A Shaman for the Soul

I’ve chosen to reflect on the article about the Shaman healing process within hospitals. In Merced, California at Mercy Medical Center they are adopting a new form of healing, a sort of spiritual healing. They recognize the cultural role of traditional healers and give them the opportunity to perform a number of different ceremonies in the hospital. This is a way of bringing together some of the cultural beliefs of patients as well as their medical treatments. This program was also created to solidify the bond between health care professionals and the Hmong community. The miscommunication between the two can cause for delay in treating serious health problems.

Those who are used to heal the soul of the patients are called the Shaman. The Shamans are certified, they wear embroidered jackets as well as official badges, and in relation to the hospital they have the same type of access as the clergy. Something that I found pretty interesting was how the Shaman do not accept payments for their services, but have been known on occasion to accept a live chicken. They use a number of different ceremonies or practices depending on both the patient and their specific illness. Some involve the use of swords for warding off evil spirits, others use gongs, fingerbells, and incense. In the beginning of the article they were in the hospital with a patient and a Shaman, the patient had diabetes, the Shaman looped a coiled thread around his wrist so as to summon the man’s “runaway soul”.

The system these Shaman’s operate in specifically was in California Medical Center, but they people that their services mostly catered to were the Hmong people. The delivery of healthcare in this system is pretty standard, how it is delivered throughout the United States, however like I previously mentioned the communication between the Doctors and the Hmong community is not the strongest so the Shamans are here to alleviate some of the stress and miscommunication between the two and help the patients better understand what the doctors are trying to do.

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