture
o Acupuncture point
o Auriculotherapy
o Chinese pulse diagnosis
o Chinese food therapy
o Coin rubbing
o Cupping
o Five Elements
o Gua Sha
o Herbology
o History of traditional Chinese medicine
o Korean hand acupuncture
o Meridian
o Moxibustion
o Plum blossom
o Qi
o Qigong
o Seven star
o Shiatsu
o Sonopuncture
o Trigger point
o Tui na
o Zang Fu theory
· Traditional Japanese medicine
o Meridian therapy
o Shiatsu
· Traditional Tibetan medicine
· Transcendental mation
· Trigger point
· Tui Na

· Urine therapy

· Visualization



· Yoga
o Hatha yoga
o Power yoga



Herbalism, also known as phytotherapy, is folk and traditional medicinal practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts.
The use of herbs to treat disease is almost universal among non-industrialized societies. A number of traditions have come to dominate the practise of herbal medicine in the west at the end of the twentieth century:-
· The Western, based on Greek and Roman sources,
· The Ayurvedic from India, and
· Chinese herbal medicine.
Many of the pharmaceuticals currently available to Western physicians have a long history of use as herbal remedies, including opium, aspirin, digitalis, and quinine.
1 Biological background
2 Popularity
3 Examples
4 In pop culture
5 Dangers
5.1 Name confusion
5.2 International standards
5.3 Medical interaction
6 See also

Biological background
All plants produce chemical compounds as part of their normal metabolic activities. These can be split into two categories - primary metabolites, such as sugars and fats, found in all plants; and secondary metabolites found in a smaller range of plants, some only in a particular genus or species. The autologous functions of secondary metabolites are varied; for example as toxins to deter predation, or to attract insects for pollination. It is these secondary metabolites which can have therapeutic actions in humans, and which can be refined to produce drugs. Some examples are inulin from the roots of dahlias, quinine from the cinchona, morphine and codeine from the poppy, and digoxin from the foxglove.
As of 2004, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine started to fund clinical trials into the effectiveness of herbal medicine [1].
Some surveys of scientific herbal medicine can be found in: Evidence-based herbal medicine ed by Michael Rotblatt, Irwin Ziment; Philadelphia: Hanley & Belfus, 2002; and Herbal and traditional medicine: molecular aspects of health, ed by Lester Packer, Choon Nam Ong, Barry Halliwell; New York: Marcel Dekker, 2004

A survey released in May 2004 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine focused on who used complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), what was used, and why it was used. The survey was limited to adults age 18 years and over during 2002 living in the United States. According to this recent survey, herbal therapy, or use of natural products other than vitamins and minerals, was the most commonly used CAM therapy (18.9%) ([2] table 1 on page 8) when all use of prayer was excluded.

Examples of some commonly used herbal medicines:
· Artichoke and several other plants have been associated with reduced total serum cholesterol levels in preliminary studies [3].
· Black cohosh and other plants that contain phytoestrogens (plant molecules with estrogen activity) have been found to have some benefits for treatment of symptoms resulting from menopause [4].
· Echinacea extracts have been shown to limit the length of colds in some clinical trials, although some studies have found it to have no effect.
· Garlic has been found to lower total cholesterol levels, mildly reduce blood pressure, reduces platelet aggregation, and has antibacterial properties [6].
· St John's wort has been found to be more effective than placebo for the treatment of mild to moderate depression in some clinical trials [7].

In pop culture
'Herblore' is a skill in the MMORPG RuneScape, which mainly involves the player combining various type of herbs found in the game into various potions. 'Herbalism', in the MMORPG World of Warcraft allows the player to collect plants for use as reagents for the skill 'Alchemy'. 'Herbalism' is a skill in the Roguelike game ADOM which allows the character to correctly identify varying herbs collected from bushes found in the dungeons.

A common misconception about herbalism and the use of 'natural' products in general, is that 'natural' equals safe. Nature however is not benign and many plants have chemical defence mechanisms against predators that can have adverse effects on humans. Examples are hemlock and nightshade, which can be deadly to humans. Herbs can also have undesirable side-effects just as pharmaceutical products can; these problems are exacerbated by lack of control over dosage and purity.

