How Does Shamanic Healing Work?

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Shamanic healing, rooted in ancient traditions and spirituality, has come to the attention of many seeking alternative approaches to physical, psychological, and spiritual health. In this exploration, we will delve into the fascinating practice of shaman healing, examine its historical roots, core principles, tools and techniques, modern relevance, and much more.

Shamanic healing is a multidimensional, holistic approach to wellness that embraces the interconnection of mind, body, and spirit. For the deepest effect in healing trauma, blocks to joy and peace, and other challenges, it is necessary to work at all these levels. Therefore, at times, a crucial aspect of this journey is the guidance of a skilled shaman healer.

Historical Roots of Shamanic Healing

Shamanic practices have been an integral part of various cultures throughout human history. Evidence of these powerful traditions can be found on every continent, every island, every place on Earth. Archeologists and historians have found sacred objects used by shamans. Cave paintings from the Neolithic and Paleolithic represent a shaman’s essential work with the powers and forces of Nature and cosmic energies in service of their people. Shaman practices have persisted for thousands of years into the present in both indigenous societies and in the western world. All the while, shamanism has changed and evolved as societies have changed and evolved, just as western medicine has. So, shamanic healing is as relevant to supporting health, balance, abundance, and good relationships in the 21st century as it was hundreds of years ago.

Core Principles of Shamanic Healing

Shamanic healing operates on foundational practices such as drawing on natural forces in nature and powerful mystical energies in the cosmos for balancing energy, seeking wisdom, guidance, protection, and developing resilience and authenticity.  Shamanism recognizes the existence of a soul and spirit. A core principle of shaman healing is that there is always a spiritual dimension in human experience, and, as a result, in mental, emotional, and physical imbalances. Even if a disease cannot be cured (though there are stories of indigenous shamans doing so), the process in shamanic healing of expanding the consciousness of the patient so they can feel, see, sense and know the reality of the existence of their soul and spirit can profoundly improve their psychological resilience and spiritual connection, thus supporting a return to full health. On psychological levels, a skilled shamanic healer can heal symptoms of trauma and remove blocks to joy, abundance, good relationships, and inner peace.  This is always the goal of the shamanic healer on behalf of the client. 

Tools and Techniques Used by Shamans

Shamans employ a diverse array of tools and techniques, including shaman rituals, ceremonies, herbal and plant medicines, and entering trance states. Each method used by a shamanic healer serves a unique purpose in addressing different aspects of the individual’s well-being, including cleansing and clearing the energy body and chakras, extracting imprints of trauma from the subconscious, doing soul retrieval, and cutting energy cords to people, places and experiences that no longer serve you.

The Role of Shamanic Healing in Modern Society

In recent times, there has been a growing acceptance of shamanic healing alongside conventional medicine. Many individuals are integrating shamanic practices into their wellness routines and seeking the expertise of a skilled shamanic healer to enhance their healing and healthcare journey.

Case Studies

Real-life examples of individuals experiencing profound healing through shamanic practices provide tangible evidence of the efficacy of this ancient and contemporary approach. Scientific studies have been done showing the positive effect of shamanic healing on treating TMJ, addictions, and trauma. Studies are being done on how shamanic practices improve immune function and mental health. The interest of the mainstream medical establishment in the efficacy of shamanic healing techniques has increased due to how many people seek it out.   

Criticism and Controversy

Shamanic healing is not without controversy. The word “shaman”–originally  borrowed from a Tungus-speaking people of Siberia by literary writer, Mircea Eliade–is looked upon negatively by some Native Americans who feel shamanic practitioner have stolen from and co-opted their sacred traditions, or that it has been used to whitewash their culture and spirituality. On the other hand, Europeans and their descendents brought huge prejudices against the cultures, religions, medicines, and spirituality of the non-European peoples they encountered, enslaved, murdered, and uprooted from their ancestral homes. by  Christianity demonized and labeled shamanic practices as evil and “primitive.” Therefore, even the practices of shamanic healers in the western world are looked upon with skepticism and fear. Nevertheless, the cultures, spirituality, and medicines of indigenous peoples have prevailed even while shamanism healing in the westernized world persists and grows  in popularity as a therapeutic and spiritual practice. 

Shamanic Healing vs. Conventional Medicine

Conventional medicine has many strengths, particularly in the treatment of many physical illnesses and psychiatric conditions. However, sometimes it only treats symptoms, without addressing underlying psychological causes or the energetic, spiritual dimension of a problem. Or it deals with the body and mind in parts and pieces, rather than holistically. In contrast, shamanic healing seeks to deal with the source of problems from a soul-spirit, mind-body perspective. Shamanic practitioners generally understand that there are ways past traumas, ancestral and personal, can be negatively impacting your overall physical and emotional health and wellness. 

