Health seen from the Socio-Cultural Perspective

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In the majority of traditional indigenous cultures of the Amazon, it is understood that to remain healthy, it is important to practice the teachings elders pass on to the next generations. The contents and forms of these teachings can vary from one culture to another, but they all tend to follow the same general ideas. The importance for humans to maintain a strong spirit, good relations with each other, with the forest and the water worlds, with other forms of life -whether tangible or intangible, is one of the primordial conditions for maintaining a sense of living well. Every culture expresses this in one way or another and passes it on from generation to generation through family or community education system.

In traditional cultures, children and young people receive from their parent knowledge and practices of a mainly preventive nature from a young age. “To not get sick” or “to resist the illness” are familiar concepts. For example, taking guayusa (Ilex guayusa) or yoco (Paullinia yoco), morning baths, fasting, and the consumption of other medicinal plants strengthens the spirit of young people and will give them a clear sight and direction in their lives.

Sacha Warmi Muskuy offers a space of dialogue to address topics linked with the loss or abandon of traditional knowledge and practices, the consequences of this on today’s indigenous people’s health conditions, and the possibility of re-evaluating their relevance and restoration in the context of a contemporary lifestyle.
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