Name confusion
The common names of herbs may be shared with others with different effects. For example, in one case in Belgium in a TCM-remedy for losing weight, one herb was swapped for another that caused kidney damage. One variety of the herb causes elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate, versus another variety for the weight-loss remedy, the varieties are differentiated by the suffix in the Latin names.

International standards
The legal status of a herbal ingredient may vary from one country to another. For example, Ayurvedic herbal products often contain levels of heavy metals that would be considered unsafe in the US. However, heavy metals are considered to have therapeutic benefits in Ayurvedic medicine.

Medical interaction
It is often advised that those wishing to use herbal remedies first consult with a physician, as some herbal remedies have the potential to cause adverse drug interactions when used in combination with various prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. For example, dangerously low blood pressure may result from the combination of an herbal remedy that lowers blood pressure together with prescription medicine that does the same thing. However, please be aware that most physicians have no knowledge of herbal medicine, so they may not be the best sources of information. Also, there is little known about interactions of herbal remedies with pharmaceuticals since, contrary to pharmaceutical medicine, there is no system in place to report and publish any (adverse) interactions, so even herbalists may not be aware of adverse interactions.
To put the safety issue in perspective, an orial in the British Medical Journal pointed out, "Even though herbal medicines are not devoid of risk, they could still be safer than synthetic drugs. Between 1968 and 1997, the World Health Organization's monitoring centre collected 8985 reports of adverse events associated with herbal medicines from 55 countries. Although this number may seem impressively high, it amounts to only a tiny fraction of adverse events associated with conventional drugs held in the same database." (BMJ, October 18, 2003; 327:881-882).
A meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported the following: "The overall incidence of serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) was 6.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.2%-8.2%) and of fatal ADRs was 0.32% (95% CI, 0.23%-0.41%) of hospitalized patients. We estimated that in 1994 overall 2,216,000 (1,721,000-2,711,000) hospitalized patients had serious ADRs and 106,000 (76,000-137,000) had fatal ADRs, making these reactions between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death." (JAMA. 1998;279:1200-1205)
Finally, research posted by Ron Law shows a United States death rate of 0.0001% from dietary supplements versus 2.4% from "preventable medical misadventures" and 5.18% from properly prescribed and used drugs (


The Golden Temple is a sacred shrine for Sikhs
Sikhism (Punjabi: ਸਿੱਖੀ) is a religion based on the teachings of ten Gurus who lived primarily in 16th and 17th century India. It is one of the world's major religions with over 23 million followers. Sikhism comes from the word Sikh, which in turn comes from its Sanskrit root śiṣya (शिष्य) which means "disciple" or "learner".
The two core beliefs of Sikhism are:
· The belief in one pantheistic God. The opening sentence of the Sikh scriptures is only two words long, and reflects the base belief of all who adhere to the teachings of the religion: ੴ - Ek Onkar
· The teachings of the Ten Sikh Gurus (as well as other accepted Muslim and Hindu scholars) as enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib.
The Guru Granth Sahib is a sacred text considered by Sikhs to be their eleventh and final Guru. Sikhism was influenced by reform movements in Hinduism (e.g. Bhakti, monism, Vedic metaphysics, guru ideal, and bhajans) as well as Sufi Islam. It departs from some of the social traditions and structure of Hinduism and Islam (such as the caste system and purdah, respectively). Sikh philosophy is characterised by logic, comprehensiveness, and a "without frills" approach to both spiritual and material concerns. Its theology is marked by simplicity.
1 History of Sikhism
2 The Gurus of Sikhism
2.1 The Ten Gurus of Sikhism
2.2 The Sri Guru Granth Sahib
3 Sikh religious philosophy
3.1 Primary beliefs and principles
3.2 Underlying values
3.3 Prohibited behavior
3.4 Technique and methods
3.5 Other observations
4 Sikhs today
5 The Five Ks
6 Sikhs around the world
7 Sikh Communities
8 Sikh Communities in the News
9 Sikh Youth
10 Observations
10.1 All welcomed
11 Multi-level approach
12 The Khalsa
13 Followers of Sikhism
14 Sikhs and Punjabis
15 Sikh names
16 See also
17 External links
17.1 Kirtan links

