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The Healing Power of Indigenous Medicine Songs

Spiritual Connection | 2 comments

Indigenous medicine songs hold boundless healing power. Medicine songs can relieve or sometimes even completely release pain or health conditions. Healing Indigenous music can uplift, energize, calm, soothe or help you to remember who you are. Indigenous healing music can take you on a spiritual journey or ground you and bring you back into your body. How does that happen?

Why are Indigenous medicine songs so powerful and healing? How do you get the most out of this kind of healing music?

First off, you might want to know how to tell what a medicine song even is, right? The simplest way to tell is how you feel emotionally and physically when you listen to it. For example, there are Indigenous social songs for hand drumming, but they aren’t necessarily healing songs. They still might lift you up and make you feel good, but you won’t necessarily get deep or lasting healing from them.

Most music is like candy. Tasty but not much substance. Medicine songs are like a delicious organic home-cooked meal. You can FEEL the song singing YOU.

When you listen to a First Nations healing song, you will likely feel physical sensations like goosebumps. You might even feel the song inviting you to receive what it has for you, or find yourself going into a deeper state of consciousness.

My Medicine Song album is an invitation to live life fully after loss. My song “Water from the Sky” from the Thunder Mountain Healing Songs album offers the healing medicine of thunder and rain, and it actually can bring rain. One of my favourite Indigenous artists David R. Maracle has a very healing album called Spirit World, which he gifted me when my son had died. I feel soothed by David’s music every time I listen and I have used it countless times to get me to sleep especially when I’ve been missing my son.

Each song carries its own medicine.

What you find healing might not be healing for everyone. Trust your intuition and your spiritual guidance. Choose your music like you would when you walk into a healing crystal shop. Pay attention to what is calling you the most. Do you resonate with certain instruments more than others? Are you in love with First Nations women’s hand drumming songs? Or do you prefer pow wow drumming? What lands softly in your soul as you listen?

Here’s How To Get the Most Out Of Your Indigenous Healing Music

1. The singer’s intentions express the meaning and purpose of the song. When I channel medicine songs, the original prayers, intentions and emotions are embedded into my songs. That may not be true for every Indigenous artist but it is for many. Whether you listen to medicine songs, sing them alone or sing them with others, the original prayers, intentions and emotions infused into the songs will reach you.

2. True medicine songs originally come directly from the spirit world to the song catcher, which means they contain spiritual medicine. When you connect to the healing energy of Spirit and the sound medicine that is created from it, you may experience…

    • Joy
    • Inspiration
    • Goosebumps
    • Visions
    • “Chills” or Energy running through you
    • Tears Coming to Your Eyes
    • Emotional Release, immediately or later in the day
    • Other physical or emotional sensations
    • Healing (instant or gradual)
    • Pain Relief
    • Stress or Anxiety Relief
    • Grief Relief
    • Improved Sleep

3. Your intentions (prayers and/or positive thoughts) as you sing or listen will add strength and meaning. Even just simply having gratitude as you sing or listen to an Indigenous medicine song will amplify its healing power for you.

4. The song’s original story will help you understand the meaning of the song, especially with Indigenous drum songs that don’t have English lyrics, or other kinds of instrumental music. For this reason, I follow the protocol of sharing the story of each Indigenous hand drum song that flows through me or that I sing, even if it’s not mine. Sharing the story also honours the song catcher.

Keep In Mind When You Intend To Listen To or Sing or Share Indigenous Medicine Songs:

Do you have permission to sing the songs?

We have song-sharing protocols. You can always contact me about my original songs and I may or may not give you permission to share them, depending on the song and the context of your sharing. Some Indigenous healing songs are intended for ceremonies only. Others are meant to be shared within certain contexts by specific groups of people. Others are meant for public sharing.

Drink water before and after you listen.

Water carries memory and its physical structure changes with the thoughts we carry, so give thanks for the water first and then drink it. Water also flushes out toxins and old energy that you are ready to release.

You might experience an energy shift. Here’s what to look for:

  • Maybe someone makes you mad, which brings up something you need to release.
  • You might feel an unusual or new sensation in your body. My healing clients often feel physical body sensations during their Medicine Song Healing Sessions.
  • You might cry “for no reason” (because something has come up to be released).
  • You could experience some kind of physical healing, or you might even suddenly just feel a little bit – or a lot – better. People often leave my virtual Full Moon healing circles feeling lighter or having pain relief, for example.

Listen to Indigenous medicine songs especially when you need healing or uplifting, or if you’re grieving.

Listening to Indigenous conscious healing music can help you to be present to whatever emotions you are carrying and begin to move them through your energy system and body. By using your voice to sing along, you are literally vibrating old energies right out of your body and becoming more in alignment with your soul.

