Hmong Health Sociology

Scientific and cultural understandings of illnesses and treatment often cause polarization in defining and remedying solution to health problems. The cultural outlook of the Hmong people on depression and diagnosing illnesses stem from a holistic approach that takes into account the spiritual condition of individuals. On the flip side, the biomedical model of health- a scientific approach, considers biological factors that can be tested and verified producing similar results across varying professionals. This model targets specific illnesses, while the cultural approach of the Hmong people incorporates the overall state of an individual, while diagnosing an illness. This paper will discuss ways in which depression is interpreted in the Hmong …show more content…
According to Johnson, the Hmong have three souls that clarify the relationships between the human body and spirit. (Johnson 130, 2002) These souls are: one that stays with the body after death, one that wanders but returns to the body after death, and one that protects from harm and death. (Johnson 130, 2002) In this respect, it can be argued that the holistic model of health supports the approach of the Hmong in that they attach symptoms to the whole spiritual state of a person. Because soul loss leads to illness, the Hmong people practice preventative measures. Johnson states, “The Hmong believe that it is important to have khi tes around the neck of their babies and children to protect them from soul loss because they are young and their souls may become more easily lost.” (Johnson 128, 2002)It can be claimed that the Hmong people rather interpret depression from a metaphysical perspective rather than on testable and verifiable grounds. Depression among the Hmong is viewed through the holistic model of health whereby the body and mind are under the banner of spirit. If a Hmong was to fall ill of depression, the Shaman would not categorize it as a mental illness but rather, using a holistic view, the illness would be considered to be an outcome of people 's soul drifting away. The Hmong would diagnose through a “seed ceremony” to see whose soul would drift away.(Siegel & McSilver, 2001) If one’s soul was to be found drifting away, another special ceremony would be held as a treatment to return the person 's soul back home for the purpose of restoring the person 's health and reuniting the body with the spirit. (Siegel & McSilver,

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