Traditions of Healing
Have you noticed that there are many differing approaches and opinions to health and wellness?
This is taken from Susan Weed, master herbalist and wise woman, she has broken the basic traditions of healing down into three categories; The Scientific, Heroic and Wise Woman Traditions.Each of these three traditions have very different approaches to healing. Once you read about the traditions you can better understand where your practitioner is coming from in their approach to your health.
What is The Scientific Tradition?
Modern, western medicine is an excellent example of the Scientific tradition; where healing is fixing. The line is its symbol: linear thought, linear time. In the scientific tradition truth is fixed and measurable, truth is that which repeats. Good and bad, health and sickness are put at opposite ends of the line.
Scientific tradition states food is not medicine, a belief I do not hold.
Newton’s universal laws and the mechanization of nature are the foundation of the Scientific tradition. Bodies are understood to be machines. When machines run well (stay healthy) they don’t deviate, anything that deviates from normal needs to be fixed or repaired. The Scientific tradition is excellent for fixing broken things. Measurements must be taken to determine deviation and insure normalcy. Regular diagnostic tests are critical to maintaining proper function and ensuring utmost longevity of the body/machine.
In the Scientific tradition, plants are valued as repositories of poisons/alkaloids. They are seen as potential drugs, and capable of killing you in their unpredictable crude states. They are helpful and safe only when refined into drugs and used by highly-trained experts.
In the Scientific tradition the whole is the same as its most active part, and machines are more trustworthy than people.
What is The Heroic Tradition?
There is not one unified Heroic tradition, but many similar traditions collectively called the Heroic tradition. Alternative health care practitioners generally represent the Heroic thought pattern, symbolized by a circle.
This circle defines the rules, which, we are told, must be followed in order to save ourselves from disease and death. Healing in the Heroic tradition focuses on cleansing. According to this tradition, disease arises when toxins (dirt, filth, anger, negativity) accumulate. When we are bad; when we eat the wrong food, think the wrong thought, commit a sin, we sicken and the healer is the savior, offering purification, punishment, and redemption.
In the Heroic traditions, the whole is the sum of its parts. We are body, mind, and spirit. The spirit is high and worthy; the body is low and gross; the mind is in between. In the Heroic traditions, we are personally responsible for everything that happens to us.
Religious beliefs frequently accompany herb use in the Heroic tradition. The Heroic healer uses rare substances, exotic herbs, and complicated formulae. Drug-like herbs in capsules are favored in this tradition. Most books on herbal medicine are written by those whose thought patterns are of the Heroic tradition.
The Heroic tradition recommends colonics for every problem from menstrual cramps to cancer. Cures in the Heroic tradition are usually through dramatic and invasive means. This tradition believes purity is to be achieved at any cost. The treatment is part of the punishment to purify our dirty body.
What is The Wise Woman Tradition?
The Wise Woman tradition is the world’s oldest healing tradition. It envisions good health as openness to change, flexibility, availability to transformation. Its symbol is the spiral. In the Wise Woman tradition we do not seek to cure, but focus instead on integrating and nourishing the unique individual’s wholeness/holiness. The Wise Woman tradition relies on warmth tenderness, simple ritual, and common herbs and garden weeds as primary nourishers, AND appreciates (and uses) any treatment appropriate to the specific self-healing process.
The Wise Woman tradition sees each life as a spiraling, ever-changing completeness. Disease and injury are seen as doorways of transformation, and each person is recognized as a self-healer: inherently whole, resonant to the whole, and vital to the whole. Substance, thought, feeling, and spirit are inseparable in the Wise Woman tradition. The whole is more than the sum of its parts.
The Wise Woman tradition offers self-healing options as diverse as the human imagination and as complex as the human psyche. The Wise Woman tradition has no rules, no texts, no rites; it is constantly changing, constantly being re-invented. It is mostly invisible, hard to see, but easier and easier to find. It is a give-away dance of nourishment, change, and self-love. An invitation to honor yourself and the earth. An encouragement to trust yourself.
There are seven steps of healing in the Wise Woman tradition. This formula delineates a way to cut through the confusion and decide which option to use when. It is based on the concept: “First do no harm.”
Six Steps of Healing from the Wise Woman Tradition
Step 0 – Do Nothing
Step 1 – Gather Information
Step 2 – Engage the Energy
Step 3 – Nourish and Tonify
Step 4 – Stimulate & Sedate
Step 5 – Use Drugs
Step 6 – Break & Enter
Copyright – Susan Weed