History of Sikhism
The Khanda, one of the most important symbols of Sikhism
Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1538), the founder of Sikhism, was born in the village of Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib, near Lahore in present-day Pakistan. His father, Mehta Kalu was a Patwari- an accountant of land revenue in the government. Guru's mother was Mata Tripta and he had one older sister, Bibi Nanki. From the very childhood, Bibi Nanki saw in him the Light of God but she did not reveal this secret to anyone. She is known as the first disciple of Guru Nanak. Even as a boy, Nanak was fascinated by religion, and his desire to explore the mysteries of life eventually led him to leave home. He wandered all over India in the manner of Hindu saints. It was during this period that Nanak met Kabir (1441–1518), a saint revered by both Hindus and Muslims. He made four distinct major journeys, which are called Udasis spanning many thousands of miles.
In 1538, Guru Nanak chose Lehna, his disciple as a successor to the Guruship rather than his son. Bhai Lehna was named Guru Angad and became the second guru of the Sikhs. He continued the work started by the Founder. Guru Amar Das became the third Sikh guru in 1552 at the age of 73. Goindwal became an important centre for Sikhism during the Guruship of Guru Amar Das. He continued to preach the principle of equality for women, the prohibition of Sati and the practise of Langar. In 1567, Emperor Akbar sat with the ordinary and poor people of Punjab to have Langar. Guru Amar Das also trained 140 apostles of which 52 were women to manage the rapid expansion of the religion. Before he died in 1574 aged 95, he appointed his son-in-law, Jetha as the fourth Sikh Guru.
Jetha became Guru Ram Das and vigorously undertook his duties as the new guru. He is responsible for the establishment of the city of Ramdaspur later to be named Amritsar. In 1581, Guru Arjan- youngest son of fourth guru - became the Fifth Guru of the Sikhs. In addition to being responsible for the construction of the Golden Temple, he prepared the Sikh Sacred text and his personal addition of some 2,000 plus hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib. In 1604 he installed the Adi Granth for the first time as the Holy Book of the Sikhs. In 1606, for refusing to make changes to the Guru Granth Sahib, he was tortured and killed by the Mughal rulers of the time.
Guru Hargobind, became the sixth guru of the Sikhs. He carried two swords – one for Spiritual reasons and one for temporal (worldly) reasons. From this point onward, the Sikhs became a military force and always had a trained fighting force to defend their independence. In 1644, Guru Har Rai became Guru followed by Guru Har Krishan, the boy Guru in 1661. Guru Teg Bahadur became Guru in 1665 and led the Sikhs until 1675, when he sacrificed his life to save the Kashmiri Hindus who had come to him for help.
In 1675, Aurangzeb publicly executed the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. Sikh mythos says that Guru Tegh Bahadur sacrificed himself to save Hindus, after Kashmiri pandits came to him for help when the Emperor condemned them for failing to convert to Islam. This marked a turning point for Sikhism. His successor, Guru Gobind Singh further militarised his followers (see Khalsa). After Aurangzeb killed four of Gobind Singh's sons, Gobind Singh sent Aurangzeb the Zafarnama (Notification of Victory).
Shortly before passing away Guru Gobind ordered that Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Scripture, would be the ultimate spiritual authority for the Sikhs and temporal authority would vest in the Khalsa Panth – The Sikh Nation. The first Sikh Holy Scripture was compiled and ed by the Fifth Guru, Guru Arjan in AD 1604, although some of the earlier gurus are also known to have documented their revelations. This is one of the few scriptures in the world that has been compiled by the founders of a faith during their own life time. The Guru Granth Sahib is particularly unique among sacred texts in that it is written in Gurmukhi script but contains many languages including Punjabi, Hindi-Urdu, Sanskrit, Bhojpuri and Persian. Sikhs consider the Guru Granth Sahib the last, perpetual living guru.

The Gurus of Sikhism

The Ten Gurus of Sikhism
Sikhism was established by ten Gurus — teachers or masters — over the period 1469 to 1708. These teachers were enlightened souls whose main purpose in life was the spiritual and moral well-being of the masses. Each master added to and reinforced the message taught by the previous, resulting to the creation of the religion of Sikhism. Guru Nanak was the first Guru and Guru Gobind Singh the final Guru in human form. When Guru Gobind Singh left this world, he made the Sri Guru Granth Sahib the ultimate and final Sikh Guru. The Gurus are believed to have the same spirit, or "jot", but different bodies.

