Healthcare Aspects of Native American and Appalachian People

Subject: Public Health
Pages: 2
Words: 339
Reading time:
2 min

Traditions of Navajo medicine were developed centuries ago and preserved their authenticity. Navajo are concerned about the concept of goodness. They relate it to their ideology of health and make it a component of the Blessing Way healing ceremony. The ceremony is considered to be a “good” event among Navajo since it promotes “everlasting harmony or perfection”. Harmony is crucial for Navajo people, and a disruption of this harmony has mental or physical consequences which result in illnesses. There are some major common mechanisms of traditional healing in Navajo, which include ceremonies, herbs, and sand paintings. Ceremonies depend on a patient’s condition.

Thus, The Blessing Way is mainly used for pregnant women or other people to improve prosperity and health. The Enemy Way is applied to get rid of negative events, ghosts, and violence. Finally, the purpose of the Night Way ceremony is to heal a person. It is the longest ceremony that lasts for nine days. Also, Navajo apply more than 450 different herbs in their healing practices. As for the sand paintings, they are expected to transmit strength to the patient during the ceremony from the pictures created in the sand.

The Appalachian culture considers illness to be ‘the will of God’. The main principle of Native American medicine is that every disease or injury can be cured with the help of the gifts of the earth. Appalachian healing practices also include herbs. In fact, there is the herb for every serious illness or minor ailment. Herbal healing is mainly provided by women. Due to the specific need of Appalachian people to have a personal relationship with a healthcare practitioner, they prefer folk healers because they are well-known in many families and are easier accessed than physicians at hospitals. There are other practices, which include prayers or the use of dirt to treat a disease, prevent evil, or protect the home. Moreover, magic or witchcraft is also a part of Appalachian healing tradition.