Before reading this chapter please start with:
First concepts
WOB is optimal

We all are Shamans

Shamanism accompanies humankind ever since it became conscious of itself. Shamans were the first healers, and their heritage guides also many healers today. In ancient Greece, Shamanism was adopted by Asclepiads who practiced it for more than a thousand years. Two of their famous disciples, Hippocrates and Galen, started as asclepiads, and founded later the medical discipline regarded today as 'scientific'. Although Shamanism is the root of all religions, it started as healing practice and only later turned to Heaven.

Shamanism exploits the innate capacity of the body to heal itself. It heals by communicating with WOB, either directly,  or indirectly through the mind.  Shamanism is an innate faculty of WOB, like  senses, reflexes, or instincts.  We all carry shamanism, but not all of us gain the expertise of a Shaman. It's like playing a violin, which can be learned by anyone, yet only few become great fiddlers like, Isaac Stern or Itzhak Perlman. Shamanism as healing discipline is feasible, since each of us is endowed with it.

Shamanism  lost its appeal for two main reasons.  Institutionalized religions, condemned it as a mystic practice. As disease became the property of the divine, only deities were supposed to cure it. Man himself was supposed to be helpless. Yet shamanism is clearly distinct from mysticism, since it communicates directly with WOB, while the latter operates through the mind.

Institutionalized medicine, was another adversary of shamanism, particularly since in some diseases it was more effective, e.g., plague, or syphilis, while shamanism, or the practice of asclepiads were useless. With the advent of modern medicine, shamanism was abandoned all together, and  is regarded as  fraud. Medicine regards the body as a complex (Cartesian) machine, which has to be treated as such. This machine  may have a soul, yet its medical significance is meager. At best the soul  may serve as a placebo.  While in acute conditions medicine is extremely effective, in chronic diseases, like cancer, or diabetes mellitus, it generally fails. Since ignoring the self-healing capacity of the organism it neglects an important treatment dimension.  Shamanism gains importance mainly in treating chronic conditions. Let's explore it from the medical perspective.

What's in a soup?

As a starter let's observe what happens to us when perceiving a tasty soup. Already before tasting it, water fills our mouth.  Obviously WOB senses that we intend to eat and prepares the digestive system for this task (cephalic phase). Our senses  convey to WOB that we intend to eat. While smell is a
direct signal, to WOB sight and sound reach it indirectly through the mind.


Since smell is not mediated by the mind, we may wonder whether  it reaches the WOB of the mindless patient in coma? In other words might smell contribute to his recovery? I believe that it does, yet medicine regards this as nonsense. Other stimuli, like touching the patient, or playing him  music are as effective.  Even light is important. You might argue that a patient with dilated pupils, which do not respond to light may not benefit from such a stimulus. Recently however, special receptors to light, other than cones and rods, have been found  in the retina. (ref. Barinaga M. "How the Brain's Clock gets daily Enlightenment". Science 295: 955, 2002). They might  convey light impulses even when the papillary reflex  does not respond.

Smell triggers processes involved in food digestion. Among other it activates digestive enzymes, like pepsin, which is stored in gastric epithelia (zymogen granules) as inactive precursor by the name pepsinogen . A special activator enzyme removes part of the pepsinogen molecule and makes it an active pepsin

This is how biochemists describe this transition. And this  biochemical reaction is activated by smell, which ought to be regarded as an important co-factor of the reaction. Actually, smell informs the activator enzyme when to activate the precursor. Imagine that such an information would be withheld from the gastric epithelia, they would have produced pepsin continually even between meals, when it is not needed. What a waste of resources! Yet this never happens since WOB is optimal

Smell is a co-factor of myriad processes in the body. Not only in the digestive tract, also in the liver and other organs.

Pavlovian conditioning

In the original experiment, done by Pavlov, the salivary duct of  a dog was relocated to its cheek so that drops of saliva could be collected and their amount measured. Periodically, a tone was sounded, and shortly thereafter the dog was fed with meat powder. Meat powder causes the dog to salivate, whereas tones have little effect.  Initially, the dog showed little responsiveness to the tone. After repeated training the dog started  salivate at the sounding of the tone alone.

