W1 Reflection: Ecological Approach

I believe the ecological approach would be most useful in studying health as the environment can shape and change certain cultures perceptions of health and life itself. If a certain culture has been living in a specific environment for a long period of time, it is very likely that have had to adapt physically, mentally and socially to live in that environment and those adaptations can be passed on to their descendants. Health practices can, in turn, be affected by the adaptations and can be further studied with a geographical context that can change according to movement patterns and locations of cultures.


The distinction between disease and illness was difficult to understand as I had the assumption that both were the same or that disease was more chronic than the latter. I was surprised to learn the difference between the two could be determined according to presence or lack of symptoms as well as whom and how it was determined (Doctors and tests compared to people and Web MD, for example).


In the Nacirema article, the culture discussed was of an indigenous North American group that believed that the body was inherently unhealthy and decaying and that a substantial commitment to certain rituals had to be done so that it would not fall apart. The culture definitely follows ethnomedical approaches in the way health is viewed and handled. The two rituals that were –most intriguing to me where that of the home shrines which were very private and filled with a great amount of secrecy and the rituals of the latipso temple which completely contrasted the home rituals. These two rituals were very interesting as they both highlight the Nacirema beliefs of the ugliness of the body through the secrecy but also through the excruciating procedures which further points to the weakness of the body.

2 thoughts on “W1 Reflection: Ecological Approach

  1. I like the way you structured you post it show’s a very interesting thought process to the questions that were asked of us. The way you broke up each of your answers for the questions asked is a nice addition for your posting. I find your idea on the ecological approach interesting and look forward to see how your thoughts develop throughout the course and to see if you keep the same thoughts on the ecological approach. It was refreshing to see your thoughts on illness and disease and the fact you felt that they were similar or the same. Many people I know wouldn’t admit that information and sound naïve in their conversations about it, with that I say thank you. The options you choose for your last question is a nice prospective on the two rituals and how you articulated them. Your thoughts on the privacy and secrecy part of the readings that we had peaked my interest. Over all it was nice to read your thoughts on this week’s assignments and seeing a different thought process that broadens my prospective on looking at things. I think we will all learn a great amount and a new prospectives.

  2. Hello Nyasha,
    To begin, I really enjoyed your post on the comparison of the ecological approach to that of environmental adaptation over time. The most intriguing portion of your post was the undeniable connection you made to the idea of an anthropological context considering people of the past and present and their historical beliefs. In contrast, I also agree with you and believe that the Latipso temple ceremonies are similar to our idea of a hospital. The only difference is their health practices were indeed influenced by adaptations which include cultural practices as well.
    In relation to the Nacirema article, the culture discussed believed that the body was inherently unhealthy and decaying which they considered to be a disease or illness. For that reason alone, it is essential for them to practice certain rituals in order to remain “healthy” as their standards see fit. Just as in Western society, we consider a person to be in good health if they are free from illness and disease. I agree the selected rituals examining the home shrines and the rituals of the latipso temple definitely highlight the flaws/ugliness of the body. But I also believe that one thing we should consider is that these procedures may seem extreme to us but are the cultural norm to this group of individuals and I respect their beliefs.

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