• Tanushree Banerjee

Ancient Healing Practices

The human body is a latticework of energies, vibrating at different frequencies, encompassing the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects. It has been perfectly created to function optimally, provided we observe the laws of nature.

When we divert from these laws, energy imbalances result within our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual body, creating dis-ease.

The symptoms of our dis-ease are the body’s innate method of correcting the imbalances within, to allow us to return to our natural state of wholeness.

When we attempt to treat our dis-ease through the administration of medication, we’re just temporarily suppressing the symptoms. We’re not addressing the root cause of our dis-ease, i.e. the energy imbalance. The medication causes further imbalances, disrupting the body’s natural immune system, which is rarely given the opportunity to fulfill its role.

Over a period of time, our initial dis-ease reappears with more serious symptoms. Our body, once again, is attempting to correct the imbalances within to restore the healthy flow of energies. Our new symptoms are diagnosed as a new dis-ease, stronger medication is administered and the vicious cycle continues.

Early in the 1800’s scientists learned how to extract the active constituents of herbal remedies. They also discovered how to create formulas that mimicked the efficacy of traditional natural remedies out of inorganic sources. These “drugs” unlike earlier natural preparations could be patented and sold for a profit. Not long after, allopathic western medicine got its foothold in society. Physicians, in conjunction with their pharmacological brothers began prescribing these newly created “prescription drugs” to their patients.

Our perspective on traditional methods of healing has dramatically shifted from those held by people living in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Unfortunately, many view alternative health therapies with suspicion. Some have come to see them as evil or the work of the devil.

Our knowledge of traditional healing methods comes into full view when we evaluate the medical know-how of the ancient Egyptians, Indians, Greeks, Aztecs, Chinese, Mayan and several other ancient civilizations. The renown of Egyptian physicians was recognized all over the ancient world.

Our understanding of why we get sick has evolved since antiquity. We no longer believe illness to be the work of evil spirits, yet these early medical specialists, like alternative health practitioners today, understood the necessity of cleansing the body to eliminate negative humors to restore health.

The ancient Egyptians, unlike their modern western counterparts, recognized the importance of a healthy diet. In addition to the use of therapeutic foods, they had a vast understanding of medicinal herbs and incorporated techniques such as massage and color and sound therapy into their healing practice. Papyrus texts indicate that they had remedies for illnesses of the bones, the teeth, for treating the blood, nausea, ulcers, the heart, lungs, urinary tract, inflammation of the joints and many more.

The foundation of health practices of early and indigenous cultures around the world, did follow a similar and consistent theme. Their goal was to heal the “whole” person and not just remediate disease. A group’s shaman or medicine man offers a similar set of services as the early physicians of Egypt. These healers like a contemporary medical intuitive, diagnose disease. They are reported to have the ability to look into the body of their patients and see their illnesses. Their assessments, not only evaluated their patient’s physical health, but their mental and emotional health as well.

In these cultures, herbal remedies featured prominently. Preparations such as herbal tonics, washes, massages and even aromatherapies were often recommended. Treatments such as sweating, as we see today in contemporary saunas were utilized. We now recognize the value of sweating. It helps cleanse the body of toxic elements and boosts the immune system. Hot baths were also employed. Bathing calms the nervous system and can help stimulate blood circulation. It can also help relieve common aches and pains of the body.

Contemporary western medicine has recently begun to recognize how “stress” in its various forms can cause ill health. Early physicians also recognized the role that our thought and emotions play on our health. They utilized a variety of spiritual healing methods to alleviate the underlying disturbance from their patient’s lives. This came in the form of prayers, Sound Therapies (drumming, chanting), toning, meditation, balancing of the chakras and the use of directed intention.

Traditional energy healers of India also had a wealth of knowledge on how to diagnose, treat, and cure dis-ease by empowering the body’s innate capacity to self-heal, and through the generations, much of this ancient wisdom has been kept alive, some of which are:

Ayurveda: The traditional Hindu system of medicine (incorporated in Atharva Veda, the last of the four Vedas), which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.

Yoga Asanas: The holistic practice of physical postures known as asanas, each of which has specific physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits to unite the body, mind and soul. Yoga alleviates numerous health conditions through restoring the healthy flow of our energies.

