Types of Historic Healing Rituals

There are various types of healing rituals and alternative therapies, that are under used in the mainstream healthcare services.

Here we look at some of the types available.

Accupuncture

The ancient practice of acupuncture started in China approximately 3000 years ago. The first documentation of acupuncture that described it as an organised system of diagnosis and treatment is in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, which dates back to 100 BCE

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. Increasingly, it is being used for overall wellness, including stress management.

Qigong

Qigong, pronounced “chi gong,” was developed in China thousands of years ago as part of traditional Chinese medicine. It involves using exercises to optimize energy within the body, mind, and spirit, with the goal of improving and maintaining health and well-being.

Ayurveda

Ayurveda is considered by many scholars to be the oldest healing science. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “The Science of Life.” Ayurvedic knowledge originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is often called the “Mother of All Healing.” It stems from the ancient Vedic culture and was taught for many thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters to their disciples.

Ayurveda identifies three basic types of energy or functional principles that are present in everyone and everything. Since there are no single words in English that convey these concepts, we use the original Sanskrit words vata, pitta and kapha. These principles can be related to the basic biology of the body.

According to Ayurvedic philosophy the entire cosmos is an interplay of the energies of the five great elements—Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Vata, pitta and kapha are combinations and permutations of these five elements that manifest as patterns present in all creation. Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle and the use of herbs. In the physical body, vata is the subtle energy of movement, pitta the energy of digestion and metabolism, and kapha the energy that forms the body’s structure. 

Once these factors are understood, one can take appropriate actions to nullify or minimize their effects or eliminate the causes of imbalance and re-establish one’s original constitution. Balance is the natural order; imbalance is disorder. Health is order; disease is disorder. 

Yoga

Yoga (from the Sanskrit root yuj (“to yoke”)) refers to a series of ancient Hindu spiritual practices that originated in India. Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems (darshans) of Indian philosophy. Its influence has been widespread among many other schools of Indian thought. In Hinduism, Yoga is seen as a system of self-realization and a means to enlightenment. It is also a central concept in Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and has influenced other religious and spiritual practices throughout the world. 

There are many practices of yoga: Hatha, Iyengar, Kundalini, Pranayama, Raja, and Satya. Each has its own set of poses and breathing exercises that help to improve the mind, body and spirit.

Meditation

The earliest records of meditation practice date from approximately 1500 years BCE (Before Common Era). It seems to have been an integral part of the earliest forms of the Vedic, or early Hindu, schools in India. In the 6th to 4th centuries BCE, the Chinese Taoist and Indian Buddhist traditions began to develop their own versions of meditation practice. Further west, early forms of meditation practice were developed by such notable figures as Philo of Alexandria, the Desert Fathers of the Middle East, and Saint Augustine.

The benefits of meditation are numerous and varied, and supported by science. Many people start meditating to manage stress, reduce anxiety, and to cultivate peace of mind. But there are thousands of studies documenting other less-known meditation benefits, which can have a positive impact on mental, physical, and emotional health.

Reiki

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. So Reiki is actually “spiritually guided life force energy.”

Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing.

Reflexology

Reflexology, dates back to 2500 BC to ancient Egypt. Evidence suggests in the ancient Egyptian papyrus (an ancient documentation) that reflexology may have been used as it illustrates medical ancient Egyptian practitioners performing hand and foot treatments to patients.

Due to its non-invasive, non-pharmacological complementary nature, reflexology is widely accepted by modern health services and anecdotal evidence of positive effect reflexology in a variety of health conditions are available.

Herbal Medicine

Ancient medicine

Archaeological evidence indicates that the use of medicinal plants dates back to the Paleolithic age, approximately 60,000 years ago. Written evidence of herbal remedies dates back over 5,000 years to the Sumerians, who compiled lists of plants. 

Gong Baths or Sound Bathing

Gong Bath, Sound Bathing

Gong baths are highly rejuvenating for the body and bring about an overall sense of relaxation, which can reduce stress as well as help develop a better ability to cope with stress, help move emotional blockages from trauma, and even stimulate altered states of consciousness.

Cacao Ceremony

Cacao ceremonies are a type of shamanic healing – which is one of the oldest holistic healing practices used by indigenous cultures all over the world. It is a natural and ancient plant medicine, with a high concentration of vitamins, minerals and is a powerful antioxidant. Cacao also increases blood flow (oxygen and nutrients) to the brain as well as induces the release of feel-good endorphins and is said to heal the mental, physical and spiritual body. 

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