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Natural Health Glossary
Medical Terms, Therapies, Accreditation

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cinnabar (mercury)
A heavy silvery toxic univalent and bivalent metallic element, named by the alchemists after the god Mercury; a metallic element mostly obtained by reduction from cinnabar (mercuric sulfide), one of its ores. It is the only metal that is liquid at standard room temperature. Mercury is a heavy, op   (more info - cinnabar)

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Human microbiome (microbiome)
Defined by Joshua Lederberg as: "the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space," the human microbiome is the network of living organisms on and in the body that are too small to be seen with the naked eye, including bacteria, fung   (more info - Human microbiome)

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insulin resistance syndrome (metabolic syndrome)
A collection of metabolic abnormalities and risk factors in one individual, including insulin resistance, high blood levels of triglycerides, low blood levels of HDL-cholesterol, and obesity. This syndrome increases the risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, and diab   (more info - insulin resistance syndrome)

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maceration
Softening of tissue by soaking.

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macrophage
A type of white blood cell that travels in the blood but can leave the bloodstream and enter tissue; like other leukocytes, it protects the body by digesting debris and foreign cells. They surround and kill microorganisms, removes dead cells, and stimulate the action of other immune system cells.   (more info - macrophage)

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macular degeneration (amd)
An eye disease caused by degeneration of the cells of the macula lutea (the small yellowish central area of the retina that is rich in cones and that mediates clear detailed vision). The center of the inner lining of the eye, suffers thinning, atrophy, and in some cases, bleeding, which results in b   (more info - macular degeneration)

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magnesium
A light silver-white metallic element, malleable and ductile, quite permanent in dry air but tarnishing in moist air. In North America, most people are thought to be magnesium-deficient, with only about 1/3 of the population meeting the daily intake (with adult males needing 420mg/day and females   (more info - magnesium)

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magnesium sulphate (epsom salts)
Sulphate of magnesia has cathartic (laxative) qualities; taken orally, it is used as a laxative, and to treat heartburn and constipation. It is also injected to prevent seizures. In bath salts, magnesium sulfate is used to draw toxins out of the body and to reduce inflammation. The increase in io   (more info - magnesium sulphate)

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malabsorption
poor absorption of nutrients from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream

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malic acid
A hydroxy acid (hydracid; containing no oxygen) obtained as a substance which is sirupy or crystallized with difficulty, and has a strong but pleasant sour taste. It occurs in many fruits, as in green apples, currants, etc. It is levorotatory or dextrorotatory according to the temperature and con   (more info - malic acid)

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malondialdehyde (mda)
A byproduct of lipid (fat) metabolism in the body. A highly reactive and potentially mutagenic organic compound. A marker for oxidative stress, it is seen in the corneas of patients suffering from keratoconus and bullous keratopathy and the joints of patients with osteoarthritis. It is also fo   (more info - malondialdehyde)

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manganese
A hard brittle gray polyvalent metallic element that resembles iron but is not magnetic. It is found as a free element in nature (often in combination with iron), and in many minerals. Manganese is a metal with important industrial metal alloy uses, particularly in stainless steels. The element i   (more info - manganese)

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Manual Lymph Drainage
A method for lymphatic drainage involving flat hands, using all of the fingers to simulate wave-like movements. The results include reduction of certain types edema (those resulting from trauma and/or scarring).

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massage therapy (massage)
Massage Therapy involves the use of the practitioner's hands to manipulate the soft tissue and muscles of the client. These techniques are aimed at relieving tension, pain, spasms, stress, and to improve circulation. It is both relaxing and therapeutic. There are over eighty different re   (more info - massage therapy)

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MD
Medical Doctor

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Medical Exercise Therapy (exercise therapy)
A branch of exercise therapy where the patient performs exercises using specially designed apparatus, without assistance but under the constant supervision of the physiotherapist.

