Samoan Medical Belief and Practice

Cluny Macpherson and La‘avasa Macpherson

Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Published: 1990
ISBN: 9781869400453
$45.00

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.


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