Health Beliefs and Behaviors: Indigenous Health Beliefs

Concept of Balance (Timbang)

This concept is central to Filipino self-care practices and is applied to all social relationships and encounters. According to this principle, health is thought to be a result of balance, while illness due to humoral pathology and stress is usually the result of some imbalance. Rapid shifts from “hot” to “cold” cause illness and disorder. Illustrated below are a range of humoral balances that influence Filipino health perceptions:

  • Rapid shifts from “hot” to “cold” lead to illness
  • “Warm” environment is essential for maintaining optimal health
  • Cold drinks or cooling foods should be avoided in the morning
  • An overheated body is vulnerable to disease; a heated body can get “shocked”
  • When cooled quickly, it can cause illness
  • A layer of fat maintains warmth, protecting the body’s vital energy
  • Imbalance from worry and overwork create stress and illness
  • Emotional restraint is a key element in restoring balance
  • A sense of balance imparts increased body awareness (Adapted from Becker, 2003).