We all want to be in the best health possible.
For most of us, that includes getting a good night’s sleep, having lots of energy, and living a pain-free life.
Unfortunately, we are inundated with confusing and conflicting information on how you can be your healthiest, so it’s hard to know where to start.
Almost every day we hear about some new drug that can lower your cholesterol, ease your pain, or help you lose weight.
We read about miracle foods, the perfect vitamin, tropical juices, and power drinks that are the answer to all your health concerns.
The truth is that there is no miracle food or vitamin and most medications only address the symptoms of disease — they rarely cure. Sure, you may feel better for a while, but more often than not, your symptoms return, you have drug side effects, or you need to continually take greater amounts of a medication to obtain the same effectiveness.
What if there was a way to treat the source of your health problems?
To make them go away and not come back?
This may sound like a tall order, but it happens every day and has been happening every day for thousands of years. An effective system of healing has been helping people feel their best for centuries. That system of healing is Chinese medicine.
Chinese Medicine & Healthy Living Tips
When you think about Chinese medicine, most people think about acupuncture, which is an important component, but acupuncture isn’t the only thing that Chinese medicine has to offer.
The ancient Chinese sages believed that the best way to stay healthy is through lifestyle and proper diet.
Even when someone became sick, the first line of defense would often be food therapy and lifestyle changes. Only if those measures failed, would they turn to acupuncture and herbs for a cure.
There are a number of life habits and dietary guidelines for good health based on the teachings of Chinese medicine that are available to all of us. The following guidelines are simple enough, but can impact your health dramatically.
If such a thing as the fountain of youth existed, it would probably be in the form of physical activity. The benefits of a regular exercise program are endless and include improved cardiovascular health, better strength and balance, improved immunity, and stress relief.
According to Chinese theory, moving your body also helps to move your energy, which can get blocked, causing pain and illness.
There is no one best way to exercise, but in order to avoid overdoing it, try to combine some vigorous movement with one or more of the gentler forms of exercise. Yoga, stretching, Tai Qi, Qi Gong, or simply walking are all considered gentle and relaxing ways to move.
Eat like you’re in a Chinese restaurant
For the most part, many of the principles of Chinese food therapy are in play at your corner Chinese restaurant.
Your meal will include lots of vegetables, especially those in season, served over grains with small amounts of protein.
You generally won’t find raw foods, huge glasses of ice cold water or pop, and you won’t be able to get the chocolate turtle cheesecake for dessert. Instead, you’ll get green tea and a fortune cookie.
More and more Chinese restaurants are offering an option of steamed brown rice instead of white, which makes your meal healthier, and you need to skip the deep fried shrimp. But in general, a meal of cooked veggies with whole grains and a little protein offers up a pretty healthy, easily digestible way of eating.
Control Your Stress
There are really only two kinds of emotions — the positive kind that enhance your health, and the negative kind that drain your energy and make you sick.
The Chinese believe that the emotions are the cause of all internal illnesses. They may have something here, especially we you look at the negative impact of stress on your body.
Stress causes chemical reactions in your body, where certain hormones are released that can affect everything from your immune system to your digestion. Inflammatory conditions, arthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even weight gain can be caused by these hormonal changes.
So how do you get a handle on your stress?
There are many methods, classes, and exercises available to relieve stress. However, when you’re overwhelmed with all the things on your “to do” list, one more class or exercise just becomes another stressful thing to do.
The good news is that you can benefit from as little as three minutes of some kind of meditation.
Some simple and quick fixes include slow and gentle breathing, visualizing your “happy” place (this really works!), and taking short “breaks” from you day to reflect on the goodness of your life.
Preserve your Essence
In Chinese medicine, your health and the length of your life are determined by something called Essence, or your essential life force.
The strength of your Essence is determined by a combination of genetics, your physical constitution, and lifestyle. One of the smartest ways to stay healthy is to preserve your Essence by living wisely, and not becoming run down.
Some of the ways you can deplete your Essence is by overworking, not eating well, skimping on the sleep, and trying to do too many things. Also considered depleting is too much partying, having too many children, and having sex too often.
Wise living means getting enough sleep to rejuvenate your body.
It also means working, but not too hard. Over exercising, studying too hard and long hours in front of a computer screen are also considered overworking.
Eating the right kinds and amounts of food also protects your Essence.
Acupuncture is an ancient healing system that originated in China thousands of years ago and is still successfully in practice today.
It works by addressing the source of your health problems—not just by relieving symptoms. Acupuncture works by balancing energy within your body, which may sound strange to some.
However, every cell in your body produces energy.
Chinese medicine operates on the premise that that energy moves in pathways throughout your body. When people become ill or have pain, it’s because the energy is blocked in some way or it’s depleted.
The goal of acupuncture is to manipulate energy to restore or maintain your health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified over sixty health conditions that acupuncture can treat. This includes all kinds of pain, mental health conditions, digestive problems, and addictions. In addition, acupuncture is a great way to maintain your good health.
Give it a try!