1.In this study, lifetime use of traditional healers (TH) ranged from 6%-67.7% depending on demographic differences among Latine individuals.

2. The primary reasons for seeking care from THs included: accessibility/convenience, affordability, linguistic and cultural congruence.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

In the United States, individuals who are not covered by insurance may face barriers to biomedical healthcare services. Latine individuals may be especially vulnerable to this and seek linguistically and culturally complementary care from practitioners such as traditional healers (THs). As a result, the objective of the present systematic review study was to assess the prevalence of TH use, the characterization of TH, and the reasons for its use.

Of 82 identified studies, 33 were included from 2000 to 2020. Studies were included if they touched on one of the four TH types of interest (sobadores, yerberos, espiritualistas, hueseros). Individuals in these studies were typically male adults, and Mexico was the most frequent country of origin of the recipients. Studies were excluded if they reported on Latine communities outside the United States. Quality assessment was based on the Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies in the Epidemiology group.

The results demonstrated that the lifetime use of traditional healers (TH) ranged from 6%-67.7% depending on demographic differences among Latine individuals. Furthermore, the primary reasons for seeking care from THs included: accessibility/convenience, affordability, and linguistic and cultural congruence. Despite these findings, the study was limited by the poor characterization of the populations concerning education, income, languages, language proficiency, and health conditions. However, the use of THs by the Latine communities in the United States suggests that coordination with biomedical health care may help improve the quality of care and health equity for this population.

Click to read the study in Health Equity

Image: PD

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