Pinching, Coining and the Mighty Tiger Balm
Over the last few weeks I have been battling a cold which I am finally beginning to recover from. Being in Cambodia where the healthcare system is under developed, my mind can’t help but drift into my childhood and think about some of the traditional remedies growing up and that are still widely practiced in Cambodia today.
One of my fondest memories of my father was how he would try to make me feel better when I was sick. My mother, who was a trained nurse, was the one who would actually take care of me, give me medicine, make me rice porridge (borbor) and nurse me back to health. But on the occasions I told him I wasn’t feeling well he would inject his own version of care. He would hold my face with his hands, tell me to close my eyes, say a few Buddhist prayers in Pali, make a circular motion around my head, then blow in my face and say “PHVANG!” three times “You are better now”! And for a moment I was. I believed the power of his prayers and the whimsical blow of his breath cured me of my ailment.