The dog's salivation to meat powder is an unconditional reflex. It is inborn, in that dogs do not have to learn to salivate when food is placed in their mouths. When the dog starts salivating in response to the tone , Pavlovian conditioning has occurred, and the response is a conditioned reflex.

Conditioning is a learning process. The dog (its WOB) learns to associate between the tone and food ingestion. This facility is manifested by all life forms. When an ameba approaching a toxic substance is hurt, the association between damage and a certain condition in the environment, teaches it to avoid this condition.

Conditioning in microbes teaches them how to resist antibiotics, and this experience is transmitted to other unconditioned bacteria by plasmids.

Further reading:

Antibiotic Paradox
Antibiotic Resistance and the Intestinal Flora


Salivation can be activated also by imagining a tasty dish. WOB will activate all processes involved in digestion exactly as if smelling the actual dish. Imagination is a co-factor in biochemical processes.

This scheme highlights the fact that imagination triggers biochemical processes, exactly as enzymes do. The mechanisms may differ, yet the outcome is the same. Imagination is the most important message from our mind to WOB..  Our will is conveyed to WOB by imagination. When we decide to raise our hand, in a split-second we imagine raising our hand and only then WOB will support our will, since most processes involved in hand raising are involuntary and unconscious. This may be more obvious when learning new tasks, like playing a piano. Practice involves imagining our moves, and watching the outcome.

Further reading:
Cancer Yogi

Suggestion and hypnosis

Imagination has to be distinguished from  suggestion and hypnosis. These are verbal messages received by the mind from outside, which are then transformed (translated) into images.  Somebody tells you: let's go and have a meal. Before WOB starts salivating this message has to be imagined. This is also the way how a shaman communicates with WOB. He applies mainly non verbal signals, like music, chanting, dancing, washing the patient etc. They trigger images which then trigger biophysical healing processes.


You sit in front of a computer screen and watch  your brain waves dancing. They are transmitted from your head  to the computer. Now you are asked to change their appearance. You have not the slightest idea how to go about it, and start experimenting. You frown, blow air through your mouth, move your shoulder. In short, you search for actions which might do the job. You look for associations between seemingly unrelated actions and brain wave manipulation. A Pavlovian 'auto - conditioning.  In addition you start imagining  how the computer might be controlled.  You visualize your guardian angel and ask him to help, or 'irradiate' the computer in your mind. After many seemingly futile experiments, the waves on the screen yield to your will.  It does not matter what one imagines, it simply works. You created a new co-factor for the myriad biochemical processes that generate brain waves.

In this manner one may learn how to control other involuntary processes. How about lowering blood pressure, or heart rate, as done by the  Hindu Yogi ,  or lowering the blood sugar of a diabetic? Or, slowing down cancer progression?  This terra incognita in our WOB is open to be explored. Physicians are encouraged to work out  mappings, or associations, between images and biochemical processes they trigger.

Meanwhile only shamans roam through these territories of our WOB.

Cancer support groups

There are two kinds of cancer: Disease of the body (WOB)  and disease of the mind. The latter occurs when  the patient is told that she has cancer. The resulting anxiety has nothing to do with real cancer. It is induced by the mind in response to messages by the society, which regards cancer as a deadly disease. This response is called here cancer of the mind. Most cancer support groups deal with cancer of the mind. The patient is instructed  how to face death, and becomes resigned. Such a support does not address the real issue, which is the disease of the body (WOB).

Shamans and asclepiads were  generally concerned with sustaining life, and less with death itself. The idea of a 'deadly disease'  was not part of their world view. A disease itself was not deadly, only the divine may kill.  Shamanism is founded on a three fold experience. First that of the shaman who believes in his powers. Second, that of the sick person, who feels the message, and finally, that of the public who also participates in the cure. According Levi-Strauss: 'These three elements  of what we might call the shamanistic complex cannot be separated'.

One component of this complex, the group, exists in each cancer support group. Once they discover their shaman potential, each member will heal his fellows, and the group will jointly discover how to  slow down cancer progression.

Further Reading:
A Shaman who treats Cancer
Cancer Yogis

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