Email Us
Search Site


  • Introduction
  • 1. Advance Care Planning
  • 2. Communicating Bad News
  • 3. Whole Patient Assessment
  • 4. Pain Management
  • 5. Assisted Suicide Debate
  • 6. Anxiety, Delirium
  • 7. Goals of Care
  • 8. Sudden Illness
  • 9. Medical Futility
  • 10. Common Symptoms
  • 11. Withholding Treatment
  • 12. Last Hours of Living
  • 13. Cultural Issues
  • 14. Religion, Spirituality
  • 15. Legal Issues
  • 16. Social and Psychological
  • More About:

  • Hospice Care
  • Clergy and Faith Communities
  • Additional Links
    Site Index
    Back to Module 13: Cultural Issues
    Tools for Diagnosing and Mediating Cultural Misunderstandings

    Touch and Gender
    Medical Subculture
    Traditional Medicine Depression
    Body Language
    Bad News
    Meaning of Illness
    Alternative Medicine
    Imminent Death

    Traditional Medicine

    What is Traditional Medicine?

    • Long before the marriage of science and medicine, there were doctors and other practitioners. Several of these traditional systems of healing are ancient and quite systematized, e.g., Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Some are not in written texts, e.g., Navaho singers. But these are standardized systems of knowledge
    • Practitioners in these traditional systems have undergone years of training and apprenticeship. There may be specialties within them, such traditional bonesetters, psychiatrists, or women’s ailments
    • Patients usually combine allopathic (US) and traditional medicine. Again, patients see the value in both. The traditional healer brings an empathic component and vocabulary of illness and symptoms that are familiar to the patient whereas technology based medicine is foreign and strange


    What Should I Do if My Patient is Using Traditional Medicine?

    • There is no reason to oppose and many reasons to support the patient in seeking traditional care
    • Again, samples of regularly ingested herbals should be obtained so that they can be analyzed if necessary
    • The healer should be welcome at the bedside
    • Some treatments such as coining, moxibustion, sucking or tattooing may leave bruises and marks on the skin that do not represent abuse
    ^top >continue