A Doctor for Disease, a Shaman for the Soul

I chose to elaborate and summarize the article “A Doctor for Disease, a Shaman for the Soul” , by P.L Brown because it seems very interesting how doing certain practices and doing certain spiritual  things could actually heel someones body and cure their sicknesses.  This article basically talks about how the Hmong were treated at a Hospital in Merced, California called, Mercy Hospital. The ceremonies of the Hmong Shamans started to integrate more within the hospital and with traditional western medical care.  In the Mercy hospital staff members and Hmong Shamans have made a joint effort into practicing the Hmong traditions with the Hospitals own medical treatments. The reason they decided to joint the two together is to incorporate the ethnomedical system among the Hmong people in the hospital. The Hmong Shamans also doesn’t take any payments from the patients but it was stated that they’ll take a live chicken or some kind of useful animal to feast off of. Before this jointed tradition was established the Hmong usually would go to their local Shaman to perform a special ceremony on the ill person and if that didn’t seem to work then the Hmong would usually go to the local hospital, making that the last resort to do.  The healers would be described as the Hmong Shaman along with the doctors. Both Shamans and doctors are have a high social class, bing that they are the ones with most power when it comes to healing someone or doing anything to keep them alive. The techniques used by the doctors would probably be biomedical practices and procedures. The Hmong Shaman uses special traditional ceremonies that deal with the soul and spirits. They interact with their patients in a satisfying, meaningful way to help them to heal quicker and not be so worried.  The medical doctors would be part of the professional sector of healthcare, they are seen as gatekeepers and are more authoritative with their knowledge .The body is treated by medications and sometimes certain procedures taking place. The Hmong Shaman might fall into the Folk sector of healthcare because they treat the patients in a holistic way. The body is treated by chanting, and animal sacrifice and has to do with soul and spirit to help heal the body.

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  1. Josh Williams says:

    Riasia chose to write her reflection on the Hmong shamans at Mercy hospital in California. These shamans are very unique in that their treatments stem from the beliefs of a very specific group of people and their practices do not hold much ground in the western scientific biomedical health system. These healers at Mercy hospital are not brought in to replace doctors, but to assist them with a component of western medicine that our doctors tend to ignore or overlook; the spiritual or emotional component of the patient. These healer’s practices are much different and consist of treatment of the soul more than the physical body. They include complex spiritual rituals to exorcise demons and cleanse the soul. These healers do seem very effective in this hospital setting because they allow a combination of spiritual and physical health care that not only fixes the physical illness or injury of the human body, but also helps the patient recover emotionally and spiritually from whatever it is that ails them. These healers like any other healer from a specific faith are legitimate because not only have they been trained in their own art, which may have existed for centuries, but they have also licensed by the hospital and work directly with doctors to make a cumulative process of spiritual and physical healing.

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