chapter  10
29 Pages

Independent Practitioners

ByDouglas R. Mackintosh

Many independent health practitioners other than physicians deliver health care—although discussions and texts on health care delivery systems often ignore them. These practitioners make a significant contribution to the well-being of health consumers, some of them have been in a constant battle with organized medicine for recognition and survival. For Christian Scientists, healing is accomplished through prayer, either directly through reading Science and Health or indirectly through a Christian Science practitioner. There are approximately 5,000 Christian Science practitioners in the United States. The doctrine of separation of church and state seems to protect Christian Science practitioners; both they and Christian Science families are free to practice their religion with almost no infringements—no malpractice and no licensure. Voodoo practitioners usually worked separately and in competition; they developed a mixture of snake worship, charms, Catholic rituals, fortune-telling, blackmail, and prostitution. Charms, amulets, talismans, secret potions, gris-gris, and topical ointments were prescribed for everything from chest pains to marital problems.