Treating the Amish and Addressing their Health Care Concerns
A Practical Guide for Health Care Providers

Who are the Amish?

The Amish migrated from Europe to the United States before the Revolutionary War. Their religion dates back to 1693 when Jakob Ammann founded the Amish church. The formation of the Amish church imposed religious restrictions: non-resistance, non-swearing of oaths, non-secrecy, and non-conformity to the world.

The Amish are a God-fearing, family-loving group of people. Their church doctrine states that "It is easier to stay pure and focused if we set ourselves apart from everyday society, not taking advantage of advances in technology." Their ethics stress self-sufficiency, altruism, and the need to put the community first above oneself.

What are some of the characteristics of the Amish?
How do the Amish feel about seeking medical attention?
As a health care provider, how should I treat the Amish?
What are the different sects of Amish in Ohio?

The Amish community differs in many practices and beliefs due to the different break-offs in their religion. Many forms have developed new orders of the Amish including Beachy Amish, Mennonites, Old Order, and the Swartzentruber Amish. This has caused many practices that are not uniform throughout the Amish society.

The New Order Amish are more progressive than Old Order and are more likely to have telephones and electricity. The Old Order Amish sect does not have electricity or telephones. The strictest Amish sect is the Swartzentruber. They do not use electricity, telephones, refrigerators, iceboxes or motorized equipment; they also avoid indoor plumbing and wear conservative clothing.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact the Center for Consumer Health Information at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771. If you prefer, you may visit or This document was last reviewed on: 10/7/2009

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