Women’s Press
Canada’s leading academic feminist publisher
Canada’s leading academic feminist publisher
282 pages
6.75 x 9.75 inches
May 2017
Print ISBN: 9781551309187
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This timely edited collection explores the use of complementary, alternative, and traditional medicine for women’s reproductive health. Bringing together a multidisciplinary team of contributors from around the world, Torri and Hornosty introduce students to topics such as fertility, menopause, pregnancy, child birth practices, post-natal care, breastfeeding, and breast cancer. Providing insights into the wide spectrum of practices and beliefs that define complementary and alternative medicine, the contributors situate women’s health issues within the local socio-cultural, geographic, economic, historical, and political contexts in which they exist. The thought-provoking research and discussions explore some of the perceived differences and complementarities between traditional medicine and biomedicine in reproductive health. Featuring learning objectives, critical thinking questions, and a glossary, this pedagogically rich volume is well suited to courses in medical anthropology, sociology of health and medicine, women’s health, public health, and health policy.

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Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Introducing Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Traditional Medicine, and Gender, Daniel Hollenberg and Maria Costanza Torri

Chapter 2. Women as Healers in the Global Community: An Overview from Antiquity to the Present, Daniel Hollenberg

Chapter 3. Herbal Fertility Treatments in Colonial North America and Prospects for Modern Medicine, Cheryl Lans and Rachel Westfall

Chapter 4. Being “There” for Pregnant Women: Canadian Midwives in Indigenous and Settler Communities, Cecilia Benoit, Dena Carroll, and Rachel Westfall


Chapter 5. Childbirth in Brazil: Voices of Brazilian Women, Natália Rejane Salim and Julie Laplante

Chapter 6. Intercultural Birth Practices and Reproductive Health in Ecuador, Maria Costanza Torri

Chapter 7. Giving Birth in the City of Cochabamba, Bolivia: Traditional Birth Attendants’ Practices Versus Biomedical Maternal Health Care, Maria Costanza Torri and Julie Laplante

Chapter 8. Women, Jamu, and Breast Feeding Practices in Indonesia, John Paul Nyonator

Chapter 9. Traditional Medicine and Reproductive Health, Conception, and Fertility in Turkey, Tamer Edirne

Chapter 10. Birth from the Peripheries: Local Realities in Dzodze, Ghana, John Paul Nyonator


Chapter 11. A Post-colonial Feminist Analysis of Two Popular Complementary Medicine Hot Flash Remedies, Nadine E. Ijaz

Chapter 12. The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by Australian Women for Infertility, Jo-Anne Rayner and Karen Willis

Chapter 13. Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners’ Constructions of “Hard” and “Soft” Evidence in the Treatment of Fertility Issues: Opportunities and Challenges, Ana M. Ning

Chapter 14. The Value of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Breast Cancer Survivorship, Ausanee Wanchai, Jane M. Armer, and Bob R. Stewart


Jennie M. Hornosty

Dr. Jennie M. Hornosty is a retired Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick.

Maria Costanza Torri

Dr. Maria Costanza Torri is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick.


Complementary, Alternative, and Traditional Medicine is a must-read for those looking for a global perspective on the current use of complementary and traditional therapies in the treatment of infertility and other prominent women’s health issues. Using an assortment of case studies from around the world, it provides a comprehensive perspective on a patient’s choice and decision-making process when selecting a particular CAM therapy…. Moreover, its pedagogical value to any practitioner or teacher attempting to help others make a critical and informed decision about their health-care choices cannot be overlooked.”
—  Dr. Alistair Dias, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology Program, University of Toronto

“This collection strongly supports the need for midwifery and complementary medicine, and it demonstrates through the research how valuable and important this health service is for women…. The cases studied were ideal for showing how midwifery promotes women’s health and gives them a strong nurturing element during the miraculous but painful time of delivering a child.”
—  Dr. Nancy-Angel Doetzel, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Mount Royal University

Student Resources

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