Monthly Archives: November 2016



In an article of Michael Tan called PASMA the author aim was to show to the readers that cultural beliefs and practices does really affects how people views their health as a whole. Here in the Philippines there are so many cultural beliefs and practices which are still existing and being practiced until in this generation. We all know that Philippines is a country wherein it is composed of several islands which means there are also several different tribes who has their own distinct social and cultural beliefs and practices.
Like in this article Pasma it was mention that Filipinos most of the time complaining of pasma, as a medical student I always hear such complains during my hospital clerkship, some will say that they were having hand tremors and was believed by them it was because of the nature of their work, like as the carpenters, construction workers and other jobs who has a lot of workloads. The author already mention that there are several factors and reasons that why people perceive pasma as a disease. But then still Pasma is considered as one of the many folk illness by medical anthropologies.
What I like about the article is that the author cited two studies that was conducted by medical students and a physician which talks about pasma. The first study that was mention was from the UP medical student entitled as “clinical and neurophysiological profile of laundrywomen with and without self-perceived pasma” it shows here that they tried to correlate pasma with the workload of the laundrywomen and the belief that more workloads more chances to have pasma and as well the idea that when a person are always expose to changing temperature from hot or cold or the other way around, that is why most of the people believed laundrywomen are prone of having pasma. Which turns to find out that there might be a little differences in result but the still not significant. The other study presented by De La Cruz where it involves his family members and housekeepers, they reported different factors, causes and symptoms of pasma, it only shows that even in a small scale of social group or within a house or family you can observe diverse opinions on health beliefs and practices, and that there are differences on how people perceive things.
The argument of Tan was convincing to the point that I can relate to his article and its well written and timely, it only shows that people have diverse and unique culture and practices, it might be accepted by most of the people or it might belongs to some small tribes that sometimes in other tribes can be taboo or forbidden. As a future physician it is really important for us to consider the diverse cultural beliefs and practices of every patient that you will have, that is why most of medical schools are trying to advocate a cultural sensitive environment. Like for us when we were brought to the community I can really say that in that specific community they have their own unique health beliefs and practices wherein we as a medical student must be responsible enough to respect and value their beliefs. Yes we are health advocates, we are here to promote a much healthy life, we can change bad habits, we can encourage and empower people, we can educate them but then we must not forget to respect their own health belief and practices. I am not saying that we will just leave them and let them do and believe in their bad/harmful practices that might cause them much problem, no, what I want to say is that maybe on my own opinion all we need is to educate them in proper way in a very nice way as much as we can do, and if that beliefs and practice cannot affect their health in a wrong way or cannot cause any harm maybe it is better to just let them be. That is why it is really important to established rapport to your patient to know them so that you can help them not just medically buy as a whole, without hurting their egos, if you will know them you will know how to approach them and the more they will listen to you, the more chances that you can help them.
Thus the articles were related to culture and health, as it deals on how people perceive health as part or in relation with their socio-cultural beliefs. Like we all know that there are many more health beliefs other than pasma, even if we are just going to focus here in Zamboanga city, there are several ethnic groups inhabiting this city with their own distinct, unique socio-cultural beliefs and practices that deserves to be respected and acknowledge, we must not be narrow minded in judging people of what they believe in. And these beliefs can also be a door to do a lot of scientific researches that might help in the future, look at the brighter side like our herbal plants, several studies was done after knowing that this plant is used as medicinal plant by a certain tribes and yet proven scientifically. These only shows that not all folk knowledge are bad/harmful there are folk knowledge that are jewels.
I will end this saying, “we are leaving in a crowd with diverse socio cultural beliefs, we must learn how to deal with it, and we must learn to accept our differences and must learn how to respect. Be with the people and leave harmoniously but then if there are things that must be change it has to be done in a good way for us to have a much better and healthier life.