Throughout its history, Chinese medicine has been full of ideas, theories, and truly amazing perspectives based on necessity. The Ming dynasty (1368–1644) scholar Zhang Jiebin said that “Medicine and the Changes have the same source.” The changes he was referring to are those described in the “I Ching,” a book which reflects the underpinnings of not only Chinese culture but of health itself: Yin and Yang, or more appropriately Yinyang.
Yin and Yang have been portrayed as opposites; male/female, sun/moon, hot/cold, and so forth. But that’s not exactly accurate. It’s more like something is more warm or more cool than something else. Is it more masculine or more feminine? Yingyang is more like a system of measuring degrees of quality. Applying the principles to ourselves or to our daily lives is like asking whether or not I feel more energetic or less energetic. Do I feel warmer or slightly chilled? Get the meaning here? Ok, let’s get back to change and medicine.
Things don’t typically happen just out of nowhere. Even if we don’t know about it, can’t see it, or, maybe, aren’t directly involved, there’s something happening. It begins with a thought, then intent, and then action-reaction-action. Somewhere, eventually, a pause or rest and possibly more action-reaction.
So, how might we apply the ideas of change to medicine for our 21st century lives? What are our common “dis-eases”? What do they stem from? With certainty I can tell you that most things are generated by our lifestyle choices.
Some simple remedies for common problems are:
- For fatigue try going to bed a little earlier. You might be getting enough sleep hour-wise (quantity), but maybe you’re too tired by the time you get to bed and your rhythm is off.
- For non-optimal digestion, you will need to put on your detective cap. Before jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon (or any other extreme approach), start by cleaning up your fueling habits and partake in an elimination diet. Get all the processed and packaged food out of your system, get clean, and then reintroduce suspect foods back in one at a time and avoid the obvious no-no’s!
- For feelings of stiffness or feeling older than you really are, get up and move. Hours in front of your keyboard or your steering wheel haven’t helped you much. (And your clutch isn’t helping your left hip either!) Simple daily movement and mobility work such as a 20 minute walk and 10 minutes of mobility to start would be appropriate.
- For general stress and feelings of being overwhelmed (my number one complaint), the first thing I recommend is to learn to breathe from your lower abdomen. Go take a meditation class, in person and not online. Minimize the content you’re inputting to your brain: less news and less internet time. (Don’t worry, you won’t miss much as you think!)