Ancient Traditions, New Horizons. Shamanism in a New Age. Image versus Reality. Old Shamans, New Shamans. Navajo Medicine Man, 1904. Edward S. Curtis., photographer, Library of Congress , Reproduction #LC-USZC4-8918. Moder Mongolian Shamans.
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Edward S. Curtis., photographer, Library of Congress, Reproduction #LC-USZC4-8918.
From web site: http://www.bizspirit.com/science/
From web site: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/cienciareal/esp_chaman_06.htm
Steve West, photographer
In the language of Tungus-speaking peoples of Siberia, shaman refers to a communal leader chosen and trained to work for the community by engaging with significant other-than-human persons…..the word shaman has become part of languages outside Siberia. The title is now used to refer to communal leaders and religious practitioners who might otherwise have very different, more local names, such as bomoh, yadgan, mudang, angakoq, or referred to only adjectively as, for example, paye people…..shaman also refers to practitioners within various therapeutic, spiritual and cultural movements in ‘the West’….Almost every assertion is contestable, arguable, controversial, and certain in need of explanation, expansion and some equivocation! (Harvey, 2003, 1).
The Four Winds Society, founded by Alberto Villoldo
Participants [in Oregon] were randomized to 1 of 4 shamanic practitioners and attended 5 shamanic healing sessions. Self-reported pain and disability were recorded at baseline and each treatment visit and at 1, 3, 6, and 9-month follow-ups. Participants also were clinically evaluated at baseline and end of treatment. In-depth interviews, part of our mixed methods design, were conducted at baseline and end of treatment to evaluate acceptability and non- clinical changes associated with treatment….This paper reports on outcomes at end of treatment. Results • This study demonstrated the feasibility and accept-ability of clinical trials of shamanic healing. This study demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of clinical trials of shamanic healing. The mean of usual pain went from 4.96 to 2.70, P<.0001; worst pain from 7.48 to 3.60, P<.0001, and functional impact of TMDs from 3.74 to 1.15, P<.0052. Only 4 women were clinically diagnosed with TMDs at the end of treatment.
FEASIBILITY AND SHORT-TERM OUTCOMES OF A SHAMANIC TREATMENT FOR TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDERS, Nancy H. Vuckovic, PhD; Christina M. Gullion, PhD; Louise A. Williams, PhD; Michelle Ramirez, PhD; Jennifer Schneider, MPH, Alternative therapies, Nov/Dec, 2007, 13(6): 18-29.
In this study [in Singapore], ethnographic interviews were conducted with 21 patients over three stages: immediately before and after the healing and approximately 1 month later. The dang-ki healing symbols were identified by observing the healing sessions with video recording. Results show that dang-kis normally applied more than one method to treat a given problem. These methods included words, talismans and physical manipulations. Overall, 11 patients perceived their consultations as helpful, 4 perceived their consultations as helpful but were unable to follow all recommendations, 5 were not sure of the outcome because they had yet to see any concrete results and only 1 patient considered his consultation unhelpful.
Therapeutic processes and perceived helpfulness of dang-ki from the symbolic healing perspective, Boon Ooi Li, Kirmeyer, Laurence, j., Groleau, Danielle, Culture, medicine and psychiatry, 2010, 34 (1): 56-105 .
Although the symbolic healing model provides a useful framework to understand perceived helpfulness, processes such as enactment of a common meaning system and symbolic transformation are complex and dynamic, and may be carried over several healing sessions.
Thus, one may extrapolate from the findings of this study that shamanic-like techniques could be a useful technique to employ in psycholog-icaltherapy for highly schizotypal clients. Consequently, one implication of this finding for personality theory is the therapeutic potential associated with the schizotypy construct in the context of exposure to certain stimulus conditions (e.g., shamanic-like journeying with drumming).
Altered Experience Mediates the Relationship between Schizotypy and Mood Disturbance during Shamanic-Like Journeying ADAM ROCK, GAVIN ABBOTT, AND NICOLAS KAMBOUROPOULOS, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2008, 22(3): 371-384.
To determine the role of group-drumming music therapy as a composite activity with potential for alteration of stress-related hormones and enhancement of specific immunologic measures associated with natural killer cell activity and cell-mediated immunity…. A total of 111 age- and sex-matched volunteer subjects (55 men and 56 women, with a mean age of 30.4 years) were recruited. Group drumming resulted in increased dehydroepiandrosterone-to-cortisol ratios, increased natural killer cell activity, and increased lymphokine-activated killer cell activity without alteration in plasma interleukin 2 or interferon-gamma, or in the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory II. CONCLUSIONS: Drumming is a complex composite intervention with the potential to modulate specific neuroendocrine and neuroimmune parameters in a direction opposite to that expected with the classic stress response.
Composite effects of group drumming music therapy on modulation of neuroendocrine-immune parameters in normal subjects. Bittman, BB, Berk, L.S., Felten, D.L., Westengard, J., Simonton, O.c., Pappas, J., NineHouser, M., Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 2001, 7(1): 38-47.
One possible physiological correlate of ecstatic and mystical experiences involves electrical changes in the deep structures of the temporal lobes. These may involve either (a) ictal events, such as TLTs with amygdala participation or milder forms of temporal lobe seizures without pronounced amygdala involvement, and/or (b) interictalhippocampal high-voltage, slow-wave hypersynchrony without amygdala involvement.
These electrical changes may either occur spontaneously or be induced by a variety of behaviors, all of which have been used by shamans to enter trance states.
Temporal lobe transients and mild TLE may provide a neurological substrate for the development of mature shamanic ASCs. The actual control of these ictal events, through the cultivation of interictalhypersynchrony, may provide the method for entering and controlling shamanic ASCs.
Hippocampal high-amplitude, slow-wave hypersynchrony may provide neurobiological contributions to shamanic reintegration after the initiatory crises and to continuing mental and physical health.
Both genetic and nongenetic physiological factors interact with learned behavior to influence shamanic ASCs. Hallucinogenic plant substances have a strong capacity to bypass any lack of physiological predisposition to developing ASCs. The typically long training periods allow for shamanic ASCs to be "shaped" by various induction procedures and cultural expectations. This shaping process affects the phenomenology of these ASCs and, very likely, the specifics of their neurophysiology as well.
The intricacies of the brain allow for a myriad of subtle electrochemical interconnections and effects--effects that are not limited to the physical body. How biological process connects with the lived human experience is a fascinating and ultimately mysterious dance. The study of the psychobiology of shamanism offers a particularly rich window onto this realm.
The West Integrates the Non-western
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