Annamaria Boros is a final-year medical student at Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary. She has completed her MA thesis on alternative healing methods at the frontiers of clinical medicine (e.g., altered consciousness, shamanic techniques, psychedelic therapies with LSD and ayahuasca). Her further interests are medical anthropology, traditional- metaphysical healing, philosophy of perception and reality, perennial philosophy, anthropology of religion.
Altered states of consciousness- traditional vs. biomedicinal approach from a critical medical anthropological perspective
Mainstream Western medicine defines consciousness as being awake, responsive to stimuli and able to consciously experience the outer reality and originates it from cortical and subcortical brain structures. Clinical psychiatry classifies the levels of consciousness according to the environment response capacity ranging from fully awake to coma state and considers altered states still mostly as pathologies. In contrast to it, in most cultures altered states of consciousness are believed to have deep meanings and healing potentials as gates to parallel existing realities. My presentation focuses on the integration problems of ASC techniques like shamanic drumming and psychedelics facilitated therapies into the mainstream clinical field as well as asking the question: Why are consciousness and altered states so misunderstood in the Western culture?