Skip to main content

Table 4 Key forms and practices of traditional healers and sorcerers

From: Traditional healing practices in rural Bangladesh: a qualitative investigation

Traditional healing type Key practices
Kalami healing Kalami healing service was offered by Hujurs (the religious guide in the Muslim community). Kalami practice required a complete code of Islamic life and also a firm belief on the Quran of the patients for effective healing.
Bhandari healing Bhandari healers were also religious guides in rural areas but supposedly they have supernatural power; worked as human media to link up the patients with their living, central charismatic religious leader (Baba meaning ‘Father’) for healing purposes. The Bhandari practice avowed to cure any mental or physical diseases.
Spiritual healing In spiritual healing practice, various problems of people were diagnosed and cured by making the so-called communication with dead pious ancestors or diverse sacred spirits or gods through meditation, and offering torturous treatment. Although the consultation and diagnostic fees were very little, the spiritual healing required different types of treatment instruments, which made the treatment implicitly expensive; sometimes, more expensive than the modern biomedical diagnosis and treatment.
Sorcery The sorcerers used the so-called supernatural power to harm others in unethical ways; they also claimed they could cure all sorts of spiritual/mental disorders, offering black magic and even abolish the effectiveness of sorcery by others, upon secret requests with higher fees
Kabiraji healing Kabiraji was the most widely-practiced traditional healing system in rural areas and was based on available medicinal plants, and substances of animal origin, which often treated patients like formal doctors, using both indigenous knowledge and modern laboratory facilities as well, and helped in curing physical diseases while symptoms of ailment were noticed. The government-approved Unani and Ayurvedic practitioners were also used to be called Kabiraj in some localities.
Home Medicine Home Medicine inspired rural people to stay at home for minor disorders; instead it suggested that they use known medicinal plants and other home essentials as medicine based on their inherited experience.