Join us for our limited time Discovery Weekends


Cherokee Bodywork

The Healing Power of Reading the Body

February 25 - March 2, 2018

Sunday - Friday, 5 nights

$410 Tuition

Plus 5 nights all-inclusive accommodations priced separately

Registration Closed

Program Description

Healing practices for touching and manipulating the body existed throughout North America long before Europeans appeared. Considered the founder of American osteopathy, A.T. Still fused indigenous practices and European modalities in Missouri and Kansas before the American Civil War.

Join researcher and healer Lewis Mehl-Madrona and psychotherapist Barbara Mainguy, MFA, MA, for an exploration of healing practices learned by A.T. Still during his time with Native Americans, primarily the Shawnee, Pawnee, and Cherokee tribes.

Delve into the traditional style of Cherokee bodywork, including “reading the body,” a traditional form of healing that incorporates elements of mind-body medicine.

In this week-long program, you will learn:

  • How to dialogue with the body to find the story that injured parts and ailing organs want to tell
  • Similarities among Cherokee bodywork, contemporary osteopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine, with a historical tracing of Still’s approach to understanding the mind-body medicine of three Native American tribes
  • Cherokee awareness of energy meridians and use of acupuncture techniques
  • Traditional elements of ceremony incorporated into the work through a fun approach to this rich healing practice.
Read More
  • Faculty Bio
    Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD

    Author, researcher, and healer

    Lewis Mehl-Madrona graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and is trained in family medicine, psychiatry, and clinical psychology. His work discusses healing practices from Lakota, Cherokee, and Cree traditions, and how they intersect with conventional medicine.

    He has been writing about the use of imagery and narrative in healing since the 1980s and is certified in psychiatry, geriatrics, and family medicine. His research collaborations include work on various psychological conditions, issues of psychology during birthing, nutritional approaches to autism and diabetes, and the use of healing circles to improve overall health outcomes.

    He has been on the faculty of several medical schools, most recently as associate professor of family medicine at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine.

    Lewis, who is of Cherokee and Lakota heritage, continues to work with aboriginal communities to develop uniquely aboriginal styles of healing and health care for use in those communities, while also working with individuals who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

    He is the author of numerous books, including Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, and Coyote Wisdom, a trilogy on what Native culture has to offer the modern world, Narrative Medicine, and Healing the Mind Through the Power of Story: The Promise of Narrative Psychiatry.

    View Bio Page
    Barbara Mainguy, MFA, MA

    Barbara Mainguy, is Creative Arts Director and Education Director for Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation in Orono, Maine. She also works with the Wabanaki Health and Wellness Center in Bangor, Maine. She is a psychotherapist and especially enjoys working with people experiencing psychosis and extraordinary experiences. She is a filmmaker and a visual artist.

    She is currently editing a film on women in the psychiatric system.  She attended the University of Toronto and York University in Toronto. Her M.A. is in Creative Arts Therapies with an emphasis on Drama Therapy from Concordia University in Montreal.  She is the author of scholarly papers on embodied narratives and drama therapy with autism and schizophrenia, and is co-author (with Lewis Mehl-Madrona) of Remapping Your Mind: the Neuroscience of Self-Transformation through Story.

    She has assisted Lewis in teaching Cherokee Bodywork since 2007, and is especially interested in exploring the ways in which trauma is encoded in the body and how bodywork can unlock trauma and how traditional North American healers used stories to them bind this trauma and the accompanying emotions so as to be digestible.

    View Bio Page
  • Why Attend
    • Unlock the healing power of story through a mind-body approach rooted in traditional medicinal practices developed before the arrival of Europeans in North America.

    • Explore the intersection of traditional Native American bodywork, Chinese medicine, and contemporary osteopathy for a fresh, integrated approach to energy awareness and working with meridians.

    • There is power and healing in embodied stories—learn how to read the body in a fun, supportive environment as you explore a complementary method to contemporary mind-body healing.

  • Things to Know/Schedule

    Program Schedule

    Download a sample schedule.


    None required.

    Experience Level

    None required.

  • About 1440 Multiversity

    Beautifully nestled in the California redwoods near Santa Cruz, our 75-acre campus is within easy reach of San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

    1440 Multiversity is a place to spend time engaging some of life's most meaningful personal questions and to enjoy, restore, and reenergize yourself as you do it.

    You'll find new energy through immersion learning—setting aside daily urgencies and dedicating uninterrupted time to focus on important, but often elusive, priorities. Our unique collaboration with world-class faculty coupled with an original, inspirational curriculum and magnificent grounds make this a place like no other. Add in fresh, redwood-scented air, delicious and healthy food, deep reflection, fun exercise, and good sleep and you've pretty much captured what you'll experience here.

  • Accommodations

    At 1440 Multiversity, you’ll find a wide range of accommodations to meet your preferences and budget. All of our rooms have been thoughtfully designed to provide comfort, promote reflection, and foster connection with others.

    Accommodation rates include more than just the bed you sleep in.

    Per-person per-night rates include:

    • nourishing locally sourced, seasonal meals
    • daily meditation and yoga classes
    • non-ticketed evening events
    • use of all facilities, including the Fitness Center, steam rooms, and infinity-edge hot tub.

    Guests also enjoy access to woodland trails, cafés, and shops.

    View Accommodations
  • Related Programs