I think that the ethnomedical approach would be best for studying health because it looks both at how the culture looks at health and illness, and how individuals seek out help for those diseases and illnesses, so it gives a broad and pretty comprehensive look at any kind of problem.
The distinction between disease and illness is that disease is a physical result of some kind of infection or other pathogenic cause, where as illness in something that separates an individual from normal, whether it’s a mental illness because their mind does not work the way a “normal” mind might and etc. The distinction is pretty easy for me to make, having a little bit of a background in the medical world and a pretty solid understanding of diseases and their effects on the body. Illnesses are a bit harder for me to distinguish, mostly because there are so many more factors that define an illness, even socially and culturally, so it’s more of a spectrum of things instead of a specific effect.
The culture that Miner is talking about is the American culture. It definitely took me two reads through the article to figure this out though. The first read I thought that all of the rituals sounded really bizarre and the second time I read it I noticed all of the things that were spelled backwards and really felt a little silly when I started recognizing all of the rituals.
One of the first rituals that Miner mentions is the sacred box within the shrine. I think this says a lot about how we treat health and medicine. We focus so much on using drugs and prescriptions to treat all of our problems with disease and illness. Another ritual I thought was interesting was his look into hospitals and how we have to pay so much to go to hospitals and have procedures done and then get charged for release. Finally I really enjoyed how he looked into how we treat going to the bathroom and just personal cleanliness in general. Its such a taboo thing to talk about going to the bathroom or to be unclean.