Tips on Good Health

tips on good health compiled from the Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view.

Here are some handy tips on good health compiled from the Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view.

Qi and Health

Qi in the concept of the traditional Chinese medicine is an info energy that forms and sways everything in the universe, and it is in the ocean of the qi that everything exists. As your body is structured and maintained by qi, the quality of the qi within you and around you determines how healthy you can be.

Yin-Yang and Health

There are two kinds of qi, yin qi and yang qi.

According to Book of Virtue, when an abstract reality evolved into an intangible existence, a united qi splits into two, with the passive part being yin and the active part being yang, and the two balancing each other in motion ever since. Yin and yang as the two sides of one coin, complement one another, each being essential for the functioning and wellbeing of the whole. Thus a quality qi means a qi that has achieved a good balance between yin and yang two forces.

Five Agents and Health

What Are Five Agents?

There can be numerous ways to categorize and analyse ourselves and the world around us. Some mainly focus on tangible subjects that are measurable with physical instruments, such as science; some take a holistic approach to both tangible and intangible existences that can only be discerned by those whose sense is able to crack into the invisible even abstract realms, such as Four Elements theory (earth, water, fire and air) from Buddhism, or Five Agents formular (earth, water, fire, metal and wood) by Daoism. Since Chinese culture, including and in particular the traditional Chinese medicine, has a deep root in the Daoist conceptual system, Five Agents becomes the de facto method to study and describe the world.

How Five Agents Relate to Shape & Colour?

According to the Five Agents theory, each of the Agents corresponds to a certain shape and colour:

The col.ours and shapes of five agents

When qi flows through objects in certain colour and shape, it has been rendered in a certain way, with some attributes being emphasized, while other traits being filtered out. So within each yin qi and yang qi, there are five different qis patterned by five agents.

How Five Agents Relate to Your Internal Organs?

Kidney ——> Water

Liver ——–> Wood

Heart ——-> Fire

Stomach —> Earth

Lung ——–> Metal

Relationships between Five Agents

Nurturing circle and conflict relationship of Five Agents

By principle, when qis channeling from five agents keep in good balance, they can form a nurturing circle, and you are in good health; but when the balance is tipped, a conflict between the qis with different properties would occur.

Blood and Health

While qi is an information-based intangible energy, blood is a substance-based tangible energy, which by essence is a condensed qi. The state of your physical health mainly depends on two factors: sufficient energy level from qi and blood, and efficient channels for energy to flow through.

Energy and Health

Sufficient qi and blood are generated from three sources: a) eating the right amount of the right food; b) sleeping during the right hours for the right amount of time; b) doing the right exercise in the right manner for the right length of time.

Energy Circulation and Health

There are two kinds of illnesses: one is caused by weak energy, which makes you look very ill but the problems can be easily fixed through medication; the other is caused by obstruction of channels, which could make you look robust and full of energy, but the danger of a sudden collapse might be impending.

The most common cause for congestion of circulation is an internal temperature that is lower than normal, while low internal temperature is usually caused by a sluggish energy flow, and the sluggish flow is again caused by weak qi that is not strong enough to push the blood through. So after all, it is the weak qi that causes the circulation problems.

One of the most likely results of energy circulation problem is the development of tumour, a lump consisted of debris and junks that should be transported out of the body system by blood, but a sluggish flow is unable to move them around. Over the time, these debits and junks accumulated into a chunk that further blocks the channel and obstruct the energy flow.

Emotion and Health

Shaolin Kungfu

Only when your mind is pure and strong, you can direct qi flow; only when each part of your body is flooded with qi, you’ll be able to reach your full physical potential and go beyond.

Anger pushes qi up, that hurts your liver and causes energy flow congestion in you brain; sorrow presses qi down, that hurts your lung and causes deficiency of qi in all your internal organs; anxiety tightens qi into knots, that hurts your stomach and causes digestion problems; fear defuses qi away, that hurts your kidney and depletes your energy stocks; shock stirs qi into chaos, that hurts your heart and makes you unable to control your body functions.

Activity and Health

Overusing your eye drains your blood; sleeping too much diminishes your qi; sitting all the time weakens your muscles; standing too long injures your bones; and walking excessively damages your joints.

Food and Health

Your body can only process a certain amount of food and needs a certain amount of nutrition. Overeating produces garbage, and garbage obstructs the energy circulation, which is the main cause for aging.

Bearing in mind the storage space in your body is limited, therefore it is a good idea to maintain a certain degree of hunger so you can have enough room to accommodate qi.

Time and Health

According to yin-yang theory, each year from spring to winter is a complete yin-yang circle, and each day from early morning to late night is also a yin-yang circle, thus within a day we can experience four seasons.