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meditation
Consciously directing your attention to alter your state of consciousness. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, improve focus, alter the brain, and thus can be an aid in dealing with stress-related illnesses.    (more info - meditation)

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Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco. It contains fewer meats and carbohydrates and more plant-based foods and monounsaturated (good) fat than a typical North American diet. Meals are based a   (more info - Mediterranean diet)

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melanin
Insoluble pigments that account for the color of skin, hair, eyes, scales, and feathers of vertebrate animals. Melanin protects the skin from damage by ultraviolet light and is the pigment which is produced in response to damage by the sun, causing skin to tan to protect against further damage. I   (more info - melanin)

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Melanocytes
Cells that produce and contain the pigment called melanin. These cells predominantly occur in skin, but are also found in other parts of the body, including the bowel and the eye. They are the cells affected by melanoma.

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Melanoma
Cancer of the cells that produce pigment in the skin (melanocytes). Melanomas are any of several malignant neoplasms (abnormal new mass of tissue) usually of the skin, and usually beginning in a mole. Melanoma can originate in any part of the body that contains melanocytes, including the bowel and t   (more info - Melanoma)

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Melanopsin
A type of photopigment belonging to a larger family of light-sensitive retinal proteins called opsins and encoded by the gene Opn4. In the mammalian retina, there are two additional opsins, both involved in the formation of visual images: rhodopsin and photopsin (types I, II, and III) in the rod and   (more info - Melanopsin)

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melatonin
A hormone produced by the pineal gland (located at the center of the brain) at night. It is believed to regulate the body's biological clock (circadian rhythm) and reproductive cycles and has been found to improve the quality of sleep in elderly people with insomnia. Melatonin is a pervasive and    (more info - melatonin)

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melodic intonation therapy
A therapeutic process that uses music to involve the non-dominant hemisphere in language production. Music therapists and speech pathologists use this technique to help patients with communication disorders caused by brain damage. This method uses a style of singing called melodic intonation to s   (more info - melodic intonation therapy)

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Memory
The faculty of the mind by which it retains the knowledge of previous thoughts, impressions, or events. In psychology, memory is the process in which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved. The loss of memory is described as forgetfulness, or as a medical disorder, amnesia. 1. the power   (more info - Memory)

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menopause
The time of life when a woman's menstrual periods stop permanently. Also called "change of life." Menopause can be officially declared (in an adult woman who is not pregnant, is not lactating, and who has an intact uterus) when there has been amenorrhea (absence of any menstruation) for on   (more info - menopause)

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menthol
Derived from members of the mint family, menthol is a volatile oil that has antiseptic and antifungicidal properties. It also helps with congestion caused by colds and stomach pains (antispasmodic, carminative).

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merocrine
1. Of or pertaining to a gland which secretes without major damage to its secretory cells. 2. A term used to classify exocrine glands and their secretions in the study of histology

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metabolic (metabolism)
The enzyme-catalyzed reactions (organic processes) that are necessary for life. It is the series of chemical changes which take place in an organism, by means of which food is manufactured and utilized and waste materials are eliminated. These changes produce energy and basic materials needed for im   (more info - metabolic)

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metabolite
1. Any substance involved in metabolism (either as a product of metabolism or as necessary for metabolism). 2. Essential to the chemical changes that take place in a cell or an organism that produce energy and basic materials needed for important life processes, such as mitosis.

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metastasis (metastatic)
The organic processes (in a cell or organism) that are necessary for life; the spreading of a disease to another part of the body. The most common use of the term currently is to describe the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another, which is not directly connected to the first. This   (more info - metastasis)

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methionine
One of the twenty naturally occurring amino acids. Methionine is important in angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, and supplementation may benefit those suffering from q's, drug withdrawal, schizophrenia, radiation, copper poisoning, asthma, allergies, alcoholism, or depression. The com   (more info - methionine)

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methyl-xanthines
Caffeine, theobromine, theophylline. Includes chemical constituents of coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate and caffeinated medications. High intake levels are associated with fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts, and fibroids.

