Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-4-2019

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr Nancy Martin


Shamanism is known as the oldest spiritual and mystical practice still existing in our planet. Its presence dates back 30 to 40 thousand years ago, a time where consciousness emerged into the human mind. Throughout time and evolution, many of the shamanic practices have spread across the world and remain prevalent in a multitude of religious practices. Nevertheless, over time, their esoteric views on healing have become commonly overlooked and replaced by modern science. The holistic interpretation of human nature is being forgotten by a more “rational” approach about humankind. But what does shaman medicine truly entail? And how can we reclaim the effectiveness of its practices?

This research paper will focus on understanding the religious role of the shamans and their effectiveness of improving people’s physical and mental wellbeing through the engagement of spiritual practices and transcendental experiences. The use of meditation, drums, music, costumes, the intake of psychedelics and even botanical plants are some of the important tools that the shamans use in their ceremonies. These methods will be analyzed and compared with scientific data to prove that their medicine is effective and of great value. Hopefully, this paper will set forth the importance of balancing a mind-body-spirit connection when trying to improve ones health. Even in today’s modern world, we need to remember to take care of our internal bodies, become aware of our own thoughts. The shamans provide sacred insight about the importance of belief, faith and reflection as a way to self-heal. Their practices give people the courage to question themselves and their true meaning of life.


Presented at the Fall 2019 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.

Creating a mind-body-spirit connection is a process of dedication, time and healing. It all starts by wanting to create a more stable and honest relationship with the person you’ll have to deal with for the rest of your life: YOU. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers, but we can only create our path by wanting to discover who we really are.

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- Carla Frias