White Mountain Apache Regional Behavioral Health Authority
White Mountain Apache Tribe
WHAT IS NATIVE AMERICAN TRADITIONAL HEALING?
Most Native American tribes have traditions about health and illness. In this fact sheet the term "Native American" is meant to include Native Americans and Alaska Natives. These traditions are not based on western science. Instead, they come from the tribe’s beliefs about how individuals fit in the web of life. This web includes the tribe, all humanity, the earth, and the universe. Many healing traditions focus on harmony. Healing occurs when someone is restored to harmony and connected to universal powers.
WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM TRADITIONAL HEALING?
Traditional healing can be very powerful for Native Americans dealing with HIV. It can restore a sense of connection to their tribe and culture. This promotes spiritual, psychological, emotional, and physical healing.
Some traditional healers only work with members of their own tribe, while some healers will work with others. Some people who are not Native American believe that working with a traditional healer has helped them.
Many people use the techniques of traditional healing. However, there is a big difference between traditional healing and using traditional techniques. Participating in a sweat lodge might help someone for a particular health problem but not for another. Also, the experience could be very different depending on who runs the sweat lodge.
Traditional ceremonies usually involve much more than outsiders are aware of. When you attend a ceremony, show respect by asking about guidelines for observing or participating.
HOW DOES TRADITIONAL HEALING INTERACT WITH WESTERN MEDICINE?
Healers have different views about combining their methods with western medicine. Some do not see any value in medical science or treatments. Others believe that the systems deal with different aspects of an individual so there is no problem using both.
Most western physicians do not understand the value or importance of traditional healing to their Native American patients. A few, especially in areas with large Native American populations, are more open to traditional healing.
If you combine western medicine and traditional healing, let your physician know about any treatments you are using. There might be interactions. For example, a traditional healer might use an herbal preparation to help you sleep. In that case, your physician would probably not want you to take sleeping pills. Your healer might want you to use herbs to cleanse your system. These might interact with western medications that you are taking. Your physician might help you avoid negative interactions.
Apache Traditional Prayer
May the sun bring you new energy by day.