from part of a 9-foot painting by Stephen Lau
THE PILLAR OF HEALTH REJUVENATION
.Being ill is a difficult -- and perhaps painful -- experience. Through ignorance of the right way to stay healthy, people become ill, recover, become ill again, and suffer both physically and emotionally as a result. Health rejuvenation is the process of renewal when your body and mind start to repair and you are no longer sick.
Rejuvenation begins when you realize the underlying causes of your conditions through a mental or spiritual process so that both your physical life and mental state are totally transformed.
Health rejuvenation is different from recovery. The latter is getting better without knowing why you were sick, which means you have the potential to become sick again. The former, on the other hand, is total renewal of your mind and body such that you have a different perspective of sickness.
Remember, sickness is only a part of you, defined by your experience of living. It is, therefore, important that your inner mind goes through the health rejuvenation experience first.
Qi -- The Vital Life Force for Health Rejuvenation
Rejuvenate your mind and body through qi.
What is qi? Qi is the invisible vital life force responsible for your existence.
In an attempt to seek an answer to the inevitable philosophical question -- why is there life at all? -- the ancient Eastern philosophers and metaphysicists held that the universe is one inter-connected reality of which we all form a part, and that everything we do is a manifestation of one universal life force (qi) formed by our own consciousness. This qi or vital life energy has a tendency to establish equilibrium of balance and harmony throughout the universe. Likewise, qi is present in the human body. However, when the balance of this internal life force is altered or disturbed, the mental and physical health is adversely affected.
Qi is critical to your health rejuvenation. Qi is the internal life force that breathes life into the human body. According to Confucius, harmony is attained by conforming to correct action and by observing refined moral and ethical codes of behavior.
Qi Gong (the work of energy) is one of the essential healing components of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It consists of slow, simple exercise routines made up of rounded postures, gentle movements, and deep breathing to replenish the body with qi. More specifically, it is directing your breath of life through mindful intention but without conscious control so that your breath circulates naturally and spontaneously through the open channels of the body, transmitting qi to the rest of your body.
Qi Gong, as an internal life force for Chinese natural healing, has been traditionally expressed in the practice of Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and various forms of massage.
Regular practice of Qi Gong has substantial benefits for sustained health rejuvenation:
· energizing breathing
· enhancing disease resistance
· inducing restful sleep
· quieting the mind
· relieving stress-related illness
· r estoring physical energy
Do Qi Gong exercises to maintain smooth flow of your qi for health rejuvenation.
The Oriental Breathing for Health Rejuvenation
Health rejuvenation begins with your breathing.
Breathing, a vital function of life, sustains a continuous interaction between you and the environment.
There is much science in the art of the Oriental breathing. The pattern of your breathing reflects the balance of the yinand yang within your being. You need to vary the depth and frequency of your breathing to synchronize the physical demands of movement or stillness of your body. The rhythm of your breathing affects the pace and functions of your body organs, respiratory and circulation systems. Therefore, breathing plays a pivotal role in your overall health rejuvenation for holistic wellness.
The Oriental approach to healthy breathing for health rejuvenation
In the Orient, Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi and Zen meditation all teach correct breathing as the basic principle for practice. This is because correct healthy breathing focuses on the power of qi radiating throughout your entire body.
While Western medicine breathing techniques focus only on getting more oxygen into the lower lungs, the Oriental approach to healthy breathing focuses on a more elevated level -- getting more qi into the body for total health rejuvenation.
Qi is the essence of breath. As such, breath is your connection to the universe, and your conscious use of it as a means of living in harmony with heaven and earth. This is because your breath assumes the middle position between your conscious and unconscious life; the rhythm of your breath may be consciously controlled from the center of your autonomic nervous system. Your awareness of your breathing is the first step in becoming conscious of the otherwise unconscious processes of your organs.
Oriental healers understand the most powerful force in living things: the power of qi. This may be too abstract and inexplicable, even to the extent of incredible, for most Western doctors because qi is not definable and quantifiable. However, Oriental healers have thousands of years of accomplishment of success of medical systems based on the management of qi for health rejuvenation and healing.
