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Accepted Paper:

Between Spirituality and Health: the offer of Integrative and Complementary Practices in the Unified Health System  

Author:

Thaís Assis (University of São Paulo)

Paper short abstract:

How discourses, practices, therapeutic routines and public policies institute and legitimate holistic therapies as instruments for disease prevention, health promotion, well-being and quality of life? How have these practices built their legitimacy?

Paper long abstract:

The role of spirituality in healthcare has been recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) since the 1970s, however, the adoption of complementary and alternative therapies in public health continues to rise disputes and controversies among professionals, scientists and the media. By analyzing the interfaces between spirituality and health, this communication conducts a literature review about the social processes of legitimation and institutionalization of complementary and alternative practices, also known as integrative or holistic therapies. The proposal is to examine how non-biomedical practices originally associated to New Age esoteric spiritualities have achieved a therapeutic status in the Brazilian Unified Health System (Sistema Único de Saúde - SUS). Hence, debates, disputes and power asymmetries of the legitimation processes will be presented and discussed. In this sense, the present paper proposes to advance the sociological understanding of the power asymmetries identified in the coexistence between different health care modalities and also the indicators of autonomy and authority of non-hegemonic therapeutic practices.

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Spirituality and wellbeing: holism, integrality and health