New York City has a large Dominican community that utilizes a variety of traditional healing resources, yet relatively little is known about their ethnomedical concepts and practices. This paper focuses on six Dominican traditional healers who participated in a cross-cultural study on therapies for women's health problems in New York City. Healers were located through community networks and botanical shops and were interviewed about their backgrounds, healing traditions, and therapeutic techniques. Women patients with prior medical diagnoses were taken to the healers for consultations, and healers were interviewed regarding their diagnostic process and treatment recommendations. The paper describes the healers' perspectives on their healing traditions, practices, and treatment approaches. In general, healing traditions are transmitted primarily through older female kin, and healers use a multidimensional, holistic approach to health care. In addition to these similarities, the healers also demonstrate variation in training, diagnostic techniques, and treatment approaches--a feature common to oral healing traditions. We discuss the potential contribution of traditional healers to health care in urban settings and the importance of improving understanding by mainstream medical practitioners of the ethnomedical traditions of their patients from immigrant and minority communities.

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