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Recognized Modalities

Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC) recognizes over 60 modalities in the Complementary & Alternative Healthcare field. To learn more about each modality, click the first letter of the associated modality name to be taken to its description.

Discipline (D) is training in a stand-alone modality, while Specialization (S) requires a discipline-level of training in another modality for some educational components.

  • A

    Active Release Technique (S)

    Active Release Technique applies specific myofascial release methods to rapidly treat musculoskeletal pain, stress, and restrictions, caused by damage, injury, or repeated stress to the myofascia. Extremely efficient and effective, some discomfort may be experienced from this fast-acting deep-tissue myofascial work.

    Acupressure (D/S)

    Acupressure is based on the Chinese meridian system. It uses stimulation of a specific point or points to correct the energy flow within the meridians. Release of muscular tension is often part of the treatment. Correction of the energy flows can have general or specific therapeutic effects on any or all systems of the body.

    Alexander Technique™ (D)

    Alexander Technique™ is an educational process that helps the client achieve greater awareness of their body. This results in more effective and efficient use of their body. Combined with hands-on treatment this prevents or helps recovery from tension, pain, postural and structural imbalances, and repetitive use injury.

    Amma/Anma Massage (D)

    Amma/Anma massage is based on ancient touch principals like acupressure, massage, and reflexology. Balance and harmony in energy flow is sought using pressure to ah shui points and massage techniques to the tissues. It is applied to clothed clients for relaxation through to all conditions caused by improper energy flow.

    Applied Kinesiology™ (S)

    Applied Kinesiology™ uses a variety of assessment and treatment techniques, including muscle testing, meridian therapy, joint mobilization, myofascial techniques, cranialsacral based techniques, nutritional counselling, and reflexology to treat a wide variety of conditions and energy imbalances.

    Aromatherapy (D/S)

    Aromatherapists can assess and support the treatment of or enhance a variety of physical and mental conditions through careful selection of quality plant essential oils (not flower essences). Some may use lymph drainage or relaxation massage as part of the application.

    Aston-Patterning™ (D)

    Aston Patterning™ is a holistic and integrated system of movement education, soft tissue massage techniques, ergonomic and fitness analysis and adaptation. The goal is to release the lines and spirals of stress or damage in the body, lessening pain and leading to greater ease and performance in movement.

  • B

    Body Talk™ (D)

    Body Talk™ practitioners use a system of muscle testing to coordinate and balance the energetic communication of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components of the body. Based on the answers given by the body through the muscle testing, the practitioner can focus in on specific balances.

    Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy™ (D)

    Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy™ is focused on treatments using the complex system of trigger points used (often in a more superficial manner) in massage therapy. These trigger points are the locus which, when released, cause the release of the muscle in spasm or tension. Treatment includes corrective execises.

    Bowen Technique™ (D/S)

    Bowen Technique™ addresses the body as a whole unit rather than only presenting symptoms. Bowenwork consists of a series of gentle rolling, connective tissue moves. The Body's Autonomic Nervous System responds to the work, allowing the body to restore itself to it original blueprint. The technique addresses the musculoskeletal framework, fascia, nerves, and internal organs.

    Brain Gym™ (D/S)

    Brain Gym™ uses movement to accelerate learning and enhance performance. They are done as sets of exercises that help coordinate and integrate the two hemispheres of the brain, and can be done on their own or integrated with other therapies.

  • C

    Chair Massage (D/S)

    Chair Massage, also known as On-Site massage, is a specific, effective de-stressing massage and acupressure-based treatment done with the client fully clothed in specially-developed massage chairs that can be taken into almost any professional, public, or private setting. Sessions range from 10 minutes to an hour.

    Cranial Sacral/CranioSacral Therapy (D/S)

    Cranial Sacral Therapy begins by assessing the effects throughout the body of restrictions to the flow (pulses) of the cerebral spinal fluid. A variety of very gentle treatment techniques applied both directly and indirectly release the body’s connective tissues restrictions, and optimize the cerebral spinal fluid flow.

    CranioSacral Therapy was further developed and specialized from the osteopathic cranial sacral therapy by the osteopathic doctor, Dr. Upledger.

  • E

    Edu-K™ (D/S)

    Edu-K™ - Educational Kinesiology, (Edu-K) stands for Learning through movement. Edu-K is used to assist clients to unlock their potential by formulating goals and finding out what is internally blocking the client from reaching his/her goals. Specialized techniques are used to diffuse the blocks, creating a bridge for new learning or action.

    Energy Work (D/S)

    Energy Work encompasses work that is done by modulating the frequency of the practitioner’s energy (by thought or by “channeling” other sources) which in turn can modulate or entrain the client’s energy. Sometimes used for assessment, it will balance or increase the client’s energy flow, fostering healing and relaxation.

