Folk medicine : a Ukrainian Canadian experience

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Klymasz, Andrea Karen
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This study is an ethnographic description of contemporary Ukrainian Canadian folk medicine. The focus is on healing techniques of Canadian born Ukrainians, primarily in Manitoba. The folk medicine practised in Manitoba consists almost exclusively of wax pouring. This healing method is performed by a few Ukrainian Canadian women and is believed to be an effective cure for evil eye for those people who believe in it. A healer in a small rural Manitoba town is the main informant. Interviews with people who had been to healers in their lifetime are also included. The materials gathered show that urban and rural differentiation does not affect beliefs in folk medicine. Small towns may be physically isolated from large cities, but the people are not. Folk medicine and Western biomedicine exist together and may be utilized by the same people. Ukrainian folk medicine continues to be practised and used by more women than men, although the younger generation is quickly losing belief in the traditional ways. Historically, it is valuable to document Ukrainian healing techniques; anthropologically it contributes to an understanding of how these techniques are used today.