from part of a 9-foot painting by Stephen Lau
Chinese Holistic Wellness
CHINESE HOLISTIC WELLNESS
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is very different from Western medicine is that the former focuses on heath while the latter emphasizes healing. More specifically Chinese medicine stresses the importance of holistic wellness as a means to preventing disease, and hence instrumental in promoting natural healing as if everything is a miracle.
Nowadays, Chinese medicine has incorporated Western medicine into its medical system, but still preserving the basic principles of holistic wellness A case in point, in Beijing hospitals, a doctor may carry out surgery in the Western manner with state-of-the-art medical equipment, while the anesthetist may use acupuncture and herbal preparations for the pre-operative and post-operative treatments of the patient. The Chinese are using the best from over four thousand years of experience in holistic wellness to complement Western medicine.
Balance and Harmony
The main characteristic of Chinese medicine is its holistic-wellness approach to both health and healing, based on the principle of balance and harmony, as expressed in the concept of the "yin" and the "yang" (the "female" and the "male" or the "darkness" and the "brightness.")
The Chinese concept of balance and harmony originates from the Five Elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) that not only are fundamental to the cycles of Nature, but also correspond to different human body organs.
To illustrate, water nourishes tree (wood); without wood, there will be no fire (which burns wood); without fire, there will be no earth (ashes from the burnt wood); without earth, there will be no metal (from the earth itself). Fire heats metal to produce water (from condensation); without metal, there will be no water; without water, there will be no wood. The human body organs, just like the Five Elements, are interdependent on one another for balance and wellness.
Balance and harmony in Chinese health is controlled by qi, the internal life-giving energy. Qi is yang energy, responsible for the "movement" of oxygen and nutrients between organs and tissues throughout the body, which is interconnected by channels or meridians. Qi is always in motion in the form of energy ascending, descending, entering, and leaving your body's organs and systems. Therefore, its motion should not be interrupted or obstructed, especially given that qi is responsible for transforming your food energy into blood. In addition to nourishing your blood and keeping it flowing, qi helps to maintain your body's temperature. Qi plays a vital role in Chinese health and natural healing.
Holistic Body Wellness
Plants as remedies and medicinal foods
This holistic approach as if everything is a miracle focuses on plants as remedies and medicinal foods. Plants are essential to life. In fact, nearly all the food you eat comes from plants or animals that eat plants. Accordingly, Chinese physicians use plants to enhance health. As a matter of fact, in Chinese medicine, the number of plants used as medicines is greater than the number of plants used for foods.
Until fairly recently, after many years of concern at the pervasive adverse side effects of pharmaceutical drugs in Western medicine, is there an increasing interest in Chinese herbal remedies and medicinal foods, such as. aloes, garlic, feverfew, and licorice, among many others.
Plants as medicinal foods are used to detox the body of ingested toxins as well as to provide nutrients for different organs. They also come in different colors, corresponding to the Five Elements: wood corresponding to green; fire corresponding to red, earth corresponding to orange and yellow; metal corresponding to white; water corresponding to black, blue, and purple. Accordingly, Chinese medicine emphasizes the importance of eating foods with different colors for balance and harmony to attain overall holistic wellness of the body.
Holistic Mind Wellness
Mindfulness holds the key to holistic mind wellness. Chinese medicine recommends the use of daily meditation to promote clear thinking and body-mind relaxation. Mindfulness is awareness. You are here, in the now, and nowhere else. Mindfulness is important to mind wellness because it enables you to live in the present moment, and thus connects the body and mind for your overall wellness and well-being.
Mind wellness is free from mental problems, such as depression, which is a common symptom of stress. According to Chinese medicine, depression is a result of blockage of liver energy. Some Western medicine prescription drugs to treat depression, such as tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and anti-histamines are known to possibly cause -- rather than heal -- depression, according to Chinese medicine, because these Western medications with their toxic chemicals weaken the liver. According to Chinese medicine, the liver works hard at night to filter the blood. Therefore, a substantial amount of blood may be retained in the liver upon waking in the morning if the liver is sluggish. A Chinese herb, curcuma (Yu-Jin), is helpful for depression because it unblocks liver energy. Also, to remedy the sluggish condition of the liver, do morning exercises of stretching and deep breathing to “activate” the liver.
My Way! No Way! TAO Is the Way
This is an unconventional way not only to look at depression but also to free yourself from this mind disorder due to a desperate but futile attempt to avoid and escape depression. This one-of-a-kind approach is based on TAO wisdom to go through everything in life, both the pleasant and the unpleasant, the happy and the unhappy, including depression, thereby instrumental in attaining enlightenment to live as if everything is a miracle. Even if you don't become enlightened, you will look at your depression quite differently, after you have gone through every aspect of your depression with TAO wisdom. (For more information, go to my website: wisdom in living; to get the book, click here.)
Qigong and Tai Chi exercises can do wonders to help and promote mind wellness through correct posture and right breathing instrumental in enhancing the free flow of qi.
Insomnia is another disorder that is an enemy of mind wellness. According to Chinese medicine, chronic sleep disorder or insomnia is usually caused by the “yin-and-yang” imbalance, resulting from a weak liver, spleen, heart or kidneys. Since these organs affect one another, they all have to be taken care of, especially the heart and the liver, in order to maintain wellness of the mind.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau