Spiritualism is a religious movement based on the belief that the spirits of the deceased, angels, and even ghosts exist and have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. It may seem odd to include this subject as part of indigineous medicines, but the elements of Spritism can be traced all the back to the very origins of medicine and shamanism, thus a study of import. In man's early history, spirits were determinative agents of disease and healing. Shamanism is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with the spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world. A shaman is someone who is regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing
The afterlife, or the "spirit world", is seen by spiritualists, not as a static place, but as one in which spirits exist on other planes and continue to evolve just as those living. These two beliefs—that contact with spirits is not only possible, but a fact of life, and that spirits are often more advanced than humans—lead spiritualists to a third belief: that spirits are capable of providing useful knowledge about moral and ethical issues, healing both mind and body, as well as about the nature of God. Some spiritualists will speak of a concept which they refer to as "spirit guides"—specific spirits, often contacted, who are relied upon for spiritual guidance] Spiritism, a branch of spiritualism developed by the famous Allan Kardec and today practiced mostly in Continental Europe and Latin America, especially in Brazil, emphasizes reincarnation.
Spiritualism developed and reached its peak growth in membership from the 1840s to the 1920s, especially in English-speaking countries. By 1897, spiritualism was said to have more than eight million followers in the United States and Europe, mostly drawn from the middle and upper classes.
Spiritualism flourished for a half century without canonical texts or formal organization, attaining cohesion through periodicals, tours by trance lecturers, camp meetings, and the missionary activities of accomplished mediums. Many prominent spiritualists were women, and like most spiritualists, supported causes such as the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage] By the late 1880s the credibility of the informal movement had weakened due to accusations of fraud perpetrated by mediums, and formal spiritualist organizations began to appear. Spiritism was naturally suppressed, especially by debunking journalists, the medical profession, and establishment clergy. Spiritualism as a broad field is currently practiced through various denominational spiritualist churches in the United States, Christian Science, New Thought movements, and organizations is South America, Canada and the United Kingdom.