Health, illness and treatments have been looked in different ways based on the cultural beliefs and traditions where one belong. Cultures all over the world have created and practiced different kind of healing system and all of these have rational points on how human bodies function normally and abnormally.
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Health professionals should integrate diverse cultural concept in dealing to various healing system and modify treatments that put emphasis in giving the best health care that one deserves to have. Multi-ethnic understanding should be taken into consideration because different cultures have their distinct ways in dealing with diseases.
The biomedical model of health focuses on the biological aspect of the individual and uses scientific methods to diagnose and cure an illness. The diagnostic methods and tools are used to restore the physical state of the human body. It sees good health as the absence of pain or freedom from disease and is based on a fact.
While this model focus on the individual, other healing system like the Hmong model, that has little information about the western medical practice, believes that the causes and the cure of illnesses are divided into two parts, the spiritual and non-spiritual aspect.
The story of “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall down” implies that the Hmong sees epilepsy as of divine nature where a spirit enters the body.
This contradicts to what the doctor views that it is merely an illness that needs treatment to stop the seizure. In Hmong model, if the cause of the illness is of spiritual aspect, ancestral worship and ritualistic ceremonies are done by the shaman. In cases where illness is caused by non-spiritual aspect, they seek for traditional cures, and this is where herbal medicine comes in.
This is not only practiced by the Hmong, but also practice by other Southeast Asian cultures. Like in India, they practice the Ayurvedic medical system. Dietary and herbal are part of the treatment scheme because of the belief that it is essential in restoring the balance of mind, body and spirit and this balance is vital in achieving a healthy life.
There are two basic principles of illness causation that explain the rationale behind every healing system. The personalistic and naturalistic principles of illness causation discuss the mode of diagnosis, treatments and other elements that made up the health system.
Personalistic principle is derived from the idea that disease, magic and religion are inseparable. Misfortunes play a part why individual suffer from illness. Diseases occur because of the human and nonhuman intervention, the participation of the powerful being or deity and that illness is a result of the spiritual and moral aspects that are treated by those having magical and supernatural powers.
This is in contrast to the naturalistic principle that views illness in a systematic way. It states that the illness suffered by an individual is not because of misfortunes, magic or religion. The focus of this principle is therapeutic and conforms to the equilibrium model that health and illness is a product of balance and harmony of the human body and the environment.
When the state of balance between human beings and the environment are disrupted or when imbalance occurs, it will result to illness. The principle of equilibrium conforms to this model and is being practice by the Humoral model and the Ayurvedic health system.
The decision process in treating illness is complex because cultural beliefs and social factors are relevant in giving a quality multicultural care. How human beings respond to illness is essential and understanding the concepts of every healing system is vital in combating diseases.