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Healing EEs/EHEs/Healing Process
Record Type: Review   ID: 959

Spiritualist Healers in Mexico: Successes and Failures of Alternative Therapeutics

Finkler, Kaja

 This is a report, made by a medical anthropologist, of an intensive investigation of the successes and failures of Spiritualist healing in a rural setting in Mexico. In the course of the investigation, the natives insisted that Finkler participate in the rituals and undergo initial training as a Spiritualist healer. The author summarizes her work as follows: "The two interrelated tasks of this book have been (1) to demonstrate the ways in which an alternative healing system succeeds and fails to heal, as perceived by its patients, and in which one rural segment of a complex society expresses and manages illness, and (2) to describe the interaction between a therapeutic regime and the historical, social, and economic forces of the larger society of which it is a part. I have identified the people's recovery requisites, explored the beliefs and practices of an important alternative health-care delivery system in contemporary Mexico, and have analyzed its impact on the clientele within a personal and societal framework. I have unveiled a folk Mexican cognitive model of recovery, which I postulate is rooted in the history of its bearers and is fostered by current ecological conditions" (p. 193). There are useful chapters on "Spiritualist Healing Techniques" and "How Spiritualist Healers Heal." Several appendices present background information on her research. A glossary, an extensive bibliography, and an index enhance the book's usefulness.
Publisher Information:South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey, 1985. 256p. Bibliography: 228-242; Chapter notes; 6 graphs; Glossary: 243-244; Index: 245-256; 15 tables
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