4 minutes to read

What is Shamanic Healing?

I’m noticing an increase lately in the number of people contacting me with an interest in shamanic healing. Some have had experience with this beautiful approach and are looking for a practitioner to support their healing journey, but many have only heard about shamanism and want to find out more.

My client, Sandy, is a perfect example. She had been struggling with grief for the past 6 years due to many losses in her family. She knew of a few people who had explored shamanism and was curious to learn if this approach might be helpful for her.

We started with a complimentary phone call to talk about my approach and help her decide if I might be a good fit for her.

I always include 3 main points when answering the question: What is Shamanic Healing?

1) A shamanic way of life involves a deep reverence and connection with nature.

Shamanic healing is is based on the premise that every part of nature—the plants, animals, and minerals, the oceans, lakes, prairies, and mountains, the sky, sun, moon, stars, everything!—has an energetic vibration or “spirit” that can boost our energy and facilitate healing.

When we say, for example, “A breath of fresh air is good medicine,” we’re speaking words that are very much in alignment with shamanic healing. The energy of air is expansive, uplifting. It can literally open us up, bring in new insights, and help us breathe new life into whatever situation is of concern.

Are you wanting scientific evidence? You can find a plethora of studies that talk about the health benefits of spending time in nature. An internet search will bring up 345,000,000 results in less than 1 second! Check it out. You’ll find a lot of interesting and validating articles.

So, yes, I encourage you to spend time in nature. But then, I encourage you to take it a step further by removing your ear buds and turning off your phone so that you can truly CONNECT with nature, FEEL it, OBSERVE the intricate details of the natural world with fascination, and BE in a state of gratitude, wonder, and awe. Just thinking about it makes me feel good!

This deep reverence and connection with nature and its potential for healing is something indigenous people living in a shamanic way have known and practiced for thousands of years.

2) There is a ceremonial aspect to a shamanic healing session. 

We often start with invocations to connect with the four directions—East, South, West, and North, as well as Sky, Earth, the surrounding land, and the Great Spirit. This creates a sacred healing container and serves to welcome the healing elementals and energies into the session.

Working with a variety of shamanic tools, such as feathers, crystals, tobacco, rattles, drums, and the singing of icaros enhances the ceremonial nature of the session. As the session comes to a close, we use more singing to bring in gratitude, light, love, and many blessings.

This ceremonial approach makes each session beautiful and unique.

3) The healing involves releasing old patterns and creating energetic space to bring in something new. 

The icaros and shamanic tools are used to clear non-resonant energies associated with stress, trauma, illness, blockages and imbalances, often bringing relief from physical and emotional symptoms. Some sessions include soul retrieval, which involves rhythmic drumming and guided visualization to welcome parts of ourselves that we may have forgotten or lost.

As our energy shifts back into alignment we have an opportunity to reclaim our power and reconnect with the truth, essence, and spirit of who we are. It often generates a sense of strength, resilience, confidence, and inner peace.

In the case of Sandy, after our phone call she decided to schedule an appointment for the following day. At the end of our session she reported:

“I feel a lot better. The session was relaxing as if waves were moving through me. It feels like a weight has been lifted.”

Our session proved to be an important step for Sandy as she continues to heal from the grief she has been experiencing for many years. The emotional weight she has been carrying has been lifted, providing a sense of space and freedom to move forward.

Final thoughts

I don’t think I’ll ever waver from my belief that when we take the time and effort to heal our individual selves—body, emotions, mind, spirit, and relationships—we create an energy that emanates, like ripples on a pond or the sparkle of infinite starlight, which benefits the whole world.

So, if you’re looking for a way to heal yourself and make a difference in the world, shamanic healing might be the way.

Katie Oberlin

A Healing Touch Certified Practitioner, Katie received advanced training in shamanic healing at The Power Path School of Shamanism in 2014. Her travels have taken her to power spots in the southwestern United States, as well as Mexico and Peru, where she has worked with shamans from the Q’ero and Shipibo indigenous healing traditions.