Traditional Healing and the Use of Traditional Healers

Patients may be reluctant to tell their physician that they are seeing a traditional healer for fear of angering or alienating their “western” doctor. However, if asked, many will readily confirm their participation in traditional healing practices. Patients may alternate between western medical treatment and traditional healing. Some will remain with traditional healing practitioners until all else fails before seeking medical help from a doctor or a hospital. Therefore, it is important to open this dialog early, not only to avoid unintended delays in treatment or diagnosis but also to assist the patient in understanding that the primary concern is to ensure the best possible approaches and outcomes for their health care issues, and to better understand their values and comfort levels with either method (Mau et al., 2003).