Health is a major concern to all people. In this volume, four writers examine the medical arts of Yaqui, Anglo, Black and Mexican American communities to further understand the relationship between alternative and scientific medicine.
Edward H. Spicer's informative introduction sets the stage for comparing "popular" and "scientific" medicine. "Graduates of medical schools have been taught that their body of knowledge is the one true medical tradition. The world has many medicines and thousands of practitioners who do not believe that "Western" medicine is a universal cure-all. These practitioners may be as certain that what they practice is the one true medical tradition," says Spicer. In the communities studied, the belief is that illnesses may be caused by overwork, witchcraft or sin, and treatment may include herbs, prayer, or massage. Practitioners are successful and respected although they are not licenses in the legal sense.
In these alternative medical traditions, "Western" medicine may find a key to new growth and effectiveness. Ethnic Medicine in the Southwest is a fascinating look at commonly practiced arts that will interest not only ethnic and health services specialists but all those interested in cultural traditions.