Could fea­si­ble health fixes be found be­hind old wives’ tales?

Northern Living - - HEALTH -

You’ve prob­a­bly heard them from an old aunt, yaya, or your grand­mother back in the prov­ince. Whether you sub­scribe to su­per­sti­tion or not, th­ese folk tales need to be taken with a heap of salt—as well as a mod­ern sci­ence-based per­spec­tive in or­der to de­ter­mine if they ac­tu­ally ex­ist.

Myth: Paglil­ihi

What it is: Crav­ing for cer­tain types of food while preg­nant di­rectly re­lates to what your baby will look like.

Sci­ence says: While preg­nancy crav­ings do ex­ist, most prob­a­bly due to the hor­monal shifts in the body, an in­ex­pli­ca­ble taste for ba­lut, for ex­am­ple, does not mean you’re go­ing to end up with a kid with a full head of hair. Phys­i­cal at­tributes are largely based on ge­net­ics after all.

Myth: Usog

What it is: Some­one who car­ries the evil eye can curse a child with a sim­ple greet­ing. To undo any hexes, the greeter needs to say “puw­era usog,” then lick his fin­ger and rub it on the baby’s ab­domen or fore­head.

Sci­ence says: There’s no sci­en­tific ev­i­dence to dis­pel this su­per­sti­tion. Think of this as a sig­nal to be ex­tra cau­tious— when your im­mune sys­tem is down, you can pick up a fever, a cold, a cough, or a virus from vir­tu­ally any­one you come into con­tact with.

Myth: Hilot

What it is: The an­cients used this method to heal all ail­ments through mas­sage and chi­ro­prac­tic ma­nip­u­la­tion. It was also some­times in­fused with herbal reme­dies brought by ar­bu­laryos (faith heal­ers).

Sci­ence says: A deep tis­sue mas­sage can bring much needed re­lax­ation to stressed mus­cles, and to­day’s mod­ern pa­tient is of­ten seen at the spa for a sim­i­lar treat­ment, or even at the chi­ro­prac­tor to help re­set joints and re­ceive spinal re­align­ment. Th­ese lo­cal prac­tices aim to re­store bal­ance to the body through en­er­getic heal­ing that also goes beyond the phys­i­cal. They of­fer a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to­wards the same end goal that more sci­en­tific meth­ods aim to reach, too.

Myth: Pasma

What it is: When the mus­cles are rife with “hot” en­ergy, it shouldn’t be brought down by any­thing too “cold” too quickly. This causes un­due tremors or spasms to the body.

Sci­ence says: Hot and cold en­er­gies are vague and not eas­ily taken to by the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity. In­stead, they at­tribute the shakes that pasma is known for to pos­si­ble nerve con­di­tions or dys­func­tions in the body.

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