Traditional Navajo ceremonies contribute to healing the human body at multiple levels. Navajo healing, using chant, prayer, and guided imagery, has been shown to change how the brain functions (neuroplasticity). The Navajo approach to keeping the physical body strong is a blend of mind-body medicine. The Navajo healing ceremony, an archetype of the Native culture, demonstrates the blend of traditional foods, Native spirituality, and connection within the community and to the natural world.
Lori Arviso Alvord, MD, a Navajo, was raised on the reservation in Crownpoint, New Mexico. Dr. Alvord left to attend an Ivy League institution; she completed medical school and became a surgeon. Dr. Alvord returned to the reservation to provide surgical care, and develop a model of health care that was acceptable to Navajo people. Her award winning book, The Scalpel and the Silver Bear, an autobiography, has sold over 50,000 copies.