image0 KD Braden

KD Braden is a student in the MAIS programme with a focus on culture. She has over thirty years of experience working in healthcare in over 10 countries including: Canada, USA, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and more. She currently left institutional health care to work in healing arts and runs a business as a licensed massage therapist and Reiki Master in Orlando, Florida.

Title: Plant Based Medicine and Personal Development

Abstract: Plant based medicines such as Huachuma, have been used in spiritual healing ceremonies in Peru for thousands of years. More recently, Shamanic ceremonies have been offered to visiting westerners, to treat physiological conditions, psychological disorders, and spiritual deficits. Literature and testimonials support the use of plant based medicines in the healing of depression, neurological illness, chronic fatigue, trauma, anxiety, grief and for those seeking wholeness and meaning. (Beck, 2021) (Hoffman, 2019) (Owens, 2018) (Mate, 2018) (Benazzo, 2021) (Walubita, 2020). With the recent psychedelic renaissance and mainstream exposure through authors like Michael Pollan, who have written books adapted to mini-series, one can be lured into believing a day sitting with plant-based medicine can secure a personal break though in trauma resolution. For some they do, but there is work involved, there are alternatives, and healing and personal development is iterative.
Whilst plant-based medicines can be transformational experiences, there are also risks and pitfalls associated with such endeavours. Commercialization, glitzy marketing and non-regulation of plant-based medicines and Shamanism in Peru mean that the participant is at the whim of the retreat center and Shaman. There is no way to measure potency or content of the medicine or the effect any dose will have on the participant, with medical facilities and emergency response limited in this region.
This autoethnographic paper explores my immersive encounter with Huachuma
with a goal of synthesizing recent boundary experiences and engage in the work of post traumatic growth and personal development.


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