Alexander Alich

Shamanism, Safety and Risk: an ethnography of emerging shamanic practice and culture

Supervisors: Dr. Nicola K. Gale and Professor Sheila Greenfield

Alexander AlichShamanic practice in the west is an emerging therapeutic modality often categorized within complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Over the last few decades it has moved into the public’s consciousness, bringing with it many social and legal challenges. The aim of Alexander’s research is to examine the experiences and practices of western shamanic practitioners and the current social, legal, safety and risk issues that apply to this emerging field in healthcare as it transitions from traditional cultures into contemporary western settings.

 The study will explore the concept of ‘safety’ in the context of shamanic practice in both traditional and contemporary western settings. It will contribute to academic understandings of CAM and shamanism, as well as add to the body of professional knowledge within the fields of shamanic studies and complementary and alternative medicine for future public safety, policy and practice debates. 

 Research Interests

  • Shamanism
  • Patient Safety & Risk
  • Ethics and Professional Practice
  • Complementary, Alternative, Integrative Medicine and the Law
  • Qualitative Research
  • Healthcare Policy


Alexander Alich is the Director of FoxFire Institute of Shamanic Studies which he founded in 1988. He teaches both lay and professional audiences in the field of shamanic studies, Native American studies and integrative medicine. His extensive experience in these fields and in emergency medicine has directly informed his research in shamanism, safety, and risk.

Professional memberships

  • Royal Society of Medicine
  • International Society for Academic Research on Shamanism
  • European Society for Integrative Medicine


Alich, A. (2015) Shamanism and Safety: Ancient practices and modern issues. In: N. Gale, ed., Routledge Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicine perspectives from social science and law, 1st ed. London: Routledge, Pages 87-97.

Contact details

Twitter: @alexanderalich