I find the ethnomedical approach to be the best way to study health especially when considering cultures that have existed for thousands and thousands of years. I like this approach because it takes into account all different types of traditional medicine used. In less developed countries than the United States, medicine men, shaman, and traditional healers are where most people go to receive care. In another class I’ve taken about public health we learned that in Africa bone setters are standard of care for broken bones and injuries. A large amount of the indigenous people do not want to go to hospitals and prefer the traditional methods. These methods are very popular in the Far East as well with use of different herbs, plants, and acupuncture.

I find it hard to distinguish the difference between illness and disease sometimes because the two are often interchanged or said that a diseased person will lead to having an illness. I believe the opposite that an ill person is at the beginning stages of disease. I had not read this article before and I did not realize it was about America until i saw the sentence talking about chopping the cherry tree. One of the rituals was the “holy-mouth men” i found this one as an interesting view on dentists and americans importance of a healthy mouth and nice smile. People with a nice smile make a wonderful first physical impression. I liked it also because my dad is a dentist. It also referred to our daily teeth brushing as a “private mouth rite”. The latipso ceremony is referring to our hospitals and there say it is a temple “where people go to die” and that those willing to undergo the purification ritual only receive it if they can afford it. The section about women’s appearance and their breast size was interesting, but easily recognizable in our culture. The article says, “a few women afflicted with almost inhuman hypermammary development are so idolized that they make a handsome living by simply going from village to village and permitting the natives to stare at them for a fee.”

This article shows that without knowledge of a people you can make assumptions and biases without realizing how similar you are. The article made our health system and culture seem so crazy with how it was worded, but we experience these “norms” everyday

2 thoughts on “Ethnomedical

  1. I like how you connected the past with the present and also are able to tie in the environment in the ethnomedical approach for you to better understand anthropology. For me, the biological approach was best because I can make the most sense of it. I am most familiar with it because it is my major field of study and allows me to connect the familiar with the unfamiliar. Reading how you understand the ethnomedical approach does help me to better understand and use it to my advantage.

    If I were to update the rituals for the article I would leave most of the rituals the same and add to them. The Latisma would no longer be just a place to die but would be a place to change your image. I would include this because plastic surgery is such a large industry now and we see it everywhere from small injections of botox to breast implants. I would also include the changes in teeth straightening and whitening because our obsession with our teeth has only grown since the article was first written. I do find it quite funny that Minor said it the best 50 years ago that we as a people seem to hate our own image and that we feel we are dammed to our bodies. We are forever trying to change or “improve” what we were naturally given and judge those that can not change themselves.

  2. I see that you chose the ethnomedical approach. I picked the biological approach as the most useful to study health. I feel this way because studying a persons or a group of peoples’ genetic makeup can tell you a lot about their health and how prone to disease they may or not be. Also I think that the environment that the individuals live in can also reveal a lot about one’s health. The environment can change many factors in a person’s life and the choices they make resulting in changes in a positive or negative way to one’s health.
    I see that you chose the “holy-mouth men” for a ritual. Miner is referring to a dentist here. One way to update this could be to add an orthodontist as some sort of practitioner who uses instruments to straighten teeth. In reference to the “latipso” you can change that from just having a hospital to having nursing homes and hospices as well. Also with the breast and weight augmentation, today it seem like people get a lot more then that done to change their appearances. In today’s world people many people get face lifts, laser treatment and implants to other parts of the body so those could be added to that ritual.

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