Most people, especially medical doctors and even Filipinos themselves, react with cynicism and disbelief –diskumpiyado – whenever the conversation is about the “Filipino Hilot”. This is not surprising, considering that your typical barrio manghihilot has had no formal training in the medical sciences. And their attendant but unintelligible latin chants or ‘oraciones’ don’t help at all in lending credibility to the effectiveness of traditional hilot. And so it seems all too logical for you and me to dismiss hilot as unscientific baloney laced with mumbo-jumbo – good for nothing more than a cultural show for tourists. So why do people still seek out these charismatic and at times eerie-looking native masseurs? Two reasons: Poverty and desperation. Medical fees and pharmaceuticals are increasingly beyond the reach of the poor. Then there are those who have reached the dead-ends and cul-de-sacs of western medicine, and are desperate for cures that MDs and pharmaceutical products cannot give. Western Medicine – No Panacea
“Modern” synthetic-based medicine is not perfect – in order to cure you, it needs to kill you a little, more or less. After that, you can continue living with your partially killed existence. What we call “western” medicine treats illnesses following a “diagnosis-prescription-pharma” pattern that often addresses only symptoms, instead of root causes. Pharmaceuticals are synthetic chemicals – very expensive imitations of natural ones. While they do help ease symptoms, these drugs have a fundamentally incompatibility with our human bodies which arenatural. There will be unavoidable side effects, and invariably, the drug firm will offer doctors other drugs to address the side effects of the first prescription. It is not surprising why even the US FDA recalls nearly half of the products it approves. It is subject to vicious cycles of expense and even of unethical practice. In addition, western medicine has become increasingly specialized,...
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