    Esalen™ (S)

    Esalen™ Massage has three interrelated aspects: gentle flowing strokes or kneading to open and release tension; passive joint movement to enhance well-being; and a good client-therapist interaction to encourage conscious awareness. Good for relaxation, stress reduction, pain relief, energy release or balance.

  • F

    Feldenkrais™ (D)

    Feldenkrais™ stimulates the nervous system’s innate self-organizing abilities through sensory motor activities, freeing us from habitual patterns and allowing new patterns of thinking, moving, and feeling to emerge. It opens the exploration of the biological and cultural relationships of learning, thought, and movement.

  • H

    Healing Touch™ (D/S)

    Healing Touch™ is an energy-based approach to health and healing. These non-invasive techniques use the hands to clear, energize, and balance the human and environmental energy fields thus affecting, facilitating, and harmonizing the client’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and healing.

    Hellerwork™ Structural Integration (D)

    Hellerwork™ Structural Integration focuses on the connective tissue patterns of the body. Either an individually tailored programme or an 11-part series, it uses a three-pronged approach of gentle deep tissue bodywork with associated dialogue and movement education. Good for injury and repetitive strain treatment.

    Hurley/Osborn Technique™ (D)

    Hurley-Osborn Technique™ is a soothing, non-force, non-invasive form of healing. Its aim is to correct postural distortions and promote vitality and good health. It does so by realigning the body through light touch to key contact points, releasing tension, strain, and fatigue.

  • I

    Infant Massage (D/S)

    Infant Massage is not paediatric massage (massage on infants). Rather it is participatory courses in which a parent learns simple massage techniques to do with their own infants to deepen the parent-child connection, learn health giving and relaxing massage and stretches, and manage some childhood discomforts.

    Iridology (S)

    Iridology is an assessment technique of the body through an examination of the visible eye (especially the iris). It can identify the weaknesses/strengths or predilections to health or disease in body organs and systems, and identify dietary problems or build up of toxins. Treatment can be through any variety of therapies.

  • J

    Jin Shin Do® Acupressure (D)

    Jin Shin Do® ("The Way of the Compassionate Spirit") is a unique synthesis of Japanese acupressure techniques, Chinese acupressure theory, Reichian segmental theory, Taoist philosophy and Qigong exercises. It identifies tension points associated with common physical problems and with distressing emotions. Is also referred to as Body Mind Acupressure®.

    Jin Shin Jyutsu® (D)

    Jin Shin Jyutsu® is based on a formalization of energy healing traditions in Japan. Jin means "Art"; Shin means "Creator"; and Jyutsu means "man of knowing and compassion". It is an energy-balancing art that adjusts the flow of energy through the body by focusing on the 26 "safety energy locks" or key regulation points of the body energy flow.

  • L

    LEVA (S)

    LEVA is a specific machine recognized by Health Canada that is used in clinics to augment massage therapy, physiotherapy, and chiropractic treatments through carefully-modulated microcurrent stimulation of muscle and connective tissue. The specific pulse waveform is gentle, and stimulates healing in the area.

    Lomilomi (D)

    Lomilomi is a flowing, vibrant, and deeply relaxing full-body massage. It enhances all areas of one’s health, well-being, and self-awareness by bringing harmony to body, mind, and spirit. The techniques use hands and forearms in long fluid strokes of varying rhythm and intensity up, down and all around the body.

  • M

    Manual Lymph Drainage (D/S)

    Manual Lymph Drainage improves health and manages certain pathologies by improving the flow of the lymphatic system through light touch massage. It can reduce swelling and have analgesic effects. Some therapists are trained to help manage lymphedema (congenital / acquired), wounds and other skin pathologies.


    Manupractic™ (S)

    Manupractic—formerly known as Dayana Technique—is a specialization for massage therapists. It combines the ideas and techniques of Esalen massage, myofascial release, Lomi Lomi , Qi Gong, and energy work, to produce a blend that encourages massage therapists to get the most out of the therapeutic benefits of a whole-body approach.


    Massage Therapy (D)

    Massage Therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues (primarily muscle and connective tissue) of the body. It strives to achieve balance and health in the body by affecting the body’s systems. Massage can significantly accelerate the healing process by having a positive affect on the circulatory and lymphatic systems.


    Maternal Massage (S)

    Maternal Massage is a specialized focus of massage therapy, sometimes with other added techniques, applied to treat the discomforts and stress of pregnancy, and maintain optimum health and muscle-tone throughout the pregnancy, birth, postpartum and nursing period.


    Mitzvah (D)

    Mitzvah is described by its founder as "involving the head, spine, and pelvis in a dynamic relationship, which with every movement of the pelvis, activates a neural defence mechanism enabling a body to completely exercise itself while realigning and rebalancing with gravity".


