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.

Anatoliy Safinov, About Traditional Medicine

In the past, Kalmyk milk tea and a soup made of sheep’s neck were used as medicine. Since many illnesses among the Kalmyks were connected with cold, or exacerbated by catching a cold, Kalmyk tea and soup were consumed widely, for they were believed to be good for colds. Folk healers also used various medicinal herbs.


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




09:09

Bosya Ochirova, About Traditional Medicine




13:43

Ekaterina Boldyreva, Healing and Upbringing Children




16:17

Galina Badnyaeva, Rituals to Remove Fear and Evil Eye















06:50

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





10:43

Sofia Lidzhi-Goryaeva, Healing and Belief