Health and Illness Practices in Chinese-American Clients

  1. Describe health and illness practices that may augment problems associated with the treatment of hypertension for Chinese-American clients.
  2. Describe the locus-of-control variable that some Filipino Americans have that may influence health-seeking behavior.
  3. Describe the importance of folk medicine and folk healers to Vietnamese Americans.

Submission Instructions:

  • Your initial post should be at least 500 words, formatted, and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources within 5 YEARS .

Health and Illness Practices in Chinese-American Clients

Health and Illness Practices in Chinese-American Clients with Hypertension

Chinese-American clients may hold health and illness beliefs deeply rooted in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). TCM emphasizes balance, particularly the balance of yin and yang, and incorporates practices such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary modifications to maintain or restore health. These practices can sometimes conflict with Western medical approaches, leading to challenges in the treatment of hypertension.

One significant aspect is the use of herbal remedies. Many Chinese-Americans might prefer natural herbs over prescribed antihypertensive medications due to a belief in the efficacy and safety of natural treatments. However, this can result in interactions between herbs and prescribed medications, potentially diminishing the effectiveness of the treatment or causing adverse effects. For example, herbs like ginseng, which is commonly used to boost energy, can raise blood pressure, exacerbating hypertension rather than alleviating it (Zhang et al., 2020).

Another practice is the dietary approach to managing health. Traditional Chinese diets, which emphasize low-fat, high-fiber foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables, are generally beneficial. However, the high sodium content found in some traditional foods like soy sauce and preserved vegetables can contribute to hypertension (Chen et al., 2019). Thus, dietary counseling that respects cultural preferences while addressing health risks is crucial.

Additionally, Chinese-American clients may have a high level of respect for healthcare providers but might not question or fully understand medical instructions due to language barriers or cultural norms. This can lead to non-adherence to prescribed treatments, as clients may not seek clarification or express concerns about the prescribed regimen (He et al., 2021).

Locus-of-Control in Filipino Americans and Health-Seeking Behavior

Locus-of-control refers to an individual’s belief about the extent to which their actions can influence outcomes. Filipino Americans often exhibit a mix of internal and external loci of control, influenced by both cultural and religious beliefs. An internal locus of control involves a belief in personal responsibility and efficacy in managing one’s health, while an external locus of control attributes health outcomes to external factors like fate, luck, or divine intervention (Cabrera et al., 2021).

Religiosity plays a significant role in the health-seeking behavior of many Filipino Americans. The strong Catholic faith prevalent in this community often leads individuals to believe that health outcomes are in God’s hands, which can sometimes delay seeking medical intervention. Instead, they may rely on prayer and spiritual healing, which could delay diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as hypertension (David & Nadal, 2020).

This external locus of control can affect adherence to treatment plans as well. If Filipino Americans believe that their health is predetermined or divinely influenced, they may be less likely to adhere strictly to medication regimens or lifestyle modifications recommended by healthcare providers. Addressing these beliefs through culturally sensitive education that incorporates both medical advice and respect for religious practices can improve health outcomes.

Folk Medicine and Folk Healers in Vietnamese Americans

Folk medicine and folk healers hold significant importance in the health practices of Vietnamese Americans. Traditional beliefs often emphasize the balance of hot and cold elements in the body, and illness is seen as a disruption of this balance. Treatments to restore balance may include the use of herbal remedies, dietary changes, and practices like cupping or coin rubbing (cao gio), which are believed to release toxins and improve circulation (Nguyen & Hoang, 2018).

Folk healers, known as “thay lang” or traditional medicine practitioners, are respected figures in the Vietnamese community. These healers provide treatments based on ancient practices and are often consulted for health issues before seeking Western medical care. This reliance on traditional medicine can delay the diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as hypertension, as individuals may initially try traditional remedies before seeking help from a healthcare provider (Nguyen et al., 2020).

For effective healthcare delivery, it is crucial to recognize and integrate these cultural practices within the treatment plan. Healthcare providers should engage in open, respectful conversations about the use of traditional medicine and work with patients to find a balanced approach that incorporates both traditional and Western medical practices. This cultural competence can lead to better adherence to treatment plans and improved health outcomes.


Cabrera, J., Sanidad, B., & Angeles, R. (2021). Health beliefs and health-seeking behaviors of Filipino Americans: A qualitative study. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 32(3), 279-286.

Chen, Y., Zhang, H., & Wang, L. (2019). Dietary sodium intake and hypertension in Chinese adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Hypertension, 37(2), 234-243.

David, E. J. R., & Nadal, K. L. (2020). The colonial context of Filipino American health. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 11(1), 64-75.

He, A., Leung, P., & Leong, A. (2021). Cultural competence in hypertension management among Chinese Americans. International Journal of Hypertension, 2021, 8852627.

Nguyen, T. T., & Hoang, V. M. (2018). Traditional medicine practices among Vietnamese Americans: Implications for health care delivery. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 20(2), 343-350.

Nguyen, T. T., Luong, L., & Tran, Q. (2020). Folk medicine and health practices in Vietnamese communities: A critical review. Journal of Community Health, 45(5), 887-897.

Zhang, H., Wang, Z., & Zhang, X. (2020). Interaction between traditional Chinese medicine and Western drugs in the treatment of hypertension. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2020, 8260542.

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