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Traditional African Healing Ceremony in a U.S. Population

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Duke University Identifier:
First received: June 5, 2013
Last updated: October 31, 2014
Last verified: October 2014
Pre-agricultural societies almost universally used healing ceremonies that involved reverence, rhythm and dance in the presence of a healer. It is believed that we are "wired" for such experiences and they foster an integrative mode of consciousness similar to that of mindfulness based stress reduction, which has been shown to have therapeutic effects in a variety of conditions. Collaborator Ava Lavonne Vinesett of the Duke Dance Program has developed a healing ceremony based in sub-Saharan African traditions. The investigators plan is to have 25 subjects with a variety of clinical conditions participate in this ceremony. Subjects will then be asked to write a commentary about their experience and to participate in a focus group discussion. It is anticipated that the study will give us some idea of how promising this approach would be and what kinds of patients might benefit. Safety issues are minimal and include the possibility of injury (though the dancing is not strenuous) and psychological distress.

Condition Intervention
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Anxiety Depression Cancer Behavioral: Movement to rhythm

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Official Title: Traditional African Healing Ceremony in a U.S. Population

Further study details as provided by Duke University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Report from each participant as to whether they found the experience positive, neutral or negative. [ Time Frame: During the first hour after the intervention ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • written narrative of experience [ Time Frame: During the first hour after the intervention ]

Other Outcome Measures:
  • Encounter group discussion [ Time Frame: During the first hour after the intervention ]

Enrollment: 17
Study Start Date: May 2014
Primary Completion Date: May 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Movement with rhythm
Subjects will move for 1 hour in time to the Congolese rhythm called Zebola.
Behavioral: Movement to rhythm
Movement to rhythm


Ages Eligible for Study:   25 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age 25 to 65 with one of the diagnoses listed above or with 8 visits to their provider in the last year and with no diagnosis of chronic illness.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • physical disability making participation difficult and previous experience with a similar ceremony, for instance while growing up in Africa.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01873482

United States, North Carolina
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina, United States, 27710
Sponsors and Collaborators
Duke University
Principal Investigator: Kenneth Wilson, MD Duke University
  More Information

Responsible Party: Duke University Identifier: NCT01873482     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: Pro00042492
Study First Received: June 5, 2013
Last Updated: October 31, 2014

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic
Signs and Symptoms
Virus Diseases
Muscular Diseases
Musculoskeletal Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Neuromuscular Diseases processed this record on September 19, 2017