Handbook of Culture, Therapy, and Healing

By Uwe P. Gielen; Jefferson M. Fish et al. | Go to book overview

10

Traditional Healers in Mexico:
The Effectiveness of Spiritual Practices

Kaja Finkler

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

It was believed that as biomedicine increasingly succeeded in treating the body, alternative healers would disappear. Biomedicine has acquired an exquisite understanding of anatomy and physiology; it has developed spectacular techniques in organ transplantation, in emergency medicine, and in new reproductive technologies. Despite biomedicine's extraordinary achievements, a multitude of alternative healing forms continue to flourish. Interestingly, in present-day United States a significant change in how traditional healers are viewed has occurred. Whereas, until recently, traditional healers have been regarded as charlatans and quacks, at present enormous interest exists in alternative healing systems of all kinds, both sacred and secular. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services opened a section dedicated to the study of alternative healing systems and, in the January 28, 1993 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Eisenberg et al. reported with some surprise that 34 percent of all Americans have used what they call "unconventional medicine." More recently, the same authors found that the percentage of individuals resorting to alternative medicine had gone up to 42.1 percent in 1997 (Eisenberg et al., 1998; see also Chapter 12 in this volume).

A wide variety of alternative healers practice around the world. These healers can be classified into at least two broad categories: sacred and secular. Secular healers may include herbalists, bonesetters, naturopaths, acupuncturists, homeopaths, yogi, and chiropractors. In Mexico, for example, where I have done extensive fieldwork (Finkler, 1991, 1994a, 1994b) there are injection specialists and a variety of traditional healers known as curanderas/curanderos.

Cross-culturally, sacred healers include many different types of shamans and other specialists who form part of a religious system and whose practices are embedded in a religious ideology. I studied one type of sacred healer in Mexico, known as Spiritual healers, over a span of 25 years. Unlike secular healers, sacred healers have some connection with divinity and are usually legitimated by their contact with the divine. For this reason, sacred healers share many similarities, including the fact that they often, if not universally, resort to altered states of consciousness by entering into a trance. Each healing system is, of course, unique and embedded in the culture of which it forms a part and from which it sprang. Nevertheless, healing systems, such as Mexican Spiritualism that I discuss in this chapter, share similarities with sacred healing everywhere as, for example, in disparate systems such as those of the bushmen (!Kung) of South Africa and Botswana, Native Americans, and even contemporary Americans (Jones, 1972; Katz, 1982; McGuire, 1988).

-161-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Handbook of Culture, Therapy, and Healing
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 433

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.