Folklore in Medicine.

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Introduction

Folklore in Medicine. Folklore refers to the traditional beliefs, legends, sayings etc of a people i.e. of England. It is often said that folklore medicine is now going 'out' but in my opinion this is wrong as I work in a chemist and the amount of so called "folk," "natural," "alternative," "traditional," "home" "organic" "holistic" and "other" medicines and therapies sold is astounding. Admittedly the whole 'magical' element behind it all is gone for most people as it was believed that diseases and ailments were caused by evil spirits or angry gods but most of these opinions are still held by the supposed 'uneducated' tribes people. But yet again some people who still hold 'pagan' beliefs do believe that it is the planets that cause some diseases.

Middle

The usual method of treatment amongst tribes are almost always kill or cure they literally believe that if the 'gods' don't intervene and save the ill then they were destined to die at that time. The belief of some people in these shamans is so strong that they take part in extremely dangerous and complex rituals to 'heal' the entire tribe. Rituals often include things like fire walking and snake handling. One ritual carried out by the Navajo Indians, The village prepares themselves for purification by building a great big fire in their Hogan or ritualistic hut. They then all strip naked and led by their shaman they enter a circle of fire while the shaman makes offerings of incense to the four quarters.

Conclusion

Many scientific experiments have been carried out around the mystery of fire walking and handling and as it has been found that no protective substances are used science is left baffled. It is possibly explained best by the idea that it may be auto-suggestion (self hypnosis) and is in fact just a 'placebo' effect. This is believed to be a possible explanation as in a study of hypnosis it has been shown that if a subject is told to hold their finger over a flame in a hypnotic state and told that it will not hurt or leave a mark then no pain will be experienced and no blister will form! This still however does not explain how shamans can stand in the It is now shown that the placebo effect is a very powerful thing as it seems to have the ability to 'heal' sick people with out any scientific basis.

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