Exercise, Health and Nutrition Guidance
Daily we are exposed to various messages telling us what we should eat; often one message conflicts with the other. We make our health and nutrition choices based on the information we most trust at the time, convenience, our emotional needs for comfort from food, and our value system.
Such values may include organic versus regular, animal products versus plant, and refined versus unprocessed. Over time our choices change based on additional information, current events in our lives, and how our bodies response to certain foods.
Nutrition In Oriental Medicine
Oriental Medicine offers the guidance of looking for balance; overeating in any one direction often causes imbalances. Overeating fatty fried foods causes a reaction in the body, as does overeating raw fruits and vegetable. For each person what defines overeating varies; our bodies have different sensitivities to different foods. Foods are also viewed as medicine that can be used to correct imbalances in the body. It may be appropriate to eat a greater concentration of a particular food type to assist the body in finding its balance.
The Chinese perspective also seeks to balance health and nutrition within the context of its environment including climatic factors and emotional situation. In China different foods are eaten at different times of the year. Warm soups and cooked foods are more dominate in winter, while fruits and salads are consumed in the spring and summer, which naturally corresponds to when nature produces these foods. If the digestive system is robust and the constitution of the person is strong then the body is more tolerant of extremes in food choices. Of course continued over time this places more strain on the body and can lead to illness and imbalance.
The practitioner of Oriental Medicine can assist you in becoming aware of the link between certain foods and your bodies reaction to them and guide you in finding balance in your food intake. Nutrition guidance in combination with acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can help with weight loss, irritable bowl syndrome and many other digestive issues.
Exercise – Qi Gong, yoga, pilates, and Tai Chi
All of Chinese medicine’s most influential writers spoke of the importance of maintaining health through daily exercise. These were exercises built upon the Chinese medical theory of balance; of harmonizing what was called the blood (cardiovascular system), the Qi (respiratory system – a main source of Qi for the body), and the spirit (an aspect of which is the nervous system). With an equal emphasis placed on exercising the blood, Qi, and spirit within the context of the Chinese medical view of the body-mind connection.
China’s health benefiting exercises were used to both prevent illness when healthy, and to recover more quickly when ill. Today when we think of exercise we think of activities that are quite vigorous in nature such as running, aerobics, biking, and martial arts. These forms of exercise use up existing amounts of Qi, blood, and fluids in the body; the more intense the activity the greater the quantity used. This is not a bad thing and in more ancient times the physical work of the day was similar in nature though generally of less intensity. It is necessary to balance these vigorous activities with actions that replenish the Qi, blood, and fluids otherwise the body is always struggling to return to balance and hence can be weakened and susceptible to injury and illness.
Replenishing actions include appropriate food intake and activities like Qi Gong, Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, rest, and sleep which allow the body to recuperate. Daily movement of the body whether in vigorous or gentle forms of exercise, assists the movement of Qi and blood, keeping everything flowing, which aids the digestion of food, the elimination of waste, and the maintenance of strength.
All of these are essential to health and balance. Qi Gong, yoga, pilates, and Tai Chi done in a gentle form and with focused movement of the body and presence of mind both build and flow the Qi, blood, and fluids.
If you are struggling with digestive issues, weight loss, thyroid issues or autoimmune issues then contact us and we can help get you on a path to wellness, health and balance in your body.