This assignment is based on three different fields of professional health care: physician, shaman, and chiropractor. For each field, 1. How is the sickness, disease, illness, or condition defined...

This assignment is based on three different fields of professional health care: physician, shaman, and chiropractor. For each field,

1. How is the sickness, disease, illness, or condition defined by the professional?

2. From the perspective of the professional, what is etiology, or cause, of this condition?

3. What is the recommended treatment?

4. What is rationale for the treatment? How does treatment work? How effective is it?

5. What is the overall philosophy of the field they are in?

6. How might their philosophy change someone's everyday life, if he or she adopted this philosophy or approach?

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Medical doctors diagnose illness as a deviation from the normal and as a condition that fits into a known pattern (such as the pattern of symptoms that define Alzheimer's). They often confirm or make diagnoses based on medical examinations and tests, and the medical field believes the etiology of the disease is genetic (in one's DNA), a result of disease or lifestyle, or a combination of these factors. The treatment is usually lifestyle changes, medicines, surgery, physical therapy, or other largely physical changes to the body. For example, a physician would advise a person diagnosed with diabetes to take insulin, eat less sugar and carbohydrates, and get more regular exercise. Their treatments are designed to change the body--in this case, to introduce less sugar into the body and to allow for more regular and efficient absorption of sugar in the body. These treatments can be very effective. While physicians sometimes make recommendations for psychotherapy or other types of non-physical treatment, their philosophy is based on the idea that disease is physical and must be treated physically.

A shaman, on the other hand, believes that sickness comes from spirits. Shamans believe disharmony, fear, loss, or another spiritual crisis gives rise to illness, and they heal these types of illnesses not by concentrating on the biological or psychological realm as physicians do, but rather by trying to help the patient return to a state of spiritual wholeness. They believe the illness was caused by a separation of a person from his or her soul, and the treatment involves restoring them to spiritual wholeness. The treatment involves the shaman traveling to another world and petitioning spirits to help restore the ill person spiritually. These spirits help create a protective shield around the person and restore his or her spiritual wholeness. The shamanic philosophy is that the root of illness is in the spiritual world, and if we use that philosophy, people might abandon the use of traditional medicine and instead use shamanistic healers who could connect them to spiritual wholeness.

A chiropractor believes problems in the musculoskeletal system affect a person's general health through the nervous system. They regard musculoskeletal issues as the causes of illness, and these issues are treated with manipulation of the spine or soft tissues and joints. For example, chiropractors treat spinal subluxation, or the misalignment of parts of the spine, as they believe it causes neurological problems in the body. Many traditional chiropractors believe vertebral subluxation is the cause of all diseases, while other chiropractors are open to other forms of treatment, including massage and exercise. This form of treatment has been found to be mainly effective for back pain but not for other conditions. If chiropractic treatment were one's main form of treatment, one would not use medicines or traditional doctors. Instead, one would use spinal or soft tissue manipulation to cure disease.