Getting a Dose of Mystical Medicine Shamans Show Healing Methods to U.S. Doctors

By Creager, Ellen | The Florida Times Union, September 29, 1999 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Getting a Dose of Mystical Medicine Shamans Show Healing Methods to U.S. Doctors

Creager, Ellen, The Florida Times Union

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Could a shaman teach a surgeon?

Yes, say a doctor and an ecologist who claim that South American healers using 2,000-year-old fire ceremonies, trances and stones can heal the flu in 20 minutes, cure cancer, evaporate chronic fatigue syndrome, solve infertility and even stop your leg from being amputated.

They have seen it with their own eyes.

With shamanism, "you have to be comfortable in a world you can't explain," says Eve Bruce, a plastic surgeon and believer who traveled with 10 shamans from the Andes Mountains and the Amazon River Basin to appear before a medical audience recently at the University of Michigan Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Center in Ann Arbor.

The shamans drew a crowd of 200. It was an odd event -- a mystical salvo in a clinical setting that illustrates how wide the gap is between alternative and western medicine.

First, Bruce and shamanism expert John Perkins purified the stage at Mott Children's Hospital by swallowing mouthfuls of 150proof Bacardi rum and spitting it onto a candle. Whoosh -- Opa! Big flame. (Both Perkins and Bruce are honorary shamans by virtue of spending years as apprentices in Ecuador.)

Meanwhile, the 10 shamans, seven men and three women, sat quietly in a row of black folding chairs.

Perkins, a tall J. Peterman-like figure in a white shirt and khakis, explained how he had been a Peace Corps volunteer and World Bank official in the Amazon until he quit in 1990 "to devote the rest of my life to saving the rain forest." He started an organization, Dream Change Coalition, which promotes "shapeshifting" our waking dreams to a more Earth-friendly world. Towering over the small South Americans, he introduced them:

Don Esteban Tamayo and sons Jorge and Jose diagnose and heal by blowing fire at people. From the northern Otavalo region of Ecuador, Don Esteban was destined to become a shaman when he "cried out three times in his mother's womb." The three wore green woolen ponchos, white pants, small fabric sandals and wide-brim hats.

Antonio and Maria Juana Yamberla, also from the Otavalo region. They heal with pendulums, flowers, dolls and sacred alcohol. She wore a stream of yellow beads around her neck; her husband clutched an Umbro bag on his lap. This was their first trip to the United States.

Daniel Guachapa, a Shuar shaman from the Amazon rain forest of Ecuador, a tribe with the fierce tradition of making shrunken heads. He uses tobacco and the hallucinogenic drug ayahuasca in his healing. He became a shaman when he saw his destiny in a dream state brought on by drinking Datura tea when he was 11.

Alberto and Elba Taxzo, from the Cotopaxi region of Ecuador, heal with fire, plants and food. Alberto's father also was a shaman.

Ipupiara (Bernardo Peixoto) and Jenny Cley Toscano Zamota, live in Washington. Ipupiara speaks eight languages and has a Ph.D. in anthropology and biology. He is a member of the Ureweu-wau-wau tribe of the Brazilian Amazon region.

Following the introductions came the testimonials.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Getting a Dose of Mystical Medicine Shamans Show Healing Methods to U.S. Doctors


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?