In the Orient, Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi and Zen meditation all teach correct breathing as the basic principle for practice.
Probably the most well known system of cure based on qi is acupuncture. Acupuncture charts show twelve major meridians (paths that qi flows through) in your body, as well as minor meridians and other points across your entire body. The acupuncturist uses hair-thin needles placed in designated spots along these meridians to stimulate your body's energy or vital life force, thereby instrumental in initiating the process of Chinese natural healing.
Qi has everything to do with your healthy breathing. You do much more than simply getting more oxygen into the lower lobes of your lungs. You actually radiate vital life energy through your entire body if you breathe correctly.
The ancient Chinese believed that when your qi is stalled in your body, you become sick. When you breathe correctly, your energy is able to travel through your entire body more freely, thereby promoting natural healing and preventing disease. That is why qi is the basis of so many Eastern-healing arts. They believe that natural healing and wellness stem from the care and management of that central life force, the energy system that is within every living creature. When qi flows freely and smoothly, your body's organs and systems are in a state of harmony. When qi becomes blocked, imbalance and illness often result.
To breathe is to live. To inhale fully is to live fully -- manifesting the full range and power of your innate potential for vitality in everything that you sense, feel, and do.
To inhale deeply and fully is to empty yourself, enabling you to open yourself to the unknown, to awaken your inner natural healing potential, thereby giving you the energy of wholeness, which is essential to health rejuvenation for natural healing.
The wrong ways to breathe
You are breathing improperly if you try to hold in your stomach or have a flat stomach. You might have been taught wrongly to stand up straight and puff out your chests, while sucking in your gut to hide your flabby midsection.
That, unfortunately, is the wrong way to breathe! That is NOT healthy breathing for health rejuvenation!
Avoid the pitfalls of taking rapid, small, upper-body breaths, which will starve your body of oxygen, eventually damaging your overall health over time. This is because exhaling carbon dioxide too quickly will disturb the balance of acidity and alkalinity -- also known as your pH level -- in your blood. That, too, is not healthy breathing.
When the acid and alkaline level is unbalanced, a complicated reaction occurs that actually keeps your blood cells from delivering oxygen to your muscles and organs, including your brain. In addition, shallow breathing -- when your upper chest, specifically the muscles at your neck and upper back, takes over the job of breathing -- may result in high blood pressure, and racing heartbeats, including heart disease. Correcting your breathing may help improve your blood pressure. Shallow breathing is not healthy breathing.
Your sedentary lifestyle further aggravates your breathing. Sitting slows down your breathing, making you unable to get the toxic carbon dioxide out of your body. You will not want your body to be full of aches and pains, and prone to premature aging. You will find your mind more refreshed after a brisk walk or even moving around in your office.
Just do not become a sitter at your desk over a long period. Move around as often as possible. A sedentary posture makes your breathing incomplete, which is not healthy breathing.
Western doctors have now begun to realize the importance of proper breathing. In fact, Western doctors now are using breathing techniques for a variety of treatments, for everything from sports performance to reducing high blood pressure, and from headaches to emphysema.
Breathing deeply and slowly for health rejuvenation
Breathe diaphragmatically! That is to say, breathe deeply enough to make your belly and diaphragm move noticeably. That is healthy breathing for overall health rejuvenation!
Breathing is something that you do all the time, but you just do not do it well enough. You need to relearn consciously how to breathe properly and healthily -- like a baby.
Yes, make no mistake about it -- like a baby! You were born to breathe diaphragmatically. Unfortunately, you may have stopped breathing deeply, as you grow up -- often a result of vanity or social pressure.
You simply have to relearn your way of breathing. Once you get it and start practicing it, you can see what a difference it will make in your life. Teaching deep breathing should be an important aspect of modern medicine, because improper shallow breathing is a recipe for a variety of disease. Improper breathing often leads to everyday stress in the form of anxiety and even panic.
