Part 1: What does shamanism, epigenetics and evil wind have to do with your fertility?
During the first week of my visit to Peru, I stayed at the Nihue Rao Spiritual Healing Center in the Amazon jungle. They offer the ancient healing art of Shamanism using sacred healing songs called icaros, plant medicines, healing diets and Ayahuasca ceremonies to treat ailments from addiction, depression, PTSD, scoliosis, and fertility issues.
I was drawn to this center after hearing my friend, Dr. Joe Tafur, give a lecture on this medicinal practice when I was still in acupuncture school over 6 years ago.
Dr. Tafur is a family practice doctor who trained and worked at prestigious medical institutes including UCSD and UCLA. A couple years after I heard his lecture, he quit his UCSD doctor gig and opened this healing center with a master Shipibo shaman and a Canadian artist. (The Shipibo are an indigenous people along the Ucayali River in the Amazon rainforest in Perú. They have been practicing this Shamanistic-based plant medicine for thousands of years.)
His passion for the shamanistic practice of the Shipibo people and the potential for integrating modern western medicine with the power of ancient practices sparked a huge interest in me.
In fact, before I pursued a career in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, I traveled around the world learning about different indigenous medicinal practices. I even lived in Belize for three months while volunteering for an organization that introduced medical exchange students to local Traditional Mayan medicine healers. I was lucky enough to coordinate activities between the exchange students and healers and had time to pick their brains in the process.
Although I chose a career as a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist, I not only respect the depth of knowledge of all traditional holistic medical systems from around the world; I’m also fascinated by the common threads between these ancient practices.
It was during my week at the Nihue Rao Center Espiritual that I significantly deepened my understanding not only of Chinese medicine, but of the similar roots and methods of traditional medicinal practices and spiritual philosophies from around the world.
What commonality struck me most between traditional practices is the deep connection with the lineage of their ancient founders. What modern medicine lacks is this maturity. Although modern medicine certainly has its place and offers many gifts, it’s important to remember how relatively young it is.
Some wisdom can only come with time.
Traditional medical practices are holistic not only in acknowledging the relationship between your body, mind, and spirit, but also the connection between all members of the greater community past and present, and the connection between humans to the earth and cosmos.
In fact, this acknowledgement can be likened to the new discoveries made in the study of epigenetics.
Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Epigenetic change is a regular and natural occurrence but can also be influenced by several factors including age, the environment/lifestyle, and disease state. (http://www.whatisepigenetics.com/fundamentals/)
Traditional medicines founded by the ancient ones recognized how much your environment impacts your health and may cause disease states. The environment could be anything from weather conditions and food availability to negative emotional and spiritual states passed down through generations.
For instance, you may think your predisposition to fertility issues is genetically inherited from your mother. But it may be the learned response to stress and habit of storing that stress in your reproductive organs that alters the gene expression.
After all, you mirror your mother from the minute you’re born. The disharmonious pattern causing that stress response (like a toxic relationship, anger, guilt, etc.) may also be continued generation after generation.
This is an example of epigenetics. Your environment is modifying your gene expression.
In Chinese medicine, when environmental elements cause disease, whether it’s the weather or someone projecting their anger onto you, we would call this Evil Wind.