Acupressure: This is the holistic practice of diagnosing and treating the root cause of dis-ease, thereby curing dis-ease by applying intermittent pressure on specific areas of the hands and feet, that correspond to specific organs, glands, nerves, bones, tissues and so forth. It regulates the vital energy within the body part, empowering it to function optimally.

The year was 1991 when hikers trekking through the Ötztal Alps discovered the mummified body of a man frozen in the ice. Tests indicated that this man, dubbed the Iceman or Ötzi, lived about five thousand years ago. One of the remarkable things about Ötzi’s is that his body is covered with tattoos that are grouped in a series of lines or crosses. The tattoos are dark blue in color and are believed to have been made by using soot that may have been removed from a fireplace.

The majority of the over fifty tattoos that cover his body are arraigned in groups of one, two, three, four and even seven parallel lines that run along the length of his body. Examination by three separate acupuncture societies revealed that the many of the lines tattooed on Ötzi’s body are located on traditional Chinese acupuncture points. The crossed shaped tattoos found on his left ankle and knee correspond to acupuncture trigger points. Nowadays, acupuncture is sought out for the relief of pain, where specific points are activated along channels known as meridians.

Pranayama: The holistic practice of controlling the breath by a number of different techniques to increase the vital energy within the body. Our breath is the life force that flows through each and every cell within our body, and by expanding our life force we can harmonize with the life force of the universe, to receive cosmic healing energy. Our thoughts and emotions can have a detrimental effect on our breathing patterns, affecting all the bodily systems. However, with the regular practice of pranayama we can influence our physical, mental and emotional states in the most positive of ways, to initiate the body’s natural capacity to self-heal. Traditionally, pranayama was practiced to release negative emotions, re-balance the body’s energies and prepare the mind for meditation.

Chromotherapy: The holistic practice of applying specific colours to parts of the body, by various methods to heal energy imbalances. The sun is comprised of seven colours, each of which possesses its own unique energy vibration and carries its own healing property. Each of the seven colours is associated with our seven main energy centres known as the chakras. Colour can be absorbed by our body through our chakras by sunlight, artificial light, the earth’s natural stones, water or visualization to restore harmony, by correcting physical, mental and emotional energy imbalances. Traditionally the sun was worshipped for its ability to provide the necessary healing energy required by the body, to treat and prevent dis-ease, due to its abundant and unlimited source of solar energy.

Meditation: The holistic practice of quietening the body and mind through awareness to enter a state of deep tranquility, while being fully alert. Meditation has been practiced in India for centuries to promote good health at a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical level. It allows us to re-connect with our true selves to experience inner peace and contentment, which we can draw upon in times of external stress and chaos, to remain calm, centred and in control.

Crystals: The holistic practice of placing the Earth’s natural stones within the body’s magnetic field to restore the flow of healthy positive energy within and around the body by removing toxic negative energy.

These are only a few examples of ancient and indigenous healing techniques. The list of methodologies they employed can go on and on. While we can only speculate at this time as to when we began to utilize these techniques to restore health, in the end, it is easy to see that they have been in use for eons.

It is understandable why many people are hesitant to embrace concepts offered by alternative health practices. We have been taught that the methods used by our fathers, and our fathers father are bad, ineffective or harmful. Many see them as being primitive, antiquated or “old school”, yet it has only been in the last one hundred and fifty years that the methodologies offered by western allopathic medicine have been utilized.

Our bodies were designed with the innate ability to heal itself. They are not intended to ingest, digest, incorporate or process synthetic products or substances. In our learned desire for a quick fix, we seek the “magic bullet” to cure all of our woes. We have been taught to ignore the outcome, the byproducts and the side effects of these manufactured chemical substances as long as we feel better in the short term. We have come to believe that we can experience happiness through chemistry, yet as a people, we are becoming sicker and sicker each day.

The goal of modern day medicine is to eliminate symptoms and monetize (treatment) illness, not heal the body. The focus of alternative health practices, like our ancestors, is to heal the body. We know from the historical record that the use of herbs, acupuncture, ritual, prayer, meditation, toning, massage and many other healing modalities have been employed for thousands of years. The historical record for the effectiveness of traditional cures holds firm regardless of how much it is mocked as voodoo medicine.

No one wants to get sick and if we are ill, we all want to heal. If you have in the past shied away from traditional, alternative healing modalities, perhaps it is time to take another look at them. As you can see, these methods have been practiced for thousands of years. Maybe they can work for you too.

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