Imagery in Healing: Shamanism and Modern Medicine (Anglais) Broché – 15 janvier 2002
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"I would encourage both laypersons and professionals to read Imagery in Healing to understand how one's belief can physiologically affect the human body."—Charles P. Ledergerber, M.D., Journal of the American Medical Association
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The shamans' work is conducted in the realm of the imagination, and their expertise in using that terrain for the benefit of the community has been recognized throughout recorded history. Lire la première page
Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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The section "shamanism in modern medicine" is poorly written. Most psychologists (like the author) hold that everything encountered in altered states of mind actually happens in the mind. Some Jungian psychologists softened this approach by postulating the existence of archetypal symbols. Conversely, shamans across the world and across millennia hold that there are parallel universes that are inhabited by independent spirits who may, and do, interact with this world. Who should we believe to, the scholars or the ... people in the business? Regardless, Achterberg completely disregards the "other" point of view and, in so doing, she fails to deliver objective information.
On the other hand, the section about mental imagery and healing is truly excellent. Self healing is a phenomenon that cannot be possibly denied, the placebo effect being the prove of that. The author explores the possible connections between imagery, the nervous system and the immune system. Most of what she says makes perfect sense, although current scientific evidence is not sufficient to support her thesis. The author points out that there is a strong economic pressure against research in this field, and she is perfectly right. Anyone working for a pharmaceutical company (a tremendously powerful lobby) would never, ever look favorably to research aimed to prove that the mind CAN heal the body.
Achterberg offers many examples from past and present that demonstrate the importance of investing in the power of what she calls imagination. Her book brings a broad meaning to this missing element in treatment and in maintaining health. She does not however pretend to offer something to replace modern medicine, rather a methodology (or philosophical underpinning) to compliment it. She talks about eliciting the power of internal healing, which by any measure the body performs miraculously without intervention in many cases (common cold, cuts, bruises, and so on). Based on studies, a variety of behavioral and biofeedback techniques are reviewed and explained on how patients can be aided in speeding recovery, reducing pain or simply humanizing medical treatment.
The ancient art of the shamans holds an effectiveness and relevance that Achterberg offers persuasive evidence for. As a layperson, I derive from this book the power of health and healing that is innate in me, as in all humans. It increases my understanding of an ancient art that I am happy to better understand. As modern doctors are in many respects today's shamans, the book outlines our individual role as patient when illness occurs. She emphasizes a commitment as much to the knowledge and treatment methods of the medical field as to our own consciousness to heal or reduce our discomfort. In a nutshell, shamanism attempts simply "augmenting the power of the sick person."
I'd hoped this was one of the latter category. It may still be, but I'm having trouble reading it. The author states a large number of things as unquestioned fact which are neither unquestioned nor fact. For example, she clearly believes in European witches as being both shamans (medieval Europe was not a shamanic culture) and cultural survivals of Celtic priestesses. She also seems to be citing Michael Harner as her primary anthropological source, along with Mircea Eliade (good, as far as he went), and Carlos Castenada (usually believed to have invented his "data"). She also presumes some interesting common knowledge; I was amused to see her alluding to the "Medicine Wheel of Western civilization" as having "looked to the North for too long now, having much knowledge but little feeling." (What kind of audience is she writing for, if she presumes they are familiar with the 4 European elements, and their reinterpretation in a quasi Native-American context?)
I've seen worse. She's not quoting information channeled from Atlantean Grand Masters, or insisting that "science" will "prove" her favourite religious dogmas. But I'm still having a lot of trouble getting past the first couple of chapters, to see whether she has any useful information, such as reports on what she's been doing, and how or whether people are actually being healed by it.