China’s culture extends to all corners of the globe through individuals of Chinese ancestry abroad and influence; however, the culture is seemingly very different and mysterious. Chinese is a basic term used to refer to the fifty-six differing ethnic groups acknowledged by China’s republic. Additionally, the term can also refer to the Han Chinese, who make up 95% of the country’s population, and it’s also the world’s largest ethnic group. The fifty-five ethnic groups live in China; however, they do not regard themselves as Chinese, and each group has a unique culture. This paper will focus on the family structure and traditions of the Chinese culture in relation to health and wellness.
The Chinese culture puts emphasis on family loyalty and commitments to customs and traditions; however, the culture does not emphasize personal feelings. In recent years, the Chinese family structure has gone through significant changes. Sim et al. (2017) state that the changes in family structure, particularly dwindling family size, due to the set population policies, have significantly affected the Chinese population all over the globe in recent decades. According to traditional customs, Chinese families are constituted of three generations staying in the same homestead where the children have a duty to take care of their elderly parents. It is also worth mentioning that all the family members engage in discussions involving medical decisions and education.
A Chinese family picture consisting of parents, grandparents, and children
Chinese grandchild taking care of her grandmother
Traditionally, when it comes to healthcare beliefs, Chinese medicine is based on the conception that everything is a composition of “qi” (energy), including the human body. The theorem is that the internal and the external factors disrupt the body’s natural functioning, therefore causing illnesses. According to Liu (2019), The Communist Party of China achieved the policy of cooperation between Chinese and Western Medicine leading to the success of Western medicine use in China. Most Chinese people highly embrace western medicine; however, some use traditional remedies as initial healing approaches as they believe Western medicine is too strong for them.
Chinese herbal medicine
Traditional Chinese herbal medicine
Another phenomenon common in Chinese Culture is acupuncture, a treatment tool in Chinese medicine. Lee et al. (2020) State that China, the United States, and South Korea are the leading countries in the use of acupuncture in pain treatment. Acupuncture needles are inserted to adjust imbalances in Ch’i’s flow (energy flows).
Chinese is a basic term used to refer to the fifty-six differing ethnic groups acknowledged by China’s republic. Han Chinese is the world’s largest Chinese ethnic group and makes up 95% of the Chinese population. The Chinese family structure sticks to the social structure and legitimate beliefs in which men are more powerful and privileged than women and follow the patrilineal rule of descent. Additionally, the culture puts emphasis on family loyalty and commitments to customs and traditions; however, it does not emphasize personal feelings. Many individuals in Chinese culture prefer herbal medicine compared to western medicine. Additionally, many components used in today’s medicine in treating cancer and other diseases have their origin from the traditional Chinese pharmacopeia.
Lee, I. S., Lee, H., Chen, Y. H., & Chae, Y. (2020). Bibliometric analysis of research assessing the use of acupuncture for pain treatment over the past 20 years. Journal of Pain Research, 13, 367. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7023857/
Liu, Q. (2019). The cultural dilemma in uniting Chinese and Western medicine from 1940 to 1950. The Journal of Chinese Sociology, 6(1), 1-17. https://journalofchinesesociology.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40711-019-0092-2
Sim, T., Yi Fang, X., Chan, S., Teik Cheok Loy, J., Sng, S., Lo, R., … & Singh, R. (2017). Co‐constructing family therapy in the Asian Chinese family diasporas of mainland China, Malaysia, Macau, Singapore, and Taiwan. Journal of Family Therapy, 39(2), 131-150. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-6427.12151