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November 2021

Heaps of health, metaphysical fitness - Ayurveda and the ontology of good health in medical anthropology

Journal/Book: Curr Anthropol. 1999; 40: 5801 S Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. Univ Chicago Press. S43-S66.

Abstract: Because most scholars take it for granted that medicine is concerned with healing and problems of ill health, the way in which various medical systems define good health has not been adequately studied. Moreover, good health as such is usually regarded as a natural, normative state of being even by most medical anthropologists, who otherwise take a critical, relativist perspective on the subject of illness, pain, and disease. Using the case of Ayunredic medicine, this article shows that there is a very different way of looking at the question of how health is embodied. This perspective is proactive and concerned with overall fitness rather than reactive and primarily concerned with either illness or disease. The argument presented here therefore seeks to go beyond the limiting-although extremely useful-orientation of remedial health care and suggests a radical challenge to some of the most basic ontological assumptions in the cross-cultural comparative study of medical systems.

Note: Review Alter JS, Univ Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh,PA 15260 USA


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