A step-child of the biomedical tradition, medical anthropology has been loath to stray too far from its roots in Western empirical science, but its concern with how “the natives” deal with issues of health and well-being has drawn the field ever deeper into phenomenological questions normally considered exogenous to medical inquiry.1 Kleinman (1978) noted the problem in a formative period of the subdiscipline. More recently Waldram (2000) observes the problem in respect to questions about the efficacy of “traditional medicine,” and urges anthropologists to “return to the field” to gather “more data on indigenous understandings of efficacy.” At the same time he exemplifies the dilemma: he recognizes Adelson’s (1998) argument that Cree concepts of health and illness differ from the categories of Western biomedicine (which suggests that terms like “traditional medicine” may mis-frame a people’s understanding of illness and efficacious means of relief), but at the same time he must deploy the terms of the subfield: “traditional medicine,” “medical systems,” “alternative or complementary medicine.” But can medical anthropology be turned into a discourse about the whole range of influences on health that other societies identify? The range of relevant influences can become so numerous and broad that the boundaries of the subdiscipline become indeterminate, turning “medical anthropology” into a mere topic within the wider discipline of cultural anthropology. Take, for instance, an ethnography of the Gayo of Indonesia, Muslims through Discourse, by John R. Bowen. As far as I can tell, no one regards it as a contribution to “medical anthropology”; in any case, it received no notice in the medical anthropology journals. Even so, the book devotes whole chapters to conceptions of illness and the means of healing: Chapter 4, “Spell, Prayer and the Power of Words” (28 pages), discusses the efficacy of spells, the power of Qur’anic forms to cure, the way to get results from such devices; Chapter 6, “The Healer’s Struggle” (21 pages), describes the ways a healer gains power over the forces that cause misfortune; Chapter 7, “Exorcism and Accountability” (20 pages), examines the “medical resources” of the Gayo healer (p. 151). As far as I know, the only work that addresses Muslim practices of efficacy as a “medical anthropology” problem is Sargent (2006).