Cultural Views on Health

People from different cultures have their own outlooks on health care and diseases. Some cultures believe in using traditional medicine, and some believe in the healing power of prayer and herbal healing. People are affected by their own cultural beliefs when it comes to overcoming diseases and how they find the right treatments and cures. Religion and cultural beliefs can affect the way they receive proper medical treatment and care. I will be exploring the cultural views between the Muslim and Chinese cultures and their view on healthcare.

The Arabic culture have several beliefs that impact healthcare like they prefer to be treated by a medical provider of the same sex, mainly female patients, which also applies when interpreting services are needed. With orthodox Muslims, they follow a halal (Muslim diet), which prohibits certain types of meats like pork, and medications or foods that contain alcohol. For example, a Muslim who is diabetic may refuse to take insulin or prepared hospital foods that contain pork products. (Ahmad, 2004).

Mental illness is stigmatized in Arab communities, a person with mental distress is forbidden to seek advice from professionals or even family members. Many Arab Americans have language barriers which can also limit the ability to seek medical care. Also in the Arabic culture they believe death as “the will of God” in which cannot be stopped or delayed. They believe that diseases are punishment from God and only God can cure it. (Ahmad, 2004). The Muslims believe that the Qur’an and sunnah encourage healthy eating, and forbid substances that cause harm to the body, for example, intoxicants and drugs.

Fruits, vegetables, dates, yogurt, camel milk, honey, and black seeds are helpful for nutrition and health. They refer to the Qur’an as the book of healing, in which states “There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment”. The use of natural substances such as preventative measures, curative medicine, mental healing, surgery and spiritual cures for the body and soul as treatments that is acceptable in the healing process. (Yousif, 2003).

Muslims today see medicine and health care in different ways. Some Muslims, mainly in rural areas with limited access to modern medical facilities, reject modern medicine and prefer to use a combination of supplications and traditional treatments. Traditional healers can be found today that use a combination of Qur’anic verses, water, local herbs, ornaments, oil, or honey to do medical treatments. Due to lack of medical training some become involved in superstitious practices that contradict Islamic values.

Most Muslims believe that prayer, supplications, Qur’anic recitation, and dhikr (remembrance of Allah) are the most important roles in health care recovery, but may also benefit from modern medicine. They believe that drugs can never cure the causes of loneliness, estrangement of family members, or lack of self-worth, but Islamic medicine can. They believe that becoming ill may be Allah’s way of making a person rest or care for the body before it deteriorates further. (Yousif, 2003). Traditional Chinese health beliefs take a holistic view emphasizing the importance of environmental factors in increasing the risk for diseases.

These factors influence the balance of the body’s harmony, yin and yang. These are opposite but together with qi (vital energy), control the universe and explain the relationship between people and their surroundings. Imbalance in these tow forces results in illness. To restore the balance, traditional remedial practices are needed. For example, excess “hot” energy can be balanced by cooling herbal teas. In traditional Chinese culture taking medication is aversive, meaning to be taken only until symptoms are gone and then discontinued.

If symptoms are never experienced then medications will never be used. (Wong, 2007). The uses of “leftover or shared” medication are common in the Chinese communities. They believe that if the person suffers from the same symptoms that they are experiencing the same illness and therefore can be treated with the same medication leftover from another family member. There are small groups of Chinese who also blamed ill-health or misfortunes on supernatural forces like a witch or sorcerer, which may seek cures from their religions.

It is also believed that karma play a role in illnesses. They believe that discussing illnesses or death is bad luck and if they talk about something bad it will cause it to come true. (Wong, 2007). I believe that after researching the beliefs of these two cultures it has a big impact on healthcare providers because they tend not to seek treatment from medical providers upon the beliefs that they can cure the illnesses through prayer and spiritual practices rather than modern medicine.

Although the Chinese culture tend to use modern medicine but do not follow specific directions as for antibiotics which are to be taken until gone not until one feels better. When they do not take the medication as directed sometimes the illness may not go away properly and come back. It is also not advisable to share medications with others because they are not doctors and everyone’s case is different and may need different treatments. I work with someone who is Muslim and I have seen that when he is ill when we recommend taking medication, refuses and just deals with the symptoms because of his religion.

It seems like with other cultures other than Americans they tend to steer away from modern medicine because of their beliefs. They will only seek medical advice when desperately needed. This impacts healthcare because even though treatment with medicine is needed they refuse it because of religion or culture and sometimes may lead to even more severe problems in which may cause death, and due to their religion is viewed as “God’s Will”.

References Ahmad, Najeh, M. (2004). Arab-American Culture and Health Care. Retrieved March 14, 2010 from http://www. cwru. edu Yousif, Ahmad F. (2003). Islamic Medicine and Healthcare. Retrieved March 15, 2010 from http://www. parkridgecenter. org Wong, Maurice. (2007). How Traditional Chinese Health Beliefs and Chinese Culture Influences Health and Illness? Retrieved March 14, 2010 from http://ezinearticles. com.

Health can have different meanings to different people and in their cultures around the world. A person’s health is not any different when it comes to an individuals, nor does it matter what part of the world they are in …

Health can only be defined in relation to a person’s own values, which will, of necessity, reflect the cultural background of that person. White Australian health professionals in general, and nurses in particular, need to understand the meaning of health …

Heritage Assessment: Comparing Cultural Health Traditions Culture and heritage are the properties that make up a way of life for a specific population. As referenced by South African History Online (n.d.), “Culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive …

Сommunication is very important for everyone no matter what, gender, sex, nationality or culture you are. Cultural variations have a huge effect on communication and are considered as a barrier towards communication. Cultural variation could be any type of communication …

David from Healtheappointments:

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out