What Different Cultures Can Teach Us About Healing

Posted by Annie Keough on December 9, 2021


Today, Americans rely heavily on Western medicine to fix them, but there isn’t a singular panacea for healing: you have to focus on every aspect of your body, mind, and soul. Most traditional medicinal practices recognized the importance of whole-body wellness and centered around holistic healing.

Healing is not a one-size-fits-all approach; it has grown and changed as our world has. The past two years have called for a societal need for healing and reflecting on the ways that we heal.

Many alternative forms of medicine stem from ancient or traditional civilizations that relied on plants, herbs, and spiritual practices to heal people. The modern-day uses of these practices can be beneficial while used alongside allopathic medicine.

If Western medicine makes you feel comfortable and is effective, go for it. But, exploring diverse healing methods can help you find a practice that works for you. Here’s how a few different cultures prioritize and practice healing:

     Native American

While there are countless different tribes that use various healing practices across North America, they are all linked by a similar belief: spirituality is essential to healing and “recovering one’s wholeness.”

Native Americans traditionally use a cleansing ritual called “smudging” to purify a place or person of negative spirits to bring in good ones. They also use talking circles to achieve greater mind, body, and spiritual healing through deep talks and connections. As a feather or talking stick is handed around the circle, everyone shares from their hearts without fear of being judged by others.

     Latin America

Curanderismo is the art of traditional medicine in Latin America, particularly in Mexico. Curanderos (traditional healers) believe that diseases have both biological and spiritual roots and treat patients using a combination of mental, spiritual, and material means.

Specific plants are used for the nervous and digestive systems. Curanderos achieve physical healing through empacho (intestinal blockage), ventosas (fire cupping), and sobadas (traditional massages). Practices like limpias (spiritual body cleansing) and temazcales (Mexican sweat lodges) purify the mind, spirit, and energy. 

     New Zealand

The Māori are the native people of New Zealand who follow the Rongoā Māori healing method. Rather than treating a single symptom of an issue, Rongoā Māori treats the person as a whole. Through plant remedies (rongoā rākau), spiritual healing, and physical therapies, Rongoā Māori targets the whole person and can help with pain management, treating diseases, and fighting infection.

Many of the native New Zealand herbs and plants used in Rongoā have proven effective, like manuka and kawakawa, and others have been used for centuries for traditional healing practices. Learn more about Rongoā Māori healing here.


For a person to maintain harmony, traditional Chinese medicine believes that qi, or vital energy, must flow freely throughout the body along channels known as meridian lines. Also, two opposing forces- yin and yang- must be balanced to avoid illness and maintain health.

Many people already practice one of China’s most popular forms of restoring qi balance: Tai Chi. Tai Chi (and Qi Gong) are meditative exercises that combine gentle movements and mental focus to improve the flow of qi.

Acupuncture is another popular form of traditional Chinese healing, which promotes the flow of energy throughout the body while also treating muscle pains, headaches, digestive problems, and even anxiety and depression.


Wellzesta encourages emotional and spiritual healing by providing the tools needed to guide users on their journey. Daily wellness articles and videos increase well-being and offer ideas to begin the healing process.

Communication tools within Wellzesta also allow users to connect with others who may be on the same path or interested in the same healing.

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