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Overview:    OSEA Maya Health, Healing & Belief Program

Ideal for students in fields of Medical Anthropology, anthropology of food, religious studies, Pre-Med students, and other persons from any variety of research and applied fields who are interested in CAM, alternative healing, spirituality.

      ♦ Community Tourism Research         ♦ Emergent Cultures/Maya Cosmopolitanism         ♦ Health, Healing & Belief

Health, Healing & Belief is available for intensive 4 week or traditional 6 to 7 program

Participants in the Maya Health and Healing Program do individual or team research in an ongoing ethnographic study of medical pluralism in the context of tourism driven globalization. This research project is an investigation of how Maya negotiate their own contradictory beliefs and attitudes about the efficacy of Maya healing practices and Western allopathic medicine.  Specifically, the research program focuses on how Maya individuals and families envision health through practices of food preparation, consumption, and natural home remedies, choose among different types of healing and medical practitioners when ill, and experience illness in terms of spiritual and/or biomedical dis-ease.

Student Researchers are trained to conduct ethnographic fieldwork in one of three areas of this ongoing investigation in medical and cultural anthropology:

  • Healing Practices: Students do ethnography of healing through observation and interviewing of healers (herbalists, midwifes, bone-setters, massage therapists, allopathic doctors, and spiritualist healers or Hméen)

  • Health and Food:  Students do ethnography of food through fieldwork on food culture, that is practices and beliefs based in production, preparation, consumption, and sociality of food

  • Sickness and Belief:  Students do oral history and ethnographic interviewing to elicit, document and analyze stories about illness that reveal choices, attitudes and beliefs about  the efficacy of western medicine versus Maya spiritual healing




External Resources for Pre-Med and Medical Anthropology Students

"What is Shadowing a Physician?" From Univ Washington Med School

Online Directory of Medical Anthropologists, SMA

Society for Medical Anthropology Resources page

The Politics of Healing. A History of Alternative Medicine in the USA

"What is Naturpathic Medicine?" from American Association of Naturpathic Physicians

Course Syllabi in Medical Anthropology, provided by Society Medical Anthropology, AAA

As an allopathic doctor, "Why learn Cross Cultural Perspective about Health and Healing?"

The Centre for the Cross-Cultural Study of Health and Healing

Jonathan Ellerby PhD Comments on Cross cultural Healing Perspectives

Definition of Naturpathy by the National Center for Complimentary and Altnerative Medicine, at the NIH
Naturopathy—also called naturopathic medicine—is a medical system that has evolved from a combination of traditional practices and health care approaches popular in Europe during the 19th century.

Naturpathy History from Wikipedia

Non-western Medicine. article by Peter Worsley

What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)? by the National Center for CAM




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