Native American Medicine


Native American medicine refers to the combined health practices of over 500 nations. The specific practices varied among tribes but all is based on the basic principle that man is part of nature and health is a matter of balance. The natural world drives when itís interrelationships are honored, nurtured and kept in harmony. The natural world cannot be seen by the eye and is not involved in technology, but is experienced directly and intuitively. Just as one cannot measure the inner life of a human being, nature has compelling forces that need to be integrated for balance. Native medicine is 40,000 years old. Documentation has only now begun and been limited to observations therefore is incomplete. Native medicine honors all creation and is not just an academic body of knowledge or technique. Native American elders usually do not share their knowledge for fear of exploitation. Native American medicine addresses the balance in the inner life and overt behavior. The body, mind, spirit, emotions, social group and lifestyle are all taken into account. A patient's choice and preferences are always honored to create harmony.

Each Native American healer has their own approach and can include bodywork, bone setting, midwifery, naturopathy, hydrotherapy, and botanical and nutritional medicine. Ceremonial and ritual medicine are also included. Much of this has been lost as this undocumented living tradition has only survived through living practitioners. More Native Americans have become interested in preserving their culture and through this effort Native American medicine is as fluid today as ever.

Treatment Approaches - Different types of treatments

Native American medicine is a complete system that balances every sphere of one's life from their inner world to lifestyle and social connections. Native medicine believes the roots of any imbalance are in the spiritual world. The spiritual interventions are critical to the process of any treatment plan. Treatment approaches are always specifically and uniquely designed for the patient including fees and prices. They include the process of negotiating a fee as part of the healing process. The healing Elder has the most healing power and when treatment fails the elder practitioner loses the reputation as a powerful healer. The client in need of healing makes an offer to the medicine practitioner and waits to see if it is accepted. They never negotiate face-to-face. The client leaves the offering outside the healer's door and if it is still there in the morning it I has not been accepted and one can go elsewhere. Once they both come to an agreement, treatment may begin with the behavioral prescription for example, a commitment, a selfless act, making amends, or climbing a sacred mountain. Techniques include self inquiry and discovery to identify whether a lifestyle modification, herbs, prayer, massage, a sweat lodge ceremony or a vision quest are necessary. GNC has been researching Indian herbs for a long time and created some well known supplements. You can try some with GNC coupons.

How it works - theories

The holistic approach focuses on changing the patient's understanding of the world around him through a healthier self-concept, greater appreciation of others and behavior modifications. The healer's intention is not to only cure disease but that the patient be transformed through the experience of disease. With the onset of modern technology Native American medicine infuses technology as well as spirit. Both herbal interventions and pharmaceuticals are used. To summarize an example of a story regarding native medicine we find Barb, a wife, mother and lawyer who continue to struggle with breast cancer. She was doing everything she possibly could naturally and otherwise yet the cancer continued to spread. Meeting in a sweat lodge with an Indian elder name Big Nose, he wanted to know what she had been doing or what hasn't changed in her life. Deep down she felt she was a failure as a mother wife and lawyer and now at healing herself. Big Nose told her it was the negative self talk that needed to stop. As a result of this interaction Barb chose to let go of her arrogant thinking that she would be healed and enjoy the present with her family..One other story speaks of a woman who suffered from severe arthritis and was constantly seeking the right healer. Medicine men go deeper and beyond the actual issue and realize dramatic change is sometimes necessary to facilitate healing. The changes are primary, herbs, massage and prayer are secondary. Right relationships, correcting relationships to self, family, community members and the spiritual world are all consequences of relationship disturbance and create illness.


Native American healers train their students through apprenticeships. Many years of testing a student's intention and commitment is essential for preparation. An apprentice learns patience, respect and receives knowledge. Native medicine continues to be an oral tradition and cannot be learned in an academic setting. Only through experience can students learn the skills necessary and only when the student is ready does the elder teacher allow them to begin the practice of medicine.