Ancient ancestors from all over the world have discovered how to maximize human abilities of mind and spirit for healing and problem-solving. The system of methods they have developed is today known as "shamanism," a term that comes from a Siberian tribal word for its practitioners: "shaman" (pronounced SHAH-mahn). Shamans are a type of medicine man or woman especially distinguished by the use of journeys to hidden worlds otherwise mainly known through myth, dream, and near-death experiences. Most commonly they do this by entering an altered state of consciousness using monotonous percussion sound.
Often, one enters the shamanic path through crisis. Life-threatening illness, spontaneous visionary experiences and other traumas create a crack in the world that most call reality. This "crack" provides a passageway to the alternate realities that are the ground of shamanism. The life-crisis makes it essential for the individual to enter, and to find healing. The shamanic gifts that are developed become the source of healing for others.