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microgreens (sprouts)
Sprout: To shoot, as the seed of a plant; to germinate; to push out new shoots; hence, to grow like shoots of plants. The newly grown bud (especially from a germinating seed) of a plant. Microgreens (micro greens) are a tiny form of young edible greens produced from various kinds of vegetables,   (more info - microgreens)

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Midwife (midwives)
Midwifery is the branch of medicine dealing with childbirth and care of the mother. A practitioner of midwifery is known as a midwife, a term used in reference to both women and men. Midwives provide the complete course of low-risk prenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care, including physical exam   (more info - Midwife)

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Migraine
A severe recurring vascular headache; occur more frequently in women than men. Typically the headache affects one half of the head, is pulsating in nature, and lasting from 2 to 72 hours. Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell. The pain is gene   (more info - Migraine)

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Mindful awareness (mindfulness)
The trait of staying aware of (paying close attention to) what is happening/your responsibilities. As a psychological concept, it is the focusing of attention and awareness, based on the concept of mindfulness in Buddhist meditation. It has been popularised in the West by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Despite    (more info - Mindful awareness )

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Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (mbsr)
Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a form of open monitoring, characterized by theta activity in the brain. Described as "moment-to-moment non-judgmental awareness", MBSR is similar to Buddhist meditation, but without religious affiliation. Research suggests the benefits of MBSR include   (more info - Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction)

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mineral
A nutrient required to maintain health. An element (such as copper, iron, calcium, potassium, etc.) which is required by the body in some amount (often in trace amounts); compare vitamin. An inorganic substance (a chemical element or chemical element compound) that is found in nature and has a di   (more info - mineral)

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mitochondria
Parts of a cell (in the cytoplasm) where aerobic production, or cell respiration, takes place. Mitochondria are sometimes described as "cellular power plants" because they generate most of the cell's supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In addition to supplying cellular energy, mitochondria ar   (more info - mitochondria)

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Mobbing (workplace mobbing)
Mobbing is a form of harassment or bullying, typically by a clique against an individual. It can take the form of openly targeting a particular person as an outcast or, more subtly, pointedly ignoring that person for a prolonged period, making complaining about the behaviour next to impossible.    (more info - Mobbing)

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modalities
a method of therapy

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molasses
The thick dark syrup produced by boiling down juice from sugar cane (or sugar beets), especially during sugar refining. Molasses primarily consist of sucrose, water and inorganic components. Because of its cheap price, it is commercial used as a soil additive to promote microbial activity.   (more info - molasses)

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Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (maois)
A class of antidepressant drugs prescribed for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are also being studied for their effects with other mental health concerns such as OCD, agoraphobia, and PTSD. Because of potentially lethal dietary and drug interactions,    (more info - Monoamine oxidase inhibitors)

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monocytes
A type of granular leukocyte that functions in the ingestion of bacteria, specifically, a large, round leukocyte that engulfs and breaks down debris and invading cells. Monocytes are formed in bone marrow and have round or kidney-shaped nuclei. Half of them are stored in the spleen. Monocytes are   (more info - monocytes)

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monosaccharide
1. The simplest sugar; has the general formula of two hydrogen atoms per one oxygen atom and one carbon atom. 2. A sugar like sucrose or fructose, except that does not hydrolyze (break down in water) to give other sugars; the simplest group of carbohydrates.

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monoterpenes
Primary alcohols found in plant matter which play a role in the reduction of cholesterol and in stimulating apoptosis. Monoterpenes also increase the levels of liver enzymes involved in detoxifying carcinogens. This in turn appears to have antitumour and anticarcinogenic effects. See also terpene   (more info - monoterpenes)

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monounsaturated fatty acids (monounsaturated fats)
The "good fat". As a general rule, unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are believed to lower blood cholesterol levels and tests have shown them to significantly reduce the relative risk for invasive breast cancer as well as strokes. They have been shown to    (more info - monounsaturated fatty acids)

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Mood (emotion)
Emotion: A strong feeling or movement of the mind or soul; excitement of the feelings, whether pleasing or painful; disturbance or agitation of mind caused by a specific exciting cause and manifested by some sensible effect on the body. Mood: an emotional state; a characteristic (habitual or rela   (more info - Mood)

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movement therapy
This is the broad category of therapies that involve retraining your body to prevent or ease physical and sometimes emotional ailments. Movement therapy is useful for improving mobility, strength, flexibility, muscle tone, strength, balance, cardiovascular health, the condition of your joints, a   (more info - movement therapy)

