Informant is my cousin, who lives in San Jose, California, an area with the second largest population of Vietnamese immigrants in the world outside of Vietnam. This is a form of folk medicine that was used on him before.
“So my grandma, who was born in Vietnam, really believes in using the coin treatment for when anybody is sick or is in pain. Basically, you take a large coin, like a quarter or something, and you rub it on the sick person’s back and neck and other skin areas really hard. It’s supposed to break your blood vessels, so it looks like you’re bruised everywhere, but apparently it also helps you to recover quicker and numbs your pain.”
Have you ever tried it yourself?
“Yeah, my grandma used it on me when I was really little once, when I had come down with a cold. To be honest, it hurt like hell, and afterward my cold didn’t feel much better, but now I was also in a lot of pain from the marks on my body. It seems like this is a pretty common Vietnamese treatment for many people though, as a few of my friends have told me that they used the same thing.”
This is a story that is near and dear to my heart, as our grandma used to use this same kind of remedy when we were sick. In Vietnamese, the name of the treatment translates to “scraping wind”, which relates to how the word used for a cold is “catching wind”. This treatment was believed to help release the symptoms, but it is very painful. However, it is long time tradition of Vietnamese medicine, and is still used today, both in Vietnam and in parts of Asia and the rest of the world with Vietnamese people.