Ethnomedical

I chose to write about the Ethnomedical approach because I think it will be the most relevent for me in my life. Being an Occupational Therapist, my job will be to “fix” people. In order to help this people, I will have to be really creative due to the cultural and physical differences between my patients. I will need to be able to combat their injury in a number of different ways so that I can provide them with the type of care that is best suited for them.

The distinction between disease and illness is tricky, but obvious if thought about correctly. It is easy to confuse the two, or to group them under a common definition, but the two are different. I agree with the definition from the lecture, that “illness” is defined as the problem the subject perceives and “disease” as the problem seen by others.

Miner is talking about American culture, I realized this at the beginning of paragraph three when they talk about Nacerima having a market economy. The ritual that interested me the most were the ones relating to teeth. This was actually brought to my attention about two years ago, when I first started talking to my boyfriend. He has always been self conscious of his teeth but has not had the money to pay for the amount of work needed. We started talking about why American’s are the only ones who so strongly value perfect teeth. There really is no reason for this ideology. There is no difference in function or level of health whether you have perfectly straight teeth or if you have a bad over bite. Essentially we are just trying to fit into our social norms. I had never thought about it before but it is true. Americans obsession with dental hygiene could be considered excessive to other cultures, but it shows how greatly our mouths play on our social status and happiness to a certain extent. I know it has played a role in my boyfriends life, and I am sure in many others as well.

The other ideology that stood out to me, was talk about ritual fasts to make fat people skinny, and then the celebration that makes skinny people fat. American culture also greatly values body image. It is often said that skinny people are healthy, however the ideal size desired by Americans is usually considered unhealthy. Yet often times, people will take forms of “medicine” to keep them at their ideal size. There are also numerous surgeries and practices that will keep them at their desired weight. This too represents Americans interesting and perhaps flawed view on health and medicine.

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