Taking Seriously the Nature of Religious Healing in America

Edith Turner

in Religion and Healing in America

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780195167962
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850150 | DOI:
Taking Seriously the Nature of Religious Healing in America

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This chapter discusses a way to conduct anthropological fieldwork and research on religious healing that involves experience. It shows how undertaking studies of religious healing using the anthropology of experience can bring about the loosening of the usual boundaries of social science. The chapter narrates experience with energy healing during the American Anthropological Association annual meetings in San Francisco, California; also a curious shamanism episode that had bearings on the primary function of shamanism; and some of the experiences of a group of healing practitioners who call themselves Alternatives. Alternatives is a group of inquiring people who explore alternative healing methods: African, Alaskan, north and south Native American, Chinese, and Philippine. In addition Alternatives include those who engage in healing via the following: nutrition, herbs, vitamins, homeopathy, exercise, laying on of hands, dreams, art therapy, music therapy, rebirthing, chiropractic, personality tests, stress management, and many other alternatives to chemical medicine.

Keywords: Alternatives; religious healing; anthropology; energy healing; shamanism; alternative healing methods; therapy

Chapter.  9111 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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