Folk healing: A description and synthesis

R. C. Ness, R. M. Wintrob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1477-1481
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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