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7 Health Tips from Traditional Chinese Medicine

 2017-11-01    Tilda    Other    Shenzhen    961  

Traditional, alternative, or complementary? Whatever word you choose to describe Chinese medicine, it can’t be denied that attention has been given to this healing modality and that more people in the West are willing to give acupuncture and herbs a go before popping painkillers and antibiotics. However, we don’t all have to wait to get ill before giving TCM a shot.  With a rich and extensive history, TCM principles focus on maintaining harmony in the body and mind. Prevention is better than cure, as they say, so here are some top health tips that you can pay heed to. 

Eat warm, cooked food most of the time

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Ever noticed that salads do not exist in the Chinese restaurant? Or, have you ever seen people ordering a glass of warm water in a restaurant and wondered what was that about? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, cold and raw foods are seen to be hard on the digestion, and the body needs to use up the additional energy to warm the food up and absorb the nutrients. Hence, food is almost always served warm. However, on a hot summer’s day when your body craves for something cooling, a refreshing plate of salad could just be what your body needs.

Aim to sleep before 11pm

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This might be really difficult, but it’s certainly worth a shot for healthy living. According to TCM, 11 pm is the time when the Qi in the liver regenerated itself and given how important the liver is in maintaining our health by eliminating toxins, we shouldn’t really be shortchanging it on its repair time. You could cut yourself some slack during the weekends, avoid chronic late nights for better health. 

Avoid overly strenuous exercise

This is another one that seems to contradict the Western obsession with working up a sweat and getting the heart to work to its maximum rate. From a TCM point of view, intense physical exercise depletes Qi, which is a precious life force that should be enhanced instead of spent.   

You might have noticed that Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and martial arts involve the moving of Qi around the body to prevent stagnation, and less on building muscle and burning calories, though those are the positive side-effects. As with eating, exercise is best done in moderation, and gentle exercises are seen to be more beneficial for the body.

Ladies, keep the body warm during periods

During your period, you might experience more coldness or the lack of heat in your pelvic area. This lack of warmth may cause blood and qi to stagnate, thus causing cramps. Keeping your abdomen warm is one easy way to prevent cramps, so use a hot bottle of water and remember to avoid drinking cold water and to eat more warming foods. Drinking ginger tea is also a common remedy for when you’re on your period.

Don’t eat on the go

It’s tempting to just grab a quick bite while on the move when you’re busy, or to eat greasy takeaway food. However, from a TCM perspective, chewing slowly and eating well will help your body digest food with ease, preventing Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Different body constituents will benefit from different eating habits. However, in general, it is advisable to avoid sugary, processed, and overly spicy foods, and late night eating is also deemed to make things difficult for the digestive tract.  

Get massages

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Massages are not seen as a luxury, but as another form of health-enhancing activity. If you’ve traveled in China, Hong Kong, and some other parts of Asia, you may have noticed that massage centers are aplenty and inexpensive. Massages, particularly foot reflexology, help to prevent Qi stagnation and to promote good blood circulation. In addition to the obvious benefit of muscle tension relief, a good circulation of energy helps to keep our internal organs working in optimum condition.

Engage in a meditative activity

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Image Credit: Flickr

Meditation seems to be all the rage in the Western quest for mind-body-spirit connection. Stress and overthinking can cause many physical and psychological problems, so even if you’re not into the mystical aspects of meditation, engaging in something that puts you in a meditative state will do wonders for your mind. This could be actual sitting meditation, or it could be an active form such as Tai Chi where you kill two birds with one stone, or even doing art and making music. 

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