Holistic Adult and Child Psychiatry in Newton, MA

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The Bridge is a symbol of my practice

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Judy Tsafrir, M.D.
Tel: 617-965-3020

Monday to Friday:
6 AM to 6 PM

About Me

My practice is dedicated to healing through integration of heart, mind, body and soul.

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Adventures in Holistic Adult and Child Psychiatry

"One only sees what one looks for, one only looks for what one knows." - Goethe

"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better." - Maya Angelou

Ancestral Health Care: Shamanic Auto Immune Healing

The Sun

From a modern Western perspective, the natural world, including the body, is viewed mechanistically. That is to say, it is determined and explained by physical processes alone. Over the past ten years, Mind/Body Medicine has become an increasingly accepted addition to mainstream health care in this country. Hospitals routinely offer workshops in meditation, and it is commonly recognized as an effective method for relieving stress and promoting relaxation. It has even acquired the status of something that you “should” do, like brushing your teeth or eating your vegetables.

This is a good thing, but to my mind, there is something big missing here. The embrace of meditation in the west does not typically extend to its spiritual benefits. It’s been mostly stripped of that woo-woo factor, and instead, valued for its capacity to produce scientifically quantifiable changes, like reduction in blood pressure or a decrease in blood glucose levels.

Energy Medicine is another healing modality which is enjoying increasing popularity. It makes use of non physically measurable forces to promote health and treat illness. Acupuncture and Reiki are forms of Energy Medicine which may be familiar.

David Feinstein, Phd defines Energy Medicine as follows, “Conventional medicine, at its foundation, focuses on the biochemistry of cells, tissue, and organs. Energy Medicine, at its foundation, focuses on the energy fields of the body that organize and control the growth and repair of cells, tissue, and organs. Changing impaired energy patterns may be the most efficient, least invasive way to improve the vitality of organs, cells, and psyche.”

Though less quantifiable, this explanation but still has a mechanistic flavor, and therefore more familiar and palatable to our western mind set.

In contrast, another branch of Energy Medicine is Shamanism, which is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by invisible forces or spirits that deeply affect our lives. This notion makes us much less comfortable, right?

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies is an organization founded by anthropologist Michael Harner, PhD. Harner wrote,  “…in our culture many consider it avant-garde if a person talks about the mind-body connection, but the fact that the brain is connected to the rest of the body is not the most exciting news. It’s been known for hundreds and thousands of years. What’s really important about shamanism, in my opinion, is that the shaman knows that we are not alone. By that I mean, when one human being compassionately works to relieve the suffering of another, the helping spirits are interested and become involved.”

Over the past eight days I have been attending a fascinating as well as disorienting workshop in Virginia sponsored by Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies. We have been learning a number of healing techniques, including Shamanic extraction and Shamanic soul retrieval, based upon the healing traditions of indigenous peoples from around the world. “Training in core shamanism includes teaching students to alter their consciousness through classic shamanic non-drug techniques such as sonic driving, especially in the form of repetitive drumming, so that they can discover their own hidden spiritual resources, transform their lives, and learn how to help others.”

Shamanic soul retrieval is a form of spiritual healing which seeks to restore a person’s vital life force that has been diminished or lost through some form of trauma. Trauma results in the loss of a fragment of the soul, which translates into a loss of personal power. According to this way of thinking, symptoms of significant soul loss include loss of joy, playfulness, chronic bad luck, as well as chronic illnesses such as auto-immune conditions, chronic pain and fatigue, depression, anxiety, dissociation and distractibility. Shamanic soul retrieval restores a person’s life essence and vitality. It is so very foreign to American psychiatry as it is conventionally practiced today, with its emphasis on pharmaceuticals and various forms of talk therapy. I am curious about this traditional spiritual healing method, and wonder if it could potentially could be of great benefit for many psychiatric and auto-immune conditions. This is truly an Ancestral health care approach.

We were introduced to many wonderful, rich and evocative practices in this workshop. I would like to share one of them with you that I particularly liked. Any morning that the Sun was shining, we began our day by going outside and expressing gratitude and singing a prayer to the Master Shaman, the Sun. All life on this planet depends upon the Sun’s light and warmth. In this Shamanic tradition, we were taught a practice of connecting with the Sun and enlisting the Sun’s help to relieve us of whatever burden we were carrying.

The words and tune of the Morning Sun Song are simple. Each line is sung four times and is accompanied by shaking a rattle. I recommend this practice to anyone suffering from illness or any kind of pain.

Face the Sun, feel its warmth on your face and heart, and express gratitude to the Sun. Ask for help with anything that is weighing you down. Ask for healing support of your immune system, or to take your illness from you, and imagine it transmuted and released into cool water.

Here are the lyrics and following it an mp3 file of the Morning Sun song sung by Victoria Vives so you can learn the melody.

Morning sun, morning sun
Come my way, come my way

Come my way, come my way
Take my pain, take my pain

Take my pain, take my pain
Down below, down below

Down below, down below
Cool waters, down below

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