Document Detail

Destructive heat and cooling prayer: Malay humoralism in pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  3686085     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Malaya, an ancient crossroads of trade, was the recipient of Chinese and Ayurvedic humoral ideas and, later, those of medieval Islam. These ideas were readily accepted by Malays, since they are highly congruent with pre-existing notions among aboriginal peoples of Malaya involving a hot-cold opposition in the material and spiritual universe and its effects upon human health. Islamic Malays have adapted these aboriginal beliefs to correspond to the Greek-Arabic humoral model in matters concerning foods, diseases, and medicines. Although Malay theories of disease causation include such concepts as soul loss and spirit attack, along with 'naturalistic' ideas such as dietary imbalance and systemic reactions to foods, all of these theories can either be reinterpreted in humoral terms, or, at least, are congruent with the basic tenets of Islamic humoral pathology. Behaviors and beliefs regarding human reproduction, however, while essentially following a humoral pattern, diverge from Islamic, as well as traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic, humoral theories. Unlike any other major humoral doctrine, Malay reproductive theory (like that of non-Islamic aboriginal peoples of Malaya) equates coldness with health and fertility and heat with disease and sterility. These ideas, in turn, are related to beliefs regarding the nature of the spirit world: the destructiveness of spiritual heat and the efficacy of cooling prayer.
C Laderman
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social science & medicine (1982)     Volume:  25     ISSN:  0277-9536     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Sci Med     Publication Date:  1987  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1987-12-23     Completed Date:  1987-12-23     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303205     Medline TA:  Soc Sci Med     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  357-65     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Fordham University, Bronx, NY 10458.
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MeSH Terms
Cold Temperature*
Hot Temperature*
Labor, Obstetric
Medicine, Traditional*
Postpartum Period
Pregnancy Complications / therapy
Grant Support
5 F31 MH05 352-03/MH/NIMH NIH HHS

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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