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Traditional Healing Practices Among American Muslims: Perceptions of Community Leaders in Southeast Michigan

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Despite growing numbers of American Muslims, little empirical work exists on their use of traditional healing practices. We explored the types of traditional healing practices used by American Muslims in southeast Michigan. Twelve semi-structured interviews with American Muslim community leaders identified through a community-academic steering committee were conducted. Using a framework coding structure, a multidisciplinary investigative team identified themes describing traditional healing practices. Traditional healing practices can be categorized into three domains: Islamic religious text based practices, Islamic worship practices, and folk healing practices. Each domain may further contain therapies such as spiritual healing, medicinal herbs, mind body therapy, and dietary prescriptions. Traditional healing practices are utilized in three capacities of care: primary, secondary, and integrative. Our findings demonstrate that American Muslims actively utilize traditional healing practices. Healthcare practitioners caring for this population should be aware of the potential influence of these practices on health behaviors.

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This study was funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, and by the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding. The time-effort put forth by AIP and AK was funded though the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program. Dr. Fetters’ participation was made possible in part through the generous support of the Jitsukoukai Foundation. The study was presented in part at the Islamic Social Services Association National Conference 2010 in Dearborn Michigan. The authors thank our respondents for sharing their time and insight with us, as well as the community partners and steering committee members for their invaluable insight, recruitment assistance, and support: Muzammil Ahmed MD, Hamada Hamid DO MPH from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, Najah Bazzy RN from the Islamic Center of America, Mouhib Ayyas MD from the Islamic Shura Council of Michigan, and Ghalib Begg from the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan. We also thank Amanda Salih MPH for aiding in interviews, coding manuscripts, and data analysis, and Jane Forman ScD, MHS for interview guide development and qualitative interview training.

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Correspondence to Sara AlRawi.

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AlRawi, S., Fetters, M.D., Killawi, A. et al. Traditional Healing Practices Among American Muslims: Perceptions of Community Leaders in Southeast Michigan. J Immigrant Minority Health 14, 489–496 (2012).

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