Health and Illness Defined in Chinese Culture

Updated May 19, 2021

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Health and Illness Defined in Chinese Culture essay

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Chinese Culture

Many of us never stop to think about to think about culture and how it differs from person to person. One specific culture that differs greatly from the many different cultures in America is Chinese culture. The Chinese practice different types of religion, they enjoy art, and they eat different kinds of food. It is still important to note that these aspects of Chinese culture can vary depending on the person.

Where a Chinese citizen originates from and how they are raised creates their own personal Chinese culture. For purposes of making things simpler, we will evaluate aspects of Chinese culture that are common for most of the Chinese people. Chinese leaders have an atheist view on religion making it difficult for most Chinese to practice their faith, but they have recently begun to accept practices such as Buddhism, Catholicism, Taoism, and Protestantism. An important aspect of Chinese Culture is their passion for art.

The Chinese love to practice art that has to do with expressing events in their past and they enjoy hands on art like painting and sculpting Buddhist figures. They also enjoy fine arts such as playing instruments like the flute, and writing. Chinese culture is very original when it comes to their tastes in food. Many enjoy chicken and rice, tofu, and pork. Throughout the rest of this paper we will be looking at Chinese culture and how it influences Chinese healthcare.

We will be exploring topics like, how Chinese define health and illness, how they deal with health restoration, how they practice health maintenance and protection, and how they are dealing with their current health problems (Zimmermann, 2017).

Health and Illness Defined By The Chinese

Every culture defines a state of health and a state of sickness in their own unique way. Learning how a person of a particular culture defines these terms is important when it comes to being culturally competent. Chinese culture believes that a person may become sick if their body does not have a stability of yin and yang. Yin and Yang are two concepts that the Chinese strongly have faith in and they are two different types of powers that impact our planet explaining how everything made up in the world (Acupuncture & Massage College, 2017).

In Chinese culture health is known as an equilibrium of yin and yang, and illness is defined as an unstable amount of the two forces (Adams & Lien, 2013). Many say that yin is in a person’s inferior part of the body and yang is in a person’s superior part of their body (Acupuncture & Massage College, 2017). According to Adams and Lien (2013), the Chinese people can use what they know about these two elements to try and figure out a person’s cause of illness.

For example, if a person has too much yin they may feel cold, and if they have large amounts of yang then they may feel hot and have a fever, because yang generates hotter temperatures and “yin is cold” (Adams & Lien, 2013). Chinese culture uses this information to define a person’s health and to diagnose their illness. They define health as a harmonic amount of yin and yang, and they define illness as an unstable amount of the two (Adams & Lien, 2013).

Chinese Health Restoration

Chinese culture has many different traditional ways of restoring one’s health. Each of these practices are things that are not typically performed in United States health care. One of these procedures goes by the name of acupuncture. When a person undergoes acupuncture, they will have sterile needles inserted into their skin that are placed in particular spots on the body known as “acupuncture points.”

The purpose of this procedure is to to keep the amounts of a person’s yin and yang in harmony. Another practice is called Moxibustion therapy. During this therapy “mugwort root” or crushed wood is cooked over a fire so that a person’s skin can absorb it. This helps with a person’s circulation and has been shown to help with female cramps during menstruation. Another practice is a massage called the Tui Na Massage.

This massage involves putting pressure on a person’s “acupuncture points” and may also include the use of “herbs” and “ointments” to make the massage more intense. The Tui Na massage has been known to help with many conditions that can cause lifelong pain. Lastly, another procedure used for health restoration is cupping.

Cupping is considered a massage that involves adhering glasses to a person’s back. The cups are heated up to deplete the oxygen levels inside of them and once there is no longer any oxygen left, the cup will drop in temperature and form a suction on the skin. Chinese culture has many traditional ways of restoring a person’s health. Most of these procedures are non-invasive and involve more natural ways of curing a person’s health versus the alternative of medication and hospitalization (Cosio & Lin, 2015).

Chinese Health Protection and Maintenance

People will practice different methods of maintaining and protecting their health depending on what culture they reside in. Those of Chinese culture often make simple everyday choices to keep their health in check by deciding to eat plenty of vegetables with their meals, along with eating fruits and nuts on the side (Brown, 2015). Exercise is another everyday practice performed to maintain and protect health.

Chinese culture is all about getting outside and moving (Brown, 2015). Brown (2015) says that Chinese culture also chooses to stay closely connected with those around them by being social and sharing their happiness with each other. Being closely connected to one another is a great way to reduce stress and improve one’s mental health (Brown, 2015)

Lastly, many of the Chinese use herbal therapy to keep in shape by consuming specific types of herbs that can help prevent disease and protect a person’s wellbeing (University of Minnesota, 2016). Chinese culture maintains and protects their health by making smart choices every day. These choices include the decisions to consume proper nutrition, be physically active, be socially involved to reduce stress, and consume herbs to help fend off disease.

Current Chinese Health Issues

Although the Chinese have great methods for health protection and restoration, their culture still faces many health issues to this day. In the year of 2018, it was found that pollution is becoming a huge health risk for those of Chinese culture that are living in China. It was also noted in the same year that although health is a concern for those of Chinese culture, many have become ill from a specific disease that is not communicable.

For example, lots of reported cases have shown that the use of tobacco is on the rise. This tobacco use has impacted large amounts of people from the Chinese culture, by giving them cancer. Cancer that arises from smoking tobacco is on the rise for those of the Chinese culture. The Chinese have a strong system for promoting health, but they have a long way to go before their health care is perfect (The Lancet, 2018).

Conclusion and Implications For Health Care Professionals

Chinese culture is one that is unique is many ways. Chinese eat many different types of food like rice, chicken, pork, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. The take pride in their arts and have recently taken an interest in in several different religions. Their culture focuses on the strengths of yin and yang when it comes to defining health and illness. Chinese culture uses this focus to create several methods of health restoration like acupuncture, cupping, and massages.

Along with their health restoration techniques they make sure to practice health in their home every day by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and managing their stress. Dealing with a patient that originates from Chinese culture may pose some implications for health care professionals. For example, it may be difficult for the healthcare professional to understand the patients concept of illness. The healthcare professional may explain an infection as the cause of the patient’s illness, but the patient may insist that they illness is caused by an imbalance of yin and yang.

If the healthcare professional is not sensitive to the patient’s way of thinking this could severely offend the patient. Another example of an implication could be that the patient would rather undergo acupuncture or a massage for treatment rather than medication if they believe that their illness is just due to a simple force imbalance. It is best for healthcare professionals to come up with a game plan for overcoming these implications with patients that are members of the Chinese culture.

Possible Interventions For Health Care Professionals To Use

It is important to bring to mind different interventions that can be used to form a trusting relationship between the patient and the healthcare professional. One the most important implications that can be used is researching and understanding Chinese culture so that you understand where the patient is coming from. This is also important because it will help to avoid offending the patient based on their cultural beliefs.

Another important intervention is to ask questions. If you aren’t sure or don’t understand something about the patient’s culture be sure to inform them of your lack of knowledge and let them know that you are willing to learn in order to better care for them. Learning about the patient’s culture will enable you to better adapt to their cultural needs making it easier to form a trusting relationship with the patient.

Health and Illness Defined in Chinese Culture essay

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Health and Illness Defined in Chinese Culture. (2021, May 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/health-and-illness-defined-in-chinese-culture/


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