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Indigenous Traditional Medicine.docx

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McMaster University
Rhona Shaw

Indigenous Traditional Medicine - Traditional indigenous healing has become popular due to: o New age health movement o Increase in appeal of holistic medicine o Increase in CAMs use o Various group and organizations now placing increased importance on examining this healing methodology - 2000 – National Centre for CAM (NCCAM) announces need for studies to o Establish the methodological feasibility and scientific rationale for conducting full scare RCT on use of traditional, indigenous systems of medicine in US - Early EU literature (1800-1900s) on traditional indigenous healing o Includes descriptions of various customary practices - Early North American historians of religion and anthropologists o Focused on indigenous concepts of supernatural healing o However, discussions reflected scholar’s own theory of religion o Get varying EU interpretations of indigenous healing - Information on contemporary indigenous medical practices is scarce o Many aspects of indigenous healing has never been documented o And may never will - Formal (EU) research into indigenous healing ceremonies are limited - Several factors contribute to this reality: o Fear of ridicule by practitioner and user of traditional indigenous medicine o Concern of misuse of information if divulged o Healing may be regarded as a private matter o Traditional healing is considered sacred o Healing practices are documented orally  This part of a long oral tradition among indigenous people o Western science rejects the metaphysical – only believes in the facts - Indigenous traditional healing also known as o Native American medicine o Indigenous medicine o Indian medicine o Spiritual interpretation - Indigenous medicine an ancient, complex and holistic health care system o Practiced by indigenous people worldwide o Is more deeply rooted and complex than commonly understood o Is based upon a spiritual rather than a materialistic or Cartesian view of health and body - Is possibly the most ancient form of holistic medicine - In this context western medicine is the alternative medicine - Indigenous peoples describe traditional healing as an art practice since time immemorial o And continues today - The art of traditional healing places emphasis on: o The spirit world o Supernatural forces o The mystical and magical o Is an entirely different understanding than allopathic o Is a lifelong process Health in Indigenous Communities - Thus, medicine in indigenous cultures is: o Anything sacred, mysterious or of wonderful power or efficacy in Indian life or belief - Basic principles of traditional indigenous culture o Wholeness and interrelatedness o Everything is considered to have life and is interconnected, intertwined and effects everything else o The sum of the whole is greater than the parts o To ensure health, balance and harmony of the spirit, mind, and body must be accomplished - Indigenous perspective equates illness with imbalance o Illness occurs when balance is disrupted o Health involves maintaining a balance life - Health has a broad application - Suggests a state of harmony, synchronicity and wholeness that should be present w/in: o The spiritual, m
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