Monday, September 03, 2007

Traditional [Native American] Indian Medicine and Christian Spiritual Healing

1 Corinthians 2:14-15

14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment.

That means we are supposed to discern of all things- hold to that which is good and true and beautiful and helpful and throw out the rest. On that note... here is useful information:

Traditional [Native American] Indian Medicine
Treatment of Chronic Illness:

Development of an integrated program with conventional medicine and evaluation of effectiveness

By Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D.

Lewis E. Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D.
1990 North Kolb Road
Tucson, AZ 85715
Dr. Lewis Mehl-MadronaPhone: 520-304-6898
Fax: 520-621-3249

Summary :

Increasingly, traditional Native American healing practices are being requested by Native Americans and non-Natives alike. A series of meetings among traditional Native American healers and the author resulted in a dialogue between the Native American world view and that of biomedicine. Recommendations arose for how treatment should proceed in the modern world and how best to introduce interested non-Natives to Native American healing practices. An approach was developed for bridging cultures to facilitate the interaction of non-Natives with traditional healers.

One hundred sixteen patients were treated in this manner by the author in conjunction with traditional Native American healers. More than 80% of patients showed significant, persisting benefits of a time-intensive treatment program. A comparison group of patients derived from the author's emergency room patients showed significantly lower rates of improvement. The author suggests that an intensive treatment experience (inspired by Native American practices) over 7-10 days for treating chronic physical illness achieves both health benefits and improved cost utility.

The treatment philosophy underlying this approach and communicated by the traditional healers is best described as general systems theory, or that of dynamic energy systems. Within this theoretical framework, physical illness can be treated by counseling and ceremony, since illness is viewed as simultaneously spiritual, mental, and physical. Because of the interaction and hierarchical embeddedness of these levels, intervention at any one level should affect any other.

Reults excerpts:

2. Healing takes place within the context of a relationship. The healers recognized that the quality of their relationship with the sick person was important in helping that person to find wellness. The better the relationship, the more likely was success. They recognized the relationship as a kind of container or vessel for the baking of the cake. "You wouldn't put cake mix in the oven by just pouring it over the bottom," one said. "You have to put it in something. Some kind of a bowl." The relationship was the bowl in which the cake baked.

3. Acheiving an energy of activation is necessary. While the traditionals believed that healing takes time, they also believed that the time should be intensive. Water doesn't boil until it's very hot, they said. The medical practitioners likened this concept to catalysis and the energy of activation.

In both organic and biological chemistry, an energy of activation is required to initiate a reaction. Once inititated that reaction may proceed irreversibly to completion. Without sufficient energy of activation, the reaction never occurs. A minimal level of energy (usually heat) is needed to transform the internal arrangements of molecules. Traditional healers said that weekly or even daily hour-long sessions with a patient would not be sufficient to inititate healing (change on a physical level or, in the biochemical metaphor, to "rearrange the molecules"). The question of "how many hours over what period of time are necesary to produce change?" is rarely addressed in psychotherapy practice. The weekly visit has become normative. Even in intensive psychotherapy when patients are seen once daily, the question of "what would happen if we 'raised the heat?'" is rarely addressed.

The Native American healers told us that they typically worked with the client until the job was done. They typically treated one client at a time, and some clients traveled great distances to see them. Sometimes they traveled far to see a patient, and needed to put in maximum effort over a short period of time. Partly because of long distances travelled, they would concentrate their work over a number of days with multiple hours being spent each day. When they felt progress had been made, the client would be sent home with instructions to return at a later date for further treatment, and often with specific instructions for tasks to complete during the interval between treatment.

4. Biological systems behave similarly across hierarchical levels. There is isomorphism of principles. The traditional medicine people told us that nature is the same at every level. The same principles that guides the movement of the stars and the sun work within the body. As a group we returned to the biochemical metaphor. The traditional healers quickly agreed that psychotherapeutic or psychophysiological change should behave just like change biochemical systems. We found ourselves discussing reaction kinetics, which asks basic questions about the amount of materials that must be present for a reaction to occur, the amount of energy that is required to start and to maintain a reaction (and sometimes to reverse it), what catalysts are required to facilitate the reaction, what enzymes are necessary, etc. For example, outside the human body considerable heat (thousands of degrees) is necessary to melt iron. Inside the body the process takes place at 37 degrees. Because of catalysts within the body, a minimum level of energy is needed to begin the change process which is then maintained with less energy. They idea emerged for the biomedical practitioners to try an intensive week of 6 contact hours per day to start a change process.

