Spirituality - Natural, Complementary & Alternative Healing

Natural, Complementary and Alternative Healing Methods

Welcome to the Natural, Complementary and Alternative Healing Methods branch of the NACES Quality of Life Tree. Natural healing is using different methods to deal with our illnesses without the use of chemicals, drugs or surgery. Some people only use natural healing methods. Others use some natural healing methods to compliment their modern western medical therapies or what their providers/doctors/nurses have prescribed. These ways can also assist in the healing process.

1. What is the purpose of this branch?
The purpose of this branch of the Quality of Life Decision Tree is to provide you with:

  • Information on different natural and alternative healing methods.
  • Encourage you to include your own natural gifts in your healing process.

Objectives. By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Be aware of several natural and alternative healing methods available.
  • Be aware of your own natural “tools/gifts”.

2. What information can you find here?

  • Welcome/Introduction
  • Natural healing beliefs
  • Types of Natural/Alternative healing techniques
    • Physical
    • Nutritional
    • Emotional
  • Energetic
  • Self healing ways
  • References

3. How is the information organized?
The information begins with common beliefs of Natural Healing practitioners. Then a variety of natural healing procedures are briefly explained. The last part shares examples of self healing ways. Storytellers are also available in sections of the branch to share examples of what some Native survivors have experienced.

Nutritional Natural Healing


  • Natural plants that are used for their medicinal/healing qualities.
  • They can be eaten, taken as teas or used in liniments, poultices, ointments, tinctures, salves or other ways.
  • CAUTION!: Many people try to self prescribe herbal remedies for their illnesses. Not all herbal remedies known for specific illnesses are to be used by everyone.
  • Herbs are a real form of medicine.
  • Some people want to find a natural herb to replace the chemical drugs they are taking.
  • Please know that herbs do work for some cancer but usually in a much slower, gradual way than chemical drugs. Some types of cancer have to be treated with quicker acting drugs.
  • Some herbal remedies are dangerous to mix with chemical prescribed drugs that are being taken. This sometimes can lead to an overdose!
  • Other times the herbal medicines interfere with cancer treatment drugs (e.g., chemo). This means that you are not getting the benefit of the chemo drugs and frequently that you're also not getting the benefit of the herbal treatment.
  • It is very important that you know the correct herbs for you and your particular illness. Find a trusted herbalist in your community to help you.


  • Many times the source of our illness is a lack of a certain vitamin and/or mineral.
  • There are various vitamins and minerals that specifically work on various illnesses and/or dis-eases.
  • CAUTION. There are more and more scientific issues that some vitamin combinations may actually make the cancer more active and aggressive. You need to tell your provider about the types and strengths of vitamins and minerals you are taking.


  • Homeopathies are herbs that have been diluted several times.
  • The more they are diluted, the stronger they are.
  • Because of the high levels of dilution, many herbs that would be poisonous to us if ingest normally can be used for their medicinal qualities in an extremely low, diluted dose.
  • There are clinical trials from the National Institutes of Health that are investigating the positive effects of selected homeopathic remedies.
  • CAUTIONS: You need to get these herbal preparations from a trained homeopathic practitioner who you have told about your cancer.
  • Carefully following the instructions from the trained homeopathic practitioner.
  • You may not be eligible for some clinical trials while taking homeopathic treatments.

Bach flowers

  • Bach flowers are the essence of 38 different flower remedies that work on specific emotions including various forms of grief, sadness, fear, despair, loneliness, oversensitivity, uncertainty etc.
  • Flower essences address the mental and emotional aspects of wellness.
  • These are taken by mouth in tincture form.


  • Many of our foods have healing qualities and help various illnesses.
  • Some foods can be poisonous to our bodies and can cause certain illnesses.

Emotional Natural Healing

Emotional -Working on deep emotions that usually are ignored or “stuffed”. If emotions are not dealt with they can cause physical problems or illnesses.


  • Visualization is the process of focusing your concentration on a picture of what you want and seeing it as already being done.
  • These techniques have a person “seeing” changes and healing in their emotional and physical situations.
  • These techniques work very well with Native people because we are visual learners and understand visually.

Neural linguistics

  • Integrative mind techniques for releasing that which no longer serves you (i.e. habits, beliefs, memories) and becoming who you truly want to be.
  • Sometimes, but not always, touch is used to balance emotional problems.

Bio feedback

  • This is where person is hooked up to an electronic device to monitor their physical actions to different emotional problems.
  • The monitor can detect when they are in a tense or relaxed state of mind.
  • The goal is to get a person in a more balanced, relaxed, state of mind. This can be seen and heard by the readings of the electronic device.

Bach flowers

  • Bach flowers are the essence of 38 different flower remedies that work on specific emotions including various forms of grief, sadness, fear, despair, loneliness, oversensitivity, uncertainty etc.
  • Flower essences address the mental and emotional aspects of wellness.
  • These are taken by mouth in tincture form.
  • EMDR-Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
  • This technique has a person moving their eyes, in a specific way, while remembering the emotional problem.
  • It is found that the eye movement will change the way a person responds to the emotion in a much healthier way.


