The Cultural Context of Health, Illness, and Medicine

By Elisa J. Sobo; Martha O. Loustaunau | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Therapeutic Modalities:
A Cross-Cultural Perspective

GOAL: Describe the diversity of ways in which humans view the
body and its workings, conceptualize illness, and provide health
care within differentiated and sometimes overlapping systems.

GOAL: Demonstrate that there are various approaches to heal-
ing and various categories of healers; describe some of the key
differences and similarities in both approaches and categories.

GOAL: Explain and exemplify how various approaches to healing
and categories of healers may be complementary.

It is easy to make intellectual errors when dealing with medical systems.
We forget that our own perspectives may prevent us from understand-
ing the meaning and utility of practices that have been developed within
another culture. That failure to account for our own needs and biases
also can lead to the overenthusiastic acceptance of ideas whose genesis
and application we really do not understand
.

(Ergil 1996, 185)

When Jennifer began feeling lethargic and her occasional migraine headaches became more frequent, she thought perhaps it was just the stress of work. However, when her problems began to affect her work, a close friend recommended that she see a homeopath, Dr. Senseman, who had successfully treated him. Jennifer had never heard

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