Therapeutic Processes

The psychodramatic ritual encounter with the spirits is a foundation of shamanic therapeutics. Therapeutic effects derive from physiological and psychological effects of ASC, manipulation of spirit world constructs, and community relations discussed below. Shamanic therapeutics are mediated through song, chants, music, and percussion, eliciting the ancient audio-vocal systems of the brain (Oubre, 1997). Music has a number of different therapeutic effects through physiological and psychological actions, including stress reduction, affecting access to unconscious information, and elicitation of emotional and cognitive processes (Winn, Crowe, & Moreno, 1989). Visualization, or mental imagery cultivation, is also employed as a principal shamanic technique (Noll, 1985). Shamans also use physical therapeutic practices, including: rubbing or massaging the body; laying on of hands to transfer healing energies; sucking on the patient's body to extract objects and infections; incisions to extract foreign objects; washing and cleansing the body; and herbal or other natural substances (Winkelman & Winkelman, 1991).

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