This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
in the annals of Asian travelers starting circa the 8th century A.D. Even before the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines (1521-1898), traders from China, India and Persia have been visiting the islands of Southeast Asia. Thus, health scholars will be able to trace influences of the Great Traditions in Medicine, namely, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurvedic Indian Medicine and Yunani-Tibb (Greek-Persian) Medicine in Filipino Traditional Medicine. Spanish Colonial Era. The Spanish chroniclers and friars also documented in full detail accounts of indigenous healing as practiced in the different islands of the country. Foremost among the Hispanic literature in the Philippines are the botanical descriptions of medicinal plants and trees and their uses by various types of traditional healers. On the other hand, with the Catholic Christianity that Spain brought, the colonizers suppressed traditional healing practices which were labeled as pagan and “works of the devil”. The medical and health systems of Spain during its early colonial era in the Philippines, however, was not yet the modern scientific medicine as practiced in Europe in the late 19th century but was also a mix of European traditional medicine mainly using natural substances as herbs and minerals. Hispanic medicine was also greatly influenced by Yunani-Tibb (Greek-Persian) medicine since Spain was under the Moors of Persia and Arabia during the first centenaries of the Second Millennium. Thus, when scholars examine present day Filipino Traditional Medicine, elements of pre-modern Hispanic medicine and Yunani-Tibb can be appreciated. Modern European medicine, as a product of the industrial revolution and advancements in science, came only to the Philippines with the establishment of a College of Medicine in the University of Sto. Tomas in the latter part of the 19th century. However education was only available to the children of the Spanish colonizers and a few Filipino mestizo elite, thus modern European medicine was not accessible and available to the ordinary Filipino. American Colonial Era. It was only during the American Colonial Era (1898-1946) that universal education was made available to all Filipinos. North American medicine was inevitably introduced with the establishment of the Philippine Medical School, now the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. With North American health and medical systems imbedded in government and society, Filipino Traditional Medicine has been sidelined and mainly ignored. However, North American medicine being the dominant culture, invariably elements of the new colonizer’s medicine made inroads also in the practice of Filipino Traditional Healing such as the use of synthetic medicines especially in the urban and peri-urban areas. Globalization. With the increasing intensity of globalization starting in the late 20th century to the present, Europeans and North Americans also became open to accepting and absorbing the best of the great and little traditions of medicine of Asia into their conventional medical and health practices. Asia, on the other hand, has also embraced the
European and North American models of health and medical care. The new art and science of Integrative Medicine otherwise known also as Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, North-South Medicine and Holistic Health and Medicine is thus born. DEFINITION: Traditional medicine also known as indigenous health knowledge and practices include approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plants, animal and /or mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to maintain well-being, as well as treat, diagnose or prevent illness As it exists today is thus a diverse mix of indigenous healing knowledge, attitudes, skills and practices that has included a blend of great traditions of medicine of China, India, Greek-Persia and the conventional medicine of Europe and North America, while basically retaining its distinct socio-cultural characteristics. Traditional medicine in the Philippines is an organized body of beliefs and practices anchored on a defined body of beliefs and practices anchored on a defined belief system and expressed in the concepts and behavior reflective of its indigenous nature and mechanics. It has locally accepted concepts of the causes of disease, using instinct and unique techniques of diagnosis, and applies varied methods of treatment. It is practiced by trained and service-motivated traditional healers. It has an abundant local pharmacopeia for its treatment requirements. It is patronized by a supportive clientele coming from the different socio-economic levels of society. HEALTH AND ILLNESS IN FILIPINO TRADITIONAL HEALING Health and wellness is thus created when there is balance and harmony in the universe, in humankind and in the human body. Illness is a result of a state of imbalance and disharmony in the universe, in humankind and in the human body. This is the major paradigm of Filipino Traditional Healing. This is completely different from the paradigm of germs and microbes as the major causes of illnesses in European-North American medicine. Note however, of late, European-North American medicine has accepted that there are beneficial bacteria aside from just harmful bacteria; and pro-biotics as oppose to antibiotics. However in the theory of the causes of health and illnesses regarding degenerative diseases or lifestyle diseases, there are resonances between Traditional Healing and European-North American where good diet/nutrition versus bad diet/nutrition, distress versus relaxation, a life of activity and exercise versus sedentary life, good habits versus bad habits, virtues versus vices all play roles in creating cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, depression and accidents. WORLD VIEW OF FILIPINO TRADITIONAL MEDICINE 1. THEORY OF MACROCOSM AND MICROCOSM (KALAWAKAN AT SANGKATAUHAN) Filipino traditional healers believe that the universe (macrocosm) and humankind (microcosm) are interlinked and intertwined. That whatever happens in the universe has
