The Amish community has enjoyed exponential growth in population in recent years. This growth has caused an increase in curiosity among many outsiders.
The Amish lifestyle centers around family, church, and work. It’s imperative to maintain good health for these areas to continue to flourish.
Amish healthcare is an interesting topic with explanations that varies from community to community and even in different families.
The Amish believe that God is the ultimate healer and that medicine and healthcare is simply a helpful tool in keeping them, servants of God, alive and well.
The belief that their bodies are temples of God has helped the Amish maintain a health standard that remains fairly unique to their communities.
So, do the Amish go to doctors?
One thing is certain, whether they use modern medicine, visit modern doctors, or partake in community healthcare, the Amish don’t take their health lightly.
The ability to work and provide for their community and family is one of the main motivations for Amish people to maintain good health.
What this article covers:
- Amish Medical treatment
- How Do the Amish Stay So Healthy?
- How Does Religious belief Shape Amish Healthcare?
Amish Medical Treatment
Healthcare practices and treatments vary a lot between different Amish communities. Communities often have different ways of going about their healthcare.
Some communities accept modern medicine and go to hospitals and doctors, while others prefer to deal with their health issues at home.
Amish healthcare is vastly different from the modern world, with religious and cultural differences influencing their healthcare greatly.
And although the Amish are very cautious about their health, they have many different ways of going about caring for themselves and their communities.
Vaccinations are an interesting topic in Amish communities, especially with the recent COVID outbreak.
The Amish believe vaccines to be the same as insurance and can often refuse to accept any sort of vaccine.
With the COVID outbreak, many Amish communities suffered greatly and have reached an understanding that they no longer need vaccines because their Amish communities have immunity.
With the Amish's aversion to technology, understandably, many people assume that they stay away from modern healthcare conveniences and technology.
In some communities, it is acceptable for members to seek out modern medicine and healthcare from doctors or hospitals.
Even though home remedies and self-medication are a preference for many families, more serious ailments call for modern medicine.
The Amish are more concerned with maintaining good health than avoiding modern technology. They see it as a tool to help keep them healthy so they can continue serving God.
Communities will hardly ever object to a member receiving surgery or the use of high-tech hospital equipment.
In the absence of health insurance and social security, Amish communities often fund their hospital bills as a community fund.
The Amish have no problem caring for and helping fellow members in need. Communities often have church funds and donations when members need to pay for expensive medical bills.
Amish communities have doctors and dentists that work locally and will go to the hospital for more serious matters.
Outside of what a family can pay for themselves, the larger community will provide funding and resources for things like hospital stays, organ transplants, or the treatment of extended illnesses.
This means that decisions around these sorts of issues are mostly community decisions, which is why Amish families will always try to pay for hospital bills themselves before turning to the community for help.
A belief that they should provide for themselves with what they have before burdening the community is what brings about this decision.
With the mindset of caring for the community before individual care, the decision to forgo any surgery and treatment will be the most likely choice.
The Amish believe that if that is the case, it’s all part of God's plan, and they have no place to interfere.
Home remedies and self-medication are prominent forms of healthcare in Amish communities and are what many members use before seeking medical attention.
With minor aches and ailments, Amish families have a wide range of home remedies that they use. There are even remedies for things like hearing loss the Amish have in their home remedy collection.
Outsiders often look to communities to share Amish health secrets as they believe the Amish have secrets to good health.
In addition, Amish communities often search for new natural remedies and healthcare, which leads them to vitamins, homeopathic medicine, and healthy foods.
In various communities, terminal illness usually goes without treatment or life-saving surgery. The reason for this is that the Amish have the willingness to suffer because they believe it to be God’s will and plan for them.
Birth and Prenatal Care
Amish women give birth at home and often refuse special prenatal care like ultrasounds.
Family and midwives help with the birth. However, if there are complications or problems, she’s taken to a birth center or hospital.
Local doctors who understand the Amish way of life, are called in to oversee many home births to ensure that a doctor is present.
Birth is often carried out without epidurals or pain relief medication, even if offered by the visiting doctor, which women in Amish communities will not accept.
When Amish babies are born, they’re first given jello water or watermelon seed water to drink before drinking breast milk to prevent jaundice.
Families often have their own recipes for “Amish baby formula” often made from goat milk or other natural ingredients.
Children are a blessing in Amish communities, and women aren’t afraid of labor or pregnancy. In most Amish communities, families strive for many kids.
Since pregnancy is believed to be a blessing, men and women practice modesty when they’re expecting.
Talking about the baby or pregnancy may be seen as bragging or insensitive even to others who haven’t been as fortunate.
Birth control is also not used in Amish culture because having many children and large families are often the goal for Amish couples.
How Do the Amish Stay So Healthy?
Many outsiders assume that their aversion to technology means the Amish practice poor healthcare and their general well-being suffers for it.
This isn’t the case in the slightest, as studies have shown that the average American live span in the 21st century is about 78 years in the 1900’s it was 47.
At the same time, in the early 20th century, the average lifespan of an Amish community member was already above 70.
As a result of their lifestyle and belief system, the Amish treat their bodies like temples and believe that as servants of God, they have to keep their bodies healthy to carry out God's work.
This standard of health and lifestyle is maintained, for various reasons, which could be attributed mainly to religious beliefs.
The Amish have a very active lifestyle of work and labor, as much of what they do consists of them working with their hands.
Modern conveniences and technology, are rarely used in Amish communities, which results in the average Amish person being approximately six times more active than the regular person.
With their day-to-day lives consisting of chopping, sowing, lifting, planting, and making things by hand, it’s no surprise that their health is as good as it is.
How Does Religious belief Shape Amish Healthcare?
The belief system and religion of the Amish influence their healthcare greatly, offering a very different healthcare system than the western world, but it's a system that brings them many benefits.
For one, the Amish don’t receive benefits from social security and healthcare insurance as they believe that insurance means an individual does not have faith that God will provide for them.
One way that many Amish communities pay for big medical fees is through a community pool.
One of their core beliefs is that providing for yourself as an individual is being a good servant of God. Amish individuals believe that good health is a gift from God and should not be taken for granted.
Many health-conscious behaviors are a norm in Amish communities which contributes to their standard of health.
Things like alcohol and tobacco aren’t allowed in most communities, which means that many unhealthy habits afflicting the modern world are not a problem for Amish health.
Along with their devout simplistic lifestyle, which consists of manual labor and most tasks being done by hand, the Amish hold a standard of health much higher than the average outsider.
Many advantages of the Amish lifestyle are unique to the Amish themselves, and while many outsiders do not see their lifestyle as perfect or ideal, they have no intention of changing what works for them.
Because of the values they hold dear in their communities, such as having a strong family and community structure, being devout to tradition and their religion, and diligent work.
Health is an important factor for many Amish individuals to maintain to carry out these values.
The Amish are much healthier people in general compared to the average outsider. However, they are also more likely to suffer or die from life-threatening illnesses, due to their beliefs.
So while many may disagree and see their lifestyle as a bad thing, there are many advantages to it.
Many outsiders can learn quite a few things from the Amish and their traditional way of life such as their community structure and caring nature towards their fellow members.
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