Guruship on
Prakash DOB
Date of Demise
Guru Nanak Dev
15 April 1469
15 April 1469
22 September 1539
Mehta Kalu
Mata Tripta
Guru Angad Dev
7 September 1539
31 March 1504
29 March 1552
Baba Pheru
Mata Ramo
Guru Amar Das
25 March 1552
5 May 1479
1 September 1574
Tej Bhan Bhalla
Bakht Kaur
Guru Ram Das
29 August 1574
24 September 1534
1 September 1581
Baba Hari Das
Mata Daya Kaur
Guru Arjan Dev
28 August 1581
15 April 1563
30 May 1606
Guru Ram Das
Mata Bhani
Guru Har Gobind
30 May 1606
19 June 1595
3 March 1644
Guru Arjan
Mata Ganga
Guru Har Rai
28 February 1644
26 February 1630
6 October 1661
Baba Gurditta
Mata Nihal Kaur
Guru Har Krishan
6 October 1661
7 July 1656
30 March 1664
Guru Har Rai
Mata Krishan Kaur
Guru Tegh Bahadur
20 March 1665
1 April 1621
11 November 1675
Guru Har Gobind
Mata Nanki
Guru Gobind Singh
11 November 1675
22 December 1666
6 October 1708
Guru Tegh Bahadur
Mata Gujri

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib
A man reading the Guru Granth Sahib at the Harmandir Sahib.
Main article: Guru Granth Sahib
The Guru Granth Sahib is the eleventh and final Guru of the Sikhs, is held in the highest regard by the Sikhs and is treated as the Eternal Guru, as instructed by Guru Gobind Singh.
It is perhaps the only scripture of its kind which not only contains the teachings of its own religious founders but also writings of people from other faiths. Besides the Banis of the Gurus, it also contains the writings of saints like Kabir, Namdev, Ravidas, Sheikh Farid, Trilochan, Dhanna, Beni, Sheikh Bhikan, Jaidev, Surdas, Parmanad, Pipa and Ramanand.
The Granth forms the central part of the Sikh place of worship called a gurdwara. The Holy Scripture placed on the dominant platform in the main hall of the gurdwara during the day. It is placed with great respect and dignity upon a throne with beautiful and colourful fabric.
The Guru Granth Sahib is separated into musical measures, called Raags. There are 31 raags within the Guru Granth Sahib.
Interpretations of the Guru Granth Sahib, although translated into English and many other languages, vary from person to person. Its interpretation is based on the mindset and perception of each individual, and its guiding advice can be used for any type of situation, both religious and non-religious.

Sikh religious philosophy
Main article: Sikh religious philosophy
The Sikh religious philosophy can be divided into the following five sections:

Primary beliefs and principles
Main article: Sikhism primary beliefs and principles
Sikhism advocates the belief in one pantheistic God (Ek Onkar) who is omnipresent and has infinite qualities. Sikhs do not have a gender for God nor do they believe God takes a human form. All human beings are considered equal regardless of their religion, sex or race. All are sons and daughters of Waheguru, the Almighty.
Followers of Sikhism are encouraged to wake in the early morning hours, before the sun has risen, and mate on God's name. They must work hard and honestly and never live off of others, but give to others from the fruits of one's own labour. A Sikh's home should always be open to all.
Sikhs believe in the concept of reincarnation, yet other beliefs of the afterlife are also accepted. All creatures are believed to have souls that pass to other bodies upon death until liberation is achieved. Sikhs should defend, safeguard, and fight for the rights of all creatures, and in particular fellow human beings. They are encouraged to have a "Chardi Kala" or positive, optimistic and buoyant view of life.
The Sikh religion is not considered the only way to salvation - people of other religions may also achieve salvation. This concept is shared with other Dharmic religions.
Upon baptism, Sikhs must wear the 5Ks, strictly recite the 5 prayers. Sikhs do not believe that any particular day is holier than any other and generally adopt the religous day of the country within which they reside.
It is every Sikh's duty to defeat these five vices: ego, anger, greed, attachment, and lust. Sikhs are encouraged to 'attack' these vices with contentment, charity, kindness, positive attitude and humility.