5. The distractions of modern life "inactivate" catalysts for change. Most traditional therapies stress the need for self-contemplation. With adequate time, skills, and emphasis upon self-exploration and discovery much of modern psychophysiological therapy might be unnecessary. The traditionals believed that the modern world complicated and vitiated our ability to heal ourselves by distracting us from our study of ourselves. Television wastes vital hours which can be used for healing. Reading can both enlighten and deaden. (The great novel brings us face to face with the human condition and our own similarities with the protagonists about which we must reflect; popular novels may repeat trite plots with minimum character development.) Newspapers fill the mind with only slightly relevant information. The more tabloid, the more useless. Running to friends, relatives, or movies can fill waking hours with activity as avoidance. The quest to avoid boredom provides the raw material for many advertising campaigns. This quest also avoids self-discovery. Without external distractions, consciousness turns inward for it must direct itself somewhere. Therapy is harder in proportion to the number of competing distractions. Weekly outpatient therapy is particular difficult since the therapist must compete with so many more pleasurable or obsessional distractions to the process of self-discovery. Our traditionals believed in removing their patients from the distractions of modern life and working with them in an environment of peace and quiet. This was usually done within the client's home or within the medicine person's home. Nevertheless, they advocated an intentional avoidance of newspapers, radios, televisions, magazines, telephones, computer games, and the myriad of other distractions available to modern people.

Our traditionals believed that catalysts on the organismic level corresponding to biochemical catalysts on the molecular level arose from self-exploration and developing an awareness of emotional states. Knowledge of personal misery fosters an inclination to do something about it. Excessive business or exhaustion can prevent reaching a level of emotional awareness from which change can occur.


S. Starr says,

Native American healing methodologies have a long history of effectiveness. I do not find the Native understanding of holistic, quantum healing to be much different than the spiritual Christian approach. Right off, critics and skeptics will be quick to point out the lack of evidence of miraculous healings. I would submit that this dilemma actually comes down to understanding what constitutes a miracle. The problem with the reductionist approach of the Western mindset, which has come to define what science is, is that it assumes that all levels of reality function like a logical, preditctable, reproducable mechanism or machine. Something then , is only considered valid by this mindset when it falls within the parameters of consistent reproduction in a lab or lab like setting. This sort of mindset is not apparent with true spiritual people whether they are Christains, American Indians or any other grouping. Most Western minded Christians consider themselves to be spiritual people- but rather they are not.
Western minded Christains seemingly have no problem accepting the creation story from the Bible or many other grand tales of the Bible as literal. Yet, they seem a bit shy and stop short of contemplating what these tales might actually imply about the spiritual reality that their everyday physical lives exists within. The Church, such as it is called, has made certain compromises with what they collectively agree upon as science. These compromises impinge upon eternal, supernatural thinking.
As to the point of lack of evidence of miraculous healing- I would humbly submit that often what is considered supernatural is often only natural. What is natural is "supernatural". It is a miracle afterall that anything exists at all. That atoms are formed and cling together one upon the other to make matter is a miracle . Needless to say, matter being organized into living consciousness is miraculous even if- and especially if- you believe that sub-atomic particles organized themselves into consciousness by sheer, mathematical, random chance over a long enough period of time.

Simply put, the common definition of a miracle is the breakage of the laws of nature or physics. I am simply suggesting that often what we think the "laws" of the universe are and what they actually are - do not match. Also, there are limitations to spiritual healing in the physical realm just as there are limits to physical medicine, limits to time and space and comprehension.

Spirtual people operate on spiritual discernment combined with logic and reason as opposed to logic and/or reason alone. The Western reductionist cosmological view and the spiritual view of reality seem to be out of two entirely different conceptions of reality. Ultimately I believe this dichotomy is a false dichotomy. The Western mind believes it can define the ultimate reality as it would explain the workings of a machine. Perhaps that could be so- but first that mindset will have to get outside the self imposed box of "emprical rationality only" and reconsider what a machine actually is and what this reality actually is. Wkipedia has this defintion of EMPIRICAL:

"A central concept in science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses. Empirical data is data that is produced by experiment or observation.[1] It is usually differentiated from the philosophic usage of empiricism by the use of the adjective "empirical" or the adverb "empirically." "Empirical" as an adjective or adverb is used in conjunction with both the natural and social sciences, and refers to the use of working hypotheses that are testable using observation or experiment. In this sense of the word, scientific statements are subject to and derived from our experiences or observations.

Spirtual people should avoid compromising and allowing a Western/scientific mindset to influence their definitons of ultimate reality. They should get out of that self imposed box of perception inasmuch as they are able. Spiritual people should consider their holistic- spiritual experience and observation as part of the "empirical" process. You ask how to ascertain of the spiritual? Its simple really... start by starting. Try. Open up and try. Be honest and patient with the results and keep trying. The rest will take care of itself. Just remember its all predicated on developing right relationship with all things. Developing right relationship may take some longer than others. It comes down to proper discernment and the proper combination and application of freewill , willpower, intention and unselfishness. You will quickly realize that you can not do this on your own and so your realitonship or lack thereof with God will commence. There is no formula- either "magic" or "scientific". Just try. Then keep trying. Then try some more. Whaddya have to lose really outside of that box you live in now?


S. Starr said...

As I understand it. A "healer" is just an agent or conduit of healing spirit or energy that comes from God. What one must do as a "healer" is become a clear vessel for healing power to work through. Whether this power comes from the Holy Spirit or the Great Mystery or from "universal energy"... it emantes from God the Father.

gcprajapati said...

Chamunda Swami Ji an Indian spiritual healer heals his devotee with power of Mantra, Tantra and Yantra and also providing puja, yagya and astrology services in New York, US.