Regardless of what your reason is for seeking treatment with a Chinese Medicine practitioner, there will be some common suggestions given to every patient about how to manage and maintain good health.
Here is a list of the top 5 health tips you are likely to get if you visit a Chinese Medicine practitioner:
1. Stop drinking cold drinks and eating cold food.
If you want to make a Chinese Medicine practitioner uncomfortable, tell them about the cold smoothie you drink in the mornings loaded with frozen berries and ice, and the cold ice-cream you consume every night.
Consuming cold foods and cold drinks is like pouring cold water over a fire and still expecting it will cook your dinner.
If you pay close attention, you will feel the cold moving through your chest and belly as you drink cold water or eat ice-cream.
Digestive fire is a really important aspect of good health. Cold will put out this fire and make digestion a lot more difficult for the body.
A good sign that your body does not want you consuming cold foods and cold drinks is when you have very loose stools after your smoothie or ice cream. You might also feel a cold sensation in your upper abdomen and it has a cold sensation.
Loose stools are a sign that your digestive system is not absorbing your food properly. Considering that the nutrients from your food are needed to make your blood and qi, and also nourish your muscles, extremities, hair, nails and cells, it is essential that they are absorbed properly.
2. Eat warm, well spiced foods (and don’t overeat).
The body has a much bigger appreciation for food that is already slightly cooked (rather than being cold).
The body does not need to overexert itself energetically to get your food to the same temperature as the body, and the nutrients of the food are easier to break down and be received by the stomach and intestines.
Well spiced doesn’t mean adding chilli and pepper to all of your foods. Herbs and spices are a medicine all of their own, and knowing which kinds of spices will aid in the digestion of certain foods is invaluable knowledge.
Particularly if a person has been unwell, or the digestive system has been upset, simple foods like congee, soup, or a basic stew can be a lot easier for the body to absorb nutrients and restore its digestive qi dynamics than a meal that is too rich.
Overeating puts a huge burden on the digestive system, as well as the liver. If this happens late at night, the liver will have to put all of its other evening chores on hold (such as cleaning and detoxifying the blood), so that it can help out with the digesting of dinner.
If a person is overeating at every meal, then those cleaning and regulating chores continue to be pushed to the back of the line and this will lead to chronic food, blood, and qi stagnation.
If this happens every now and then, a healthy body will be able to handle it but if it becomes a daily habit, over time this could lead to lots of chronic health issues.
3. Wear a scarf around your neck on windy days (preferably protect all of your body from wind).
Ah, the wind.
This is the next thing after cold foods and drinks that a Chinese Medicine practitioner will get perturbed by.
In all of the ancient classical Chinese Medicine texts, wind is considered and environmental factor that can enable the “6 pernicious evils to invade the body.”
This means that other environmental “pathogens” that can make a person sick such as; damp, cold, heat fire, and summer heat can be carried into the body on the wind, and then start to create trouble.
Wind is also very stirring. It can create a lot of irritability in a person if they are out in the wind all day.
You can observe behavioural changes in children and animals on windy days too!
There are some significant entrances to the body around the neck, especially at the base of the skull that are vulnerable to the wind.
Wearing a scarf around the neck on windy days is the best way to protect the body from wind entering in the body.
4. Learn how to manage your mind.
It doesn’t matter what your method or technique is; yoga, meditation, gardening, singing, prayer, forgiveness, or other. Learning how to observe your mind, clear out old un-serving stories and beliefs, and shifting your perspective is paramount for good health.
You can eat all the organic food, take the herbs, go to yoga every day and stand on your head, but if your mind and thoughts are a negative prison it will manifest in the body somehow.
Having a regular practice of some kind is a really important part of building awareness of your inner dialogue. So that when you are out and about in your regular daily activities, you can become acutely aware of how your mind is influencing your behaviour and potentially obstructing your capacity to grow and expand.
5. Go to bed and get out of bed when the sun sets and rises.
Nature is always giving us guidance on how to live through each season. Everything from what seasonal local foods to eat, how to dress, and when to rest.
I appreciate that there are some places in the world that don’t see the sun for months on end (and then see it constantly), but for those of us that live in places that have a fairly consistent window of day to night ratio, going to bed when the sun goes down, and getting up with the sun is a beautiful way to align with nature.
This means that in the summer months, nature is telling us that it is healthy to have a longer day of activities, and in the winter time it is time to have more rest.
Hopefully there was something in this article for you to take away and start exploring for yourself.
Never underestimate the power of a few good habits helping to improve your overall health.
Love Karina x