Winter in a Day

Hours between 9pm and 3am are considered to be the winter season of the day, which is dominated by Water Agent. If you fail to refill Water through a good sleep, you can harm your kidney, a water organ and your energy reservoir; when your kidney is bruised, you’ll lose your vitality.

Summer in a Day

Hours between 11am and 1pm is the summer season of the day, which is dominated by Fire Agent. If you can preserve Fire through a quick snooze or short sitting meditation, you’ll be able to strengthen the power of your heart, a Fire organ and the engine of your body system.

Exercise and Health

Why You Need to Do Physical Exercise

Yin is the foundation of yang and yang is the utility of yin. Yin is nourished by meditation, while yang is strengthened through exercise.

Pros and Cons of Physical Exercise

Although exercise can increase the flow of the qi and blood, it also consumes the energy, therefore exercise should be done according to your particular physical condition.

Baby Meditation

Meditation and Health

Meditation Is the Way to Nourish Your Qi

The improvement of the subtle circulation within your body cannot be gained by physical exercise. It can only be achieved through meditation.

Meditation Is the Way to Clean Up Your Mind

Chaos in physical system is the cause for most illnesses, while the physical chaos in most cases is caused by mental disturbance.

The key to have a healthy body is to have a tranquil mind. When your mind is clear, your qi flows smoothly; when your qi flows smoothly, your blood transfusion is adequate; when your blood transfusion is adequate, your life essence is sufficient; when your life essence is sufficient, your spirit is vigorous; when your spirit is vigorous, your defence against virus attacks will be robust.

So if you want to fix the problems in your body, address the issues that troubles you in your mind first.

The Key to Clean Up the Mind Is to Let Go

The best way to resolve the issue in your mind can be summarised in two words: Let Go. If you can let go everything from your mind, the illness will be unable to cling on you. Once you do not mind of losing, you’ll have nothing to fear; once you have nothing to fear, your mind will be at peace.

Medication and Meditation

Medication can only help manage the symptoms of illnesses. If you want to resolve the root cause of your illness, you’ll have to work with your mind through meditation.

However, meditation should not be a substitute to medication, unless you are almost an immortal.

Sickness and Health

Sickness doesn’t always mean a bad thing.

Sometimes you get sick because your body is trying to adjust and fine-tune the system. In this case, the problem will go away by itself, and after that you can feel much healthier than before.

Also, if you practice meditation, when your cultivation reaches a certain level, some old illness may manifest, which is in fact a very good thing. Deal with them calmly so the deep rooted problems can be resolved without further delay.

Karma and Health

Causes and Consequences

The real scientific attitude is to fully acknowledge the relationship between the causes and the consequences of our actions, words and thoughts.

Body, Qi and Consciousness

Most people try to keep healthy by nourishing their body; a smart guy will try to keep healthy by nourishing his qi; a truly wise man will try to keep healthy by nourishing his consciousness.

The Ultimate Way to Keep Healthy

If you want to live longer, you should know how to recover from illness; if you want to know how to recover from illness, you should know how to utilize your qi; if you want to know how to utilize your qi, you should know what your unique natural properties are; if you want to know what your unique natural properties are, you should know who you really are beyond your temporary physical shelter.

28 comments

  • Vera

    I am really amazed of the concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine. There is simply so much wisdom and knowledge about what you can do to keep yourself healthy and how to make use of natural medicine.

    Really love the photo of that little baby buddah, so cute!

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with all the great and very profound tips, great post!

  • marquan

    No wonder why I have not been in a good mood. I need to try these remadies. I’ve always had an interest for Chinese Medicine but I just didn’t know if it works or not. But after reading this article I am confident that it will work for me. Especially since I understand now that sometimes you have to let go.

  • Pat

    Awen:
    My mother passed away suddenly in 2006 and I went thru sorrow and shock then, now I feel that I am an anxious person always in a rush. Do you think I am still holding on to some sort of blockage from back then.

    I do meditation but I find it hard to completely relax and keep in the zone even though I keep trying. It definitely feels good when I achieve that feeling of letting go. Very detailed and informative work. Enjoyed it immensely. Pat

    • Awen

      Hi Pat, it is hardest thing for anyone to cope when she lost her mother — I still can’t imagine if one day my mother is no longer around how I will face the reality, even though I know, theoretically, nothing is permanent in this world. Yes, definitely, you haven’t let go the pain of loss.

      When we become anxious, our qi (info energy) will twist into a knot, which blocks the energy flow and causes all sorts of illness. So some therapists advise people to release the anger or sorrow outwards. But the problem is any kind of energy we send out will eventually bounce back in the same form and amount, that is how energies keep in balance, otherwise the world would collapse.

      Hence other therapists suggest to punching a sandbag or shouting in an empty room – which is no doubt a better way to deal with the negative emotion. But the problem is we’ve still have experienced that kind of emotion, even just for a short while, which can still be harmful.

