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Samoan Medical Belief and Practice

Samoan Medical Belief and Practice
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This is the first comprehensive study of Samoan medicine. Cluny and La‘avasa Macpherson have carried out intensive investigation into the practice and beliefs of contemporary indigenous healers, or fofo, in Western Samoa to produce a fascinating and thoughtful study. They explain convincingly why traditional Samoan medicine and its skilled practitioners continue to flourish alongside Western medical practice both in Samoa and in Samoan immigrant communities. The first part of the book gives a history of Samoan indigenous medicine, showing its capacity to adapt to change and to absorb foreign elements. In the second part the authors describe contemporary Samoan practice. They explore the role of the healer in Samoan society and discuss recruitment, training, and specialization. This is followed by a summary of Samoan beliefs about health, illness, and the nature of the human organism; and a detailed account of diagnostic methods and major treatments used. This is an important book for all those interested in alternative medicines and in contemporary Pacific culture and will be of considerable practical use within the medical community.

Product ID: 504443     ISBN-13: 9780824831332
Categories: Culture & Tradition, Medical
Supporting languages: English, Samoan
Platforms/media types: Printed Matter
Specifications: 13 illus.
REVIEW: "Defines the role of traditional healing practitioners, explains how they are recruited and trained, and documents how they diagnose and treat a variety of maladies. It also comments on how effective their efforts are. The book allows the reader to have great respect for these healers, who seem to function primarily out of a desire to help people rather than to acquire wealth or status. We are much indebted to the Macphersons for this valuable record of what may prove to be a vanishing art." —Medical Anthropology Quarterly

Author: Macpherson, Cluny; Macpherson, Laavasa;; Cluny Macpherson is professor of sociology at Massey University’s Auckland campus. La‘avasa Macpherson, a trained nurse, has become increasingly involved in research. Together they run a consultancy that conducts social research, usually around public health and social and economic development, in the Pacific region.