Health, Faith Traditions, and South Asian Indians in North America

Prakash N. Desai

in Religion and Healing in America

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780195167962
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850150 | DOI:
Health, Faith Traditions, and South Asian Indians in North America

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In the last two decades of the 20th century, the presence of South Asian Indians in the United States and Canada has been felt in all major walks of life. The Indian immigrant community and its first-generation descendants are a relatively affluent minority in North America. Like most immigrants, Indian immigrants remain tied to their traditional preferences for food and cuisine. In a landscape of adaptation and acculturation, sexuality presents the main challenge for Indians, particularly to the parents of adolescent children. While the community is diverse, with many regional differences, most Hindus in the United States patronize Western medicine, especially in acute illness. Still, their native assumptive system regarding the body and health and illness derived from the principles of Ayurveda continues to thrive. Strategies adopted by Hindus when seeking help and healing may not appear to a non-Indian to be what is ordinarily understood as religious healing. For an Indian, however, religion typically means more than a connection with a deity or a religious order.

Keywords: Indians; United States; Canada; religious healing; Ayurveda; religion; food; Western medicine; acute illness

Chapter.  6533 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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