      The best and in fact the only valid way to deal with such situation is to empty ourselves, i.e. to let negative energies come and go like clouds in the sky but not being able to stick to the sky.

      Since all emotions arise following related thoughts, we only need to monitor our thoughts in our mind to keep away those unwanted emotions, and that is why we do meditation – to watch our own mind.

      There are many ways to do meditation. The popular ones now we can easily find online are developed from hypnotherapy that teach people to relax through visualisation and imagination. My humble opinion is these kind of techniques not only inefficient but could be quite dangerous when practicing unsupervised.

      There are some safer techniques for beginners that have been used by Chinese Buddhists and Daoists for thousands of years.

      One is to replace myriads of thought with a single thought – which can be anything, a sentence, a question, even your own name (of course the best is to recite a mantra that is like to repeatedly activate a powerful anti-virus program; you don’t need to be a Buddhist or Daoist to do so). Recite it either in a very low voice or behind closed lips so you won’t hurt your vocal system. Just remember don’t recite it in your mind, that could deplete your qi. This is the riskless and quickest way to enter a deep meditation and eventually become aware of everything within your body and outside of your body.

      Another way is to keep your mind busy by listening to the world that surrounds you. Since our brain can’t focus on two things in the same time, when you keep listening, you will not be able to think anything else. And over the years, your mind will gradually expand to reach the edge of your perception. By then you are well on the way to break your perception and gain the total liberation.

      There are more techniques. But I will strongly recommend these two to start with, just test to find out which one best suits you.

      My best wishes for your progress in your meditation. Have a great weekend Pat, cheers! :))

  • Rick

    I’ve always been fascinated with Chinese medicine. I’ve been helped by Chinese herbs and teas. My question is if you think you are in “balance” and something goes wrong, what do you do? How do you go about the process of meditation or investigation into the possible culprit? If someone is robust and suddenly has problems, what’s the first step?

    • Awen

      Hi Rick, if you think you are in balance but something still goes wrong, it must mean the energy within you and surrounding you are not really in balance, or the previous balance has already been tipped.

      Each of us has three commanding systems: the consciousness, the subconsciousness and the true self.

      The consciousness is produced by our mind, which is focused, dealing one task at a time; powerful, being able to make things happen (that is the reason for positive thinking); and elastic, allowing us to quickly shift the focus but making us hard to stick to one goal. It chiefly relies on our brain to function.

      It is why we have developed the second system, the subconscious.

      Subconsciousness is a default system running in background with minimum energy consumption. Any response that our consciousness repeats for several times will be considered as a routine task thus being pushed back into subconsciousness, so as to allow the consciousness to tackle a new problem that needs an unconventional solution. The commands and memories in subconsciousness are stored all over our physical body in clusters linked by similar properties, which makes it difficult to retrieve the memory in subconsciousness or change the command to our habitual behave.

      However, although difficult, it is not impossible. When we enter the meditation state and shift our focus away from our mind (consciousness), we will then be able to feel the sensation of our body, which is the gateway to subconsciousness.

      Chances are the culprit is hidden deep in your subconsciousness – your long-established habit.

      In contrast to consciousness, subconsciousness is dull, stubborn, consistent and stable. It is the auto-complete part of our system, and it makes no decision and does not obey the command of the consciousness. For instance, we may tell ourselves not to return a sharp remark when somebody says something very nasty, but when occasions occur, we still do, and do it without thinking.

      Despite the consciousness can’t command the subconsciousness, that doesn’t mean there is no way to change our habit.

      Habit can be overwritten.

      When we consciously establish a new response to an old stimulus, and repeat same response for at least one month, the new response will be taken as a habit by the subconsciousness to replace the old.

      And the balance hence can be regained.

      Yes, I haven’t mentioned the third system yet. The consciousness will gradually disperse following brain death, and subconsciousness will gradually disperse after our body are burned or rotted away, but our true self will forever be there. But that’s another topic.

      I wish you can identify the culprit soon and regain the balance before long.

      Live long and prosper! :)))

  • ject

    These are very good tips especially for those unfamiliar with Traditional Chinese Medicine and therapy.
    Information is packed in a concise and almost poetic way, right to the point, I like it.

  • The Fat Guy

    Hello Awen,

    I never thought of it in the way you have put it. Over use of any of the body parts is bad, I know that but, you have described how they deplete your energies and what you can do about it.
    I walk a lot, everyday and recently I have been feeling exhausted and now I know why thanks to your explanations and relationships of how things work.
    I know what I can do to do get the energy back into my exercise and not lost my stamina.
    Thank you for this great article,
    San

    • Awen

      Hi San, thanks so much for your comment.

