In the modern society, traditional medicine is considered the most appropriate way to treat sick people. In other words, modern medicine should incorporate technology-based medicine and traditional practices. This would let the doctors to dispense medicine in the best possible way to satisfy each cultural group. Modern doctors and physicians tend to neglect traditional practices in favor of modern technologies.
This creates a conflict between traditional medicine and modern medicine. In this regard, effective healing is affected because patients are reluctant to disclose information to doctors that do not consider culture when asking questions. As Anne Fediman observes, the misunderstanding between patients and doctors affects service delivery in a number of ways. This clearly shows that culture plays a significant role in enhancing the healing process. It makes sense to argue that little medicine and little need facilitate healing.
In her book, Fadiman (1998) notes that Lia could have lost her life due to cultural differences between her parents and doctors. Doctors interpreted Lia’s condition differently, because they believed that she suffered from ordinary epilepsy. On the other hand, Lia’s parents believed that their daughter suffered from a traditional disease.
They based their interpretation on the Hmong culture, which was considered powerful in the community. Doctors could not embrace the ideology of the Hmong community because they believed the culture was inferior to science. On their part, Lia’s parents questioned the methodology employed by doctors when diagnosing diseases.
This misunderstanding could have been resolved in case doctors understood the cultural values of Lia’s parents. For instance, doctors could have used records from Lia’s parents to identify the medical problem. The author shows that culture helps understand the way of living of a particular community. Doctors can come up with the best ways of delivering their services if they understand cultural practices. In the modern society, western medicine is believed to be accurate, yet it is full of mistakes.
Religiously, colonialism shaped the religious practices of Americans because people were forced to abandon traditional religious beliefs in favor of modern forms of religion. For instance, people were forced to adopt Christianity and drop traditional religions. In fact, religion was used to pacify the population.
Even in the modern society, religion is still used to pacify the population. Ethnically, colonialism generated ethnocentrism whereby people would identify themselves with certain ethnic groups. This led to discrimination because groups would judge others using their cultural standards.
Fadiman, A. (1998). The spirit catches you and you fall down: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures. New York: Noonday Press.
Gurung, R. (2010). Health psychology: A cultural approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.