Underlying values
Main article: Sikhism underlying values
The Sikhs must believe in the following values:
1. Equality: All humans are equal before God.
2. God's spirit: All creatures have God's spirits and must be properly respected.
3. Personal right: Every person has a right to life but this right is restricted.
4. Actions count: Salvation is obtained by one's actions, including good deeds, remembrance of God, etc.
5. Living a family life: Must live as a family unit to provide and nurture children.
6. Sharing: It is encouraged to share and give to charity 10 percent of one's net earnings.
7. Accept God's will: Develop your personality so that you recognize happy events and miserable events as one.
8. The four fruits of life: Truth, contentment, contemplation and Naam, (in the name of God).

Prohibited behavior
Main article: Sikhism prohibited behavior
1. Non-logical behavior: Superstitions and rituals are not meaningful to Sikhs (pilgrimages, fasting, bathing in rivers, circumcision, worship of graves, idols or pictures, compulsory wearing of the veil for women, etc.).
2. Material obsession: ("Maya") Accumulation of materials has no meaning in Sikhism. Wealth such as gold, portfolio, stocks, commodities, and properties will all be left here on Earth when you depart. Do not get attached to them.
3. Sacrifice of creatures: (Sati). Widows throwing themselves in the funeral pyre of their husbands, lamb and calf slaughter to celebrate holy occasions, etc. are forbidden.
4. Non-family oriented living: A Sikh is not allowed to live as a recluse, beggar, yogi, monk, nun, or celibate.
5. Worthless talk: Bragging, gossip, lying, etc. are not permitted.
6. Intoxication: Alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and consumption of other intoxicants is not permitted.
7. Priestly class: Sikhs do not have to depend on a priest for performing any religious functions. They are not supposed to follow a class/caste system where the priestly class reigns highest. Everyone is equal.

Technique and methods
Main article: Sikhism technique and methods
1. Naam Japna: - meditation and prayer on the Name of God in Sikhism, which is "Waheguru", it is also called the 'Gur-Manter'. Naam Japna is the repetition of this name.
2. Kirat Karni: - Honest earnings, labor, etc. while remembering the Lord.
3. Wand kay Shako: - Share with others in need, free food (langar), donate 10% of income Daasvand, etc.

Other observations
Main article: Sikhism other observations
1. Not son of God: The Gurus were not in the Christian sense “Sons of God”. Sikhism says all humans are the children of God and by deduction, God is mother/father.
2. All are welcome: Members of all religions may visit Sikh temples (Gurdwaras), but must observe certain rules: cover the head, remove shoes, no smoking or drinking intoxicants inside, and visitors must not be under the influence of any drugs, especially alcohol.
3. Multi-level approach: Sikhism recognises the concept of a multi-level approach to achieving one's target as a disciple of the faith. For example, "Sahajdhari" (slow adopters) are Sikhs who have not donned the full 5Ks but are still Sikhs nevertheless.
Note: The Punjabi language does not have a gender for God. Unfortunately, when translating, the proper meaning cannot be correctly conveyed without using Him/His/He/Brotherhood, S/He etc., but this distorts the meaning by giving the impression that God is masculine, which is not the message in the original script. The reader must correct for this every time these words are used.

Sikhs today
Today, Sikhs can be found all over India and elsewhere in the world. Sikh men as well as some Sikh women can be identified by their practice of always wearing a turban to cover their long hair. The turban is quite different from the ones worn by the Muslim clergy and should not be confused with them. The surname or more usually the middle name Singh1 (meaning lion) is very common for males, and Kaur (meaning princess) for women. Of course, not all people named Singh or Kaur are necessarily Sikhs, the Sikhs adopted the name Singh in 1699 during the Birth of the Khalsa. The name Singh is closely linked to the martial antiquities of North India dating back to at least the Eighth Century CE.

The Five Ks
Main article: The Five Ks
Practicing Sikhs are bound to wear five kakaars, or articles of faith, known as The Five Ks, at all times. It is done either out of respect for the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, or out of sense of duty or from understanding of their function and purpose and relevance in daily life. It is important to note that The Five Ks are not merely present for symbolic purposes. The tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, ordered these Five Ks to be worn so that a Sikh could actively use them to make a difference to their own spirituality and to others' spirituality.
The 5 items are: Kesh (uncut hair), Kanga (small comb), Kara (circular bracelet), Kirpan (small sword) and Kacha (shorts).

