Thai, Russian and Polish Heritages

Thai, Russian and Polish Heritages

People of Thai Heritage

Thai history suggests that Thai people have been using herbal medicine for healthcare even before 1238 AD (Jiraniramai et al., 2017). Buddhism is the main religion of the Thai people, and just like the values of medical practices, Buddhism is keen on eliminating suffering. Traditional medicine is comprised of cultural, medical practices, traditional philosophies, and Buddhist principles. The healthcare of the Thai people is heavily influenced by the Buddhist religion. According to Thai traditional medical theory, there are four essential elements which make up the human body.

The elements are wind, fire, earth, and water. Personal elements are determined by the month one was born in and if the elements are not in a balance the body becomes weak, fails to fight diseases and one becomes vulnerable to diseases. Seasons, age, time and geography also affects a person’s health. Also, illnesses are caused by supernatural powers like evil spirits and ancestors souls, and misbehavior (Jiraniramai et al., 2017). The healthcare belief is that health can be restored by overcoming imbalances. Buddhists believe that the dead are reborn in an appropriate form amounting to the merits they accumulated while still alive. Spirits of those people believed to be evil would linger malevolent ghosts upon their deaths. Modern practices, however, follow the westernized medical model.

Russia’s Heritage

Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism are Russia. Traditional religions are considered as significant parts in the heritage of Russia (Long, 2011). The Russians believe that too much medication is harmful to the body; therefore they make use of traditional remedies to alleviate pain and relieve illnesses while at home. Ideally, Russians beliefs about death depend on one’s religion. For instance, Jewish law forbids assisted suicides, euthanasia, and suicide. The dead person’s eyes are shut, and the body is laid on the floor. In this heritage, embalming is against traditional practices since the body needs to undergo natural decomposition. Mirrors are covered with black clothes to prevent the dead person’s spirit from returning. The departed soul remains on earth for forty and afterward ascends into heaven.

Folk medicine has been utilized traditionally, and a lot of herbal remedies are commonly used. Typically, people grow herbs for healing purposes in the community. Russians hold a healthcare belief that states that illnesses are caused by not doing something right. This might be failure to dress warmly during cold seasons or failure to adhere to the right diet. Illnesses which are painless for instance hypertension and diabetes often go undiagnosed and untreated. Mental illnesses are often termed as disgraceful, and therefore affected families rarely disclose information about members suffering from mental illnesses (Long, 2011). According to the Russian heritage, when a family member falls ill, friends and family are needed to visit and support the person. News about illnesses is never passed unto a sick or disabled person.

Due to over-dependence on traditional Russian medicines, Russians are often unwilling to partake in health care systems abroad. These folk medicines are directly linked to distrust in physicians and Western medicine. The Russian culture has a specific system for treating an illness called ―’Narodnaia Meditsina.’ Mostly, traditional Russian medicine emphasizes on foods and natural remedies to heal illnesses in the body. The Russian Federation has been forced to register traditional doctors. Russians on the U.S hardly trust medical practitioners and when they do like choosing their physicians and go for follow up from the same physician (Long, 2011).

Polish Heritage

In Polish culture, the people picture death as a tall but lean woman holding a scythe while wearing a white sheet. It is believed that no one can stop her; however, animals can warn others whenever she comes nearer (Piątkowski & Majchrowska, 2015). The Polish people also believe that death is better if it is painless and if it resulted from an illness and is expected. When an individual dies, family members stop all the clocks in the house and cover the mirrors with cloths. Doors and windows are also open to enable the deceased’s soul to go to heaven.

For the elderly and married women, black clothes are nailed on the door, green for young men and white for young unmarried girls; this is done to signify that the house of the deceased is unclean. A coin is also placed on the deceased’s hands, armpits or in the mouth and all these are for their afterlife journey. Death is normal, and souls exist eternally immediately after leaving the deceased’s body (Piątkowski & Majchrowska, 2015). During the funeral, the priests say a prayer to protect souls from harm. Roman Catholic is the dominant religion in Poland, and therefore most funerals follow the Roman Catholic procedures. The Polish people at times view pain as a punishment from God. The people believe in both natural and biomedical causes. Both herbal and treatments are used in Polish cultures, but they also trust physicians and take medicines whenever need be.

Similarities among the three Heritages

Firstly, both the Russian and the Polish heritages encourage covering of the mirrors with black clothes. This is done to prevent dead souls from returning to live. Secondly, the healthcare of the three heritages is heavily influenced by religion. Religion dictates what to be done to a deceased person. Thirdly, the Thai, Polish and Russian cultures appreciate the use of folk medicine to eliminate pain from the body. Again, all three cultures advocate for prayers to the dead. The prayers enable the soul to go to heaven. Russians and Polish to some extent use physicians help after exhausting folk medication without getting any better. Lastly, dead is seen as normal according to the above-mentioned heritages.




Jiraniramai, S., Jiraporncharoen, W., Pinyopornpanish, K., Jakkaew, N., Wongpakaran, T., & Angkurawaranon, C. (2017). Functional beliefs and risk minimizing beliefs among Thai healthcare workers in Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai hospital: its association with intention to quit tobacco and alcohol. Substance abuse treatment, prevention, and policy12(1), 34. Retrieved March 19, 2019 from doi: 10.1186/s13011-017-0118-1

Long, R. (2011). The effect of Russian traditional medicine on the health care of Russian immigrants to America (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved March 19, 2019, from file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/Long_Roy_HonorsThesis.pdf

Piątkowski, W., & Majchrowska, A. (2015). Health, illness and dying in Polish folk medicine. Progress in Health Sciences5(1), 214-224. Retrieved March 19, 2019, from file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/214-224_piatkowski,2.pdf