Aug 31 • 4M

Indigenous energy healings. Magic or placebo?


Appears in this episode

Loic Le Meur
After launching startups and conferences all his life Loic spent a year in the Amazon forest with indigenous and came back exploring consciousness but staying grounded in business. See also Loic's newsletter at
Episode details

A few years ago, probably like most of my readers here, I did not believe in any “energy healing” at all. I only believed in science and traditional medicine. I am a technology entrepreneur, so there is no room for BS.

“Always write first about what you are the most scared to write about” is a tip from Charlotte, a PAUA community member. There isn’t much I am scared to write; I keep the scariest for paid subscribers. It’s more intimate!

Well, I changed my mind on the healing thing.

“Magic's just science that we don't understand yet.” ― Arthur C. Clarke

Here is how I discovered Indigenous healing and a specific Indigenous technique I admire now. It would be a nightmare for those who feel shame in public as it often involves vomiting in public or being surrounded by people who “purge” right next to you. Not everyone vomits, though…

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In many ceremonies, I have seen no healings to “compulsory” healings for all… The Indigenous Songs are also considered healings themselves and most of them are prayers.

  • Some facilitators or “shamans” never do anything other than singing regardless of the possible suffering of the participant (that was my experience in my first ceremonies in Peru);

  • Other facilitators offer “energy healings” in complex cases when people lose consciousness, control of themselves, or even when someone bothers the group… I saw a woman turn suddenly into some scary witch one day, I will tell that story later;

  • All the way to “compulsory” circles of healing in some traditions where the Shaman will not even ask and perform healing to everyone.

  • Some non-Indigenous facilitators entirely invented “their own ways.”

  • I have also seen “white shamans” perform healings without saying it was one and even telling people after the fact that it was not healing but “just helping the person feel something herself.”

    It might be… or it might not.

No shaman works the same way, even within the same tribe, but there are some standard “techniques.” Techniques and vocabulary are not consistent in this curious world. It is very easy to throw everything as “nothing there; it’s all placebo.”

A gigantic group healing: a triple-row circle with 138 participants!

That in 2018, I attended a very special ceremony, my first time with Huni Kuin. It was in a very desertic place, and even more remarkable was that there were 138 participants and 3 Huni Kuin Indigenous masters. This was very unusual, ceremonies are generally more like 20-30 people.

It is always better to sit with the same facilitator for at least two days in a row, as the first night is generally a “discovery” for participants and facilitators alike. In this case, more profound work happened on the second day.

The Huni Kuin healing technique made me believe in some types of energy healing. I felt something I had never felt before in my life.

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