There are traditional remedies for some folk illnesses.

A popular home remedy for a headache uses a mixture of egg whites and coffee beans.

Salvadorans also believe in utilizing traditional healers known as curanderos and are sometimes used along with mainstream medical treatment. Curanderos use herb teas and poultices, traditional exercises, incantations, and are believed to have a healing magical touch. Those that solely rely on curanderos are usually undocumented Salvadoran Americans. They are often hesitant to visit American doctors or hospitals for fear of being reported to the immigration authorities. Other Salvadoran immigrants are patients of Salvadoran doctors who may have received training at home but have no license to practice in the United States.

There is also a prominent belief that God is the main power in control of their health and lives, irrespective of the implementation of any kind of medical treatment or intervention. They believe treatments are only effective if God wants them to be effective. This is supported by their use of spiritual and herbal resources.

Regarding disabilities, a prevalent Salvadoran belief is that disability equates to having a disease. Among the general Salvadoran population, it is very common to hear that persons who are deaf are “ill” or such phrases as “the poor blind.” Disabled individuals are at times discriminated against and expected to not take part in social activities. There is a general attitude of passivity and shame, which can be addressed through advocacy. People with psychiatric disorders are simply considered “mad” and have been confined to institutions in the past. There are differences between persons with lifelong disabilities and those with acquired disabilities. People with lifelong disabilities tend to think about the disability as part of their bodies, or as a part of themselves, whereas persons with acquired disabilities often think of themselves as “different” for a number of reasons. Paraplegic individuals who have gone through rehabilitation can usually be very independent and may have very good self-esteem. At the same time, they are not willing to interact with people who have disabilities such as polio, cerebral palsy or others that oblige them to be highly dependent upon others.


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