Shamans

I chose to read about the article “A doctor for disease, a Shaman for the soul”. I was attracted to this article because it showed diversity of healing methods within the medical system which is something I am very interested in. I believe it is important in America, and other areas of such high diversity, to practice methods everyone is happy with and can relate to. As explained in the title Shamans are the healers of the soul. In this particular article the shamans was used to heal the Hmong people at the Medical Mercy Center in Merced. The shamans were introduced into the hospital to strengthen the bonds and trust between Hmong patients and western doctors. The Hmong people fear western medicine and bringing in a shaman, who is someone they are familiar with, helps them feel more comfortable. The Hmong people are very spiritual and don’t take a liking to western methods like surgery, anesthesia, and blood transfusions. I know from experience that many Asian cultures believe that what they came into this world with is what they will leave with. They believe in keeping the same blood, organs, and body parts that was given to them by God. Shamans perform healings by “soul calling” and chanting. Some shamans go into long trances in order to communicate with the spirits which require an animal sacrifice. Ceremonies often include the use of gongs, bells, and other spirit accelerators. In the hospital it is unlikely for the methods involving animals to take place and a lot of methods require permission from the hospital. I think it is so good that this hospital is cooperating and making adjustments so that everyone is happy and comfortable. It is good to see such diversity within the health care field. There are so many things traditional western medicine can learn from other cultures.

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  1. Jenny Hallesy says:

    Prior to reading your summary of the article, I would have been very shocked to hear of the use of shamans in general hospitals. Their approach to health is something I never would have imagined taking place alongside doctors that practice typical Western medicine. Shamans take more of a spiritual approach to medicine while western medicine takes more of a biological approach. Shamans work to heal the soul as opposed to fixing the physical body through the use of prayer, chants, and many other forms of spiritual treatment. Western medicine, however, usually consists of doctors and health care staff working to heal a person by directly targeting the problem and either fixing it with surgery or with medicine.

    As far as whether or not these shamans are credible or effective in their treatment, I believe that has a lot to do with the individual’s beliefs. If a person is ill and they only want to be treated by a shaman, it is possible for them to start feeling better after the spiritual treatments simply because they believe they will see a difference. I personally don’t see this spiritual healing method as being effective or credible because my schooling has always taught me that there is more to treating an illness or injury besides just believing you will see an improvement.

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