chapter  4
16 Pages

Understanding the theory of health and illness beliefs

WithDebbie Fallon

This chapter outlines three categories of health belief systems, namely, biomedicine, personalistic and holistic systems, and the ways in which healthcare delivery is organized. Health beliefs are also ideas and conceptualizations about health and illness that are derived from the prevailing worldview. Biomedicine is sometimes referred to as allopathic, modern or Western medicine or simply the medical model and involves the explanation and treatment of disease based on biological factors. According to naturalistic systems, health is seen as the balance of elements in the body and imbalance causes illness, disease or misfortune. In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the normal functioning of the body depends upon maintaining a balance between these two opposite energies since a deficiency of energy, or disequilibrium is thought to produce changes in the body, causing illness and disease to occur. The aim of Ayurvedic medicine is to 'integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit to help prevent disease and promote well-being'.