Limitations to Shamanic Healing

While shamanic healing offers many benefits, understanding its potential limitations is important. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions about whether and how to incorporate shamanic practices into a holistic wellness routine with the guidance of a  knowledgeable shamanic healer. Shaman healing is not a miracle treatment of either physical or mental-emotional challenges. Many physical illnesses cannot be treated by shamanic healing. In the western practice of shamanism, it is primarily a psycho-spiritual approach, rather than physically curative. When it comes to psychological health, many serious mental health challenges, such as Bi-Polar and Personality Disorders do not respond well to shamanic healing. 

Further, healing trauma and hard, negative patterns can be a long term and complicated process. It can take time and diligent effort to recover and build the life you want. Patience, resilience and determination is needed.  If your trauma is extremely complex– and creating profound instability in your life– it could be better to work with a clinically trained and credentialed trauma-informed therapist, psychiatrist, and/or physician, rather than a shamanic healer. This is why it is important to consult with a trained, seasoned shamanic healer and your medical team to determine if this approach is right for you.  

Combining Shamanic Healing with Conventional Medicine

More and more people are combining conventional medicine with alternative shaman treatments, including shamanic healing. It is understood that the body has its own natural, restorative processes that can be accessed, triggered, and built upon when there is infection, physical illness and trauma, and psychological distress. As noted above, the field of complementary medicine is studying these issues. Many have shown definitively that there are many benefits to Shamanic healing practices compared to conventional approaches.

 It is postulated that the imagery accessed through shamanic journeying and other methods may activate certain chemical and neurological components in the organ systems and brain that trigger curative and healing processes.  For instance, in the treatment of trauma, it is often not just beneficial, but necessary to combine conventional psychology and psychiatry with shamanic healing. Due to the integration of soul and spirit into a shamanic healing session, this can deepen the impact and accelerate the restoration of resilience, positive feelings about self and the world, and a return to balance and stability. 

Cultural Diversity in Shamanic Healing

Shamanic practices differ across cultures. A skilled shamanic healer adapts their approach based on these nuances. To this end, the personal, spiritual beliefs of a client can be accessed and incorporated into the healing imagery that is accessed during a shaman healing session and then translated by the shamanic healer to the client. Shamanic healing is not dogmatic, nor ideological, when it comes to spirituality. It embraces the beautiful and profound diversity of human beliefs and spiritual paths as positive. 

Finding an Experienced, Ethical and Talented Shamanic Healer

The role of a compassionate and skilled shamanic healer is central to the positive outcomes of shamanic healing. While there are many people around the world claiming to be shamanic healers, it is important to find one that has training with a well-established and credible teacher or school, as well as a depth of experience and expertise. Just as you would not go to someone who claims to be a medical doctor who does not have proof of a degree and experience in his or her field of specialization, so you should not go to anyone claiming to be a shamanic healer who cannot provide a depth of background and training. 

Having said that, because shamanism healing has existed as an alternative treatment and approach, the kinds of training and experience may not exactly match that of an M.D. Therefore, it is important to interview any potential shamanic healer before diving in.  

The Future of Shamanic Healing

As interest in alternative and complementary therapies grows, shamanic healing will inevitably become an important and well-respected part of a client’s holistic toolkit. More and more research studies are being done and will continue to be. In that regard, the emergence of public awareness of shamanism healing in the 21st century as a positive and beneficial approach to physical and emotional health is very similar to the interest in and credibility given through hundreds of research studies in the latter 20th century  to the positive benefits of mindfulness meditation from Buddhism.  To that end, it is important to pay attention to emerging trends and advancements in the field of shamanic healing. 

How to Connect with Shamanic Healing Practices

For those intrigued by shamanic healing and seeking a shamanic healer, there are a variety of reputable resources online, including: 

  1. Shamans Directory (
  2. The Foundation for Shamanic Studies (
  3. The Four Winds Society (
  4. The Society for Shamanic Practice (


In conclusion, shamanic healing, guided by a skilled shamanic healer, offers a unique and holistic approach to well-being, bridging ancient wisdom with modern understanding. As individuals continue to seek alternative paths to healing, the significance of shamanic practices and the central role of shamanic healer will grow and persist, thus    influencing in positive ways the future landscape of wellness.

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