Sikhs around the world
A Sikh known as Yogi Bhajan brought the Sikh way of life to many young people in the Western hemisphere. In addition to Indian-born Sikhs, there are now thousands of individuals of Western origin who were not born as Sikhs, but have embraced the Sikh way of life and live and teach all over the world.
In the late 1970s and 1980s a limited political separatist movement arose in India with the mission to create a separate Sikh state, called Khalistan, in the Punjab area of India and Pakistan.
Currently, there are about 23 million Sikhs in the world, making it the fifth largest world religion. Approximately 19 million Sikhs live in India with the majority living in the state of Punjab ('greater Punjab' extends across the India-Pakistan border but few Sikhs remained in Pakistan due to persecution during the split of India in 1947). Large populations of Sikhs can be found in the United Kingdom, Canada, and USA. They also comprise a significant minority in Malaysia and Singapore, where they are respected for their drive and high education standards, as they dominate the legal profession.
Giani Zail Singh was the first Sikh to become President of India. Born on 5 May 1916, son of Mata Ind Kaur and Bhai Kishan Singh in a small village named Sandhwan, near Kot Kapura, formerly prince state of Faridkot. In 1982 Giani Zail Singh was unanimously elected by the Congress Party as a choice for President.
Following the Indian general election, 2004, Dr Manmohan Singh has become the first Sikh Prime Minister of India.
Sikhs comprise a large proportion of the Indian Armed Forces. On January 31st 2005, General J.J. Singh became the 22nd Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army (the highest commanding position) and the first Sikh to do so. Also they have a major presence in the Transport Industry in India.

Sikh Communities
Some of the largest Sikh communities exist in Amritsar, Punjab, and other areas of Punjab, in addition to Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Pakistan, Malaysia, Thailand, Kuwait, Germany, The Netherlands, UAE, UK, USA etc.
The number of Sikh youth is on the rise, as young people study in the growing number of Sikh gurmat schools. Sikh gurmat schools number in the hundreds across the world, but some of the more notable ones have been the Miri Piri Academy (Punjab), Akal Academy (Baru Sahib), Khalsa School (Surrey), and Guru Nanak Public School (UK). Emerging schools include the Guru Nanak Academy (Surrey), Panth Khalsa Study Center (Calgary), and Shan-E-Khalsa Gurmat Academy (Abbotsford).
Practices in Sikh communities around the world are standard with regard to behaviour in a gurdwara, or the manner of conducting certain ceremonies, but personal lifestyle often varies.

Sikh Communities in the News
Recently the Sikh community of New Orleans has been in the news due to Hurricane Katrina and the events surrounding the New Orleans gurdwara in the aftermath of the hurricane.
The Sikh community of Surrey has recently been in the news in relation to two attacks on elderly Sikh men in Surrey's Bear Creek Park, and the Surrey Sikh Community's reaction to these hate-motivated crimes.

Sikh Youth
Sikh youth now take a more active role in learning and preaching on the topic of the Sikh faith, especially with the advent of websites for the promotion of different perspectives on Sikh ideology. The Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia has perhaps one of the oldest running Sikh youth websites. Second in age would probably be the West Coast Sikh Youth Alliance, which operates out of British Columbia and organizes an annual camp. More recent youth initiatives include Ottawa Sikh Youth and BC Sikh Youth.

