The biomedical approach would be the most helpful for me to use and understand. Since I plan on studying health in the United States it is important for me to understand the environment the patient came from, their genetic history, and how they approach medicine and its practices. There are many different cultures within the U.S. and different ideas about certain religious practices that are important to consider when treating an individual.
The distinction between disease and illness was not obvious to me. Illness takes into consideration the individual’s personal experience while disease relies on a clinical diagnosis. While I know that people will refuse certain kinds of treatment, I did not think to consider that they may not see a doctor at all or may not even think of themselves as “sick”. In American society, we seek treatment for many conditions that other cultures do not think of as disease; for example, anxiety or depression. Some people may not think these conditions are necessary of medical intervention while others would seek medication or therapy.
In the article, Body Rituals of the Naricema, I understood Miner to be talking about American culture. Throughout the article bold words which warrants a certain level of not having cultural consciousness surfaced; words such as “magical” and “witch doctor” for example. I was charged with the idea of an anthropologist describing the Naricema people with belittling terms. Having a history of understanding medicine in other forms as majestic in some way as an American, the article looks at the relation between the human body and medicine that aids with prevention and defense in a way that can be relatable to a non-western society because it seems outlandish to the American form of medicine and health. Also, I realized that Nacirema spelled backwards is American.
One of the rituals I chose to examine was how at a men’s ceremony, scrapes and lacerates the surface of the face with a sharp instrument. The article states how the personality structure of people is considered. Scraping of the face can be viewed as a humbling concept that brings out personality while denouncing physical features of a person which would be associated with impurity.
Another one is the mouth-rite. The Nacirema are very particular about the mouth and the ritual involves putting a small bundle of hog hairs and “magical powders” into the mouth and moving it vigorously around in the mouth. This ritual emphasizes how they viewed the mouth as being especially evil and that vigorous cleansing was needed.