Throughout the years, "pasma" has been a very hot health topic in the Philippines. To begin with, this illness originated here in our country that is why it has no English equivalent. I bet you have heard your grandmother's reminder: "Apo, wag kang maligo pagkatapos mo mag basketball. Pasma ang aabutin mo!" (Child, do not take a bath right after you played basketball. You'll get pasma!) Like I said, there's no English equivalent for this word. Although, "pasma" originated from the Spanish word espasmo which means "spasm". Spasm is the sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or a group of muscles. That definition is far different from what pasma is believed to be.
“Pasma” is said to be the interaction of hot and cold.
When someone has been constantly under heat pressure or has been overworking all day long, their muscles are therefore in state of "init" (heat). Once these muscles are abruptly brought in contact with "lamig" (cold) water or air, it will result to pasma. Another examples are when a person has been reading, facing the computer, and sleeping while hair is still wet. When all these factors are repeatedly done, it might cause death (that's what they say).
Pasma has been blamed for numerous incidents of people who suddenly died or became mentally dysfunctional. The contemporary medical science is strongly against with this belief. According to the doctors, it should die a very fast death. In contrary, one Anthropologist from the University of the Philippines pointed out that even if this belief is not recognized by mainstream medicine, the ailments are very real as far as people are concerned, causing suffering and may even be cited as the cause of death. Whatever it is, still majority of the Filipinos believes to that thing called pasma.
There are several beliefs regarding how to prevent or avoid “pasma.” These include avoiding tiresome, repetitive movements of the upper extremities, showering and bathing in the morning, and avoiding washing clothes after ironing. In short, just don’t go into water when you’re so tired or has been exposed to heat. Relax, and take an hour or so of rest before doing so. Folkloric treatments for “pasma” include massages using ginger, coconut oil, alcohol, garlic, and camphor oil. Soaking in lukewarm salted water or rice water is also believed to cure “pasma.”
There are many Filipinos who claimed to have experienced pasma recommend the effectivity of one herbal medicine approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines. Southstar Drug’s Summer Super Savers is giving away free tablets of this herbal medicine so stay tuned on what more we have in store just for you!