The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, was born in 1469 to a Khatri family in central Punjab (in what is present day Pakistan). After four epic journeys (north to Tibet, south to Sri Lanka, east to Bengal and west to Mecca and Baghdad) Guru Nanak preached to Hindus, Muslims and others, and in the process attracted a following of Sikhs or disciples. Religion, he taught, was a way to unite people, but in practice he found that it set men against one another. He particularly regretted the antagonism between Hindus and Muslims as well as certain ritualistic practices that distracted people from focusing on God. He wanted to go beyond what was being practised by either religion and hence a well-known saying of Guru Nanak is, "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim." Guru Gobind Singh reinforced these words by saying, "Regard the whole human race as equal".
Guru Nanak was opposed to the caste system. His followers referred to him as the guru (teacher). Before his death he designated a new Guru to be his successor and to lead the Sikh community. This procedure was continued, and the tenth and last Guru, Guru Gobind (AD 1666–1708) initiated the Sikh ceremony in AD 1699 ; and thus gave a distinctive identity to the Sikhs. The five baptised Sikhs were named Panj Pyare (Five Beloved Ones), who in turn baptised the Guru at his request.
Guru Nanak's doctrinal position is clear, despite the appearance that it is a blend of insights originating from two very different faiths. Sikhism's coherence is attributable to its single central concept – the sovereignty of the One God, the Creator. Guru Nanak called God the "True Name" because he wanted to avoid any limiting terms for God. He taught that the True Name, although manifest in many ways, many places and known by many names, is eternally One, the Sovereign and omnipotent God (the Truth of Love).
Guru Nanak's ascribed to the concept of maya, regarding material objects and realities as expressions of the creator's eternal truth, which tended to erect "a wall of falsehood" around those who live totally in the mundane world of material desires. This materialism prevents them from seeing the ultimate reality, as God created matter as a veil, so that only spiritual minds, free of desire, can penetrate it by the grace of the Guru (Gurprasad).
The world is immediately real in the sense that it is made manifest to the senses as maya, but is ultimately unreal in the sense that God alone is ultimate reality. Retaining the Hindu doctrine of the transmigration of souls, together with its corollary, the law of karma, Guru Nanak advised his followers to end the cycle of reincarnation by living a disciplined life – that is, by moderating egoism and sensuous delights, to live in a balanced worldly manner, and by accepting ultimate reality. Thus, by the grace of Guru (Gurprasad) the cycle of re-incarnation can be broken, and the Sikh can remain in the abode of the Love of God.
A Sikh should balance work, worship and charity - and mate by repeating God's name, Nam japna (to enhance spiritual development). Salvation, Guru Nanak said, does not mean entering paradise after a last judgment, but a union and absorption into God, the true name. Sikhs believe in neither heaven nor hell. They strive for the grace of the Guru during the human journey of the soul.
Political pressure from surrounding Muslim nations forced the Sikhs to defend themselves and by the mid-nineteenth century, the Punjab area straddling modern-day India and Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kashmir was ruled by them. The Sikh's Khalsa Army defeated the invading British army and signed treaties with China.

All welcomed
Members of all religions may visit Sikh temples (gurdwaras = the Guru's door) but are asked to observe the following rules out of respect for sikh sensibilities:
· To cover one's head (there will be bandana-like Rumāls available there)
· To take off one's shoes
· To not smoke or indulge in the consumption of alcoholic or tobacco-related materials (even in the vicinity of the gurdwara)
· Not to bring or possess any alcoholic or tobacco-related items, or be under their effects when entering the gurdwara.

Multi-level approach
Main article: Sikh religious philosophy
Sikhism recognises the concept of a multi-level approach to achieving your target as a disciple of the faith. For example, Sahajdhari (slow adopters) are Sikhs who have not donned the full Five Ks but are still Sikhs nonetheless.

The Khalsa
Main article: Khalsa
A baptised Sikh becomes a member of the Khalsa or the "Pure Ones". When a Sikh joins the Khalsa, he/she is supposed to have devoted their life to the Guru, and is expected not to desist from sacrificing anything and everything in a struggle for a just and righteous cause.
The word "Khalsa" has two literal meanings. It comes from Persian. One literal meaning is "Pure" and the other meaning is "belonging to the king". When the word "Khalsa" is used for a Sikh, it implies belonging to the King, where the King is God himself. To become a Khalsa, a Sikh must surrender themselves completely to the supreme King or God and obey God's will without question or delay.

Followers of Sikhism
A Sikh man wearing a turban
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. The word Sikh is derived from the Sanskrit word shishya which means disciple or student. In the Punjabi language the word Sikh also means humble follower. So a Sikh is a disciple of the Ten Gurus and a follower of the teachings in Sikhism's holy scriptures who they regard as a living guru, the Guru Granth Sahib.

Sikhs and Punjabis
Since Sikhism originated in the Punjab region, most Sikhs trace their roots to that region (though in recent times, with the spread both of Sikhism and Sikhs, one might encounter Sikhs belonging to other geographical locations across the world). With the revisions of the state boundaries in 1966, 65% of the population in the Indian Punjab made up of Sikhs, whereas Sikhs comprise only 2% of the population in India as a whole. Consequently, and also because the Guru Granth Sahib is written in Gurmukhi, a script of the Punjabi language, most Sikhs are able to speak, read or write the language, or are at least familiar with it.

