Traditional Healing is the oldest form of structured medicine, that is a medicine that has an underlying set of principles by which it is practiced. It is the medicine from which all later forms of medicine developed, including Chinese medicine, Graeco-Arabic medicine, and of course also modern Western medicine. Traditional Healing was originally an integral part of semi-nomadic and agricultural tribal societies, and although archeological evidence for its existence only dates back to around 14,000 B.C., its origins are believed to lie much further back and probably predate the last Ice-Age.
Unlike other traditional medicines, Traditional Healing has no philosophical base, as its practice is totally founded on healing knowledge that has been accumulated over thousands of years, and upon the healer's personal experience, which includes his/her awareness of, and sense of unity with the natural world, as well as his/her understanding of the different levels of consciousness within the human psyche. Traditional Healers see the universe as an living intelligence that operates according to natural laws that manifest according to specific rules and correspondences, and exercise their inner conviction that the purpose of life and the nature of disease cannot be understood without a knowledge of these laws and the individual's relationship to the natural world.
Thus Traditional Healers
share a profound knowledge and a deep understanding of how natural laws
influence living things. It is for this reason that Traditional Healing is
often referred to as "wisdom medicine" or "Wizard Medicine" (the word
wizard means 'wise man', not 'sorcerer') and Traditional Healers are often
referred to as wise or "clever" men or women or as persons of knowledge.
It is this knowledge and experience base that provides the similarity
between the core principles of Traditional Healing through the ages and in
different parts of the world.
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There were and of course still are regional differences between the way Traditional Healers apply their knowledge, but this is simply a pragmatic adaptation by the Traditional Healer, because he/she cannot perform their role in a way that is isolated from the cultural perceptions and belief patterns of those whom they treat.
Traditional Healers practice in a different way than practitioners from other types of medicine.
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There are "four pillars" of Traditional Healing which according to the Roman historian Piny the Elder (23-79 AD.) were: "Eruditio, Perspicacitas, Beneficentia et Caritas". Roughly translated these mean: "learning, insight, kindness and empathy". These are the basic principles that should guide the Traditional Healer in all his or her actions.
Traditional Healing always deals with natural
laws, because all life is subject to these natural laws and ill-health is
usually due to an inherent or acquired weakness that has allowed an
abnormal imbalance to occur, either within an organism, or between the
organism and its environment. Therefore Traditional Healers do not only
work at correcting any weakness or damage to the life force or psyche
that has allowed an illness to "conquer" the individual, but also work to
correct the resultant internal imbalances that allow the disease to
Click this button to learn more about the Traditional Healing concept of the World Tree of consciousness
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Traditional Healing is an energetic medicine.
It considers that an all-pervading energy is present in all matter, that
embodies the natural laws and universal creative force. This energy has
different names in different cultures; for example the ancient Greeks
called it Pneuma and also Aether, in China it is called Qi, in Japan Ki,
in India Prana, while in the Pacific cultures it is know as Mana. Although
this energy may have many different names, the underlying attributes of
this energy are understood in much the same way in all cultures. Thus
living beings are considered to manifest a higher level of this energy,
while inanimate objects manifest this energy in a much more limited and
basic way. Traditional Healers believe that this energy can become
disturbed in living beings due adverse thoughts and emotions, an
inappropriate lifestyle, an unwholesome diet, unhealthy air, tainted
water, an unnatural environment and disharmony with natural cycles. As
these are the ultimate causes of disease, the Traditional Healer may
initially set out to improve overall health, but will always recognise the
need to correct the cause in order to provide a full and final recovery.
Click on this button for more on the methods of treatment used in Traditional Healing
This energy manifests itself in the physical
world in the form of concrete entities called elements. These elements are
not the same as the elements used in modern chemistry, but rather
represents specific attributes of matter. For example, Fire is energetic and
consuming, Air is active and enlivening, Water is formless and
controlling, while Earth is solid and nurturing. These attributes
represent different levels of activity of energy, and determine not only
the appearance of material objects, but also the inherent nature of living
things. In man a specific combination of these elements translates into a
system of individual constitutions and temperaments, which represent
inherent and acquired characteristics, which must be taken into account to
ensure the correct treatment approach is used for a given person.
Click on this button to learn more about the magic of elements and correspondences in Traditional Healing
The Shaman and the Traditional Healer.
A great deal has been written over the years in respect to the ritual approaches used in some cultures in order to achieve altered states of consciousness. Examples of these are those utilised by the Siberian Tungusic and Samoyedic Traditional Healers, as well as those that belong to certain Amerindian groups. Altered states of consciousness are simply deep introspection or "meditation" that gives access to the inner knowledge and wisdom that we all share. This introspection is a normal part of Traditional Healing and is practiced in order to ensure that the Traditional Healer maintains his/her essential relationship with the natural world and the universal creative force. The approaches that are broadly described as "shamanism" however are cultural and whether or not these are practiced by a Traditional Healer depends on his/her ethnic and cultural background and milieu. Thus most traditional shamans are also Traditional Healers, but certainly not all Traditional Healers are shamans.
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Since the advent of 'big government', which in Europe occurred with the Roman invasions and in North America and Australasia with English colonisation, Traditional Healing has at best been misrepresented and suppressed and at worst been persecuted. This is not surprising, as the Traditional Healers' extensive knowledge and their independence, because of their use of freely available natural resources, tends to place them outside of the economic and political control of governments. Governments therefore have, through the ages, tended to view Traditional Healers as a legacy of the past freedoms of tribal life and thus as a threat to their autonomy and power. This is why all governments have striven to fragment and control healing practices. Big government is generally only interested in control and power, and very rarely has had any real or genuine interest in the health of its subjects. This is proven by the fact that governments have, over the ages, been quite happy to sanction and give patronage to medical practices that were more lethal than helpful, as long as these were under their control. For the ability to control a country's medicine gives rulers unsurpassed control over its citizens.
In the past, the fear of reprisals by governments has caused a severe decline in Traditional Healing and has forced most Traditional Healers to do their work very quietly, within a circle of trusted supporters. Nevertheless there are some areas in the world where governments have had limited impact and Natural Healers have continued to practice, but these are few and are mostly located in Central America, Central Asia and Korea. With the new resurgence of ethnic practices and medicine all over the world however, Traditional Healing is also gradually gaining strength and is making a slow, but sure return, although the number of Traditional Healers worldwide is still not large by any means. Traditional Healing is not looking for endorsement by any government however. Governments and civilisations exist at best for a limited time. Traditional Healing is both an ancient medicine and the medicine of the future. It is timeless.
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Traditional Healers that are Chartered members
of the Traditional Healers Fellowship have a Code of Ethics, which they
have pledged to abide to at all times.
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This Code of Ethics fulfills two important roles:
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The Traditional Healers Fellowship is an
organisation dedicated to promoting the interest of Traditional Healers
and Traditional Healing.
Click on this button to find out more about the Traditional Healers Fellowship.
For membership enquiries or to inquire about a qualified Traditional Healer in your locality, contact:
Traditional Healers Fellowship.
P.O. Box 432,
Elizabeth, South Australia 5112.
Phone/Fax: (08) 8254 8602
Int'l. phone/fax: + 61 8 8254 8602
Copyright © Traditional Medicine Network 2003.