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Cultural Crossroads of Healthcare and Healing: The State of Modern Healthcare and Traditional Healing Practices
Paperback - English

While many people of the world have access to modern healthcare that is affordable and of high quality, others are greatly lacking in availability and accessibility of biomedicine; others have only whatever filters in under the auspices of humanitarian aid. Even countries that have the latest and best modern healthcare available have their indigenous folk medicine traditions and their healers. In some places, that's virtually all they have to depend on, due to lack of medical care.Cultural Crossroads of Healthcare and Healing is a look at the current state of healthcare in every country in the world: what is available in the way of modern medicine and how it's paid for, cultural healing traditions, and whether there is collaboration, peaceful co-existence, or total lack of understanding between the two. Organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNESCO, and the Red Cross have encouraged official recognition of traditional healing practices and collaboration between Western practitioners and traditional healers, with mixed results. In some places, doctors view traditional healers as charlatans and mongers of superstition, while in other places, they have accepted the fact that this has previously been the only healthcare available to people, and have welcomed the opportunity for cooperation and collaboration. It should be pointed out that although CAM practices such as chiropractic, homeopathy, massage, and acupuncture are regulated in many places, traditional healers are most often not, although there are exceptions; in some countries, official organizations have been formed and legislation passed to standardize and regulate traditional medicine. Data is offered on population, life expectancy, risk of infectious disease, and availability of clean water and improved sanitation, which most of us take for granted, but the lack of which is directly responsible for much disease in the world. In the words of S. Jay Olshansky, "We have grown accustomed to the wonders of clean water, indoor plumbing, laser surgery, genetic engineering, artificial joints, replacement body parts, and the much longer lives that accompany them. Yet we should remember that the vast majority of humans ever born died before the age of 10 from an infectious disease."Data is also offered on the religious beliefs prevalent in each country, as in many places, faith-based healing practices are the norm, and in others, churches and their charities are major providers of healthcare. Some countries have such an abundant history of cultural healing practices that they are worthy of an entire book-or in some cases, multiple volumes-by themselves. Historically, physicians, scientists and scholars have recorded many volumes on medicine and pharmacology in some cultures. Other places, while they may have been rich in practice and in oral tradition, are lacking in recorded history, not only of healing practices, but history in general, as many had nothing recorded prior to first contact from the outside world. This is a vast subject, and this book is not by any means a comprehensive text. It is but a short glimpse into the general state of healthcare in the world today, some of the traditional healing ways of world cultures, and how they are fitting in (or not) with the healthcare systems of the present times.

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27.94cm x 21.59cm x 2.59cm
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