Sikh names
Main article: Sikh names
A Sikh man often bears a middle name or surname of Singh, which means 'lion', and a Sikh woman can be identified with a second name of Kaur, which means 'princess' ('Kaur' being an exclusively Sikh name). Additionally, except only a very few cases, the same first names as used for men are used for women. In other words, though one may not be able to tell the sex of a Sikh person from his/her first name, the second name of Singh or Kaur makes the distinction completely clear. Unisex first names are a salient example of the complete equality between men and women. Many Sikh's first names have a -pal or -jit suffix endings, such as Inderjit, Harjit, Rajpal and Harpal.

See also
An index of the most important pages on Sikhism, can be found at the Sikh pages.
Topics in Sikhism [ Hide ]
Guru Nanak Dev Guru Angad Dev Guru Amar Das Guru Ram Das Guru Arjan Dev Guru Har Gobind Guru Har Rai Guru Har Krishan Guru Teg Bahadur Guru Gobind Singh Guru Granth Sahib Sikh Bhagats
Beliefs and principles Underlying values Prohibitions Technique and methods Other observations
Aardas Amrit Chardi Kala Dasvand Five Ks Kirat Karni Kirtan Langar Naam Simran Three Pillars Wand kay Shako
Guru Granth Sahib Bani Chaupai Dasam Granth Jaap Sahib Japji Sahib Mool Mantar Rehras Sukhmani Tav-Prasad Savaiye
Ek Onkar Gurdwara History Khalsa Khanda Literature Music Names Places Politics Satguru Sikhs Waheguru
· Amritsar
· Bhagat - Bhagat Farid - Bhagat Kabir ....
· Golden Temple - Gurdwaras in Pakistan
· Interfaith
· List of Sikhs
· Punjabi language - History of the Punjab
· Sardar
· Takhat

External links
External Sikhism Info pages
· Ikonkar Sikhism, One God for All
· Sikh Genocide Project
· The Sikh Coalition
· Definitions of Sadh Sant Sateguru Naam Japna, Amritsar, Sarover, Ishnan,and other key topics
· Shri Guru Granth Sahib - Complete Audio, Kirtan Videos
· Learn Sikhism in mainstream School at Ontario, Canada - Learn Sikhism as part of K12 curriculum
· - massive Sikh portal to access informeditation or anything Sikhi related
· - The True Guru online!
· - An invaluable source of sikh history and discussion forum
· Sikhism - the Sikh youth of BC
· - Encyclopedia of the Sikhs
· SikhPhilosophy.Net - Redefining Sikh, Sikhi & Sikhism. Learn about Sikh Religion & History.
· - A great overview of the Sikh faith
· Sikh Missionary Society U.K. - Dedicated to promoting the Sikh Religion, Culture and History. Contains Vast eBook Library.
· Sikhism - profile
· Eternal Glory of Baba Nand Singh Ji Maharaj
· Sikh Religious Symbols - An illustrated Glossary
· Sikhism Thy Name Is Love And Sacrifice
· Info-sikh a wealth of informeditation on Sikhism
· SikhNet
· Sikh Videos Gurbani Kirtan
· SGGS Translation by

Kirtan links
Text links
· Shri Guru Granth Sahib Complete Audio, Kirtan Videos
· - The best Keertan site on the web, Classic and Modern styles
· Audio server containing informeditation by topic of key gurbani concepts through kirtan
· Gurbani from
· Kirtan
· Live Kirtan from Harmandir Sahib by
· Kirtan @
· Bhai Harjinder Singh
· Informeditation from
· Bhai Amrik Singh Zakhmi
Audio links
1. Japji Sahib
· Complete Nitnem in Audio
· JapjiSahib.mp3 - Download 1.826M or Play 15.34 min
· Written text of Japji Sahib
· Audio of Japji Sahib
2. Jaap Sahib
· JaapSahib.mp3 - Download 1.028M or Play 17.32 min
· English Translation of Jaap Sahib
3. Anand Sahib
· Link to Anand Sahib
· AnandSahib.mp3 - Download 1.951M or Play 13.18 min
4. Rehras Sahib
· RehrasSahib.mp3 - Download 1.977M & Play 16.51 min
5. Kirtan Sohila
· KirtanSohila.mp3 - Download 1.283M & Play 3.38min
· English Translation of Kirtan Sohila
6. Tav-Prasad Savaiye
· Tav-Prasad Savaiye - English Translation
7. Chaupai
· Kabiobach Bainti Chaupai.mp3 - Download 1.55 Mbyte or Play 4 min 24 seconds
· Audio by