I've always, always had a vision of integrative, comprehensive healthcare that includes not only lots of options, but options that address all dimensions of experience. Bringing shamans and other kinds of folk healers into the hospital setting is, at least to me, a no-brainer. There is room for all perspectives. Seemingly contradictory philosophies about health and healing can coincide. If it's truly about health and healing, then the opposition between modalities and perspectives shouldn't really matter; it's not about being right and castigating everything else. Health and healing should be about effective, safe and comprehensive care.
And in a Merced, CA hospital, this is exactly their way of approaching healthcare. The hospital has acknowledged the importance of cultural medicine and practices, and they now have a hospital-wide program that incorporates shamanic healing rituals alongside Western medicine. Largely initiated by the Hmong population in the region, patients, practitioners and hospital staff are all in accordance with the positive beneftis the program delivers. In the Ecuadorean mountain town of Riobamba, a similar program has been implemented, with similar successes. This kind of cultural incorporation, as well as working to bridge the philosophical gap between Western physical medicine and shamanic spiritual medicine, is an approach that could well enhance the overall efficacy of medical care everywhere. Read both articles here:
Matt Toussaint has immersed himself in shamanic practice and exploration for the past 10 years. He currently resides in Peru where he serves as an apprentice shaman and facilitator at a plant medicine retreat center. Read more.