General

Folkloric Filipino Medical Myths

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14 Aug 2016 - General
 

I used to spend summer vacation in the province when I was a kid. During my stay there, I believed in the medical beliefs they practiced there. However, I found out that these beliefs were actually myths handed out from generation to generation. Some of them have led to medical breakthrough such as the use of Lagundi (medicinal herb) to treat cough. Most of them are hilarious that caused me to arrive to a conclusion - we Filipinos are folkloric. Here are some of the medical myths:

1.) Never exercise after eating or you will suffer from appendicitis

This is the top medical myth I have ever heard. Exercising immediately after eating will not cause appendicitis but may impair indigestion. Blood supply is usually shunted to the GI tract after eating to facilitate digestion. Exercising will preferentially shunt the blood to the muscles instead of the GI tract

2.) You will get resting tremors if you wash your hands after writing or doing strenuous hand work

Resting tremors are called pasma in the Philippines. This myth can potentially teach younger generations bad hand hygiene. Washing of hands after handling objects is important to prevent contamination, especially during eating. Of important note, resting tremors should warrant a consult to rule out underlying medical conditions.

3.) Drinking cold water will give you cough and colds.

Drinking cold fluids actually encourges a person to increase oral fluid intake. Hydration is part of the supportive treatment for viral types of coughs and colds.

4.) Exposure to rain will bring about coughs and colds.

Isn't this the same equivalent of taking a shower? The science show Brainiac has already disproved this theory.

5.) Eating chicken, eggs, and seafoods will aggravate skin conditions and impair wound healing.

Fellow countrymen have classified the abovementioned as causes of pruritus due to the food's oiliness. Nope, this will not cause pruritus unless you have food allergies.

 

The Philippines has a very rich culture even with medical beliefs. It would be nice to hear from other countries medical beliefs too! Please share your thoughts and culture :)

Ah ya the medical myths. Despite you telling patients that these aren't real they tend to argue that they are as these beliefs have been around for a while. Other myths I could think of 1. Do not take a shower immediately after exercising as this causes pasma and that the water can enter your pores and make you bloat 2. Eating a twin banana, the stuck together kind, when you are pregnant will give you twins (I always found this one cute) 3. If the pregnant mother craves dark colored food the...
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Marinelle Castro and Maria Cristina Inserto I could think of a few more. There is this belief that soaking fatty meats in vinegar will "kill" the fat and makes the slab of meat healthy. Some even add garlic to the vinegar for added effect of "neutralizing" fat. Also, there is this myth that eating conjoined bana...
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Tarah Cadiz Very true. We have a lot of myths about getting our bodies exposed to heat, cold, or water. Another popular myth is staying out under the moon will make you ill. The abdominal binder supposedly prevents colic by protecting the infant from intestinal motility dysfunction and flatulence. If a child gets abdominal discomfort, he/she will get colicky. Of course this is not true. Children are expected to g...
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Maria Cristina Inserto I agree. Good hand hygiene is indispensable in our craft. Who knows? Some myths may become backed by evidence (very little chance though) haha Marinelle Castro Oh yes the classic sleeping with wet hair gives you headache. In Quezon province, there is a different version of that. Sleeping with wet hair will ma...
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Maria Cristina Inserto I agree. Good hand hygiene is indispensable in our craft. Who knows? Some myths may become backed by evidence (very little chance though) haha Marinelle Castro Oh yes the classic sleeping with wet hair gives you headache. In Quezon province, there is a different version of that. Sleeping with wet hair will ma...
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Just as an addition to your list: 1) Sleeping in with wet hair will give you headaches, 2) Eating a seed of a fruit will turn you into a tree, 3) Moving around or taking a shower just right after you recover from a fever will cause fever to recur again. 4) Taking a shower just right after giving birth will make your child ill (ancient chinese folklore). The first three that I've mentioned are Filipino myths that my nanny used to tell me when I was a kid --- which I apparently believed. haha!...
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Haha. The very famous avoid physical activities or you get appendicitis. That's just old people making sure we do not run off and play after eating because children always rush on the meals so they can go back to eat. How about the version of this when you're in the beach that says you should not swim right after eating. As for washing hands after working, people always warn me about this but then, what will I do if I have back-to-back patients? No washing at all? HAHA. ...
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Hello You Yi Hong! This is awesome!! It's great to know that Malaysia also shares these beliefs. I agree that continuing the tradition would be nice since it has been present for generations. Who knows? We might get scientific evidence that some of the myths above are true. I remember one more myth that is practiced here. Eating ice cream will aggravate coughs and colds. Whenever I have cough and I see an ice...
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Hi, Mark Edmon Tan actually some of the medical myths as listed above are not only confined to Philippines only, they happen in Malaysia also. I am used to hear some of those like “Don’t exercise after eating to prevent acute appendicitis”, “avoid drinking cold icy water to prevent cough and cold”, “exposure to rain will cause cough and cold”, “eating too much Durian- local fruit in Malaysia will cause sore thro...
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