Shamanic healing is a spiritual healing art that deals with the spiritual aspect of an illness. In the Shamanic viewpoint illness has three common causes. Power may have been lost causing depression, profound grief, chronic illness and fatigue or a series of misfortunes. A person may have soul loss, where part of a soul or essence is lost. This can occur during surgery, accidents, abuse, in codependent relationships, loss of a loved one or divorce, wartime and natural disasters. Soul loss can manifest as addiction, dissociation, post traumatic stress disorders, serious illness, immune deficiencies and coma. Since we are not fully embodied and present to engage with life when we have soul loss, we are unable to create the quality of life and relationship we desire. A soul retrieval ceremony is performed to heal this condition.
It is important to note that there is a distinction between healing and curing. The word heal comes from whole. The ancient practice of shamanism which then informed the healing arts of Chinese Medicine, Yoga and Ayurveda, maintain that all life is one, and we are a continuum of spirit, mind and body. We are a part of a Whole and all of our relationships impact the quality of our life and our environment. One may cure (i.e. relieve symptoms with no healing) and heal with no cure being effected. Shamanic healing is no substitute for medical or psychiatric disorders, but may affect them.
A fascinating and highly recommended book on this practice is The Cosmic Serpent : DNA and the Origins of Knowledge by Jeremy Narby which looks at the acquisition of wisdom from the earth through the relationship with plant spirits.