Alternative Healing Practices as a Resource for Self-Empowerment

Alternative healing practices are diffusing into conventional medicine. For what was a marginal phenomenon has become quite popular within the contemporary field of medicine. What are the reasons for the popularisation of alternative healing practices? This paper’s aim is to discuss this against the background of alternative healing practices at the end of life. The data stem from a research project on “Spirituality and End of Life. The Consequences of Alternative Religiosity in Palliative Care” (

With qualitative research methods, we’ve been able to identify alternative healing practices as a response to two particular types of challenges: first, there is a need for meaning with death approaching and second, a loss of agency in the face of terminal illness and death. The paper’s aim is to illustrate how and why alternative healing practices in end-of-life care function as a resource to deal with these challenges.”