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The Chinese are famous for their old folk sayings and proverbs. Here are a few of them that pertain to health and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
If you wish to live to the age of 99, please walk 100 steps after each meal
We all know that walking is good for our health. TCM takes this one stage further. Taking a short walk after a meal will improve secretion and peristalsis of intestines, shorten the digestion process to the small intestine to promote absorption of food, and prevent stomach and intestinal disorders.
The legs stiffen before a man becomes old
In TCM the kidneys are responsible for the aging process and also for the condition of our bones. If kidney qi deteriorates as we get older, legs will become weak causing limited mobility. To help prevent this, take a walk in the fresh air every day. Muscles and joints in the legs will relax and contract while walking, stimulating blood flow through the body and helping to prevent atrophy of leg muscles.
Get more clad in spring and less clad in autumn
In TCM maintaining good health means staying in balance with nature and its cycles. This means that attention must be paid to the transitional seasons of spring and fall. To be in harmony with nature means adapting gradually to the changes in temperature in order to decrease the body’s vulnerability to colds and flu. Don’t be in a hurry to take off winter clothes at the first signs of spring. It is better to feel warmer than a little cold, in order to allow the body time to build up resistance to fluctuations in temperature which are common in springtime. In the fall it is better to feel slightly cool rather than be over-dressed, in preparation for the cold winter months ahead.
Take shelter from the wind just like the arrows. If you are avaricious for the cool air when you sleep, illness goes with you.
According to TCM, pathogenic bacteria and viruses in the air move in the wind and easily enter the body through the back of the neck. Wear a scarf on windy days. During hot weather, as the heat is released through open pores of the skin, the body becomes vulnerable to attack from cold air caused by air conditioning and electric fans. Stay out of the direct flow of cold air, especially during sleep. Also, don’t let the abdominal area get cold, as this can cause digestive problems.
One does not feel the heat too much as long as one keeps calm
Being agitated causes heat, which in turn increases yang qi and raises blood pressure. Stay relaxed mentally to feel cool and help prevent heat stroke in hot weather.
Eat well for breakfast, eat full for lunch and eat less for supper
Adults usually eat three meals a day with a space of about 4 or 5 hours between them. This allows the digestive system to function properly. Eating more for breakfast and lunch enables nutrients to be absorbed and give enough energy for a full day at work or for physical activities. This way dizziness, low blood sugar, lack of concentration and fatigue are avoided. Eating less in the evening allows digestive processes to be completed before the body begins its sleep and healing cycles. An ancient Chinese physician wrote: Those who eat too much have five disadvantages. 1. excess of stool (diarrhea), 2. excess of urine (causing diabetes), 3. disturbance of sleep, 4. overweight with ugly body form, and 5. indigestion.
As far as what to eat is concerned, the Yellow Emperor warned: If you eat too much salty food, your blood vessels thicken and become dark in color; if you eat too much bitter food, your skin becomes dry and you lose your hair; if you eat too much pungent food, your sinewes become tight and your nails become dry; if you eat too much sour food, your skin and flesh become thick and shrink, and your lips become dry and chap; and if you eat too much sweet food, it will harm the bones, and you will lose your hair.
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