Native American Indian Spa Treatments


Smudging Ceremony For Cleansing The Energy

SmudgingThe process of smudging involves placing the individual herb or mixture of herbs into a shell, or fireproof bowl or dish. The mixture can burn quite hot so it is important that whatever is used can take the heat without cracking. Some traditions will not use shells as they say the water element of the shell nullifies the fire element. Others use the shell to bring in the balance of the elements (i.e. fire, smoke or air, shell for water and the herbs themselves as the earth element.)

The mixture is lit and helped to burn by the use of a feather or fan. Blowing into the mixture is not encouraged as it is seen as blowing one’s own negativity into the mixture. The mixture is then wafted around one’s self like a smoke bath. There are different ways of doing this and one finds a variety of techniques and explanations depending on traditions and teachings. The way for someone not attached to a particular tradition is a matter of personal preference and intuition.

One way would be to start at the left foot (left being the receiving side of the body) and to move the smoke up the left leg with the use of the fan or feather. Proceed up the central chakra line and around the top of the head, back down the centre of the body, moving the smoke outwards to the sides and around the back. Finish off by wafting the smoke down the right leg (right being the giving side of the body) and out and away from the right foot. Some native traditions would do this four times, as four is the number of balance and harmony.

To cleanse a room or house, carry in the lit smudge stick, clockwise around the area, making sure to smudge in the corners and behind doors and out the door.

Feathers and wing fans aid in the cleansing process and have the effect of combing the human aura, therefore adding to the cleansing. Particular feathers bring in the qualities and medicine of the bird of origin. Some would insist that the movement of the fan should be in keeping with the movement of the particular bird’s wing in flight.

Cleansing ceremonial or ritual space before and after the event is an essential part of spiritual hygiene. The initial smudging is for the purpose of purifying the space and participants and for banishing any unwanted energies. The final smudge is to clean any negative vibrations and energies attracted or created during the proceedings. It is also a good thing to do on a regular basis for both one’s self and one’s living space, to maintain individual and domestic harmony.

Healers, massage therapists and others involved in similar occupations should use this or similar cleansing techniques in their treatment rooms and for themselves, both before and after treatments. 

A good practice for healing is to smudge the space, the people in the space, including one’s self, the client and any tools, such as crystals or stones. When the healing is completed, smudge self, any assistants, tools, client and finish with the space. In this way one deals with negative energies and vibrations in much the same way as antiseptic and disinfectant deals with germs. All healers should smudge between clients to prevent the transfer of pathogenic energy.

In addition to clearing the rooms between treatments, Spas also tap into the spiritual benefits of smudging in a practical way.  Spas incorporate these herbs in body wraps, so you can experience their aromatherapy attributes as well as the clearing.