Ecological Approach

In accordance to the lecture video, the ecological approach places the environment, genetics, and individual choice as factors in determining illness “distribution.” I believe the ecological approach is helpful to use and understand because it includes all aspects of life. To determine disease, illness, its spread, and its effects, looking at it from an ecological standpoint allows for a better examination of the causes and effects as well as how to treat it or prevent it. In my point of view, if one wants to study medicine, they should be willing to open their minds to all the factors that may contribute to sickness, however significant or insignificant they may appear at a given time. To sum it all up, I believe that you cannot correctly diagnose anything in this world, if you do not consider the everyday factors that play into our lives: the social, genetic, environmental, and random occurrences in life among many others.

The distinction between disease and illness was pretty obvious because of the meaning the words have in society. In the sense that the lecture provided, it appears as though illness involves cultural perceptions and appears only through human experiences (i.e. sadness, anxiety…) whereas disease is the immediate “manifestation” of clinical imbalances that physically hinders an individual’s everyday life. (i.e. cancer, Chron’s disease, etc..). The idea of illness without disease and disease without illness can be linked to (as they apply respectively) having the flu momentarily and having HIV-where in some cases the individual may not be aware of the infection.

At first, it did not seem as though the Nacerima was a culture I was familiar with. As I read it, I automatically began to think about tribes in other countries that I read about who had done these kinds of procedure. After further reading, I realized that the article was definitely referring to American culture. This became extremely evident when the author used the word “latipso”. Looking at it, the word reminded me of a hospital and then it all came together. Entering the temple was like entering the hospital and the chances that people who are sick, come out better than when they came in is definitely not a high one.

The two rituals that I will focus on is when the sick individual goes to the temple for assistance and is met with a bunch of procedures that if anything, usually make the case worse rather than better and when the “holy-mouth-man” meets his clients. The two rituals showcased the harsher ways in which the peoples practiced their medicine. However, what interested me the most was the fact that the ‘clients’ kept returning, even when the procedures didn’t work the first time. This undying faith that the people place on the practitioners who are helping cure them expresses how important doctors and medicine has become in our society and how dependent we have become to them. We depend less and less on ourselves to overcome sickness and rush to hospitals and other who claim to help instead of working it out ourselves. Not only this, but even when we aren’t ‘cured’ the first time, without a doubt, we come back the next time, despite what may or may not change the second time around. The ideology that medicine and that technology are the highest form of advancement we have made in this day and age is incredibly seen in the Nacerima article. Women getting breast augmentation or the opposite earnestly plays into our own society, as many of us depend on these practices to make us feel better and to allow us to comfortably live in this world that asks so much but offers less and less in return.

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