Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Takes more than a sticky plaster to heal.

A really excellent article in the SST about traditional maori healing and medicine.

Worth a read and another good example of maori solutions for maori issues. The other area to really consider is that this is also an example of inclusiveness. Using traditional maori healing doesn't mean you also cannot use modern medicine as well. It's not exclusive, it's inclusive - as many maori solutions are.

"About five times a year, Atarangi Muru, an Auckland grandmother of Ngati Kuri descent, takes her travelling medicine show overseas, bringing traditional Maori healing techniques to hundreds of patients across the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East..."

"The iPhone-toting healer is a modern day tohunga, a practitioner of rongoa Maori, or traditional Maori medicine. Muru is among the hundreds of practitioners working in diverse capacities around the country to keep an age-old cultural knowledge alive: in clinics and hospitals, university and marae, city and countryside. Some receive a cut of the $1.9 million the Health Ministry spends on rongoa each year, the only public funding given to alternative health providers. Others, like Muru, prefer to work independently of the health system..."

"The Maori approach to health differs from conventional medicine in its appreciation of the spiritual dimension to wellbeing... "

"Percy Tipene, spokesman for Te Paepae Matua mo Rongoa, the national body for Maori healers which is being established with $300,000 of Health Ministry funding, says that crucial to rongoa's effectiveness "is the psychological belief by our people that what they're obtaining is going to heal them... "

"Today there are about 30 rongoa clinics around the country, 15 of them funded by the Health Ministry to promote wellness through massage, prayer, spiritual counselling and cultural support... "

"The Health Ministry's plans to bring the old tradition of rongoa in line with the accountabilities of a modern health system holds little allure for Muru, who works under natural laws perceived as more powerful than any ministry edict. In fact, it's an influence she regards as unhealthy... "

"I worked in a group of healers once that received government funding, but our healing was in a box, and we couldn't work outside the box," she says.

"In society nowadays, we have too many rules, too many conditions.""

The holistic approach to health is common in many non-western societies. Incorporating a spiritual/non-physical aspect to healing makes sense in my book.

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