    Myofascial Release (S)

    Myofascial Release uses gentle stretching to focus on pain or restrictions in the connective tissue that exists three-dimensionally continuously through the entire body. It relies on sensory feedback of, and subsequent response to, the restrictions in the connective tissue perceived by the therapist.


    Myomassology (D)

    Myomassology teaches the integration of massage, chair massage, lymphatic drainage, reflexology, acupressure, and energy work. Practitioners also have the choice of several other elective therapies of interest to better support the client holistically.

  • N

    Neuromuscular Integration (D)

    Neuromuscular Integration is based on the work of Ida Rolf. While practitioners learn classical Rolfing techniques, they also learn lighter touch, and are taught more flexibility in approach. Neuromuscular Integration also includes emotional/psychological integration techniques to aid in the reintegration of body, mind, and spirit.

  • O

    Onsen™ (S)

    Onsen™ is a combination of three treatment techniques based on fundamental myofascial treatment philosophies. The three components, muscle energy technique, post isometric relaxation, and transverse friction massage, are used together to balance the myofascial system, releasing stress and pain in the body.

    Ortho-Bionomy® (D)

    Orthobionomy is an osteopathically-based form of body therapy. By gently exaggerating the body’s preferred postures using movement and body positions the practitioner facilitates the change of stress and pain patterns and engages the body’s self-correcting balance, healing and alignment process.

    Orthotherapy (D)

    Orthotherapy uses massage therapy, stretching, joint mobilization, exercise therapy, postural assessment and basic nutritional counselling to ease muscular pain or stiff joints caused by tension and stress, imbalance in connective tissues, muscles or joints, tissue damage, or systemic problems.

  • P

    Pilates (D)

    Pilates method exercise involves a series of exercises and breathing patterns that place intense concentration on the internal core muscles with the goals of improving balance, coordination, muscle length and tone, reducing pain and the chance of injury. It strives to create harmony and balance in people’s lives.

    Polarity Therapy™ (D)

    Polarity Therapy ™ is a comprehensive system involving energy-based physical bodywork, diet, exercise and self-awareness, focused on the client’s mental, emotional and physical experience. It seeks to find and release energy to normal flow patterns, and to maintain the energy field in an open, flexible condition.

    Postural Integration™ (D)

    Postural Integration™ is a physical bodywork technique providing for the integration of an individual’s physical, emotional and mental (cognitive) aspects. This technique uses tissue manipulation to explore and release postural patterns leading to the subsequent release of negative emotional and psychological patterns or behaviors.

  • Q

    Qigong (D)

    Qigong (chi kung) teachers teach and refine a practitioners application of the relaxation, strengthening, and inward training exercises. A combination of moving, stationary, and breathing exercises, qigong modulates the body energy (Qi), for increased strength, resiliency, vitality, and resistance to illness and stress.

  • R

    Rebalancing (D)

    Rebalancing - Rebalancing is wholistic bodywork which aims to release the energy held in the body/mind as a result of physical and emotional injury and the inevitable conditioning of the world.

    Reflexology (D/S)

    Reflexology is based on the ability to cause a healing stimulation of one body part or organ (a reflex response) by stimulation of a specific point or points on distant parts of the body. Most common is foot reflexology, where points on the foot are worked to reflex non-foot body organs. You may find hand and ear reflexologists.

    Reiki (D/S)

    Reiki means Universal Life Force energy. The receiver lies clothed while the giver gently places their Reiki-emitting hands in various positions on the head and body with the intention of enhancing and restoring both balance and healing to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realms. It is very relaxing.

    Rolfing® (D)

    Rolfing® is done either as an individually tailored programme or as a 10-part series, using deep tissue bodywork to release the whole-body connective-tissue stress patterns that prevent optimal functioning in gravity. Good for injury and repetitive strain treatment. Rolfing technique application has become more gentle.

    Rosen Method™ (D)

    Rosen Method™ bodywork encourages physical and emotional awareness through working with muscle tension. The practitioner facilitates the relaxation process through awareness, touch, and words, In moments of deep relaxation, long held feelings and memories from the past may surface and be released from the body.

  • S

    Shiatsu (D/S)

    Shiatsu Therapy is a manual therapy developed in Japan in which the therapist primarily uses the thumbs and palms of the hands as the means of effecting therapeutic changes to the energy systems of the body. Shiatsu Therapy is based on the Eastern Medical model in which Ki, or life energy, is believed to flow through pathways or meridians in the body. The flow of Ki regulates our physical, mental, and emotional well-being and plays an important role in human physiology and pathology, as well as the prevention and treatment of illness. Shiatsu therapy is used to bring into balance all systems of the body and to promote health and healing.

