1. First idea is the sense that mind, body and spirit have never been separate, that interconnectedness and balance to greater or lesser degrees are a part of the life process. If the connections are interrupted the person is no longer healthy, and it is at that place when the nurse intervene to reestablish the rhythmic, flowing connected whole.
2. The second idea is that of “awareness”, or consciousness of the sense of the unity that is implies. Nurses use positive mental images in relaxation for strengthening the relation” body-mind”.
3. The third idea is that of personal responsibility for health. Because consciousness or awareness is an integral part of the experience of health, the individual is the only one who can give information about the current state of health. The ultimate authority on health is the individual.
Some authors equate health with the concept of wellness. One author attempted to differentiate wellness and health. Health is composed of five subgroups: mental health, physical health, social health, spiritual health, and emotional health. Wellness is the integration of all of these areas of health in a balanced way, so if a person works on one area of wellness, all other areas must also be improved.. This is a useful way of looking at the two concepts, because it explains why one can feel “more well” on some days than on other days. The difference is not a matter of illness or disease but of levels of wellness.
James Bowman, D.C.,D.Ht., is a director of the American Preventive Medical Association, and an authority on alternative health care. According to him, although disease might result from injury or infection, this overt event is not the true, original cause of the illness. The cause is loss of balance; certain underlying causes can make an individual more vulnerable to disease or injury. Native Americans certainly believe that their emotions can have an effect on their health, and modern science is beginning to agree. We now know that emotional stress can affect your body’s physical health. Nerve and hormonal activity increases and muscles tense. Herbs are more effective when the mind and spirit are balanced and healthy. “ Naturopathy traces its roots back to the approaches used by my great grandmother who emphasized prevention and use of combinations of remedies that act as “helpers” for the body’ s natural healing power.”
Native American Health - The Oldest American Healthcare
Indian Medicine is a unique system of healing and beliefs that are interwoven in all aspects of the four powers or Four Directions of physical, mental, spiritual and natural that comprises the Circle of Life. While each of us has our own Medicine, it is influenced by our environment and all things within our circle of influence. The teachings of Full Circle held each six months by people in the Cherokee Indian Reservation, teach these “ways” for personal growth and understanding of the wonderful traditional Indian Medicine.
Choices for wellness have to be examined in each of the Four Directions by the question, “What does it take for me to prevent disease and to have wellness in my life?”
-The direction of the South embodies the natural way of youthful innocence represented by curiosity, playfulness and innovation or creativity. Natural wellness of the South is being able to enjoy life, activities with family and finding things to do that are enjoyable.
-The direction of the West embodies the physical aspect of living and the strength that comes from knowing ourselves well; both of these inherently affect self-awareness and perceptions of autonomy. Physical wellness of the West is about eating the right foods and taking supplements to compensate for than lack of nutrition in our foods and diet.
-The direction of the North embodies the mental aspect of inner consciousness and wisdom turned outward. North Medicine reaches us Good Medicine for calming our systems during stress and using the plants to make into teas for a relaxing sleep time.
-The direction of the East embodies the spiritual aspect of living that is a part of both personal truths and interpersonal experiences.
East meets West medicine
People belonging to the Asian culture are used to relying on distinct health practices and beliefs that are significantly different from those of the American born or other immigrants. As patient’s health beliefs can have an extreme impact on clinical care, it is important for American medical professionals to be familiar with the concepts introduced here. Traditional Vietnamese and Chinese practitioners began identifying their medicine as Dong Y to distinguish their medicine from the Western colonial medicine; this division on denomination begun in the 17th century.
In today’s approach, the terms Eastern medicine and Asian medicine are more commonly used. Many Americans quickly associate Chinese herbal remedies and acupuncture with Eastern “alternative” medicine; however, they are largely unfamiliar with other common practices from Asia. The philosophies of health and illness causation at the root of Eastern medicines are even less understood and just as important. Traditional Chinese medicine, TCM, is the best-known Asian medicine practiced in the US; that is not the only medicine worthy of our attention. Traditional Vietnamese medicine, TVM, actually evolved together with traditional Chinese medicine; with respect for all the differences, the development of the two, so twisted together, makes it impossible to separate them. Not very far from them is Japanese and Korean traditional medicine. Due to trade, migration and years of occupation, many Eastern and Southeastern Asian societies have been part of the Chinese cultural sphere.
The greatest trial for Western healthcare professional once they have learned the basics of different cultural remedies and treatments is to understand the beliefs and attitudes about sickness that drive these ancient practices.
Information source: Nursing, 2001; Medicine of the Cherokee (JT Garrett and M Garrett); Asian Herald-Holistic Health, 2010(R. Dimitriu).