chapter  V
Hmong Health Behavior: Summary and Conclusions
Pages 12

O’CONNOR STATES THAT VERNACULAR HEALING TRADITIONS CANNOT BE fullY understood without describing “the ways in which all manner of beliefs about health, illness, and healing are integrated into broader cultural frameworks and larger systems of belief and values.”1

Certainly, Hmong American concepts of health, healing, and illness cannot be understood in the absence of a certain body of accompanying knowledge regarding the ways in which such concepts are integrated into the Hmong cultural framework and system of values. Leslie and Young note that the majority of scholars of Asian medical systems agree that these systems “are intrinsically dynamic, and, like the cultures and societies in which they are embedded, are continually evolving.”2 This writer has demonstrated with this manuscript that the behaviors of those Hmong seeking health treatment reflect Hmong cultural beliefs, Hmong values, and the Hmong experience, broadly considered. These factors have been influenced and shaped by Christianity, exposure to traditional and modern Western ideologies, the various influences felt in the wake of migratory movements, and government policies. Due to this wide range of cultural adaptations, and sometimes owing to a lack of adaptation, one faction of the Hmong population has tended to become increasingly marginalized from mainstream American society, while another faction has acculturated. This is reflected in the evolving heterogeneity of the Hmong American population and the widely disparate natures of those Hmong who will utilize conventional health care services versus traditional Hmong medicine. The author would highlight the major findings as follows: