Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

Te Whare Tapa Wha

I often find conventional medicine mechanistic- like a mechanic different parts of the body are looked at individually, and even mental health is often considered more on a physical level, giving antidepressants to change the physical brain chemistry. I don’t like looking at health and wellness in this manner, I prefer a more holistic approach to health, which is one reason I am a Homeopath.

We are fortunate in New Zealand to have the Māori models of health not only recognised, but taught widely in our medical schools. However, while they are taught, they are not necessarily applied, and certainly they are usually not considered for people who are not of Māori descent. The model of Māori health and wellness most commonly taught is Te Whare Tapa Wha.

Te Whare Tapa Wha translates to the house with four sides; each side is equally important for well-being, and with a problem in any of these areas then you can become unbalanced and unwell.

The four walls are Tinana, the body, Hinengaro, the mind, Wairau, spiritual, and Whanau, the family.

Homeopathy is well placed to support all four walls.

Taha Tinana, the physical, encompasses growing, developing and physical health complaints. Some recent homeopathic physical successes I have had include draining and healing of boils, improvement in chronic sinusitis, and many Covid cases.

Taha Hinengaro, the mind, is our mental and emotional sphere, something that has always been considered homeopathically. Even when it is a physical ailment, homeopathically we need to know how you are feeling mentally and emotionally, irritability, tearfulness, whether you want company or to be alone, all help indicate the remedy that will be most helpful. For purely mental complaints homeopathy is not working from a physical neurotransmitter method, but instead is supporting a natural, individual and gentle movement towards health.

Taha Wairua, the spirit, is our connection to the divine and the world around us. This may encompass faith in religion, but is also our life force and our connection to our ancestors. Homeopathically we consider what Hahnemann called the “vital force”, which is our life energy and how resilient we are. Kent, a Homeopath at the turn of the 20th century theorised that the correct homeopathic remedy helped restore our connection to God. We have remedies that support our connection to others and the world, and our boundaries so our own energy and self is kept safe. We look at inherited patterns of disease and there are also remedies to help deal with ancestral trauma.

Taha Whanau, our family, affects our every day life, and our social interaction with others. It is not unusual for me to see all the members in a family- when a child is needing mental, emotional or behavioural support, it has an effect on the whole family, and the parents and other children may need their own help. Family can also be a maintaining cause – if the conditions do not change, then the same problems can reoccur. Using homeopathy to treat each member of the family as individuals, so they are physically, mentally and spiritually well, will mean the Whare is well supported on all four sides.

Whether this is a new model of health for you, or one you are familiar with, ask yourself, does this resonate with you? Are you keeping well in all four sides of te Whare?

This is not the only Māori model of health either, Te Wheke, the Octopus is another one, which might be a post for another day. If you have another model you would like me to talk about in a future post, or a model from another country to share then please comment, I love learning about different models of health, and all things health and well being.

Picture credit: ministry of health

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