Tag Archives: familial belief


In a discussion about family health practices, a classmate shared a folk remedy rooted in his heritage. When a family member falls ill, his father employs a traditional healing method. This involves igniting a tissue, placing it on a glass, and then setting the glass on the stomach of the sick person. The belief is that the burning tissue creates a vacuum within the glass, which then draws out the infection from the individual’s body.


My classmate explained that this practice of using fire and a glass to cure ailments is an ancestral folk medicine technique passed down through generations in his family. They believe that the heat and resulting suction specifically target the sickness, effectively extracting it from within. He recalled this method being applied various times throughout his childhood, particularly for stomach-related issues. The ritual, though medically unverified, is deeply embedded in the familial tradition, and it’s a vivid representation of the intimate trust they place in their heritage and the natural methods of healing.


This folk remedy mirrors the principles of sympathetic magic, specifically of the contagious variety, as outlined by James George Frazer. Just as Frazer described how objects associated with a person, such as a lock of hair, could be used to influence their well-being, so does the use of a glass on the body in this practice suggests a transfer or extraction of ailment. While to the outsider it may seem a quaint or even irrational act, to those practicing, it’s a manifestation of a deep-seated belief in the tangible interaction between physical objects and one’s health. Furthermore, Hafstein’s notion of collective tradition plays a role here, emphasizing the importance of community and shared practices in the development of folk remedies. Rather than deriving from a single innovator, this practice is likely the result of communal beliefs and the collective wisdom of the family, passed down and adapted over time. It represents a lineage of knowledge and a tangible connection to their ancestors, imbuing the act with personal, cultural, and historical significance beyond mere “entertainment value” or rudimentary medical intervention. This traditional method, while not scientifically substantiated, offers a unique lens through which we can examine the interplay of belief, culture, and the human need to find solace in the face of illness.