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The Cuyonon Concept of Pasma: An Indigenous Knowledge In Health Care
|Title:||The Cuyonon Concept of Pasma: An Indigenous Knowledge In Health Care|
|Issue Date:||03 Mar 2017|
|Description:||Maintaining a balance between hot and cold is essential to the wellbeing of the Cuyonon people. Any tension between these two may cause several maladies, all encompassed by the general term pasma. Tan (1987) noted that the term pasma is recorded for all Christian groups, as well as for acculturated Muslim and tribal groups in the Philippines. Its usage however is limited in other Philippine languages. In Tagalog for instance, pasmado is used instead of pasma and it only refers to a spasmodic condition of a particular part of the body (usually, hands) because of a perceived bad habit of washing it after a strenuous activity. The term pasma has no established origin but the term is thought to have been derived from Spanish espasmo, which literally means ‘spasm’. A similar set of medical belief and practices relating to "hot-cold syndrome" had also been recorded in other parts of the world, particularly in Latin America (Currier 1966; McCullough 1973). Earlier studies suggest that such indigenous view of attributing illnesses to thermal stress can be traced back to Greek humoral pathology (Foster 1953 and Taylor 1963, as cited by Currier, p.251). This study neither validates this claim in the case of pasma in Cuyonon nor argues against its implication that such knowledge is possibly just a remnant of belief systems introduced by the colonizers. Knowledge about pasma among the Cuyonon people is essential for them to live a healthy life and this is supported by the intricate elaboration of the concept into a network of interconnected labels and the culturally shared knowledge on its various types, potential causes, specific symptoms and corresponding ways of curing. Such complex yet systematically organized conceptual system of pasma has not been attested in other Philippine languages. Based on data gathered through interviews, this study presents a documentation of pasma as an important indigenous knowledge system in health care that is learned and shared by the Cuyonon people and that comprehensively manifests through a conceptual network in their language. In addition, it also seeks to find entanglements of pasma with Cuyonon people's view about human body in general and how one relates own physical being with elements of nature. Finally, this study also aims to present narratives as to how Cuyonons negotiate such deeply ingrained knowledge with the competing views of mainstream contemporary medical science that are taught in schools and practiced in state-supported health institutions. Keywords: Indigenous knowledge, health care, pasma, hot-cold Currier, Richard L. 1966. The Hot-Cold Syndrome and Symbolic Balance in Mexican and Spanish-American Folk Medicine. Ethnology, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 251-263. McCullough, John M. 1973. Human Ecology, Heat Adaptation, and Belief Systems: The Hot-Cold Syndrome of Yucatan. Journal of Anthropological Research, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 32-36 Tan, Michael L. 1987. Usug, Kulam, Pasma : Traditional Concepts of Health and Illness in the Philippines. Quezon City: Alay Kapwa Kilusang Pangkalusugan.|
|Appears in Collections:||5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)|
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