I believe that the biological approach is the most useful for studying health for many different reasons. The main reason is that I feel it covers the main areas that effect ones’ health: an individual’s choices, the environment and genetics. These three areas will have a huge effect on whether or a not an individual is healthy. Another reason that I support the use of the biological approach is that it does not rely on culture. It is apparent that any individual that is part of any culture is able to become sick. Also, this approach utilizes the environment which I believe is a major contributing factor to health. Finally, I chose this approach because it puts a lot of emphasis on individuality. An individual can be more susceptible to certain illnesses, more so than other individuals because every has and carries many different genes or individuals went through and adapted to different situations that weakened their immune systems and ability to fight off certain diseases.
The distinction between disease and illness is that disease is the physical problem that is effecting a person, and it is uniform across cultures, where illness is the person’s perception of their disease or sickness, which changes depending on what culture they may be a part of, or what their attitudes towards sickness are. The distinction between disease and illness appears to be plain and simple but because they are sometimes used interchangeably, I can see how there are some gray areas that make it a little more confusing.
In Miner’s article about the Narcerima people, he is describing a culture that focuses on health through the understanding of magical and spiritual belief. I realized this when he started talking about how each family has an alter room that they store their potions and relics in a box in the wall. Their belief in the power of magic explains why they provide gifts to the medicine men and use potions to ward off disease and illness. The fact that these people still experience all the ailments that they believe magic will alleviate shows just how deep of a cultural bond they have to their understanding and experience with illness.
There are a few rituals that demonstrate their cultural beliefs of health and the influence of medicine. One ritual is exorcisms. The belief that a witch doctor can remove evil out of an individual shows a high emphasis on spiritual healing. There is an importance on the cleansing of the spirit and that evil can cause harm to one’s health if allowed. Another ritual is unclothing of sick individuals as they enter the imposing temple. Since nudity is not allowed within this culture, the stripping off of the clothing and allowance of others to wash them demonstrates how strong the beliefs are put into the healers of this temple. The faith that they have in their healers parallels the faith we put into doctors and the medical system.