Returning to Ourselves: Palestinian Complementary Healers in Israel

1David Yellin Academic College, Jerusalem, Israel.
Qualitative Health Research (Impact Factor: 2.19). 11/2013; DOI: 10.1177/1049732313513175
Source: PubMed


Studies of traditional healers in various cultures describe their initiation into the healing profession as a climax that constructs their professional and personal identity. Literature emphasizes the healers' intense association with the culture in which they work, as reflected in the initiation narratives that healers in various cultures recount. In this article we reveal unique initiation stories and identity formation from Palestinian nonconventional healers in Israel who described a cross-cultural journey: After studying healing traditions of foreign cultures and on returning to their own cultural environment, they developed a unique and complex combination of healing values and traditions. We examine the stories of these healers, whose personal and professional identities are affected by cultural, political, and social contexts. We note the blending of healing traditions and practices, and the changes in identity, assessing them against cultural processes that many Palestinians in Israel have been undergoing over the past few decades.

Download full-text


Available from: Naomi Weiner-Levy, Feb 11, 2014
23 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The use of complementary traditional medicine (CTM) is prevalent among patients with cancer. An understanding of cultural and religious values is needed to design an effective patient-centered supportive treatment program. To examine gender-related demographic and professional characteristics; treatment goals and approaches; and attitudes toward integration among Arab practitioners of CTM. Male and female Arab CTM practitioners treating patients with cancer were located by snowballing through practitioner and clientele networks. Participants underwent semi-structured, in-depth interviews which were analyzed thematically, with a focus on gender-related issues. A total of 27 Arab CTM practitioners participated in the study (17 males, 10 females). Female practitioners were found to be treating women exclusively, with male practitioners treating both genders. Female practitioners tend to be younger, unmarried, urban-based and non-Muslim. Male practitioners set out to "cure" the cancer, while female practitioners focus on symptoms and quality of life. Male practitioners employ a more schematic and structured therapeutic approach; female practitioners a more eclectic and practical one. Male practitioners employ a collectivist approach, involving family members, while female practitioners interact exclusively with the patient. Finally, male CTM practitioners see integration as a means for recognition, increasing their power base. In contrast, female practitioners perceive integration as a foothold in fields from which they have previously been shut out. A number of gender-related issues can have a significant impact on CTM therapy among Arab patients. Further research is needed in order to understand the implications of these differences.
    Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 04/2014; 17(3). DOI:10.1007/s10903-014-0019-6 · 1.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Religious/spiritual (r/s) characteristics of physicians influence their attitude toward integrative medicine and spiritual care. Indonesia physicians collaborate with traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TCAM) professionals within modern healthcare system, while Indian physicians are not reported to do so. The aim of the study was to understand the r/s characteristics and their influence on Indian and Indonesian physicians' acceptance of TCAM/spirituality in modern healthcare system. An exploratory, pilot, cross-cultural, cross-sectional study, using Religion and Spirituality in Medicine, and Physician Perspectives (RSMPP) survey questionnaire, compared r/s characteristics and perspectives on integrative medicine of 169 physicians from two allopathic, Sweekar-Osmania University (Sweekar-OU), India, University of Airlanga (UNAIR), Indonesia, and a TCAM/Central Research Institute of Unani Medicine (CRIUM) institute from India. More physicians from UNAIR and CRIUM (89.1 %) described themselves as "very"/"moderately" religious, compared to 63.5 % Sweekar-OU (p = 0.0000). Greater number of (84.6 %) UNAIR physicians described themselves as "very" spiritual and also significantly high (p < 0.05) in intrinsic religiosity as compared to Sweekar-OU and TCAM physicians; 38.6 % of UNAIR and 32.6 % of CRIUM participants reported life-changing spiritual experiences in clinical settings as against 19.7 % of Sweekar-OU; 92.3 % of UNAIR, compared to CRIUM (78.3 %) and Sweekar-OU (62 %), felt comfortable attending to patients' spiritual needs, (p = 0.0001). Clinical comfort and not r/s characteristics of participants was the significant (p = 0.05) variable in full regression models, predictive of primary outcome criteria; "TCAM or r/s healing as complementary to allopathic treatment." In conclusion, mainstreaming TCAM into healthcare system may be an initial step toward both integrative medicine and also improving r/s care interventions by allopathic physicians.
    Journal of Religion and Health 06/2014; 54(2). DOI:10.1007/s10943-014-9906-3 · 1.02 Impact Factor