My project conveys the role that individuals' faith in their cultural healing practices plays on their knowledge of the illness and on the actual healing process. More specifically, on how indigenous immigrant communities from Mexico are prone to utilize medical pluralism practices and experience culture-bound syndromes. When individuals migrate they take with them their understanding of disease, their ways to express it, and their ways of finding treatment according to their cultural medical practices. Based on this, I developed a project to explore the medical healing practices of twenty-three year old Claudia Velmontes during her pregnancy. Ms. Velmontes migrated to Boyle Heights ten years ago from a predominantly Zapotec indigenous community in Mexico. She is a good example for studying medical pluralism practices by immigrants in the United States, since Ms. Velmontes requested medical treatment from the biomedical sector in Boyle Heights and from the folk medical sector from her native town in Mexico. Aside from her monthly visits to her physician trained in western medicine, Ms. Velmontes’ practices to ensure a healthy pregnancy included using the services of a midwife, cleansing her mind and body by rubbing eggs throughout her body, and numerous other practices based on cultural beliefs. Ms. Velmontes claims that her upbringing in Veracruz made a profound impact on her world views and her faith in the folk medical sector. The purpose of my project is to research in depth the powerful influence that folk medicine has on the health and world views of individuals that believe in it.
Espinoza Barajas, Javier
"A Piece of Nigromante in Boyle Heights,"
LUX: A Journal of Transdisciplinary Writing and Research from Claremont Graduate University:
1, Article 4.
Available at: http://scholarship.claremont.edu/lux/vol3/iss1/4