First Nations Wellness Practices
On this first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we reflect. As a self-care business, we thought it would be interesting to share some Indigenous perspectives on self-care and traditional healing practices from First Nations peoples in British Columbia.⠀
“True reconciliation is about learning, sharing, and growing as a country. The more we know about where we came from, and our shared history and our responsibilities, the better we can address current challenges and find our healing path forward together.” - RoseAnne Archibald
Traditional First Nations therapeutic approaches promote the idea of bringing together many forces to best utilize the powers that promote health. They reinforce adherence to cultural values and help to remind people of the importance of connecting with family, community, nature, and spirituality.
First Nations people focus on inter-connectedness and have a more collective orientation towards life. This is in contrast to Euro-American society which is strongly based on a culture of autonomy and individualism.
1. Sweat Lodge
The process of sweating for cleansing and healing has a history that extends around the world and goes back for millennia. First Nations sweat lodge ceremonies have been described as holistic experiences that improve emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual well-being.
First Nations people speak about the importance of socialization and friendship and the healing properties that come with laughter in a sweat lodge. Sweat lodge participants tend to be less worried and have a higher level of self-esteem after a ceremony.
2. Spirit Bathing
Spirit bathing, or cold swimming, has a twofold benefit – for self and community.
“I go for a spirit bath in the cold river, the cold lake, and I pray for our People, I pray for our leaders, our Elders. When you think of others, it heals your ego because you’re not self-focused and just worried about yourself. When you’re submersed in that cold water, and your feet are touching the earth – it just brings absolute clarity and focus." - Candace Campo
3. Earthing / Grounding
Earthing or grounding is the practice of placing bare skin on the earth.
Electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth produces physiological health benefits, higher consciousness, and a feeling of connection and stability.
"One of the things that is really powerful is grounding ourselves. Taking some time. Taking your socks and shoes off. Going and feeling the land under your feet is a really great way to ground you." - Allison Burns-Joseph