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Moxibustion
A Chinese (TCM) therapy the burning of herbal leaves on or near the body, typically using moxa made from dried mugwort. Moxibustion plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China (including Tibet), Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and gr   (more info - Moxibustion)

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Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (mcs)
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a chronic medical condition characterized by symptoms that the affected person attributes to low-level chemical exposure. Substances that commonly trigger reactions include smoke, pesticides, plastics, synthetic fabrics, scented products, petroleum products, an   (more info - Multiple Chemical Sensitivity)

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multiple sclerosis (ms)
A chronic progressive nervous disorder involving loss of myelin sheath around certain nerve fibers. In this autoimmune disease, the body's immune system attacks its own nervous system, destroying the myelin sheath that protects the nerve cells. This prevents the nerves from carrying signals prope   (more info - multiple sclerosis)

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muscle (muscle mass)
Tissue consisting predominantly of contractile cells; one of the contractile organs of the body. Muscles are of two kinds, striated and nonstriated. See also sarcopenia (muscle loss).    (more info - muscle)

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Muscle Energy Techniques
Treatments in which a patient, on request, actively uses his muscles from a controlled position in a specific direction against a counter force. These techniques are used to strengthen weak muscles, stretch tight muscles and fascia, mobilise joints in which movement is restricted, and to improve loc   (more info - Muscle Energy Techniques)

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Music therapy
According to the Canadian Association for Music Therapy: Music therapy is the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Music has nonverbal, creative, structural, and emotional q   (more info - Music therapy)

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mutagen (antimutagenic)
Mutagens are agents (physical or environmental) that can induce a genetic mutation (a permanent genetic change in a cell) or can increase the rate of mutation. Common mutagens include UV radiation, ethyl bromide and 5-Bromouracil. Compare with teratogen. Antimutagenic agents inhibit mutations.    (more info - mutagen)

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mycobacteria (mycobacterium)
Mycobacterium is a genus (the classifcation below family) of gram-positive bacteria. The genus includes pathogens known to cause serious diseases in mammals, including tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and leprosy (Mycobacterium leprae). Mycobacteria are widespread organisms, typically li   (more info - mycobacteria)

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myelin
1. A soft, white fatty substance that forms a medullary sheath that covers and protects the axis cylinder of some nerve fibers. It is composed mainly of cholesterin, lecithin, cerebrin, albumin, and some fat. 2. One of a group of phosphorized principles occurring in nerve tissue, both in the brain    (more info - myelin)

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Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
A sudden severe instance of abnormal heart function. It occurs when one of more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged decrease in oxygen supply caused by a blocked blood flow to the heart muscle, possibly through narrowed or blocked blood vessels. Heart attacks can cause pe   (more info - Myocardial infarction)

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myocardiopathy (cardiomyopathy)
Disease of the heart muscle (usually of unknown origin) that impairs the ability of the heart muscle (myocardium) to pump. Cardiomyopathy is a group of chronic disorders affecting the muscle of the heart resulting in impairment of the pumping function of the heart. This could be secondary to vira   (more info - myocardiopathy)

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Myofascial Release (myofascial induction)
Stretching of the fascia to free (loosen) and soften the connective tissue. The therapist is trained to distinguish how much force to use, the direction of the stretch and how long to stretch, via the feedback given by the patient's body.    (more info - Myofascial Release)

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myopia (nearsightedness)
A condition in which parallel light rays are focused in front of the retina of the eye, causing far objects to be blurry while near objects are seen more clearly. This is caused by an elongated shape of the eye along the anterior-posterior axis. Images are focused in front of the retina instead o   (more info - myopia)

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myrosinase
A family of enzymes involved in plant defense against herbivores. It is largely found in cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, radish, cauliflower, cabbage, kale), and is required to form sulforaphane, which give these vegetable their anti-cancer benefits.

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psychosomatic (mind-body)
Pertaining to the relationship of the mind and body. Psychosomatic illnesses are those in which a physical disorder is caused or aggravated by emotional factors, like stress and depression. Psychosomatic medicine is an interdisciplinary medical field exploring the relationships among social, psyc   (more info - psychosomatic)

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