      If you do proper meditation for a while, you will be able to detect the qi movement in your body, and literally feel how it unblocks the blockages, with the sensation very much like when your stuffy nose suddenly gets cleared. And if you walk extensively, when you try to heal your feet, you can sense the qi flowing into your toes through your legs to do some repair works for you. Once you know how to use your qi wisely, you’ll be the true master of your own system.

      Live long and prosper 🙂

  • fresheto

    I used to see a Chinese medicine doctor and each time he would ask tons of questions, some seemingly not really relevant to my illness. At the time I thought he just tried to be friendly, but now I think it might just be the essential part of his way of checking my conditions. Thanks, your article is very inspiring and enlightening.
    Thank you and best of luck.

    • Awen

      Hi fresheto, I think you’re right, your Chinese doctor was trying to thoroughly assess your conditions. Next time just tell him everything including your dreams – a truly good TCM doctor is not just a physician but a psychiatrist 😀

  • Tasos Perte Tzortzis

    Hi there Awen.Till now I did not knew about the five agents , I was only aware of the 4 physical elements.So they still include water , earth and fire and instead of air they have metal and wood.

    I am fully disappointed from your paragraph about energy and health.I am eating healthy food but I do not care about quantities ,I hardly sleep the last 3 years , I do not exercise much.

    So everything is a matter of balance.

    I think I am far away of heaving a healthy qi.I might have to reconsider a lot of things.Thanks for this post , you got me alerted.

    • Awen

      Yes Tasos, I agree that everything is a matter of balance. Since everybody’s physical and mental conditions are unique, so the way to achieve the right balance is different. You are eating healthy food, which means your body doesn’t have to produce huge amount of rubbish, and that must have helped you to save energy (qi), therefore you don’t need to do a lot of exercise to keep healthy.

      But I’m extremely curious you can manage to hardly sleep in the last 3 years, to my knowledge only highly cultivated Daoist masters or Buddhist monks can do so. And I start to believe you must be one of them 😀

  • renan

    Hi Awen
    I have always had great admiration for oriental culture particularly by the Chinese but I am now convinced that I did not have much knowledge. The five elements is something that has always bothered me though it sounds logical. In one of the pages of your site I read a comment that I share, there is little information of famous Chinese massage and Chinese ointment that “cure everything” has some basis these quotes?
    Thanks for the information, very detailed and valuable
    regards
    renan

    • Awen

      Thanks for your comment renan. Chinese medicine does not believe there is such a remedy that can “cure everything”. First of all, everybody is different from other human beings, with his own unique physical & mental composition and historical heritage (from his parents), and secondly everybody is different at a certain moment from his other times, due to his internal evolution and the change in the environment that surrounds him, so a remedy that saves one man might kill another, and helped him last time might hurt him this time.

      That is why when an authentic (!) Chinese medicine doctor (not those mass produced from a medical school modeled from Western medical science) would not name your illness according to the symptoms. In fact they would never group your condition with those they find in other people by giving it a generic name, but carefully check your physical and mental states, your living environment and your history, before deciding what medicine and/or food and/or exercise you should take.

      And finally there is a famous quote in Traditional Chinese Medicine: a doctor can only help you recover from an illness but can’t change your destiny. You fate is in your own hand.

  • bob evans

    Spot оn. I seriօusly belіeve Chinese medicine can be the future of the medical development. The extensive use of chemicals and abrupt interference of our natural body system should be rethinked.

    • Awen

      For too long we become so contempt of our own physical defence force but heavily rely on mercenaries to do the job. Those aliens drop dirty bombs, killing both the invaders and the defence force, the militaries and civilians. It’s not a smart way to deal with internal problems.

  • Mark

    I love traditional Chinese medicine as its remedies are natural and organic. I was always confused with five agents but now I start to understand a bit, not entirely still lol. I think the whole idea about the five agents is quite logical.

    • Awen

      Hi Mark, the so-called five agents are just a way to help us analyse the world, it is merely a tool, not the world itself. Science is another tool, which many people feel more easy to understand. 🙂

  • pressure points

    How about massage? You didn’t mention about massage at all. I’m doing massage therapy, I’m curious what your opinions are on massage?

    • Awen

      Yeah, massage is an important part in traditional Chinese medicine, and a good massage certainly helps releasing muscle tensions which allows the qi (energy) to flow smoothly.

  • Nnamdi

    Hello Awen, I have always know that the Chinese has a traditional ways of accomplishing things, that is inclunding health. Great post.

  • jvranjes

    This article Tips on Good Health from Traditional Chinese Medicine is indeed well written. This is a rather new topic for me. Though my wife is very interested in traditional Chinese and Japanese food and I have heard about those 5 elements. You describe their meaning nicely. No doubts we can learn a lot from their long tradition. Many thanks. Jovo

    • Awen

      Hi Jovo, thanks so much for your kind comment and I enjoy your mountain hike stories and photos immensely. Cheers.

Leave a Reply