Traditional Hmong Ideas of Health and Life Name Instructor Task Date Traditional Hmong Ideas of Health and Life Introduction The Hmong ideas fail to recognize Western medicine as they dread this form of medical intervention, since it is too complicated and conflicts their cultural beliefs…
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Their Health Belief and Practices According to Fadiman (1997), the Hmong fail to believe in Modern Medicine because of their evident distrust of hospitals, especially when a woman decides to deliver a baby at her residence with the assistance of her husband. The husband cuts the “umbirical cord” of the baby, yet he lacks satisfactory knowledge expected in that field (Fadiman, 1997). According to Hmong traditions, a woman should avoid ponds and lakes in fear of the spirits that lurk within them. Indeed, her mother in law and husband should guide her during labour. Her husband carries out succeeding births and, when a problem occurs, assistance from the third party is an option. The woman giving birth is expected to be silent irrespective of the pain she is experiencing in order not to scare the baby. Before the pregnancy a “shaman”, who is a spiritual healer, consults the expectant woman. If she has doubts on her safety at some stage while delivering, the “shaman” will conduct a ritual to cast off all evil spirits the woman presumes harmful to her (Fadiman, 1997). His aides assist him as he enters into a stupor when his soul departs from him to restore the woman’s lost soul. Her freedom from the evil spirits is shown by tying strings on her wrist and a copper bracelet to protect her against bad spirits. If the woman’s child bearing is extremely painful, undertaking certain rituals is imminent; those can include: drinking water with a key in the cup to unlock the birth canal or making attached dolls of paper, then ritually cutting them to take apart the baby’s soul and that of her mother (Fadiman, 1997). Hmong women and men believe that evil spirits are liable for several sicknesses being evident in simple things, such as a fall, stolen or even traded by these spirits. According to Fadiman (2009), Lias’ parents believe that her epileptic condition happened because Lias’ older sister had slammed the door. This resulted in her soul being frightened to the extent of escaping her body which, in turn, led to epilepsy. Hmong people believe that if the soul abandons the body, a person can become epileptic or even die. A patient’s treatment is reunification with his/her soul through a ceremony conducted by the “shaman”. The shaman will release the spirit from its world back to the body of the affected. In the case of the person’s spirit being stolen or sold, ceremonies are orchestrated to encourage the evil spirit to return the soul to her body. According to Fadiman (2009), the Lee family carried out similar acts in order to reunite Lias’ soul to her body. The distrust of the Hmong people in Western medicine brought about medical anthro by the Western world of the Hmong people. Additionally, there are beliefs associated with a child’s health concept. Children born with physical disabilities witness the fate of their former lives or that of their parents or ancestors. When there is a recurrence of a certain disease in a family, such as deafness or mental illness, they are to be suffering a curse. They assume a person’s ancestors to have mocked a person undergoing that condition prior to his/her birth. Therefore, a superior spirit forces a similar disease upon them. Hmong people consider children born with elongated head shapes are special. It is their conviction that these children have mystical powers, like anticipating the future, and are
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