How Traditional Medicine Can Play a Key Role in Latino Health Care?
In the U.S., many undocumented individuals and other vulnerable groups in the Latino immigrant population, including indingenous, are already facing many difficulties to access health services.
Traditional or indigenous medicine, commonly referred to as TM, can bridge some of these barriers to health care because their methods stem from the unique values, cultural systems and specific health needs of these populations, reported US News, citing Courtney Parker, an expert on TM services in Latino immigrant communities of the southeastern U.S.
In its latest report on traditional medicine, World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges TM as a "mainstay of health and health care delivery." The report represents a novel strategy for integrating more traditional and community-based health care options into mainstream medicine.
"Researchers have noted Latino individuals tend to move "freely between [TM] and biomedicine based on what they can access, what they can relate to, and what they believe works," said Parker.
In general terms, TM approaches tend to be more preventative and lifestyle-oriented than allopathic approaches. Patients may be advised to change personal behaviors and habits rather than just start taking a pill.
The "botánica", for example, is a TM-oriented health service venue which has reemerged in Latin American immigrant communities across the United States. Botánicas provide health services and products rooted in Mesoamerican and pre-Columbian indigenous cultures. Their offerings are generally aimed at treating the "whole person." This includes targeting physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual health.
In his book "Botánica: Sacred Spaces of Healing and Devotion in Urban America," Dr. Joseph M. Murphy claims botánicas have "played an important role as a mediating institution" in helping immigrants deal with psychological issues which arise while adapting to a new culture. Botánicas, says Murphy, help immigrants "adjust to new environments and challenges." And further, they provide "armor and an array of weapons in the fight to find a safe and sustaining place in the new world."
Read the full article on US News