Native American Healing

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Native American Healing

Post by Wind-Dancer on January 30th 2009, 8:15 pm

Native American healing is a broad term that includes healing beliefs and practices of hundreds of indigenous tribes of North America. It combines religion, spirituality, herbal medicine, and rituals that are used to treat people with medical and emotional conditions.

There are many tribal differences, so it is not surprising that healing rituals and beliefs vary a great deal. The most sacred traditions are still kept secret, passed along from one healer to the next. Because of these factors, information on healing practices is general and somewhat limited.


Available scientific evidence does not support claims that Native American healing can cure cancer or any other disease. However, the communal support provided by this approach to health care can have some worthwhile physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits.

How is it promoted for use?

From the Native American perspective, medicine is more about healing the person than curing a disease. Traditional healers aim to "make whole" by restoring well-being and harmonious relationships with the community and the spirit of nature, which is sometimes called God or the Great Mystery. Native American healing is based on the belief that everyone and everything on earth is interconnected, and every person, animal, and plant has a spirit or essence. Even an object, such as a river or rock, and even the earth itself, may be considered to have this kind of spirit.

Native Americans believe that illness stems from spiritual problems. They also say that diseases are more likely to invade the body of a person who is imbalanced, has negative thinking, and lives an unhealthy lifestyle. Some Native American healers believe that inherited conditions, such as birth defects, are caused by the parents' immoral lifestyles and are not easily treated. Others believe that such conditions reflect a touch from the Creator, and may consider them a kind of gift. Native American healing practices are supposed to find balance and wholeness in a person to restore one to a healthy and spiritually pure state.

Some people believe Native American medicine can help cure physical diseases, injuries, and emotional problems. Some healers claim to have cured conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, skin rashes, asthma, and cancer. Available scientific studies do not support these claims.

Native American healing is promoted in many different ways. Some of the most common aspects of Native American healing include the use of herbal remedies, purifying rituals, shamanism, healing myths, and spiritual healing to treat illnesses of both the body and spirit. Herbal remedies are used to treat many physical conditions. Practitioners use purifying rituals to cleanse the body. These rituals are thought to prepare the person for healing. One kind of Native American healer, a shaman, focuses on using spiritual healing powers to treat people with illness based on the idea that spirits have caused the illness Symbolic healing rituals, which can involve family and friends of the sick person, are used to invoke the spirits to help heal the sick person.

Healers may include herbalists, spiritual healers, and medicine men or women. Many Native Americans see their healers for spiritual reasons, for example, to seek guidance, truth, balance, reassurance, self cleansing, and spiritual well being, while still using conventional medicine to deal with "white man's illness." However, they believe that spirit is an inseparable element of healing, and medicine is part of spirit.



Native American healing practices vary greatly because there are over 500 Native American Nations commonly called tribes. However, they do have some basic rituals and healing practices in common. Because of their extensive knowledge of herbs, one of the most common forms of Native American healing involves the use of herbal remedies which can include teas, tinctures, and salves. For example, one remedy for pain uses bark from a willow tree ,the origins of aspirin.

Purifying and cleansing the body is also an important technique used in Native American healing. Sweat lodges (a special, darkened enclosure heated with stones from a fire) or special teas that induce vomiting may be used by the healer for this purpose. Smudging (cleansing a place or person with the smoke of sacred plants) can be used to bring about an altered state of consciousness and sensitivity, making a person more open to the healing techniques. Because some illnesses are believed to come from angry spirits, healers may also invoke the healing powers of spirits. They may also use special rituals to try and appease the angered spirits.

Another practice of Native American healing, symbolic healing rituals, can involve whole communities. These rituals use ceremonies which can include chanting, singing, painting bodies, dancing, exorcisms, sand paintings, and even limited use of mind altering substances to persuade the spirits to heal the sick person. Rituals can last hours or even weeks. These ceremonies are a way of asking for help from the spiritual dimension. Prayer is also an essential part of all Native American healing techniques (see Spirituality and Prayer).

Most Native American treatment is usually a slow process, spread over a period of days or weeks. It may involve taking time out from the usual daily activities for reflection, emotional awareness, and meditation. The healer may spend a great deal of time with the person seeking help. Healing is said to take place within the context of the relationship with the healer.

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Re: Native American Healing

Post by Spirit-Being on January 30th 2009, 8:31 pm

Wow!!

The Natives knew what they were doing, i kind of wish i was indian now Very Happy

This was very inspiring thank you for posting this.

Many Blessings

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In their honor

Post by WhiteShaman on September 10th 2009, 3:05 pm

Included in my list of my greatest influences are the Native American ways. I try to incorporate in my own life many of them while at the same time respecting their origins and not making claim to them.
One way I honor their ways and borrow from their traditions is that I built a medicine wheel in my backyard and another is that I erect prayer sticks tied with feathers when difficult events rise up in my life or my families as a continued voice of my deepest prayers and needs. There is so much meaning in what these people did.
I also practice certain ways of the Shaman which has its origins in this culture as well but out of respect and for other reasons, I do not call myself a Shaman.
If I may, I would like to add my own additional info to your great post, Wind-Dancer.
A Shaman never actually heals, he/she simply helps the individual in need to turn on his or her own switch for healing.
He/She does this in many unique ways with the help of his/hers guides and helpers.
Great post, great info and a great way to honor our fathers and mothers and our mother earth.
Peace and Blessings, Praise
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Re: Native American Healing

Post by Wind-Dancer on September 11th 2009, 7:54 am

thank you for the additional information and your absolutely right

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