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May 8, 1981

Coin Rubbing and Related Folk Medicine

Author Affiliations

Shiprock Indian Hospital Shiprock, NM

JAMA. 1981;245(18):1819. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310430013010

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To the Editor.—  The article on ca̧o gío (coin rubbing) was of interest, since I have encountered a similar form of bruising in traditional folk medicine on the Navajo Indian reservation.One of the practices by Navajo medicine men is literally to "suck out" problems the patient may have (eg, gallstones and headaches). Using the mouth in this way causes annular ecchymotic areas over the parts of the body where the patient is treated (eg, abdomen, neck, and arms).Our physicians are oriented to be supportive of traditional healing methods if they are performed in addition to modern medical practice. In cases where patients must stay in the hospital, they are encouraged to have the medicine man perform a ceremony in the hospital room.Medical care provided by the Indian Health Service is free, while that offered by the medicine man is for a fee, either money or goods. For