Week 1 Activity: Ethnomedical

The definitions that I chose for Health and Illness were different from the ones defined in the lecture portion of our material this week. I would say that health is a state of mind. If you feel healthy and can accomplish your daily tasks or even broader goals such as a run or bike then you are of a healthy state. This is very fluid however meaning that if your daily task is to go to work and take a walk after and you have accomplished this you could consider yourself in a sense just as healthy as the person who wanted to accomplish a five mile run. Illness in my opinion was something biologically that was causing you to be sick. This could be anything from an infection to a runny nose.

Out of the six approaches to health that were presented to us I would say that the most effective would probably be Ethnomedical. This is a practice that could cover all your bases in terms of whether or not you believe in western medicine or you go to a holistic healer. The main questions being answered in this approach are how you got to be anything other than healthy and how are you going to treat it. By closely looking at the latter, you can narrow down methods that are best for treating the problem. This approach seems the most logical to me because it can be used for all types of medicine not just ones that only deal with a mental state of being or ones that only deal with biology.

In the Miner article I realized that he was probably referring to the American culture when he mentioned the Potomac river. It was obvious that he was referring to Americans in the next paragraph describing the culture as a market economy in which most individuals work tirelessly in economic pursuit. This ritual ties in with health and medicine in the fact that most western medicine if not all of it is going to rake in massive profits for “Big Pharma”. Those are the suits that are working tirelessly to make as much money as possible from their exclusive drugs and in some cases almost creating epidemics in our culture that need to be “fixed”. Another example that ties into health and medicine in the American culture is when Miner describes going to the dentist. Dental care is something that our culture has deemed highly valuable and important to our overall health. It goes beyond health as described in the article by using it as an example that affects our social relationships, saying we go to the mouth-men to better interactions with others.

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