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Home > Newsletters > March 2004 >

Preserve Your Health All Year Long

By Xiaomei Cai

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the key to health preservation is living in harmony with nature. The following are four methods that can keep you healthy:

Cultivation of Mind

Cultivation of mind is a method of keeping physically and mentally healthy by regulating the spirit, consciousness, and thinking. We need to cultivate mental faculties so as to have a cheerful state of mind and control emotions in conformity with changes in the seasons. In the fall, everything is quiet and cool; yang-qi is weakening and yin-qi is growing stronger. We should restrain ourselves in mental and emotional activities so as to keep the spirit in peace and reservation. In the winter, everything on earth goes into hiding. In compliance with this hiding, we should avoid depleting the spirit with emotionless sexual activity. In the spring, when yang-qi ascends and everything comes to life, we should stay relaxed and pleasant. During the summer, yang-qi is in abundance, and everything is flourishing and beginning to bear fruit or go to seed. Accordingly, we should keep ourselves in a cheerful, vigorous frame of mind as well as discharge excessive yang-qi.

Diet Regulation

We depend on food for existence and health. Irregular eating, poor diet or food addictions will harm your digestion and absorption, resulting in disease. To regulate the diet, we should:

  • Balance the five flavors: sour, bitter, sweet, acid and salty. Alternate foods in a pattern to acquire complete nutrition.
  • Live on a mainly vegetarian diet of light, simple foods.
  • Eat three meals a day at fixed times: breakfast at about 7 A.M., lunch around 12 noon and supper at 6 P.M.
  • Avoid eating when in any kind of extreme emotional state.
  • Eat moderately at each meal, avoiding overeating or starving oneself.
  • Regulate the diet with the seasons, as follows:

Spring
Eat more sweet food than sour to nourish the spleen qi. Eat foods that are light and easy to digest.

Summer
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, like watermelon, tomato, cucumber, celery. Make Mung bean soup to blear away excess heat.

Autumn
Have more juicy and slightly richer foods like pears, orange, apple. Make thicker vegetable or mung bean soup with a little meat.

Winter
This is the time to eat food that is solid, substantial, warming, like root vegetables and nuts.

Proper Balance Between Work and Rest

Normal work and sports activities are beneficial to the flow of qi and circulation of blood, and heighten the body's capacity to resist disease. Proper rest can relieve the weariness of the body and mind and restore physical strength and mental power. Avoid physical strain through protracted exertion, over-exertion, or exertion when hungry or full. Also avoid mental overexertion; as soon as concentration becomes difficult during reading or writing, it is high time to take a rest.

Temperance in sexual activities is also important. Overindulgence damages health and shortens life span. Avoid sex when:

  • You are very hungry or too full.
  • It is very cold or very hot.
  • Emotions are in excess or out of control
  • You are ill, or feeling frail or deficient.
  • Body or mind are exhausted.
  • You've had too much alcohol to drink.

Conform to Nature

In the spring, rise early to stroll in the courtyard, and go to bed late to respond to the active force of the season. In summer, when everything is growing luxuriantly, we should still rise early and retire late to get the appropriate amount of sunshine to respond to the growth qi of the season. In autumn, fruits are ripe to be harvested, we rise later to respond to the season's shrinkage qi. In winter, ying-qi is in excess, and we should carefully avoid wind and cold by going to bed early and rising when the sun rises so as to respond to the storage qi.

Live in peaceful, secluded surroundings

 Fresh air, plenty of sunshine, excellent ventilation, moderate humidity with no pollution or noise these qualities make your living space habitable. Houses should face the south with the bedrooms on the east to balance yin and yang and light and shade.

Keep regular hours

You should reasonably allocate your time to labor or work, sports, recreational activities, meals, rest and sleep. Generally, we should get up around 6 A.M., breakfast at 7 and consume plenty of fluid and nutrients. Eat lunch at noon, eating until you're almost full, and then have dinner at 6:00 P.M., eating until you're 70% full. Go to bed around 10 and get 8 hours of sleep. Get two to three hours of exercise a week.

Wear the appropriate amount of comfortable clothing

Dress according to the weather. We should keep ourselves warm in spring and dress so as to feel a bit cool in autumn.

This Month's Articles

March 2004
Volume 2, Number 2

Preserve Your Health all Year Long

Acutonics: Integrating Sound Healing into Your Acupuncture Practice

An Open Letter to the Oriental Medicine Community

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor

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