The biomedical model defines health as being free of disease and infirmity, and does not take into account social or cultural issues. It is the dominant model used throughout the majority of western societies, and in these societies is generally seen as the only “legitimate” way to treat illness.
One of the main factors of the biomedical model of health is that it sees the human body as a “machine” and that each part of the body can be “fixed individually”. This idea began during the Cartesian revolution, named after the French philosopher René Descartes. This revolution encouraged the idea that the body and mind are independent, or at least not closely interrelated. Another major breakthrough of the biomedical model of health was Louis Pasteur’s 1850’s development of “germ theory”. This was the discovery that tiny micro-organisms or “germs” were the cause of disease as opposed to the product of a disease.
The medical treatment and technology used by this model of health is based solely on research and scientific study. It can sometimes take years for a new medicine of or piece of medical equipment to even pass approval to make it to a trial run. They have very strict requirements to meet, and then once the governing body approves it to go to trial it has to be thoroughly tested. The first tests are mainly performed on animals and they will have to prove (sometimes hundreds of times) that they can improve the condition of certain diseases in these animals before they will be allowed to begin human trials, which starts the whole process again. However, all of this rigorous testing really is beneficial, as it allows the medical professionals to guarantee an extremely high success rate in treatments, or sometimes it will outline failures in the technology.
Since the Medical Registration Act was imposed in 1858, medicine has gradually, over time become more professionalised. Prior to this act being introduced there were three main groups of “orthodox...
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