A doctor for disease, a shaman for the soul

The article i chose to write about for my reflection this week was a doctor for disease, a shaman for the soul. This article talks about the growing acceptance of cultural practices and beliefs in the medical world. It talks specifically about a hospital named Mercy hospital that allows traditional healers of the Hmongs, known as Shamans to perform nine accepted ceremonies to aid patients in healing. The goal of this practice is to speed up medical intervention. The hospital has a history of patients who died from raptured appendix, complications from diabetes and other treatable ailments due to delayed seeking of medical assistance like blood transfusions and surgery that were against the beliefs of the Hmong people. A Dr. McDiarmind stated that social support and beliefs affect a patients ability to rebound rom an illness and based on this observation, the staff at Mercy hospital have incorporated the use of Shamans in treating patient which shows their consideration for the people’s beliefs and thus earns their trust. These Shamans like Mr. Lee and Ma Vue are regarded as traditional healers that can ward off spirits and communicate with them to protect the well being of the patient. They perform ceremonies like warding of bad spirits from a child, protecting one’s soul from a dead spouse to prolong life on earth and transferring bad spirits from an individual into a live animal (rooster).  They are even said to enter hours long trances. Some of the tools they use include strings, beads and other items like gongs and finger bells that need to be approved by the nurses.  These Shamans do not collect payment or insurance, the article mentioned however that they have been known to collect live chickens. The Hmong look at the human body differently than the medical approach. The do not attribute these ailments to bacteria or virus or some pathogen, the believe that the human body includes the spirit and soul and that bad spirits can cause illness. They also believe that a persons soul can run away and the effect can be disease.

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