Altering Consciousness as a Basis for Shamanistic Therapies
"The biological basis of the IMC allowed shamanistic healing practices to emerge spontaneously from a wide variety of circumstances that alter consciousness and provide both general and specific adaptive consequences.
Understanding the therapeutic effects derived from altering consciousness requires recognition that a variety of drug and nondrug induction procedures engage the same endogenous physiological processes and induce common physiological changes that produce healing responses.Winkelman, Michael M. (2010). Shamanism: A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing. Santa Barbara: Praeger.
These general physiological dynamics of the IMC - parasympathetic dominance, interhemispheric synchronization, and limbic-frontal integration - have inherent therapeutic effects. The effects reflect activation of aspects of the paleomammalian brain, specifically the hippocampal-septal region, the hypothalamus, and related areas that regulate emotions, self, and other perceptions, and the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) (p. 186)."