Adapting Traditional Healing Values and Beliefs into Therapeutic Cultural Environments for Health and Well-Being
journal contributionposted on 04.01.2022, 21:00 by Bruno MarquesBruno Marques, Claire Freeman, Lyn Carter
Although research has long established that interaction with the natural environment is associated with better overall health and well-being outcomes, the Western model mainly focuses on treating symptoms. In Aotearoa/New Zealand, the Indigenous Māori have long demonstrated significantly more negative health outcomes than non-Māori. Little research has examined the causes compared to Western populations or the role of the natural environment in health outcomes for Māori. An exploration of rongoā Māori (traditional healing system) was conducted to ascertain the importance of landscape in the process of healing. Eight rongoā healers or practitioners took part in semi-structured narrative interviews from June to November 2020. Transcribed interviews were analysed using an interpretative phenomenological analysis and Kaupapa Māori techniques. The findings show how rongoā is underpinned by a complex set of cultural values and beliefs, drawing from the connection to wairua (spirit), tinana (body), tikanga and whakaora (customs and healing), rākau (plants), whenua (landscape) and whānau (family). Incorporating such constructs into the landscape can foster our understanding of health and well-being and its implications for conceptualising therapeutic environments and a culturally appropriate model of care for Māori and non-Māori communities.