Biological Approach

I think the biological approach is the most useful to me in studying health. I think it is very beneficial to think of health as a combination of factors from genetics, the environment, and individual choice. Also, due to my background in biology, I have been trained to think of treatment and prevention in this scientific way.

The distinction between disease and illness is that disease refers to a specific abnormality in the human body that can often be tested for and treated. Illness is the subjective feelings that come from the specific disease whether it is pain, numbness, nausea, etc. Illness can also be affected by non-disease factors such as cultural beliefs. Many people with the same ‘disease’ will often describe their ‘illness’ in a different way. I think this was obvious to me only because I have discussed this distinction in many of my classes. However, I believe it can be not quite so obvious to someone who has never studied health.

The culture that Miner is talking about in the Nacerima article in our culture in North America. I realized this when he described the location of the group and how concerned the peoples were with appearance and cleanliness.

The two rituals by the Nacirema that stuck out to me were the fasting ritual and the medicine men and herbalists. The fasting ritual represents the ideology that there is a specific body type that we believe constitutes health and well-being. It shows that the people value physical appearance as a determining factor of health. The medicine men and herbalist represent the ideology that we trust people to treat us in ways that we often don’t fully understand. It shows that we often lack knowledge about our diseases and allow doctors to treat us despite not understanding how the medicines actually work.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Ethan Gotz says:

    Hi Kelly,
    You analyzed some good points in your blog about the Nacirema culture. For the fasting ritual and the medicine men and herbalist, I believe that this could be further updated to represent the current culture that we live by today. For example, in addition to the “fasts that make fat people thin”, more could be included on how people go to a room or “temple” where they can run and build muscle to attempt to get rid of the fat in their body. In order to use this temple these people must be apart of some club, or what we call as having a “gym membership”. I think you made a great point about how we put a lot of faith and trust into our doctors and pharmacist to diagnose which medical condition we have, and to give us the appropriate medication that we need. I think that the interaction between the patient, the medicine man, and the herbalist, could further be updated by including the usage of a “secret society” where the ill person pays money to the society who will, in turn, pay for the gifts that the medicine men and herbalist provide…a.k.a health insurance. Our society depends on insurance to cover the costs of our expensive treatments, even if we don’t even need these treatments until we get old. I think its unique for someone to give money to a company in return for something that we may never even need.

Leave a Reply