Dynamic Explanatory Model Centered On The Notion Of Tiaoli

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A Dynamic Explanatory Model Centered on the Notion of Tiaoli
Kleinman (2006) states “how we perceive, experience, and cope with diseases is based on our explanations of sickness, explanations specific to the social positions we occupy and the system of meaning we employ.” Thus, in this paper, I attempt to understand my interviewee Iris’s explanatory model centering around the concept of tiaoli, that is, a notion of health and wellbeing. tiaoli stands in contradistinction to biomedical scientific notions of health, since it does not perceive the body as a machine that needs to be fixed. Rather, tiaoli frames the body as a garden and the doctor as a gardener who will continuously nourish the body to strive for improvement and perfection. Western
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Within this framework, TCM approaches to healing view medicine as a type of food beneficial for the body. As a result, Iris believes that the continuous consumption of medicine will lead to no adverse effects and that even when she is not physical ill, taking medicine will still benefit and improve her body conditions. Moreover, tiaoli sets the standard for Iris’s views regarding whether a medical practice is satisfactory or not. Western medicine’s disconnection with tiaoli leads Iris to have a strong preference for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and seek medical attention from Zhongyi that better fit her explanatory model. Adding to complexity, Iris’s explanatory model is also mediated by the influence her family members and healthcare providers (Zhongyi). Chinese culture’s emphasis of collective welfare over individual desires leads to Iris’s strong trust in her family authorities. Her family’s beliefs in TCM drives Iris to seek out medical care from Zhongyi. Yet, Iris’s explanatory model is not dynamic and is subjected to the influence of Zhongyi’s beliefs, which are influenced by globalization, leading to her notion that the best treatment is a combination of TCM and Western

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