Energy Natural Healing

Energetic - this approaches healing on the unseen energy fields of the body, the different layers of our body.

These techniques, mostly, do not involve touch and work on the energy levels just from 1 inch to 6 inches above the body which sends a message to the physical body to heal.

Chakra balance

  • This technique balances the 7 major charkas of the body, the root, reproductive, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown chakra.
  • These main charkas radiate out from the front and back of our bodies.
  • These are energy centers that run in 7 specific areas from the bottom of our bodies (root chakra) to the top of our heads (crown chakra)
  • Many times the chakras can be out of balance and can cause emotional and physical problems.


  • Reike is a Japanese form of energy work that is simple, natural and an energetic treatment for healing the body. It promotes relaxation and reducing stress.
  • A Reike session restores this flow of energy, which in turn, naturally balances the body and encourages healing.
  • This technique works on the physical and energetic layers of the body.
  • The Reike practitioner will do the energy adjustment with their hands slightly touching the body

Therapeutic Touch

  • This technique is used to find problem areas of the body and works toward clearing the energy fields.
  • The practitioner will do the energy adjustment with their hands approximately 2-6" above the body.


  • Where very fine needles (acupuncture) are inserted to different parts of the body to open blocked energy fields (meridians). Once meridians are unblocked healing can take place.
  • Acupressure is done the same, only without the needles. Just pressure is applied to the same areas.

Command point balance

  • This is a Chinese technique that identifies one or more of the blocked energy fields (meridians) and uses acupressure to unblock the block.
  • This techniques works on body, mind, emotions and nutritional levels.


Simple Self Healing Ways

Ways to use your own natural gifts to assist in your healing process.

Some ideas to consider in your own self healing:

  • Take responsibility for your own wellness.
    • First we need to take responsibility of finding out how we can get well by using all the internal and external resources available to us.
  • Believe in the power within to assist in your own healing process.
  • You have to believe and have faith that each of us has power within ourselves to assist in our healing process.
  • Without this belief we struggle to heal ourselves.

Change "fix me" attitude to self care.

  • Don't give power away.
  • Many times in this society we have given our personal healing power away.
  • We have developed a "you fix me" policy. "You fix me" Dr, "you fix me" counselor, "you fix me" pills…
  • With this attitude we have given our power away.
  • What happens when they don't fix us? We blame them. We are not taking responsibility for our own wellness.
  • We need to take our power back and work along side of our chosen remedy, whether it is natural or western medicine or a combination of both.
  • Walt Hollow's SPIRITual Model has an example…

Change how we talk about our illnesses

  • Many times we talk about our illness as "my cancer", "my diabetes", "my _"…
  • When we talk about it this way, it IS ours, we keep it. Our sensitive mind believes it and makes it that way.
  • When we say: "this is an illness I am dealing with", it does not personalize it. It separates the illness from who you really are. It puts us in the right frame of mind for healing.

Empower self –use the natural "tools" you have:

  • Prayers - talk to your higher power
  • Ask others to pray for you… consider prayer circles or other group prayer
  • Meditation
  • Quiet your mind. Try to remove or empty your mind of all thoughts.


  • Think about having a ceremony for your healing

Mind Healing/Visualization

  • "See" self being well, whole and healed
  • "See" bones healing, medicine, operations, therapy working

Develop a positive support system

  • Who are positive people in your life to make up your support system?
  • It is essential that we all have these types of people in our life. We all need:
  • Someone who will "be there", listen, not give advice.
  • Someone who respects your competence.
  • Someone who knows you and challenges you to grow (your mentor)
  • Someone who loves and cares about you even if you goof up.
  • Someone who can challenge your negative emotional reactions
  • Someone who views the world the same way you do.
  • If you do not have a person that fits each category you need to find one. They are very important in your life!! They are keepers!!!


  • Journaling or writing your journey can be very helpful. It is helping us to identify all that we are going through, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  • It expresses our feelings and situations in a healthy way. It can show us many things about who we are.
  • It is a very healthy way to express ourselves.


  • Either listening to special songs, music or singing special songs can be very healing.
  • Our songs have and can be our prayers for ourselves.


  • Dancing can be a very healing experience.
  • Dances, especially traditional dances, are and can be prayers for ourselves.

Art & Crafts/Hobbies

  • Many people use their arts/crafts/hobbies to assist in their healing process

Affirmations-words of wisdom

  • Affirmations are powerful positive statement that we tell ourselves to create a desired result.
  • Many people have used short meaningful statements to help encourage them on their healing path or struggles.
  • Some use quotes out of the bible or other holy scriptures. Some use healing "words of wisdom" they have found.
  • If you repeated these affirmations to yourself over and over, they start to become part of your belief system and can definitely help in your healing.
  • A suggestion is to write them on a brightly coloured paper and attach it in different places where you can see it everyday. Put it eye level. This will be a helpful reminder you to tell yourself these affirmations daily. The more times a day, the better.