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/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 1
22 / A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 1
he world's oldest liv-
ing culture, the Kala-
hari bushmen, do it.
Indigenous shamans
throughout the Amer-
icas, and from the Australian
Outback to the peaks of Europe,
China and Russia do it. Our bod-
ies, our babies, and even our
animals instinctively do it. What
is it? We shake.
Shaking, trembling, vibrat-
ing -- moving rhythmically, and
steadily, from head to toe. It is
the oldest form of healing on
the planet, believed to be the
complement of the natural relax-
ation response. Shaking calms
our nerves and excites our emo-
tions, and can move us to states
of ecstasy that transcend place
and time.
In these moments, we can
forget the limitations of our phy-
sical realm and tap into the cos-
mic energy that binds us all, the
creative force inherent in all liv-
ing things, our inner essence --
our ki (qi, chi). And when our
ki is moving, flowing freely with
the ebb and flow of life, we can
ignite the natural healing power
within for optimal health.
While "shaking" may seem
a bit out there to many of us,
whose 21st Century condition-
ing dictates that we appear to
be in control at all times, a
milder and more readily acces-
sible form of shaking is making
waves across the United States.
It's called brain wave vibration,
and in its most simple form, the
practice merely requires moving
your body to your own natural
healing rhythms in order to slow
down your brain waves, and cir-
culate your body's energy. It is
designed to move us more read-
ily into a meditative experience
and calm brain wave activity, so
our bodies and minds can natu-
rally heal.
At its core, the technique in-
volves three distinct elements:
1) deliberately making vibra-
tions in your body, 2) allowing
your body to ride the rhythm,
and 3) following the flow of
energy. It combines the
ancient healing practices
from Korea with modern
scientific understanding of
the brain. By tapping into
the body's inherent rhythm,
we're able to release ten-
sion and reach states of
deep relaxation similar to
that achieved through tra-
ditional forms of sitting
I have found brain wave
vibration to be incredibly
simple yet profoundly ef-
fective in relieving stress,
and bringing my body and
mind back into balance. A
session can be just a few
minutes or a full one-hour
practice combining merid-
ian stretching, vibration
exercises, ki-gong move-
ments, energy dance and
sitting meditation. The
beauty is that it can be
done anytime, anywhere
by people of all abilities,
and takes no time at all to
While there are several
variations of brain wave
vibration exercises, my favor-
ite is the full-body method. It is
very similar to shaking medicine
techniques that indigenous cul-
tures have used for centuries.
To try it, turn on some rhythmic
drum music to get into the flow.
Stand with your feet shoulder-
width apart, hips forward, knees
slightly bent, and weight natu-
rally balanced on the balls of
your feet.
Begin by shaking your head
from side to side, as you close
your eyes and focus on your
brain stem at the base of your
neck. As you relax, allow the
shake to become more pro-
nounced moving down to your
shoulders and throughout all
parts of your body. Focus on the
rhythm allowing all thoughts to
leave your mind. As you move,
your inhibitions will loosen up
and you will intuitively take on
postures that your body desires
for its own natural healing.
The vibrations may be gentle
or intense, dance-like or flow-
ing. After about 10-30 minutes,
your body will slow to a stop as
it reaches a natural state of equi-
librium. At this point, you can
return to your natural awareness
or move into a sitting posture
and sink into meditation.
Ancient shamans of the past
can be considered the original
"brain wave doctors." They in-
stinctively knew that shaking of
the body and dancing to dis-
tinct tribal rhythms could enable
them to achieve higher states of
consciousness, connect with the
spiritual realms, and stimulate
their own innate healing abili-
ties. It was their way of tap-
ping into the inherent life
force or energy present in
all things.
Scientific knowledge
has come full circle with
the ancient wisdom of our
elders. Research proves the
brain emits five distinct
kinds of brain waves as-
sociated with our different
states of consciousness, all
of which affect our health.
Due to demands of mod-
ern life, we spend most of
our waking time in high-
frequency brain-wave pat-
terns, thus creating chronic
stress and other imbal-
ances. Conversely, low-
frequency brain waves, like
those associated with rest,
relaxation and meditation,
are known to bring about
According to Dr. Mi-
chael Winkleman, noted
anthropologist and former
neuroscientist, shamanic
healing practices worked
by integrating the older
brain stem (regulating our
vital functions and innate heal-
ing capacity) and younger pre-
frontal cortex (thinking and rea-
soning) parts of the brain by phy-
sically stimulating systematic
brain wave discharge patterns.
Like the "relaxation response,"
shaking creates equilibrium in
the mind and body, freeing our
brain stem to work at its opti-
mal capacity. Shaking also stim-
ulates the brain's serotonin and
opiod neurotransmitters -- our
"feel good" chemicals.
Bradford Keeney, author of
Shaking Medicine, noted that
all ancient indigenous healing
practices of the world relied
on ecstatic movement, such as
Ride Your Body's Rhythm to Wholeness
Tapping into Vibrational Healing Techniques
Used by Indigenous Cultures for Centuries
by Wendy Oden
Sedona resident Michela Mangiaracina uses the
full-body vibration method to shake away stress.
Photo by Franklin hughes.