    Spa/Body Wraps (S)

    Spa/Body Wraps are gentle mixtures (often a paste) of a various types of clays, muds, salts, herbs, essential oils, milks, or other organic compounds. Once applied, the client is warmly wrapped, and allowed to relax. Depending on the mixture, the wrap can have cleansing, detoxify, relaxing, or stimulating effects.

    Specialized Kinesiology (D)

    Specialized Kinesiology uses muscle resistance as an indicator of the nervous system/energy response to a variety of specific stimulations. These can be the presence of materials, response to questions, or reaction to thought or energy. Treatment may use further muscle resistance, energy work, or other therapies.

    Sports Massage (S)

    Sports Massage therapists have a special interest in the needs of professional athletes, and people that regularly participate in sports. The two main aspects are conditioning and injury prevention work, and rehabilitation should injury occur. Usually approached through massage, exercise and stretching programs.

    Stone Therapy (D/S)

    Stone Therapy is a type of massage that uses either heated or chilled round, smooth stones that are placed on key points on the body. The stones are also used by the therapist to massage the body and transfer the heat or cold to the client.

    Stone Therapy recognition requires discipline-level training in a pre-requisite modality. Please contact the NHPC Credentials Department for a list of qualifying pre-requisite modalities.

    Structural Integration™ (D)

    Structural Integration, a close relative of Rolfing, is done either as an individually tailored program or as a 10-part series, using deep tissue bodywork to release the whole-body connective-tissue stress patterns that prevent optimal functioning in gravity. Good for injury and repetitive strain treatment.

  • T

    Tai Chi Instructor (D)

    Tai Chi instructors help practitioners polish the Tai Chi forms which are based on 4000 years of Confucianism and Taoism philosophy. Tai Chi work on many levels: physical conditioning of strength, flexibility, and resilience; mental focus and clarity; and creating proper flow and balance of the Chi throughout the body.

    Thai Massage (D/S)

    Thai Massage developed over 2500 years ago from meridian theory and Ayurvedic medicine which was brought to Thailand. The stretches and strokes, done to clothed clients on floor mats or low tables, open the joints and stimulate blood flow. At least 104 postures, from yogic origins, are used.

    Therapeutic Touch™ (D/S)

    Therapeutic Touch™ is a simple system of energy healing developed by the nurses Delores Krieger and Dora Kunz. The practitioners centre their own energy, then proceed to assess and smooth out, balance, and energize the recipient’s energy field. One of the first energy therapies openly used in medical settings.

    Touch for Health™ (D)

    Touch for Health™ uses muscle testing to determine imbalance in the muscles and organs. Practitioners then use muscle manipulation techniques, acupressure-like treatments, lymphatic massage, some basic cranial sacral therapy moves, and perhaps nutritional or herbal counselling (if so trained) for treatment.

    Trager® (D)

    The Trager® Approach is a system of movement re-education and bodywork promoting health and freedom of movement. Treatment facilitates deep relaxation, increased physical mobility, and mental clarity; it is used for health maintenance, rehabilitation, and pain management and relief.

    Trigger Point Therapy (S)

    Trigger Point Therapy utilizes compression, stretch, and hydrotherapy to release active, tightened, or referred trigger points that that create pain in muscle tissue. The area of pain could extend from or be some distance from the active trigger point or points.

    Tuina (D/S)

    Tuina combines soft-tissue massage, acupressure, and other manipulation techniques that realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships. The focus is to help the body heal itself through the harmonious Qi flow that results from the work on muscles, pain sites, acupressure points, and energy meridians.

  • V

    Visceral Manipulation™ (S)

    Visceral Manipulation™ is a manual therapy that focuses on improving the function of the internal organs and their associated environment and influence. It uses specific placement of soft manual forces to encourage the normal mobility, tone and motion of the viscera and their connection tissues.

  • W

    Watsu (D)

    Watsu is derived from shiatsu in its theory and general approach. However, it has been developed specifically for application in a water environment, and uses a number of flowing, rocking, extension and cradling motions and patterns to relieve stress, return joint mobility, and movement fluidity.

    Whole Brain Integration™ (S)

    Whole Brain Integration™ helps integrate communication of the brain’s right and left hemispheres through cross-body exercises. Proper integration enhances cognitive, physical, and mental abilities, while reducing stress and difficulties (e.g. learning or hearing) arising from dis-coordination of the brain hemispheres.

  • Y

    Yoga Instructor (D)

    Yoga instructors teach an ancient form of Vedic philosophy and exercise for body, mind, and spiritual balance and growth. Almost 5000 years old, the poses and breathing/meditation combine to relax, stretch, and tone the body, while calming the mind and nervous system. A number of different forms exist.

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Natural Health Practitioners of Canada Association
6th Floor, 10339 124 ST NW, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5N 3W1
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