an effect on humankind and vice versa. Humankind must respect the environment whether living or non-living, seen and unseen are interrelated and should be in harmony and peace. Any disrespect or disruption of this basic positive relationship will lead to destruction and death. 2. THEORY OF ELEMENTS (KALIKASAN) All things on earth and the universe are compose of the four basic elements of earth, wind, fire and water. Each element has their own characteristics and manifestations in every object that expresses their uses and effects. Each element is interrelated with the other elements and must remain in harmony and balance to achieve peace, calm, and serenity. These elements are also applied to health and illness. 3. THEORY OF HUMOURS Hot and Cold. (Init at Lamig).Every object on earth, living and non-living are also labeled as either hot or cold. In Traditional Chinese Medicine this is the yin (cold) and the yang (hot). Balance and harmony must also be achieved between hot and cold within the human body and in the environment. A dominance of one humour will lead to a disease state (pasma/pasmo, pilay/pi-ang). Hot and cold labels are applied to medicinal plants, food, aroma, daily life activities and diseases. A disease labeled hot would be treated by a medicinal plant labeled as cold to achieve balance, thus restoring good health. 4. THEORY OF ENERGY AND BALANCE (KISIG AT PATAS) Energy is created by the interaction of opposit forces. However, all of these opposite forces must achieve a state of balance abd hearmony. To achive health and wellness interactions in the human body must be in balance and harmony. MODALITIES OF FILIPINO TRADITIONAL HEALING: 1. The Paligo - Mixtures of air-dried tropical and indigenous aromatic leaves and flowers with medicinal properties are made into a warm decoction whose volume is calibrated to ensure a rinsing bath. Mixtures are classified into hot-cold (init/lamig) balancing rinsing bath; an earth-wind-fire-water herbal balancing rinsing bath; and a Binat Regulator (Stress Regulator) herbal rinse. The term Binat defies a direct or literal translation in English. Binat is a state of dis-ease or severe discomfort that results when a person who has undergone a stressful (work related stress) or change of life situation (grief due to loss of a loved one) or a body-mind-spirit fatigue (childbirth) or a prolonged fever/cough/cold illness, upon the first few hours or first day of feeling well, returns to her/his normal daily routine. In Traditional Filipino Healing, the holistic body has not yet fully recovered despite the subjective feeling of the concerned person. Thus, a return to Binat or the state of disease and severe discomfort. 2. The Oslob - Is a steam inhalation from infusions of air-dried aromatic medicinal herbs and plants usually given to persons with a state of imbalance and harmony especially from excess of cold energy? The patient for Oslob is placed under a one person tent made of cotton cloth where the hot infusion is administered. 3. The Hilot - is an eclectic mix of indigenous traditional massage techniques from seven major ethno-linguistic cultural areas of the Philippines bringing forth the best in each practice ensuring a joyful yet serene total body experience. A distinct feature is
the use of strips of warm banana leaves applied to the different parts of the body at various stages of the massage therapy. 4. The Dinalisay - These are decoctions of a mixture of medicinal herbs indigenous to the Philippines, grown in certified organic farm communities. The Dinalisay are classified in to hot Dinalisay, cold Dinalisay, Earth Dinalisay, Wind Dinalisay, Fire Dinalisay and Water Dinalisay – all aim at restoring balance to any state of disequilibrium. 5. The Kisig Galing - This is the use of biomagnetic energy healing of naturally gifted Filipino Traditional Healers. With the use of their hands as outlets for transfer of positive biomagnetic energy (Kisig) from their own personal biomagnetic energy (Kisig) and the positive energy from the environment to the person in dis-ease, they are able to heal (Galing) parts of the body or the energy channels or the total body that may have states of imbalance and disharmony. 6. The Unang Lana - This is the Filipino Virgin Coconut Oil. Made only from the flesh of freshly picked 90 day old coconuts, which are cold pressed to extract the first coconut oil (Unang Lana), the clear colorless virgin oil with a distinct sweet aroma is used as a total body rub, a hair tonic, a massage liniment, a facial mask or even a daily jigger drink for health and wellness, restoration of body balance and harmony, rejuvenation and body thermogenesis. All these effects are due to its high content levels of monolaurines or lauric acid, vitamin E and other anti-oxidants. 7. The Tapik Kawayan - This the use of one centimeter thick, five centimeter long bamboo (Kawayan) sticks to tap (Tapik) certain body areas identified through hand palpation to have biomagnetic energy blocks or predominance of cold humours. The Tapik Kawayan releases the energy blocks to allow once more the free flow of biomagmetic energy in the affected body parts or the release of cold humours to achieve a balance of hot/cold (init/lamig) humours. HOLISTIC APPROACH ADDRESSING THE MIND AND BODY THROUGH CULTURAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES Many traditional Filipino healers heal from both a scientific and spiritual backround and holistic attitude. Since the cultural roots stem from an animistic base where spirituality is high and esoteric devotees have an uncanny ability to tap into altered states of consciousness in order to obtain information. Within this cultural and sociological perspective, a holistic approach is needed to heal the mind, body and soul. Example: One was to fall and hurt their back. Medical professional – ask questions that are “symptom-oriented” such as “where” does it hurt ----- diagnosis, provide physical treatment and offer a prognosis.
