If you asked the average person how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) keeps you healthy, they would probably answer that it involves acupuncture needles. That is a good start – but TCM is so much more than needles.
TCM is a complex understanding of how Qi (loosely translated as energy, or life force), affects your health. Qi flows through meridians passing through points which can be used to regulate and control that flow. When the flow of Qi increases, decreases or its quality changes, your health is affected. The most common way to manage the flow of Qi is with acupuncture needles. But TCM actually incorporates a wide range of therapies that complement each other to bring about health and harmony. In this blog post you will learn three ways to keep yourself healthy using TCM principles at home. By using these techniques in your daily life, you can be in charge of your health.
Qigong is a moving mediation that uses a series of flowing postures to align breath and awareness. It can be used to increase Qi, circulate Qi, cleanse and heal the body, store Qi and emit Qi to heal others. As a practice, it combines medicine, philosophy and martial arts, all in one. Tai Chi is closely related to Qigong and considered to be one of the martial arts applications of it.
Qigong has many health benefits. It provides health, vitality, tranquility and mental focus. Many hospitals, clinics and community centers offer Qigong as a safe, easy way to stay fit, maintain balance and coordination, reduce stress and promote mental clarity. You can even learn this practice through books or DVDs, although there is no replacement for a great teacher.
A Qigong home practice is a great way to keep your Qi balanced.
Food and Nutrition
TCM uses many principles of diet and nutrition.
The flow of Qi is regulated by the Five Elements. Each element has a season and a taste. By choosing foods with a particular taste, you can support your health during each season. For example, the taste for autumn is pungent. Eat pungent foods like leeks, cabbage, turnips, ginger, horseradish, pepper, onions, garlic and chilies to support your health in the autumn. You can read an earlier post about foods for Autumn here. I have also recently written another post about foods for Summer that you can read here.
In addition to seasonal guidance, you can use dietary principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine to support your own constitution. Based on your diagnosis, you can use nutrition to balance your own particular health issues. For example, you can read my earlier blog post about diet and nutrition for the postnatal period here.
It can take a while to get the hang of this. We can give you guidelines so you can take charge of your health in the kitchen, and can recommend a great range of books for you to continue your own research.
Feng Shui is the arrangement of your environment to promote the flow of Qi. Think of it as energy medicine for your home or work space; Feng Shui and TCM both hold the same core principles. By applying the principles of Feng Shui, you can create a home and work space that optimizes health, happiness and vitality.
In Feng Shui, Qi flows through your home the way it flows through your body. Strategic placement of mirrors and wind chimes, or the colors of your walls or furniture can balance the flow of Qi. Even your choice of home decorations can be important.
For example, east is the direction of health. Since east is associated with the wood element, increase Qi by placing a healthy green plant in the east section of your home. Bamboo is a particularly good choice because it symbolizes longevity and good health. Focus on wood furniture and the colors green and brown.
Declutter your living and work spaces to create peaceful, restorative environments. Make sure your air is clean and has as few pollutants as possible. Use natural light. All of these Feng Shui principles help you stay healthier.
Traditional Chinese Medicine keeps you healthy in many ways that don’t involve acupuncture needles. Take charge of your health. If you need advice for getting started, contact us today.
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