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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


CARDONA-ARIAS, Jaiberth A. The traditional medical system of the Emberá-Chamí Indians in the Caldas department, Colombia. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2012, vol.14, n.4, pp.630-643. ISSN 0124-0064.

ObjectiveDescribing the Emberá-Chamí Indians’ traditional medical system (Caldas Department, Colombia). MethodsThis was an ethnographic study which involved 4 traditional doctors, 2 midwives, 3 healers, a faith-healer (medicine man) and 10 community members who were selected by theoretical sampling. Interviews, field diaries and participant observation were used in line with credibility, auditability and transferability criteria, and category saturation and methodological and theoretical triangulation. ResultsTraditional medicine, health, disease and healing were conceptualised, describing the system’s therapeutic resources, links with biomedicine, spiritual domain components, the relevance of the Guardians and holy sites, the major rituals and roles of family, native physiotherapists, healers, medicine men/women, midwives and traditional faith-healing doctors. ConclusionIndigenous people have valuable knowledge about practices involving the body, social interactions, coexistence with nature and spiritual beings which is based on harmony and integral worldviews.

Keywords : Traditional medicine; Indian; Colombia.

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