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Health Traditions in Different Cultures

Different cultures are characterized by following various health traditions based on the aspects of the cultural heritage. The role of the heritage assessment in the health care practice is significant, and much attention should be paid to the cultural differences of such groups as the Indians, Chinese people, and African Americans in relation to their approaches to health maintenance, health protection, and health restoration.

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Different cultures are characterized by following various health traditions which are usually based on the aspects of the cultural heritage. The cultural heritage often includes different beliefs, values, and behaviors which are influential for forming the person’s attitude and approach to health maintenance, health protection, and health restoration. To guarantee the provision of the effective care for patients coming from different cultural backgrounds, health care providers should focus on the assessment of the role of traditional beliefs and values in the patient’s life and concentrate on the variety of cultural differences to provide the effective and appropriate care without violating the patient’s visions (Jadelhack, 2012, p. 66). It is important to discuss the significant role of the heritage assessment in the health care practice with references to describing the cultural differences of the Indians, Chinese people, and African Americans in relation to their approaches to health maintenance, health protection, and health restoration.

To begin with, it is necessary to note that the use of the heritage assessment for evaluating the needs of a person belonging to the definite cultural background can be discussed as obligatory in the health care institutions of the United States because many cultures and ethnic backgrounds are combined here to form the diverse society. As a result, health care providers receive the opportunity to propose effective care to their patients while assessing the aspects of the patients’ cultural heritage because of the necessity to learn about people’s different visions of health and illness and ways to treat diseases. The cultural background of the patient matters because it can affect the patient’s vision of his or her physical, mental, and spiritual health. The task of the health care provider is to assess the persons’ heritage in order to propose the effective plan for health maintenance, health protection, and health restoration which responds to the person’s cultural background (Spector, 2000, p. 12). The heritage assessment with the help of the appropriate tool is useful to provide the professional with the necessary information about the patient’s values and beliefs, attitudes to health and illness, and family health traditions.

Assessing the cultural heritage, the health care provider can receive the important information about the patient’s approach to health maintenance as the complex of health-related activities, diets, and exercises to stay healthy. Referring to the conducted interviews, it is possible to note that the Indians pay much attention to the healthful diet based on eating a lot of vegetables. Indians choose to eat more green vegetables, corn, and fish. It is typical for Indians to choose vegetarianism as the main diet, and this tradition is based on the religious beliefs. The representative of the Indian family often chooses to refer to the traditional yoga exercises and meditations as the ways to cope with stress. These practices and diets are effective, and the Indian family often responds to the cultural heritage while following them. However, it is also necessary to focus on the fact that the Indians’ approach to health maintenance is often determined by the family’s financial status.

It is interesting to compare the Indians’ approach to health maintenance with the Chinese’s approach. Those Chinese who live in the USA try to follow the traditions while paying much attention to the diet based on rice, fish, and spices. Furthermore, Chinese believe in the circulation of energies in the body and focus on hygiene activities. The use of herbal tea is also the part of the cultural heritage. The spiritual health is supported with references to the principles of Taoism and Buddhism (Hockenberry & Wilson, 2013, p. 230).

The representative of the African American family is traditionally focused on the self-care in order to protect oneself from different diseases. However, if the person becomes ill, the large family combines efforts to contribute to the person’s remedy while proposing herbal teas, oils, and other traditional medicines. African Americans are often religious, and the interviewee’s family is inclined to discuss the severe diseases as God’s punishment.

It is also important to focus on the specific traditions and practices associated with the health protection. Indians try to make the diet of the ill person more nourishing and refer to the links of the person and nature while proposing the herbal teas, black pepper, and other spices with the health protection qualities. It is important for Indians to avoid protein malnutrition and beriberi or thiamine deficiency as a result of their diets. Much attention is paid to a pregnant or lactating woman who should be protected spiritually, and who should keep a specific diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, the Indian family is traditionally large, and many protective activities are directed toward protecting the health of children who should eat more nutritious food to support their health and strengths.

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The protective behaviors of the Chinese people are based on their religious beliefs. Thus, many Chinese people still avoid the traditional Western medicine methods because of the physicians’ focus on blood tests. The Chinese’s attitude to blood is based on their religious and philosophical beliefs, and they often refuse giving blood for tests because of the fear to loose their energy. It is a kind of their protective behavior (Hockenberry & Wilson, 2013, p. 229). In their turn, the African Americans pay much attention to praying and keeping the balance between the rest and work in order to make their health stronger.

Health restoration activities are also different in various cultures. However, these practices are similar to the protection activities, if the family’s approach to coping with diseases is discussed. Much attention should be paid to the interviewees’ approaches to the traditional US medicine. The Indians do not rely on the US health care institutions, and they are inclined to use the traditional herbs, spices, and recipes to prepare the folk remedies. These activities are also associated with the Indians’ refusals to complete the regular examinations and tests to prevent health problems.

The Chinese people choose to use herbs while feeling the first symptoms of the illness. They are also intolerant in relation to the methods of US medicine because of their prejudice associated with blood tests and surgery. The next step after trying the folk remedies is the focus on acupuncture techniques to maintain the balance of energies. Trying to cope with such diseases as influenza, African Americans focus on the home remedies and praying because it is important to support the patient’s spiritual health to contribute to physical health.

In spite of the fact that the Indians, Chinese, and African Americans follow different approaches to health maintenance, health protection, and health restoration, all these approaches should be assessed as part of the cultural heritage in order to provide the health care professionals with the necessary information about the patient’s visions and beliefs.

References

Hockenberry, M., & Wilson, D. (2013). Wong’s nursing care of infants and children. USA: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Jadelhack, R. (2012). Health promotion in nursing and cost-effectiveness. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 19(2), 65-68.

Spector, R. E. (2000). Cultural Care: Guide to heritage assessment and health traditions. USA: Pearson Education/PH College.

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