Mind Body Medicine - Incorporating Indigenous Wisdom into Healing
The Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center (MIWRC) is a non-profit community organization that provides social services and education to American Indian women and their families. Established in 1984 by three local Native women and one male Native ally, our Mission is to empower American Indian women and families to exercise their cultural values and integrity, and to achieve sustainable life ways, while advocating for justice and equity. Since 2012, MIWRC has been training indigenous community members in Mind-Body Medicine (MBM) to better incorporate self-care into their agency cultures, to support providers who serve and care for community members, and to address intergenerational trauma. See below for evaluation findings and participant feedback from our MBM pilot.
First of two MBM Healing Events for Community Providers held on November 10, 2017. Second event was held on May 25, 2018. The purpose was to help providers with self-care and increase their capacity to work with relatives/clients.
MBM is Reducing Job-Related Stress and Burnout
Participants report that using MBM techniques helps them to become calmer, more relaxed, and to avoid becoming overwhelmed. MBM helps them â€œstay in the moment. For many, it reduces burnout and exhaustion. Many have incorporated MBM into a regular part of their routine to prepare themselves for their workday.
"I do the soft belly breathing if I feel myself overwhelmed by a task. I just try to take a moment to calm down or to get myself into different state of mind."
Providers are Using Mind-Body Medicine to Help Clients, Patients, and Students
Many providers work with people who are experiencing severe trauma. They are using MBM to help the patients, clients, students, and others they work with to help them reduce stress and anxiety. Providers have used MBM to help people prepare for court appearances, cope with medical treatments, and deal with difficult family situations.
"They walk out of my door in a better state than when they walked in."
Incorporating Indigenous Wisdom and Mind-Body Medicine
MIWRC has indigenized MBM training to incorporate indigenous wisdom, traditions, and culture, which resonates with many people who have been trained. Participants value that the training is led by indigenous trainers who incorporate ceremony and sacred traditions into the learnings.
"I think it's key to the Native tradition and all a part of that sacred circle and how we take care of ourselves. How we can stay healthy or work towards being healthy, stay healthy, maintain healthy relationships. With family and community. I think it's really key."
"I really enjoyed a moment in the training where there was a group of us doing the dancing and shaking â€“ and laughter of course came. And I thought it was just such an experience of peace that came over me. Being in a group of women laughing and dancing and reconnecting to my body in a healthy way."
MBM Training Outcomes
- 51% had no prior experience or training in MBM
- 96% know how to use MBM techniques to reduce their stress
- 97% have a better understanding of the impact of stress on the body after training
- 98% of participants reported they were satisfied with the MBM training.
Thanks to our dedicated MBM practitioners.
Donna LaChapelle (Ojibwe/Dakota) and Linda EagleSpeaker (Blackfoot) were the first Native American elders to become fully certified as faculty members by the Center for Mind Body Medicine.
MIWRC's Elder in Residence, Linda EagleSpeaker and NACC's Elder in Residence, Donnna LaChapelle, work to extend the benefits of MBM and culturally-grounded trauma healing locally and regionally via our Mind Body Medicine in Indian Country education and training program.