Asian Culture And Healthcare Essay

2304 words - 9 pages

Culture is a very important factor to the Asian community. Their whole lives, from their religion, to how they interact with one another, to how they view health care is all dependent on tradition and beliefs. At the third largest majority group, there are almost 12 million Asian or Asian American people living in the United States (Spector, 2009, p 232). Of them, 10.2 million are just Asian, and 1.7 million are Asian mixed with one or more other races. Being Asian refers to having origins to the people from the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. This area uses over 30 different languages and cultures, and has many different religions. One thing that they have in common is their belief in the religion and philosophy, Taoism.
Taoism originated in ancient China from a man named Lao-Tzu. Tao has many meanings, including way, path or discourse. Spiritually, it is the way to ultimate reality, or the way of all nature that regulates heavenly and earthly matters. The Chinese believe that the universe is a vast entity, and everything has a definite function. Nothing can exist without the existence of another because everything is linked together, and is kept in harmonious balance. Health is the state of spiritual and physical harmony with nature. When this balance is violated, the result is illness. To remain healthy, those following Taoism believe that they must conform their actions to the “mobile cycle of the correspondences” (Spector, 2009, p 235). There are two main components to the important idea of traditional Chinese medicine. First is that the human body is regarded as a complete organism that needs to remain in harmony with itself. During sickness, the whole body is regarded, instead of just the affected area. Second, the human body needs to be integrated into the external environment. The course of the disease is considered as well as geographic, social, and environmental factors (Spector, 2009, p 235).
Four-thousand years before English physicians described the circulatory system, the Chinese wrote a book describing how the blood circulated while carrying oxygen. Also in this book was the theory of yin and yang, or the two basic world principles of good and evil. Yin represents the female, and negative energy like darkness, cold and emptiness. Yang refers to the male, and positive energy like light, warmth and fullness. These theories were later incorporated into Chinese medicine. The theory is that “everything in the Universe contains two aspects- yin and yang, which are in opposition and also in unison” (Spector, 2009, p 237). Illness is described as the disharmony of yin and yang that leads to pathological changes. Different parts of the body and diseases correspond to the principles of yin and yang. The inside of the body is yin, the outside yang. The front of the body is yin, the back yang. The liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidney are yang, and the gallbladder, stomach, intestines, and bladder are yin....

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