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Indigenous narratives of health: (re)placing folk-medicine within Irish health histories.

Foley R - J Med Humanit (2015)

Bottom Line: The work is drawn from secondary material from Ireland, which identify more indigenous narratives of health and act as potential sources for medical humanities.While assumptions have been made as to the place of folk-medicine being essentially rural, evidence will be presented which shows a more complex network of health beliefs and practices.The narratives of informal practice and folk-medicine drawn from evidence from Ireland point to more fluid and hybrid relations with formal medicine and suggest that the complementary nature of the two models reflected wider cultural debates and models of belief (Del Casino Jnr., Health & Place 10:59-73, 2004).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geography, Rhetoric House, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland, ronan.foley@nuim.ie.

ABSTRACT
With the increased acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) within society, new research reflects deeper folk health histories beyond formal medical spaces. The contested relationships between formal and informal medicine have deep provenance and as scientific medicine began to professionalise in the 19th century, lay health knowledges were simultaneously absorbed and disempowered (Porter 1997). In particular, the 'medical gaze' and the responses of informal medicine to this gaze were framed around themes of power, regulation, authenticity and narrative reputation. These responses were emplaced and mobile; enacted within multiple settings by multiple agents and structures over time. The work is drawn from secondary material from Ireland, which identify more indigenous narratives of health and act as potential sources for medical humanities. While assumptions have been made as to the place of folk-medicine being essentially rural, evidence will be presented which shows a more complex network of health beliefs and practices. The narratives of informal practice and folk-medicine drawn from evidence from Ireland point to more fluid and hybrid relations with formal medicine and suggest that the complementary nature of the two models reflected wider cultural debates and models of belief (Del Casino Jnr., Health & Place 10:59-73, 2004).

No MeSH data available.


Site of Lough Leighis (Loughanleagh), County Cavan (Source: Author)
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Fig2: Site of Lough Leighis (Loughanleagh), County Cavan (Source: Author)

Mentions: As a second example, there were a range of sites associated with water which formed an important component of the folk-medical geographies of Ireland. Holy wells were one classic form, a mix of spiritual and physical healing site mentioned in the introduction and discussed in more depth elsewhere (Foley 2011). Another example, Lough Leighis, was a famous healing lake in East Cavan, visited up to the 20th century by users who came from long distances to take away its curiously curative and energizing mud. It is now buried under bog and forest (Fig. 2) but encapsulates a setting associated with a perceived natural curative substance, akin to herbal medicines found in most cultures. The mud from the lake had a particular reputation for curing skin diseases including scurvy and leprosy and indeed was distributed around the country as a curative product (Coote 1802; Kelly 2009). This local nature-based collection of therapeutic materials echoes what Kathi Wilson refers to as the ‘24-hour pharmacy’ in relation to the Canadian First Nations term for the land as a source of curative berries and herbs (Wilson 2003).Fig. 2


Indigenous narratives of health: (re)placing folk-medicine within Irish health histories.

Foley R - J Med Humanit (2015)

Site of Lough Leighis (Loughanleagh), County Cavan (Source: Author)
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4352604&req=5

Fig2: Site of Lough Leighis (Loughanleagh), County Cavan (Source: Author)
Mentions: As a second example, there were a range of sites associated with water which formed an important component of the folk-medical geographies of Ireland. Holy wells were one classic form, a mix of spiritual and physical healing site mentioned in the introduction and discussed in more depth elsewhere (Foley 2011). Another example, Lough Leighis, was a famous healing lake in East Cavan, visited up to the 20th century by users who came from long distances to take away its curiously curative and energizing mud. It is now buried under bog and forest (Fig. 2) but encapsulates a setting associated with a perceived natural curative substance, akin to herbal medicines found in most cultures. The mud from the lake had a particular reputation for curing skin diseases including scurvy and leprosy and indeed was distributed around the country as a curative product (Coote 1802; Kelly 2009). This local nature-based collection of therapeutic materials echoes what Kathi Wilson refers to as the ‘24-hour pharmacy’ in relation to the Canadian First Nations term for the land as a source of curative berries and herbs (Wilson 2003).Fig. 2

Bottom Line: The work is drawn from secondary material from Ireland, which identify more indigenous narratives of health and act as potential sources for medical humanities.While assumptions have been made as to the place of folk-medicine being essentially rural, evidence will be presented which shows a more complex network of health beliefs and practices.The narratives of informal practice and folk-medicine drawn from evidence from Ireland point to more fluid and hybrid relations with formal medicine and suggest that the complementary nature of the two models reflected wider cultural debates and models of belief (Del Casino Jnr., Health & Place 10:59-73, 2004).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geography, Rhetoric House, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland, ronan.foley@nuim.ie.

ABSTRACT
With the increased acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) within society, new research reflects deeper folk health histories beyond formal medical spaces. The contested relationships between formal and informal medicine have deep provenance and as scientific medicine began to professionalise in the 19th century, lay health knowledges were simultaneously absorbed and disempowered (Porter 1997). In particular, the 'medical gaze' and the responses of informal medicine to this gaze were framed around themes of power, regulation, authenticity and narrative reputation. These responses were emplaced and mobile; enacted within multiple settings by multiple agents and structures over time. The work is drawn from secondary material from Ireland, which identify more indigenous narratives of health and act as potential sources for medical humanities. While assumptions have been made as to the place of folk-medicine being essentially rural, evidence will be presented which shows a more complex network of health beliefs and practices. The narratives of informal practice and folk-medicine drawn from evidence from Ireland point to more fluid and hybrid relations with formal medicine and suggest that the complementary nature of the two models reflected wider cultural debates and models of belief (Del Casino Jnr., Health & Place 10:59-73, 2004).

No MeSH data available.