Ethnomedical approach

I find that the ethnomedical approach is the most helpful for me in this course. I find this because since this is an anthropology course, the ethnomedical allows for a full comprehensive understanding of every group of people’s understanding of health, no matter their background. With the ethnomedical understanding of a curable disease found I’m many locations. For the study of the symptoms, one can use ethnomedical study of medical conditions to understand what to look for in any situation. As for treatment, the study on an ethnomedical level allows for an understanding of multiple manners of treatment. This comes in handy for situations such as whether a person wishes for pharmaceutical or natural remedies. Chinese medicine is a good modern world example, as many of these treatments are non pharmaceutical compared to much of the treatments in the United States. This allows for a wide array of approaches to problems in the medical world.

In the Nacerima article, it can be found that is talking about the western culture under the guise of an outsider’s view of our strange behavior. Upon reading the article, I had an inkling that he was discussing this with the free market economy. However, within discussing the charm-box and all of that I began to doubt my thoughts. Once I reached the latipso portion of the article I realized once again that I had been initially correct. This idea as well as the thought of the “mouth-men” also represents the medical field as the dentistry profession. I think the author did an incredible job presenting the acts of western medicine and health from an outside and ritualistic viewpoint. I applaud the efforts made in the article as it had me doubting my thoughts and then bringing me back full circle upon the end of the article.

I believe disease and illness are different although similar because disease would be the actual problem as well as the foundation for illness, which is the resulting problems and ailments from the disease. This is important because the two go hand in hand, but hold different meanings.

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  1. Jenny Hallesy says:

    What’s interesting about Miner’s article is that, while it was written over 50 years ago, these “rituals” he discussed still hold true today, including the two that you have listed. The Nacirema’s latipso ritual represents the way American’s portray having to go to the hospital and unfortunately, there are many people who currently view visiting the hospital in the same way. Healthcare is a major part in American tradition. For most, a trip to the hospital for an emergency is regular practice and it is not uncommon to have a negative outlook on the experience. Many view the hospital as a scary or dangerous place due to the relationship between the pain caused by an accident and the medical personnel working to fix the problem. Hospitals then become correlated with fear/pain.
    When it comes to the “mouth-men” ritual, going to the dentist and taking care of one’s teeth is something that most American’s take part in. It is not unusual for an American to believe that poor dental hygiene may have a direct relationship to the amount of friends they have. This is a tradition that people are taught at a very young age in order to ensure they learn to practice this ritual properly as an adult. In today’s age, it is frowned upon to have poor oral hygiene while a person with good oral hygiene is praised. For this reason and the ongoing pursuit of approval, and of course for proper health upkeep, people have made it a tradition and a habit to have healthy mouths.

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