“I believe in traditional medicine, I think it is effective and good for my health,” she said. “I don’t use modern medicine because drugs contain chemical substances and counterfeit products.”
Some doctors warn about the dangers of relying solely on traditional healers — especially for serious illnesses.
However, in Cambodia, the pull of traditional medicine is strong.
Many see it as tried and trusted ancient wisdom in contrast to the country’s myriad local pharmacies, which dole out expensive and often counterfeit Western medicines, with no proper advice or prescription.
The most obscure power of the healers pertains to the spirits.
Many Cambodians believe Kru Khmer have the capacity to literally blow bad spirits out of the body.
“I cured a woman who had shingles with my magic breath,” Ky Bouhang said. “Today, she can work again in her farm while no other treatment had been a success.”