The Amish are Christian Anabaptists who hold many similar beliefs to those of modern American Protestants. However, the Amish are perhaps best known for their strong belief in the importance of community. They avoid many modern technologies, such as home telephones and automobiles out of the belief that their use would lessen dependence on their neighbors. The Amish do not dislike technology, and are not opposed to its use in exceptional cases. When it comes to using modern health care, the Amish embrace a similar set of beliefs.
The Amish have no religious or biblical objections to the use of modern health care. As a result, the degree of reliance on modern medicine varies greatly from one Amish community to the next. Often, how willing an Amish individual is to seek out modern health care is dependent on his family's personal preferences. Medicine is a rare area of Amish life in which core beliefs often differ between the individual members of a single community.
Compared to the general public, the Amish are less likely to seek modern medical treatment. When confronted with a health problem, many Amish turn to homeopathic treatments as a first line of defense. Folk remedies, herbal teas, reflexology, and health foods are all regarded by many Amish as preferential to conventional medicine. This may be related to the Amish desire to turn to their communities with problems before they seek outside help.
Lack of health insurance is another reason why many Amish turn to homeopathy before they head to the doctor. The Amish do not believe in having any sort of personal insurance because they fear it would lessen their reliance on the community in times of struggle. When an Amish person is sick he may depend on community funds to cover health care expenses. Generally one member of the community is responsible for maintaining a pool of funds to support any medical needs that arise.
Trust in the Mystical
The Amish regard God as the ultimate healer. In general, this makes them more willing to suffer through minor ailments than their secular counterparts. When faced with pain, the Amish can often find comfort in the idea of God's divine providence. Their supreme trust in God's will also makes them less likely than the general public to seek medical intervention during a major illness or end-of-life care for the older community members.
- Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images