“A Doctor for Disease, a Shaman for the Soul”

The article that I decided to summarize was “A Doctor for Disease, a Shaman for the Soul”. This article was about certified Hmong shamans that performed various rituals inside Mercy Medical Center in Merced, California. There are nine approved ceremonies that Hmong shamans can perform inside the hospital. Shamans are healers that specialize in the effects of the mind and body. They are known to have received their power to cure from a higher power through dreams or visions. Traditional shamans hold a respectful status in certain cultures because they are religious leaders. Shamans go into trances for hours and negotiate with spirits in return for sacrificed animals. Some Hmong ceremonies include the use of gongs, finger bells and other spiritual accelerators. These items can only be used during ceremonies with the hospital’s permission. 

The Hmong people believe in spiritual healing that is performed by shamans. They believe that souls are capable of wandering off and being captured by evil spirits. They believe that the cause of illness is due to the capturing of souls. These ceremonies last about ten to fifteen minutes and are usually considered the tamed versions of the elaborate rituals. The new policy that is implemented to allow shamans into hospitals is beneficial for both Hmong shamans and for the hospital staff as well. Hmong shamans get exposure to western medicine practices which are not highly praised in their culture, while  hospitals get insight into different cultural rituals that may help in the healing process of a patient. The article stated that attitudes toward Western doctors have become more accepting among young Hmong Americans. Another goal of the policy is to speed up medical intervention. This is done by having a healing ceremony performed during a hospital stay, instead of waiting for days to go home and have the ceremony done. When it comes to medicine, there are many different approaches you can take and sometimes you can implement two different methods, such as shamans and western medicine. 

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