Ethnomedical Approach

I believe that the ethnomedical approach is the most helpful way to understanding health. The ethnomedical approach studies medical systems based on their cultural beliefs and practices of a particular ethnic group. I believe this is the most useful approach because it is focused on a specific ethnic group so the diagnosis, symptoms, and treatments are strictly for that group. Nothing goes against that ethnic groups practices or beliefs because the medical system is made for them. Having a disease usually means something is affecting an organ or organs, having a disease usually means something is affecting the person as a whole. Illness occurs while having a disease but it is the feelings that come along with the disease. Illness can also occur without a disease taking place. The distinction between disease and illness has to do with how it is perceived and how it affects the body. The two are connected for obvious reasons such as they both affect the body, the two are commonly seen together but disease can occur without illness but it is not very common for illness to occur without disease. It is not obvious to me that illness does not occur without disease with most cases because illness is the feelings you get, you can get symptoms of a disease without having the disease, itself. In the Nacirema article, it discussed the rituals of the mouth. The “holy-mouth men” believed that without rituals of the mouth their teeth would fall out, their gums bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them. The Nacirema also have a ritual about shrines which are not connected with family ceremonies but are done in private. The rituals are usually only discussed with children, and are done during the mystery initiation. The Nacirema culture believe that the mouth has a lot to do with the relationships thy have and the health of them. The Nacirema culture believes in the use of magic.

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  1. blazeje4 says:

    I think it was obvious after reading the article on Nacirema culture that their “holy-mouth-man” was clearly related to who we refer to now as the dentist. Being a pre dental student, this is the section of the article I focused on the most. I found it interesting that they used hair to clean the mouth, which would now be mostly related to flossing (an everyday practice for oral hygiene). Even fifty years or so ago they believed without these rituals of the mouth the individuals teeth would fall out which I also found neat.
    I did find it somewhat extreme how extreme narcirema culture found magic to be. I guess based on your definition of magic you could say the care for the mouth and other medical fields could be magic. However I think the overall feeling for the word magic these days relates to magic shows and acts of entertainment or amusement for an audience.
    Lastly, you mentioned shrines that were not connected to family ceremonies but rather done in private. This is something that has differed over the years but still remains somewhat the same. It seems that there are more shrines housing a particular relic or object of worship in a certain cultures temple or place of worship however there may still be shrines in an individuals home or personal place.

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