It was believed that as biomedicine increasingly succeeded in treating the body, alternative healers would disappear. Biomedicine has acquired an exquisite understanding of anatomy and physiology; it has developed spectacular techniques in organ transplantation, in emergency medicine, and in new reproductive technologies. Despite biomedicine's extraordinary achievements, a multitude of alternative healing forms continue to flourish. Interestingly, in present-day United States a significant change in how traditional healers are viewed has occurred. Whereas, until recently, traditional healers have been regarded as charlatans and quacks, at present enormous interest exists in alternative healing systems of all kinds, both sacred and secular. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services opened a section dedicated to the study of alternative healing systems and, in the January 28, 1993 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Eisenberg et al. reported with some surprise that 34 percent of all Americans have used what they call "unconventional medicine." More recently, the same authors found that the percentage of individuals resorting to alternative medicine had gone up to 42.1 percent in 1997 (Eisenberg et al., 1998; see also Chapter 12 in this volume).