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Over the recent years culture and healthcare have played a role of total polar opposites. When learning how to treat patient’s in a healthcare setting, leaving culture bias out of your car is something that is taught in order to allow all patient’s to be treated equal and feel comfortable. However after viewing this Ted Talk I feel there are some people who prefer to have their culture and health relationship close and as used as a dual threat. In her video, Fayth Parks speaks of her childhood noticing that form a young age her aunt used out of the ordinary methods to conquer a common cold. She states she would get “a table spoon with a mix of whiskey and rum poured over rock candy and fresh lemon. Parks even went as far as to say that these cultural remedies are not only limited to physical health but also extend into conquering emotional battles. What this psychologist stated that caught my eye was that “healing and recovering include a patients role that connect to a belief system that promotes good thoughts, feelings and behaviors” (Parks, 2016). This is overshadowed in today’s healthcare system due to the stereotypical thoughts of these remedies that various cultures pride themselves upon, simply to be superstitions and not worth the time or effort.
Holistic medicine versus conventional medicine, which one is better? For many years, health care and one’s culture in the same sentence has been something that is not very commonly used anymore. In today’s society most physicians are pushing for conventional medications whether if it’s for pain, cold, delivery, vaccines, etc. Culture is very minimally involved in health care practice due to being able to respectfully treat all patients equal. Just as Fayth said in her video, I too remember growing up and my parents using natural or cultural remedies for our sickness. For example, when we had a cold we were rubbed down in vaporubVicks, when we had a stomach ache we were drinking tea made out of ginger roots, chamomile, and anise star. Very rarely did my parents take us to hospitals and we really only visited the doctor for our yearly exams and vaccines. When we think of things like this it makes you wonder do one’s culture really matters, is medicine just propaganda? However, it all goes back to treat all patients equally and with respect. Some hospitals do ask if you have any cultural beliefs and/or religion.
Coming from a family of strong cultural beliefs, I most definitely agree with Ms. Parks, that those individuals that have these strong beliefs, live by them, and their physicians’ are willing to work with their beliefs do have a more positive mind frame, willingness to heal, and awareness to put in effort. In my opinion, culture plays a huge role in the healing and recovery of individuals whether we want to believe it or not and it may just be psychological, but it still helps. It sucks that physicians are trying to leave behind cultural healing beliefs and pushing more for conventional medicine. In today’s society many people still live by their cultural beliefs and were raised on dreams being signs for life; just as Fayth (2015) stated “dreams are our connection to the unconscious mind and their meanings vary.” I’m sure you’ve heard when a family member dreams of fish someone is pregnant or if they see fighting or killing someone is dying. I still abide by my cultural beliefs I was raised on and am raising my children on the same beliefs because in all honesty not everything needs medication. When my children have a cold or fever, trust me when I say I do not waste my time and run to the doctor for medication. If you ask me, half the time doctors are so quick to prescribe medication that they haven’t even heard your full concern and they are already saying “I will send the prescription to CVS right now” before you can even finish. For this reason is why I believe it is all propaganda and a way to make money of some sort.
It is unfortunate that illness exists in any part of the world. No matter what culture a person is linked to, there is always the possibility of one becoming ill. Illness may be believed to come from emotions, weather changes, germs from organisms, foods, sexual interactions, heredity, age and even supernatural beliefs (Merson, 2012). All these beliefs have been pulled out from various cultures. With that being said, we can only imagine the great variety and amounts of healing traditions each culture may contain. In modern society, it is common to rely on conventional medicine to do the trick for healing. But is there more to it then just taking a pill or maybe undergoing radiation treatments for healing? Fayth parks answers this question by expresses her belief about the importance of the patient putting in their part to change the way they believe or think. Fayth parks believes that healing and recovery includes the patients role in connecting to believe a system that promotes good thoughts, feelings and behaviors. She believes that applying spiritually, rituals, power of words and dreams such as prayers, will assist in the healing when integrated with conventional medicine.
My thoughts on this show support towards Fayth Parks beliefs. I believe every culture has their own “tricks up their sleeves,” when it comes to healing. Being raised with Nicaraguan parents I was always taught to do my best to stay way from taking pharmaceutical medicine and to rely on natural remedies. For congestion my mom would boil herbs including orange tree leaves, wormwood, and garlic cloves. She would make a tea that would kick out my sinus congestions with a few cups. This was my healing tradition. I do believe in the research that there is communication between the brain in the immune system. I was always taught that keeping a positive attitude will always bring back positive things, including healing. Healing traditions vary amongst different cultures. It is up to the patient himself or herself to determine who will be the healer of the illness.
We all come from different cultural backgrounds. We all have grandmothers who have told us in the past to drink orange juice and our flu will go away or to put toothpaste on a burn in order for it to heal. Though the latter has been debunked as a myth. Culture should not often be associated with religion but rather tradition itself. It is important for medical professionals to be educated on cultural competence, especially now more than ever. Medical professionals should also be aware that our culture is constantly evolving. Some authors stress that a “culture” is not a static and timeless thing but is constantly changing as people make use of their cultural resources in creative and sometimes surprising ways (Taylor, 2003). At a TEDx event, Dr. Fayth Parks discusses how culture connects to healing and recovery. Parks outlines a culturally-based healing beliefs systems that includes spirituality, power of words, rituals, and dreams. She describes this belief system as “an age old blueprint for harnessing personal strength” (TEDx Talks & Parks, 2015). It’s easy to scoff at someone else’s cultural beliefs or how one may use their culture to guide them. But if one’s culture has the ability to make them feel good and have good thoughts, no one should judge that especially medical professionals. It should be used as a way to connect with a patient.
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