What Chinese Medicine has to Teach us About Self-Care

I was recently interviewed as a guest on the Alive & Well podcast to shine light on the medical world’s best kept secret: Chinese medicine.

A few things we talked about:

  • The similarities and differences between Chinese and Western medicine
  • How Chinese medicine understands disease
  • Honoring your body through proper eating cycles

Below are some highlights of the conversation:

Chinese Medicine as Traditional and Holistic Medicine

“Chinese medicine has been around for much longer than Western medicine. Where Westen doctors are trained, for the most part, to analyze the body in separate parts, Chinese medicine highlights the body as one unit, made up of all those different parts.”

“Instead of looking at the body with interchangeable parts, we see it as an ecosystem where all parts are connected to one another. Chinese medicine is very holistic in this sense; it takes into account one’s mind, body, and spirit as a whole. It considers the body to be full of qi, or energy, instead of it simply being blood and guts.”

Understanding Disease Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine

“Health, itself, doesn’t have a definition other than simply the absence of disease or injury. Chinese medicine sees health as a balance of yin and yang energies within the body. In fact, each organ system has yin and yang within it. “

“Disease can come from an external imbalance in the form of a virus, or it can be the result of an internal imbalance in one’s emotions, for example. Although emotions are typically fleeting, the mind can manipulate them to a point at which they manifest as a disease.”

“Disease can also come from what’s thought of as the miscellaneous. This can be anything from accidents, to lifestyle, and diet – the way we treat our body every day. Ultimately, we need to understand that life isn’t a static thing, it’s dynamic and we need to adapt our lifestyle to each particular moment.”

Chinese Medicine and Self-Care

“We need both yin and yang in our lives to be healthy. It’s much like day and night, we don’t have day after day after day without nights in between. In the same way we need both yin and yang to compliment one another.”

“Even our metabolism aligns itself with the rhythm of nature. Some foods when eaten earlier in the day can help you lose weight, and those same foods, if consumed too late in the day, can cause weight gain.”

“Chinese medicine prioritizes joy. We understand that many people eat their biggest meal of the day in the evening and then continue to snack until bed. This is often because they’re not giving themselves what they need either mentally, physically, or spiritually.”

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