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Chanting, Singing, Painting Bodies, Dancing, Exorcisms, Sand Paintings, and even Limited use of Mind

A process of Native American healing, symbolic healing rituals, can involve whole communities. These ceremonies are done when healing of the sick done

spiritual healers, and medicine men or medicine women. Many American Indians and Alaska Natives see their healers for spiritual reasons, such as to seek guidance, truth, balance, reassurance, and spiritual well‐being. They may still use mainstream medicine to deal with “white man’s illness.” However, there is a belief that the spirit cannot be separated from healing. There are more than 500 Native American tribal communities, with many differences between them. It is not surprising that healing rituals and beliefs vary a great deal. The most sacred traditions are still secret, passed along from one healer to the next. Because of these factors, information on healing practices is general and somewhat limited. Because of some Native American tribes’ extensive knowledge of herbs, they are one of the best known forms of Native American healing. Herbal treatments can include teas, tinctures, and salves. One well known remedy for pain uses bark from a willow tree, which contains acetylsalicylic acid – now known as aspirin. Purifying and cleansing the body is also an important practice used in some Native American healing rituals. Sweat lodges are special, darkened enclosures heated with stones from a fire. Special teas that induce vomiting may also be used by the healer for this purpose. Smudging is a practice that involves cleansing a place or person with the smoke of sacred plants. These methods can be used to bring about an altered mental state and greater awareness. They are done to help make a person more open to the healing techniques. Another practice of Native American healing, symbolic healing rituals, can involve whole communities. These ceremonies can include chanting, singing, painting bodies, dancing, exorcisms, sand paintings, and even limited use of mind‐altering substances. All this is done to promote healing of the sick. Such rituals can last for hours, days,


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