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September 2022

Cult Med Psychiatry. 1979 Sep; 3(3): 267-300.

An explication of 'wind illness' in northern Thailand.

Muecke MA.

'Wind illness' is a very common complaint among the Northern Thai, yet is rarely recognized by Thai physicians trained in biomedicine. Persons most susceptible to 'wind illness' are adult women who have ever borne a child. Consequently, data were obtained from 415 everparous women, 43% of whom reported ever having had 'wind illness' and 57%. never having had it. In addition, 20 individuals who had ever had the syndrome were followed for case study, and 13 indigenous healers who traditionally treat clients suffering 'wind illness' were interviewed. Their perceptions of the etiology, symptomatology and treatment of 'wind illness' are reported in Part I. Part II is an attempt to define 'wind illness' in terms of biomedicine and as a consequence of fertility. Part III synthesized the emic and etic accounts with explanations for the perdurance of 'wind illness' despite the advances of biomedicine and the recent fertility decline in Northern Thailand.

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