Healing Methods

Methods employed by folk healers are varied and eclectic, consisting of herbalism, medicinal diet advocacy, hand massage, massage with oil or butter, as well as shamanic and Buddhist elements, such as pulse treatment, prayers, cleansing rituals, and divination. Implements or tools used for this purpose also vary, including 'medicinal' stones, metals, a saigak horn, an iron arrow, silver and copper coins, sticks, a rosary, lamps filled with oil, a Buddhist bell and vajra, statues and depictions of deities, etc. As a repository of diverse knowledge, the institution of folk healers employs a number of assumptions about the causes of illness or misfortune. For example, depending on the patient, sometimes folk healers work on the assumption that illnesses are caused by the dissatisfied or angry spirit of a deceased relative. Once the needs of this spirit are satisfied – for example, by offering food if the cause of the spirit’s dissatisfaction happens to be hunger – the patient is expected to return to health. Another healing method is used when a child becomes frightened or psychotic. Firstly, the head of the child is covered with a white sheet. Then a piece of melted lead is poured into a bowl with cold water held by another person above the head of the child. When the lead cools down, the folk healer takes it out to read for the shape(s) which indicate what the fear was – for example, a dinosaur or a dog. Afterwards, the shapes are destroyed with a hammer, signifying the destruction of the cause of fear or phobia. The child is advised not to watch cartoons with dinosaurs or keep away from dogs.

Agvan Eshey, About Pre-Buddhism Healing Practices


Anna Mandzhieva, About Luugin Sum (A Dragon’s Arrow)


Bosya Ochirova, About Traditional Medicine


Bulyash Chumudova, About Traditional Medicine


Dordzhi Nandyshev, About Folk Medicine


Ekaterina Boldyreva, Healing and Upbringing Children


Galina Badnyaeva, Rituals to Remove Fear and Evil Eye


Maria Erdnieva, About Folk Medicine


Purvya Volod'kina, How to Cure People Who Have Lost Their Soul or Suffer From Amnesia


Sangadzhi Kononov, About Rituals to Avert Evil Tongues and Jealous Eyes


Sergei Muchiryaev, Medicinal Diet and Kalmyk Cuisine


Sofia Lidzhi-Goryaeva, Healing and Belief