Ethnomedical Approach

I believe the Ethnomedical approach is what would relate most directly to why I am studying health. I’m interested in health and society, specifically how they interact with each other. The Ethnomedical approach focuses on how health is viewed differently in different cultures, and how based on different cultures an illness may be treated and looked upon differently. Illness and disease are different ways of identifying sickness. Disease is the outward physical impacts of being sick. Illness is looked upon differently because it is the belief internally of having a sickness, as well as how the society you’re in views alterations of health. The distinction between illness and disease was somewhat obvious to me. However, after seeing the definitions of each as they relate to this class it became clearer. My initial impression was that disease is what others see and illness is what you feel. Miner is talking about our culture. I picked up on which group it was at the beginning when Miner said they were located in North America between Canada, Mexico, and the Antilles. I realized he was talking about the population of American when saying they were had a highly developed market economy and that the people are constantly in pursuit of economic gains. Also, when talking about how the Nacerima visit the dentist office, it became very obvious. The first ritual I want to discuss is the American obsession over going to the dentist. Miner depicts the Nacirema as being very concerned about their oral health, and believing that without adhering to the practices of going to the dentist, it will ultimately impact their entire life in a slippery slope sort of way. With the Nacerima culture being so focused on outward appearances, this could be a believable idea. Another ritual I would like to discuss is the Nacirema visiting temples (hospitals) when they are sick. Miner states that when one first enters the temple they are stripped of their personal belongings and their bodies are exposed. This would hold true to our modern day visits to a hospital. The doctor has to be able to examine your body in order to “see” what is wrong. This is one example of our culture of medicine varying from other cultures

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