Biological Approach

The biological approach seems to be the most beneficial approach in the study of health. All of the approaches described overlap and involve one another in various aspects and circumstances but for the sake of the big picture, the biological one stands out for me. The biological approach involves aspects of the environment, genetics, and individual choices, covering some major factors of health. This approach is helpful to understand because it goes beyond just the genetic differences of each individual as it relates the ecological, social and cultural aspects that affect one’s health as well.

The distinction between disease and illness can be tricky at times. Many people don’t understand or even realize that there is a significant difference in the meaning of the two words. A disease involves the interruption of physical functioning and aspects of one’s environment and behavioral patterns. An illness is strictly an individual’s experience that is influenced by one’s social and cultural context. These definitions were not obvious to me, but are easily understood.

The culture that Miner is describing in the Nacirema article is that of North America. I have actually read this article beforehand in more than one class that I have taken. When I first realized whom Miner was actually describing, I better understood the culture, as I could relate to it in being a part of it.

One ritual of the Nacirema is the mouth-rite and the seeking out of the holy-mouth-man once or twice a year. The article describes the high value placed on the mouths of the individuals and the importance of not coming off as revolting, but rather of drawing in friends. Removing the evils of the mouth with magical materials represents a strong ideology of attractive appearance and good hygiene by the Nacirema people. Another ritual described is the imposing temple, or latipso, run by the medicine men. This ritual suggests value placed on the medicine men themselves for obtaining their own temple, along with value placed on the rich gifts that are required in exchange for various ceremonies performed here. The Nacirema people have ideologies involving the worship of healers and the sacredness of magical materials.

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  1. Sultan Qiblawi says:

    I think that the mouth-rite ritual has been updated and implemented into many different cultures around the world. Nowadays, we brush our teeth and see it as a statement of our cleanliness just how the Nacirema believed it was for them. In the past they would go to holy mouth men once or twice a year and it has been adapted to modern times. In modern societies, we go to dentists twice a year similar to the Nacirema and we place a great importance on it. I personally believe that we have adapted the mouth rite and holy mouth man into our modern society. I also think that the latipso has been adapted to fit in modern society. Today, we send our sick to the hospital and pay large sums of money to receive healthcare. We place such importance on it that we factor health insurance into most of our occupations. I believe that the two ceremonies/rituals that you discussed in your post have been displayed in modern society and have exhibited the same importance in our society as it was in the Nacirema society. The Nacirema people placed the same importance on health care and rituals surrounding hygiene that people in modern society do. It is important note that we have updated these rituals to make them more refined and more accessible to everyone. Toothbrushes and toothpaste have taken the place of the boar hair that the Nacirema used place in their mouth, and hospitals have taken the place of temples for the latipso.

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