Health and Cult: A Holistic Health Care Provider Case


The integration of traditional healing and western medicine to treat illnesses draws its origins from the ancient times and is located across all cultural and philosophical divides (Shaw, 1998). Despite preference for western medicine because of its focus on pathology and treatment of disease, a great scientific inquiry posits that benefits of traditional benefits cannot be simply overlooked. According to Allison et al (2001), Berger (2001), Johnstone (2006) and Kramer (1996), “numerous studies have shown that the treatment of disease through acupuncture and other traditional treatments have physiological basis.”

Holistic Health Care Provider Plan

The case of Mr. Wolf calls for a holistic health care provider plan that is culturally sensitive. A holistic health care provider plan for Mr. Wolf would take into consideration a number of steps and factors that will have the final effect on the achievement of set goals and objectives. In fact, the analysis of the case study materials calls for an understanding of cultural integration in health care provision. As a health care giver, one must appreciate the critical role traditional medicine play in the native culture of American Indian communities. The care giver must become part of the healing process. According to Angell and Kassirer (1998) and Cohen (2003), “the caregiver must recognize that she or he is part of a traditional healing process because by becoming a part of the circle of healing, the caregiver becomes a part of the complex community of the AI.”

Forging a strategic collaboration between how Mr. Wolf may integrate AI beliefs and western approach to treatment remains the best path to Mr. Wolf’s recovery. In this regard, a health care provider must fully integrate the native practices to achieve a holistic care provision. Awang (1997) and Tyler (2000) both refer to and support this approach in stating that “rather than trying to fit the client into your model of health discover how you can fit into your client’s model of health.” This is because to achieve a culturally competent approach to healing, the health care provider must take cognizance of traditional values and educate Mr. Wolf on the pros and cons of blending traditional and western medicine.

Educating Mr. Wolf and his wife to integrate western and AI beliefs

Sibbald (1999) posits that the most important approach in effectively handling the conflicts in blending traditional and western medicine involves giving adequate “respect to the cultural variations and seeing the strength in different health practices.” To effectively achieve higher degrees in improving Mr. Wolf and his wife’s knowledge on effective approaches of blending traditional and western medicine, the focus must be on quality of life and her husband’s illnesses. This involves application of fundamental nursing techniques learnt in the course of training and practical experience in handling conflicts between traditional and modern medicine. These include establishing goals for care, teaching Mr. Wolf and his wife the central role and importance of disease management and becoming part of the complex community.


In conclusion, it is discerned that effective integration of western and AI beliefs still remains a challenge to most health care providers. However, scientific data bolster the belief that traditional medicine has the capacity to prevent or even cure diseases. Strategic approaches in handling these conflicts, effective educational approaches and holistic care provision plan remain pivotal in reaping the benefits of merging traditional healing practices and modern medicine.


Allison, D.B., Fontaine, K.R., Heshka, S., Mentore, J.L. & Heymsfield, S.B. (2001) Alternative treatments for weight loss: A critical review. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr., 41, 1–28.

Angell, M. & Kassirer, J.P. (1998) Alternative medicine — The risks of untested and unregular remedies. New Engl. J. Med., 339, 839–841.

Awang, D.V.C. (1997) Quality control and good manufacturing practices: Safety and efficacy of commercial herbals. Food Drug Law Inst., 52, 341–344.

Berger, E. (2001) The Canada Health Monitor Surveys of Health Issues in Canada, Survey 22, Ottawa, Health Canada.

Cohen, K. (2003). Honoring the medicine: The essential guide to Native American healing. New York: One World Ballantine Books.

Johnston, L. (2006). Native-American medicine: Part 2 – Healing modalities. Web.

Kramer, J. (1996). American Indians. In J.G. Lipson, S.L. Dibble, & P.A. Minarik (Eds.), Culture & nursing care: A pocket guide (pp. 11-22). San Francisco: UCSF Nursing Press.

Shaw, D. (1998) Risks or remedies ? Safety aspects of herbal remedies. J. Roy. Soc. Med., 91, 294–296.

Sibbald, B. (1999) New federal office will spend millions to regulate herbal remedies, vitamins. Can. med. Assoc. J., 160, 1355–1357.

Tyler, V.E. (2000) Herbal medicine: From the past to the future. Public Health Nutr., 3, 447–452.

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