HOT TIP: I strongly suggest that you share, or sing with or for, people ONLY when you’re feeling well and abstaining from alcohol or other recreational substances, and if/when you feel good about sharing them.

When your mind is clear and you feel good, you have a much better, more positive effect on people with your singing. I’m not talking about perfection here. Your voice, emotions and intentions carry vibration. The better you feel and the clearer your mind, the better the effect you will have on whatever/whoever you are singing for. Focus your thoughts on your prayers and/or intentions and on the good feelings you want people to experience.

“Intention is the priority.”

For my songs, it’s not about singing a song perfectly or having a perfect voice. It’s about intention. If you’re singing my songs, do your best to sing the song how it is on the recording (or in the circle if you’re live) but intention is the priority. A good way to hold intention is to hold the thought that all is well, you are safe and protected and that you and whoever is listening will get from the song exactly what your/their spirit needs at that time.

You can borrow the short version of my main intention that I say when I wake up and before every client session or medicine song channelling: “I intend that this be for the highest good of all life everywhere.”

When you sing, think of your prayers and intentions as healing ingredients you sprinkle into the song.

In other words, for a Water healing song, focus on healing for the water. If the song is about getting through rough times, be with whatever comes up for you, and through your singing, focus on what it will feel like to be already through those rough times. Or if you are singing the song for a specific person or family or community, focus on their wellness. Hold space for yourself while you hold space for others.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS get grounded back to Mother Earth after you listen to or sing medicine songs.

You can ground yourself by eating something, sitting for a while with your feet on the floor, lying down on the ground or floor, going outside, feeling the weight of your body on the surface below you, taking some deep breaths and stretching, or laughing. You could also stomp your feet to wake up that connection between you and the ground, or imagine you are a tree or a rock.

Medicine songs hold powerful medicine but you can apply many of these practices to any kind of music so that you’re receiving healing and/or rewiring your brain using chosen lyrics as affirmations or messages to shift your mindset.

This teaching comes from my Picking Up the Pieces 13 Moon Program. For example, my song “I Love You” from my Picking Up the Pieces album came out of an affirmation I wrote for myself to remind me not to be so hard on myself and to have self-compassion. I often repeat the lyrics in my head to shift into being kind to myself: “I love you, I see you, I feel you” are the only words in the song. That way I can rewire my brain for more resilience, self-compassion and self-love.

Want To Experience The Power of Indigenous Medicine Songs For Yourself?

Under the name Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman, I have 3 albums and a single available on all the music platforms. You can get Brenda MacIntyre’s Indigenous healing music here.

Love & Blessings,

Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman



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  1. Samantha Starr Hunter

    Hello thank you for your wisdom and prayers! I had a powerful awareness during a ceremony that the plants together to share healing, awareness, that the truest medicine is energy/vibration/sound above those plants here on earth; although this plant network is a consciousness to help come to this conclusion. My whole ceremony was around sound/channels vibrations. I was singing medicine songs at the same time in many languages as the singer, and have no prior memory of hearing these songs, nor do speak these languages. I now do this in and out of ceremony. But My question I was told there is an Indigenoues word that means “He/she who carries the songs” as I understand to mean the entire story of humanity and earth evolution, as well as the unseen worlds.

    I am doing a large research project in the power of the songs, and would be so grateful if you can share the word that means “he/she that carries the songs” or any other wisdom for this topic. Thank you, and blessings!

    the term healer/ medicine man/woman/ shaman

    • Brenda MacIntyre

      Hi Samantha. That sounds like a gift you have of singing those songs in different languages you don’t know. When you ask about “an Indigenous word,” we have hundreds, maybe thousands of languages and dialects. I’ve never heard of a word like that and in my own languages, it is highly doubtful it would be just one word. My identity, language and culture were stolen from me the moment I was born, so I am just learning slowly whatever I can for the past 25 years or so. I don’t carry my languages and so it is not my role to teach them. I would also need to know a lot more about you and your research to direct you better to someone appropriate. Feel free to reach out and tell me more but I have no guarantees. Blessings.


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About Brenda MacIntyre

About Brenda MacIntyre

Known by her indigenous name Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre has shared her evocative melodic voice and fusion of reggae, rap and indigenous hand drum healing music with appreciative audiences of 30 to 3,000 across North America. The Toronto-based Juno Award-winning singer has been featured nationally on MuchMusic, CTV, CP24, APTN and most recently, Global and the front page of the Toronto Star.

Powered by her grief from losing her son to murder in 2016, Brenda MacIntyre pours her soulful voice over a confluence of indigenous hand drum healing, soft rap and conscious roots reggae in her album “Picking Up the Pieces,” released in September 2019.

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