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Folk healing: a description and synthesis
Am J Psychiatry 1981;138:1477-1481.
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Abstract

All societies have developed ways of dealing with physical and mental illness, defined as folk healing systems. The authors review the systems of folk healing that have evolved in different cultural groups in the United States. They describe the faith healing practices of fundamentalist Christian groups, the belief in rootwork among white and black people in the southeastern United States, curanderismo among Mexican-Americans, and espiritismo among Americans from Puerto Rico. Most believers in folk healing also go to physicians for medical care. The authors argue that physicians should familiarize themselves with patients' folk healing beliefs in order to serve them more effectively.

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