Traditional Filipino healer – ask questions that are “ origin-oriented” such as “why” that person fell in the first place ----- provide physical treatment, counsel the individual on spiritual matters relating to physical event.
It is known as one of the practices of Filipino traditional medicine. It is conceived as a healing system. This is because hilot is intertwined with herbalism, bonesetting, midwifery, as well as esoteric practices such as faith or spiritual healing. It is an eclectic mix of indigenous traditional massage techniques from seven major ethno-linguistic cultural areas of the Philippines bringing forth the best in each practice ensuring a joyful yet serene total body experience. A distinct feature is the use of strips of warm banana leaves applied to the different parts of the body at various stages of the massage therapy. It is a way of life for the Filipinos. The age-old massage practice is indigenously Filipino and is associated with mysticism and elderly healers. Prior to the popularity and emergence of sophisticated and modern medical practices in the Philippines. Philippine massage or hilot was the massive form of healthcare. However, when modern medicine gained traction in the country, Philippine massage was set aside. Because of the recent resurgence of alternative medicine and practices, the old ways of healing, including the Philippine massage has been re-established. Now, because of the known and proven benefits of the practice, Philippine massage is given a much needed and well-deserved makeover. Thus, Philippine massage is now offered along with other different healing and relaxing massage techniques in upscale hotels and spas worldwide. Philippine massage, with its all-natural and holistic approach, is becoming a significant part of a wellness regime. Researchers, sociologists and experts assert that the Philippine massage is both a culture and a philosophy. It is better than other massages because it relieves stress and at the same time heals and rejuvenates. Philippine massage is based on thinking and principle that the human body is composed of major elements, namely, water, fire, air and earth. The application and practice of the massage is aimed at harmonizing such elements. Water signifies the blood, fire by the electric impulses in the body, air by the air people breathe and earth by the body's flesh and bones. Practitioners of Philippine massage assert that is those elements in the body are not functioning and existing in proportion, there would be sickness and discomfort. Philippine massage is all about attaining that proportion and harmony. What is more unique and ideal about Philippine massage is that the massage techniques are often integrated and complemented by herbal medicines. That is why the effectiveness and potency of the massage practice goes beyond what normal massage types usually carry out. In the Philippines , the massage makes use of the most popular and useful herbs like the tanglad, lagundi, sambong and more native plants that have healing and therapeutic properties. Modern science has been testifying to the natural healing properties of the Philippine massage. Observers assert that the practice is empowered by the scientific basis that
usually backs and explains the reasonability and effectiveness of the massage therapy. While Philippine massage is regarded in the Philippines as a form of a cheaper and more affordable alternative medicine, across the globe, the massage is fast becoming an important therapeutic program. THREE FORMS OF TREATMENT 1. Faith healing through prayer. 2. Herbal medicine. 3. Massage and body manipulation. TYPES OF HILOT IN THE COMMUNITY 1. Comadrona – expert in post-natal massage. 2. Acupressurist – aligns nerves and balances electrical energy. 3. Reflexologist – drains excess energy. 4. Herbalist – uses herbal in healing. Hands-on therapy in the Philippines is a tradition as old as its first inhabitants on the islands. Known in the local languages and dialects as: Hilot or Hilut (Tagalog, Dumagat, Manobo, Bicolano, Visayan) Aplos (Bontoc) Aptus (Ivatan) Unar (Kalinga) Kemkem (Pangasinan) Ilot or Ilut (Ilocano, Itawis, Zambal, Pampango) Ilu (Ibanag) Ilat (Isneg) Elot (Ilongot) Agod or Agud (Maguindanaon, Maranao) Hagud (Bukidnon) Ablon (Northern Ilocano) – accomplished hands-on yet differs from massage. The main emphasis in treatment focuses on the neurovascular bundles and vessels such as nerves and veins (urat) and tendons, sinews, ligaments (pennet). Proper assessing and unique manipulation makes ablon effective. WHEN HEALING THE “WHOLE” PERSON, THE FOLLOWING AREAS ARE CONSIDERED: Physical Level: When an imbalance, injury, or disability takes place, the practitioner of Ablon manipulates the neurovascular and musculoskeletal systems through pulling, stretching, pressure, joint mobilization, and other indigenous therapies in order to promote equilibrium. Mental Level: During the consultation process, body mechanics may be analyzed to help point out the probable cause and effect of the patient’s condition. Emotional Level: Emotional tendencies can play a major role on the physical body. Trauma, for example, can be recorded on a cellular level and expressed through physical holding patterns. The experienced healer would facilitate the release of these patterns and
associated emotions through the application of Ablon to corresponding urat. Spiritual Level: The ancient healers realized that at least 80-90% of illnesses were spiritual in nature, while the remaining 10-20% as physical. Supporting this belief is the saying, “Where the mind goes, the body follows.” It is therefore important to realize that peace, harmony, and humility should be attained as a way of creating a healthy environment.