Lymphedema-MW: The Spirit
The Medicine Wheel and Lymphedema's Impact on the Spirit


Medicine WheelSpritualPhysicalEmotionalMental
What are spiritual affects of lymphedema?
  • Many Natives feel that they are spiritually out of balance because of the lymphedema

  • Prayer helps many Natives heal and cope with the discomfort of the lymphedema

  • Ceremonies need to be modified to avoid risk of infection
    • Tell your traditional healer about the lymphedema and the limitations you must follow:
      • No piercing or "rendering" of flesh from the swollen arm or leg
      • No bindings of any type to the arms or legs
      • No carrying of items heavier than 3 pounds (like a staff with beadwork and art objects)
      • No kneeling on the ground if the legs are swollen
      • No digging the holes in ground, or lifting poles for the lodge
      • No vigorous dancing (like stomp dance ceremony all night long)
      • No fasting (you need both food and water to help the lymphedema heal)
      • No long walks to isolated places for meditation or vision quests
      • No peyote or other Native American Church religious beverages while lymphedema symptoms are present
      • No ointments or poultices packed onto the swollen arm or leg

    • Allow other members of your family or your friends to do the ceremony in your honor

    • You can pray with them but must keep the swollen arm or leg clean and free from cuts, lotions and avoid heavy lifting

    • You can meditate at home or at the healer's home. But stay close to a phone and transportation if you need to get quick help while praying or doing ceremony



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