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The Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

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HRM582 The Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

The Body Ritual Among the Nacirema As an individual coming to investigate American civilization through the observation of cultural activities, I find the ritual of medicine men and women (doctors, psychiatrists and pharmacists) very interesting. “Medicine man" or "medicine woman" are English terms used to describe traditional healers and spiritual leaders among Native American and other indigenous or aboriginal peoples (Unknown 2012 ¶2).

Native Americans held the “medicine people” in very high regard. It was believed that the knowledge they possessed was privileged and linage was restricted to remain in particular families. The power bestowed upon and held by the “medicine people” made them mystical. They were viewed as having supernatural powers allowing them the ability to cure disease and control the spirits. This led to the term of “witch doctors”. Witch doctors were used to describe African traditional healers, as in Nacirema.

The “witch doctors” were known for their connection to the spiritual world. Through their intimate relationship with the spirits they were often called on to heal disease or the psyche. They were believed to have the ability to bridge the natural world and spiritual world and provide inner harmony. These practices opened the door for herbalists, acupuncturist, and other alternative approaches to healing.

One of the first forms of alternative medicine practitioners outside of witch craft was the folk healers. Because the physicians were not accessible to the lower classes, the folk healers emerged into the healing arena to care for the peasants and laborers. The folk healers relied upon herbs and folk remedies to treat their patients. The knowledge of the folk healer was passed…...

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