Cultural Views

Cultural Views on Health
Darlene Smith
July 31, 2011
Gayla Meyers

Cultural Views on Health

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People from different cultures have their own perspectives on health and disease. Some cultures believe in using traditional medicine, and some just believe in the healing power of praying and herbal healing. People are often affected by their own cultural beliefs when it comes to overcoming diseases and how they can find the right cure. Sometimes, religion and culture can get in the way of receiving proper medical help. ???The belief that illness grows from emotional, moral, and social causes coexists with the formal medical system. Folk healers, generally women, are sometimes called upon to use spells, divination, and herbal remedies to fight against both sickness and such forces as the evil eye??? (Sutton, 2007, Greeks, para 4).
People believe that advanced technology is able to diagnose and cure when herbal remedies fail to work. ???The practice of Western medicine is as firmly established in Puerto Rico as it is throughout much of the United States even though the Latin American and Caribbean traditions continue to provide solutions where Western medicine is weak, especially in the realm of prevention. ???Curanderos??? and ???brujas???, also known as native curers and witches in Spanish, are still prevalent throughout that island and they are known to often mix religious ritual and Western medicines with herbal remedies in their cures??? (Griffith, 2007, Religion and Expressive Culture, para.5). Every culture has a concept of health that is probably different to that of others. People??™s lives and morals are a combination of the different areas is what makes them who they are, and this does not change because of the area where they are from.
The health benefits of organic food are more perceived than real. However, the public opinion that organic food is healthier than conventional food is quite strong and is the sole reason for about 30% growth in the organic food industry since the past 5-6 years. There is little scientific evidence to prove that organic food is better in quality than conventional food. Scientific research conducted so far on various organic food items have not been able to give strong signals about the superiority of organic food over non organic food. As a result, even the FDA and the USDA clearly mention that non organic food is as healthy as organic food. Since organic food is not prepared using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, it does not contain, any traces of these strong chemicals and might not affect the human body. People strongly believe that organic food tastes better than non organic food. Medical decisions are now mostly based on scientific researches. Organic perspective is also based on scientific research and notes that the absence of germs means a health body.
In the cosmology of traditional Oriental Medicine, in between Heaven and Earth is the person. To enjoy perfect health, we need to live in harmony with God or Nature, according to our understanding of our universe. A person??™s health is influenced by his or her relationship with society, family, partner, and self. Someone who struggles bitterly with family members is unlikely to be completely health. Within a person??™s own self, vibrant health results from a dynamic balance of opposing forces. Illness is a state of imbalance or disharmony. Traditional Chinese Medicine has various treatments for illnesses, for example, if you have a stubborn, dry cough, there are acupuncture points for moistening. There are points to help restore the appetite and points to calm it down when you??™re ravenously hungry all the time. Your acupuncturist is skilled in selecting the right combination of points for you during each treatment. Modern practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine have studied for years to learn how to prescribe the best combinations for your specific health problem. Modern herbal pharmaceutical companies are working to adapt their products for western consumers. Generations of patients have been successfully treated with herbs alone or combined with acupuncture.
Stigma (plural, stigmata) is a Greed word in its origins referred to a kind of tattoo mark that was cut or burned into the skin of criminals, slaves, or traitors in order to visibly identify them as blemished or morally polluted. The word was later applied to other personal attributes that are considered shameful or discrediting. In some cases not only the Greed but the rest of the world will learn to accept diseases and physical deformities as neither a curse nor a stigma.
Perlick, D. A., R.A Rosenheck, J. F. Clarkin, ???Stigma as a Barrier to Recovery, 2001

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