Physiological Changes Induced by Ecstatic Body Posture Trance State

Brief Summary of the Pilot Study
Done by Jill Schumacher, BD, DNM & Meredith McCord, BD, DNM

(This study was done as a research project for our Doctorates in Bioenergetic Medicine & Natural Medicine.)
The design of this pilot study was an exploratory, descriptive study.  10 research subjects were selected using a convenience sample.  The CI Standard Protocol was applied for setting sacred space; breathing with natural, relaxed breath; assuming the ritual body posture (Bear Posture); neuro-acoustical stimulation with the rattle at 210 beats/min., followed by journaling. (Note:  The Bear Posture was selected to allow for consistency with previous research studies.)
The Medicine Wheel Biofeedback System was used as the scientific tool for data collection. This biofeedback system has the ability to simultaneously collect ECG, HRV, EEG, GSR-skin conductance, thermister (skin temperature), respiratory rate, respiratory depth and Capnometry (expired Co2).
Data collection results revealed the following trends:  (Note:  Heightened, yet relaxed state.)
–     Depth of respiration decreased in all subjects during the posture phase and returned to baseline immediately when the rattling stopped.
–     Respiratory rate increased during the posture phase.
–     Expired Co2  remained stable throughout all phases of data collection.
–     Skin temperature (GSR) increased in most subjects throughout the posture phase, trending down towards baseline in the journaling phase.
–     Heart rate increased during the posture phase.
–     Heart rate variability (HRV) spiked with initiation of the rattle.  HRV showed slight trend of increasing during posture phase; however, small N limited any further analysis.
–     Skin conductance had a downward trend during the posture phase, indicative of a relaxed state.
–     EEG showed changes in the alpha & delta waves in the 7-10 minute posture phase. (Need a larger N and greater number of EEG electrodes to confirm this finding.)
What Next?
–     Refine the research protocol. Software and hardware used is currently being up-graded to a 12 channel system that allows for increased number of  EEG electrode placements, providing greater information on brain wave changes during the posture phase.
–     Expanding the study to include a larger number of subjects to validate these findings and compare with previous studies by Dr. Goodman and others.
–     Expand the number of postures studied.
–     Identify the essential physiological markers that would validate new postures.
–     Identify the most sensitive, useful, cost effective and accessible biofeedback technology that can be used by practitioners of the CI Method.
–     CI on-site research facility to support continued physiological and phenomenological research.
–     CI Archives housed on-site for scholarly review of historical and support materials on body posture trance state and related phenomenon.
Archive Brain Storm Wish List
–     Archive committee to spearhead activities.
–     Dedicated CI House of Archives.
–     House all of FDG materials on-site at CI in secure manner.  Identify and retrieve missing materials.
–     Use computerized data housing and retrieval system to archive relevant materials. These materials could be accessed and downloaded from anywhere, thus facilitating ease of access.  Ease of access=ease of use=greater productivity.  (This could be a source of revenue generation for CI.)
–     Compile comprehensive collection of presentations, publications and other support materials that have been made by FDG and any others.  If anyone has presented or published articles, books, etc., they would be asked to submit complimentary copies to CI for placement in archives.  Any support materials such as hard copies of articles used in bibliographies would also be submitted to support the on-going work.
–      Support the translation of work and support materials into English and other languages to increase accessibility to all.  (FDG used articles and studies in German language in her reference lists.)
–     Identify other relevant materials that would support the further study of Ecstatic Ritual Body Posture Trance State.  This can include everyone contributing relevant materials as they access them.
–     Retrieval of FDG artifacts including the return of story-teller pottery figurines, fetishes, posture figurines, pottery shards, etc. that were taken from the institute by individuals.  Put out a call to return any and all objects that were removed, no questions asked.