Research Article
Volume 9 Issue 6 - 2020
Health Beliefs and Protection Practices in the Hindu Community in Portugal
Natália Ramos1* and Ivete Monteiro2
1Universidade Aberta/Open University and CEMRI/Uab, Rua da Escola Politécnica, Lisboa, Portugal
2Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central - Hospital Dona Estefânia and CEMRI/Uab, Lisboa, Portugal
*Corresponding Author: Natália Ramos, Universidade Aberta/Open University and CEMRI. Rua da Escola Politécnica, n.147, 1269-001 Lisboa, Portugal.
Received: April 22, 2020; Published: May 21, 2020


Healthcare plays a major role in migrant communities. Initially subject to drastic changes in their lives, they are subsequently confronted with significant differences in access to healthcare and with practices they do not know and do not identify with. The concept of health itself is called into question, causing incomprehension and insecurity that lead to less secure options and a distance from the healthcare offered by the host society. At the same time, the health beliefs and practices transmitted by their parents and grandparents, despite being present, are questioned, creating imbalances at physical, mental, emotional, social and cultural levels. The Hindu community residing in Portugal is able to articulate ancestral health-related practices, inherited from their ancestors, with practices advocated in the host society in a continuous symbiosis that enhances the alliance of empirical and scientific knowledge. The use of traditional health and protection practices contributed to the maintenance of the Hindu cultural identity in a migratory context, consolidating the connection to India, to the ancestors and showing the respect and pride for being part of an ancestral culture. The present study seeks to identify beliefs and protective practices used by Hindus residing in Portugal and to recognize how these beliefs and practices are perpetuated throughout the generations. It is a qualitative study in which semi-structured interviews, film observations and photographic observations were conducted, directed at the health and protection practices carried out in the temples and in the homes of Hindu families. The data collected in the interviews was subjected to content analysis and, through the images collected, practices related to health and protection were analysed. The results obtained reveal that Hindus initially resort to the practices transmitted by their ancestors in solving simpler health problems, demonstrating a strong connection with the culture of origin and respect and appreciation for the wisdom of the older members of the community. Intergenerational transmission is done informally through observation, the teaching of older elements and participation in rituals in a mutual recognition of ancient wisdom and the adaptive potential of younger people. It is mainly women who dominate health knowledge and practices and popular medicine.

Keywords: Health Beliefs; Health Practices; Hindus in Portugal; Immigration; Health and Culture


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Citation: Natália Ramos and Ivete Monteiro. “Health Beliefs and Protection Practices in the Hindu Community in Portugal”. EC Psychology and Psychiatry 9.6 (2020): 75-81.

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