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Health seeks to understand the balance within the individual, and between the individual and the community, and the individual and the environment. Health is associated directly with food, but is also much more than that.  In tradtional cultures, illness is usually understood in terms of something being out of balance. So health involves an entire science about being in the world, and how to be in the world in a proper, balanced way. It involves our interactions with other people and other beings, our duties and responsibilities, and our inner development.  More than merely the absence of disease, it is a positive, growth-enhancing state.  This chapter asks how each community conceives of health: what does it mean, how is it defined, how is it measured?  What properties contribute to health, or detract from it? This requires looking at health holistically—body, mind and spirit—and how the different aspects of the self (and the relationship between the self, the community and the world) are treated to restore balance.

Being Human: this is the place to start.  What does it mean to be human?  What is our purpose on this earth, and how are we supposed to comport ourselves?  This connects to important social, cultural and community values, as well as our relationship with the environment and spiritual forces.

Health and Disease:  Here we look at the fundamental questions posed above: what does “health” mean, how is it defined, how is it measured?  What properties contribute to health, or detract from it?  How is disease understood?  The understanding of disease is connected to its treatment.  Consequently treatments may address physical, mental and spiritual aspects of being.  It may also involve the community.

Internal treatments:  The most common forms of medicinal treatment involvels the use of herbs, salt, and other ingested remedies. What herbs are used for what illnesses? How are these gathered and prepared?

External treatments: These involve physical manipulations such as massage, steambaths, etc. These may involve moving or unblocking energies in the body. What is the science of the body that underlies these treatments? How is illness diagnosed? What are the protocols for the treatments?

Spiritual treatments: This is perhaps the most important part of the healing process: what is out of balance that produced the illness? Just as internal and external methods treat the body, the mind and spirit must also be addressed to restore health to the whole person. Rituals and ceremonies can accompany any form of treatment, or may be forms of treatment unto themselves.

NOTE: we respect the knowledge of traditional healers and share only what they are willing to share with the public.

The next chapter takes a different angle, focusing specifically on "storied places," landmarks left behind by ancient or legendary beings or incidents. For this reason, the chapter is called Footprints.



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