Remember, you take literally thousands upon thousands of breaths each day, and there is no special trick to turning some of them into deep breaths. Just be conscious of your breathing at all times, such that your breathing habits may become habitual and ingrained.
How to breathe right and deeply for health rejuvenation
Breathe in slowly through your nose on a count of five, while gently pushing your hand up on your stomach.
Hold your breath for a count of five.
Breathe out through your nose also on a count of five, while pushing your hand down on your stomach.
Repeat. Allow your eyes to close as your breath deepens so that your belly begins to rise and fall.
Resting and Restful Sleep
Resting takes the stresses out of one's life. Take time out to relax -- this has been an Oriental anti-aging wisdom for thousands of years.
Lin Yutang, the great contemporary Chinese philosopher, said, "A wise man is never busy, and a busy man is never wise."
Are you getting enough sleep for health rejuvenation?
Sleep is a basic human need for good health. Sleep, like diet and exercise, is important for your mind and body to function normally. Restful sleep is health rejuvenation for the body and the mind.
During sleep, many of your major body organs and regulatory systems continue to work actively, and, in fact, some parts of your brain actually increase their activity dramatically, producing more of certain hormones.
An adult needs between more than seven to nine hours of sleep per day, that is to say, an average of over eight hours.
It is a myth that older individuals require less sleep.
It is another myth that you can adapt yourself to getting less sleep so that you may have more waking time. If you think you can be a thief of time and outsmart Nature, think again! You will always have to pay back your accumulated “sleep debt” somehow in the form of sleep disorders, which underlie many diseases, including heart attacks and strokes. Fatigue due to insufficient sleep will take its toll somehow and sometime. That is the reality!
In fact, your immune system needs more than nine hours of sleep in total darkness in order to recharge itself completely. Turn off all lights even though you can sleep with some lights on.
Do not get smart by trying to get by with less sleep!
Find out if you have enough sleep for your daily good health maintenance: Start going to bed a half-hour earlier this week.
If your alarm clock wakes you up, keep going to bed a half-hour earlier each week until you wake up before the alarm clock wakes you up.
That will be the hours of sleep you really need. Each individual's need is unique. Just don’t deprive yourself of sleep. Health rejuvenation requires daily restful sleep.
What makes you sleep?
You are put to sleep by two processes: sleep homeostat, which tells you to go to bed after a certain amount of time awake, and to wake up after a certain amount of time of sleep; biological clock, which is a daily cycle unique to each individual.
Nevertheless, your biological clock can overcome your sleep homeostat -- unless your “sleep debt” is much too huge. Therefore, if you force yourself to stay awake, you may actually be able to stay awake but at the expense of increasing your propensity to future sleep disorders.
A dark sleep environment is essential to a full rest. Your body does not completely shut down until there is complete darkness, which is conducive to a restful sleep.
You are not healthy unless you have a restful sleep every night. Sleep that requires medication is never healthy. For example, sedative drugs, such as Restoril and Ambien, may affect the thinking of older people, as well as contribute to daytime fatigue. These sleep-induced medications are never anti-aging or health-inducing. Don't be misled by their ads.
How to obtain a restful sleep for health rejuvenation
Always keep a regular bed and wakeup time, even on weekends and holidays, so as not to upset drastically your biological clock. That is very important.
Maintain a relaxing daily routine prior to sleep, such as a hot bath, or a glass of hot drink.
Create a sleep-inducive environment, such as a quiet and dark room.
Avoid any stimulant, such as caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol during the day, or especially before bedtime, although you may have already grown accustomed to the stimulant.
A firm and supportive mattress induces sleep.
Do not nap too much during the day: a long afternoon nap may rob you of your night sleep.
Get some natural light in the afternoon each day. Surprisingly, that may help you sleep better at night.
Exercise regularly to enhance the quality of your sleep at night. However, do not exercise right before bedtime.
Regular daily exercise may enhance the quality of your sleep at night. However, do not exercise right before bedtime.
Health rejuvenation brings about not only recovery from an illness but also, more importantly, natural healing which is lasting.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
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