Principles Governing Every Human Body
Ayurvedic Ayurvedic is an ancient naturalistic approach to health that is used in India and other parts of the world. The term “ ayurveda” is taken from the Sanskrit words ayus, meaning life or life span, and veda, meaning knowledge. In the Ayurvedic system, illness is caused by an energy imbalance. The belief system has a long history and embraces the ideology that disease is a result of an imbalance in vital energies, which distinguish living and nonliving matter. In ayurvedic medicine the vital force is called the prana.
Ayurveda suggests that three primary principles govern every human body. These principles, called doshas, are derived from the five elements: earth, air, water, fire, and space. Doshas regulate all actions of the body. Most people have a predominant dosha, and each dosha type has typical attributes or characteristics. The Ayurveda system of medicine uses a genetically determined concept, prakriti, to categorize the population into several subgroups based on phenotypic characters such as appearance, temperament, and habits. This system is useful in predicting an individual’s susceptibility to a particular disease, prognosis for that illness and selection of therapy, and variations in platelet aggregation (Bhalerao, Deshpande, & Thatte, 2012).
Cultural Competence Cultural competence occurs when an individual or organization has the ability to function effectively within the cultural context of beliefs, behaviors, and needs of the patients or community it serves. Campinha-Bacote (2009) defined cultural competence as “ the process in which the healthcare professional continually strives to achieve the ability and availability to effectively work within the cultural context of a client.” Cultural competence requires a set of skills and knowledge that all health care professionals and organizations should strive to acquire. The ability to be culturally competent is on a continuum, with cultural destructiveness on one end of the continuum and cultural proficiency at the other end, as illustrated in Figure 2.2.
FIGURE 2.2 Cultural competence continuum. Source: Adapted from University of Michigan Health Sy stem, Program for Multicultural Health.
Being culturally competent does not mean that people need to know everything about every culture because that is not possible. What it does mean is that people are respectful and sensitive to cultural differences and can work with clients’ cultural beliefs and practices. To be culturally competent, one needs to understand his or her own worldviews and those of the person or community in which he or she serves while avoiding stereotyping, judgment, and misapplication of scientific knowledge. Becoming culturally competent is a process that health care professionals should continue to strive to achieve. Models have been developed to assist individuals and organizations in achieving this goal.
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