How Traditional Chinese Health Beliefs and Chinese Culture Influence Health and Illness?

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  • January 25, 2020
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Conventional Chinese language well being beliefs undertake a holistic view emphasizing the significance of environmental elements in rising danger of illness. Based on Quah (1985), these elements affect the stability of physique’s concord, yin and yang. These are two reverse however complementary forces and, along with qi (important power), they management the universe and clarify the connection between individuals and their environment. Imbalance in these two forces, or within the qi, ends in sickness.

So as to restore the stability, conventional remedial practices could also be wanted. For instance, extra `scorching’ power might be counterbalanced by cooling natural teas, and vice versa. These beliefs are deeply ingrained among the many Chinese language, and have been discovered to be unchanged following migration to Singapore.

Lee, et. al. (2004), discovered that sufferers with particular persistent illnesses, specifically arthritis, musculoskeletal illnesses and stroke, have been extra possible to make use of Conventional Chinese language Medication (TCM). This was strongly decided by the ‘persistent illness triad’, perceived satisfaction with care and cultural well being beliefs.

Therefore using TCM isn’t related to the standard of doctor-patient interplay. Astin (1998) additionally agreed that it was seen as being extra appropriate with the sufferers’ values, non secular and non secular philosophy, or beliefs relating to the character and that means of well being and sickness.

In conventional Chinese language tradition, taking treatment is regarded as aversive, therefore drugs are usually taken solely till signs are relieved after which discontinued; if signs aren’t apparent, drugs will in all probability by no means be taken.

Other than parental cultural beliefs, minor unwanted effects of sure antibiotics equivalent to abdomen upset might contribute to the poor adherence of treatment. The usage of “leftover”, “shared” antibiotics and over-the-counter buy of antibiotics by mother and father are widespread conditions locally.

They suppose that their youngsters endure from the identical sicknesses judging by the same signs, so they’d give the “leftover” or “shared” antibiotics to their youngsters and solely convey them to their medical doctors if there isn’t any enchancment (Chang & Tang, 2006). This may occasionally trigger their situations to deteriorate and should necessitate aggressive remedies later which can have pointless unwanted effects.

Nevertheless, there are small teams of Chinese language who additionally blamed ill-health or misfortunes on supernatural forces, or on divine retribution, or on the malevolence of a ‘witch’ or ‘sorcerer’ (Helman, 1994). Such teams will normally search cures from their religions.

In Singapore, the Ministry of Well being has drawn up the TCM Practitioners’ Moral Code and Moral Tips to forestall any unscrupulous practitioners from preying on their sufferers and profiting from their beliefs, for instance, molesting ignorant sufferers.

The diploma of acculturation has been evidenced within the following case. An outdated man was introduced into our hospital with a week-long historical past of malaise, nausea and vomiting, and sudden jaundice. He was recognized to have an obstructive mass within the liver.

A biopsy revealed hepatocellular carcinoma. The serological check urged persistent energetic hepatitis B. When the information broke to his son that his father had most cancers, he requested to not disclose that to his father.

Once we mentioned finish of life points equivalent to hospice care and “do-not-resuscitate” (DNR) orders, the son tried to divert the dialogue to different points equivalent to when his father may go dwelling.

Cultural Points that could be concerned on this case are:

The Chinese language have a tendency to guard the aged from unhealthy information.

Believing in karma – the older folks imagine that discussing sicknesses or loss of life/dying is unhealthy luck. They suppose that speaking about one thing unhealthy will trigger it to return true.

There’s an elevated incidence of liver most cancers ensuing from Hepatitis B resulting from delayed remedy within the aged, as it might take a very long time for them to simply accept the preliminary prognosis.


Astin JA. (1998). Why sufferers use different drugs. J Am Med Assoc 1998; 279: 1548-1553.

Chan, G. C. & Tang, S. F. (2006) Parental information, attitudes and antibiotic use for acute higher respiratory tract an infection in youngsters attending a major healthcare clinic in Malaysia. Singapore Medical Journal, 47(4):266

Helman, C. G. (1990) Tradition, Well being and Sickness. Wright, London.

Quah, S. R. (1985) The Well being Perception Mannequin and preventive well being behaviour in Singapore. Social Science and Medication, 21, 351-363.

Lee GBW, Charn TC, Chew ZH and Ng TP. (2004). Complementary and different drugs use in sufferers with persistent illnesses in major care is related to perceived high quality of care and cultural beliefs. Household Apply, 21(6): 654-660.


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