Healthy life style is defined in various ways depending upon different cultures and beliefs. Cultures that have been developed in cold weather tend to focus on keeping body warm and cultures on the other spectrum focus on cooling body. Modern medicine focuses heavily on quantifiable test results to measure health and utilizes medicines and lifestyle changes to control them to desirable range.
If a healthy life style reflects culture and understanding of the human body, what are the principles of a healthy lifestyle spoken in eastern medicine?
Eastern medicine bases all of its theories on Yin and Yang. To be more exact, balance of yin and yang is the basic principle to promote proper bodily function.
Yin and yang theory is well known theory that is fundamental to eastern medicine and philosophy. They are opposites of each other, yet complementary to each other as well. Interaction of Yin and yang creates. For example, men are considered yang and women are considered yin. Men and women complement each other very nicely, but they act as if they are from different planets. Also, interaction of men and women creates another form of life. Fire is considered yang and water is considered yin. Their properties are completely different, but interaction between two enabled steam engine. Also, gasoline(water) and spark(fire) let us drive our cars.
How does theory of yin and yang apply to health?
Ancient classics of eastern medicine emphasize ascending water and descending fire in human body is the base of life. It is very obvious that heat has tendency to rise and cold has tendency to sink, but eastern medicine seems to assume complete opposite action to be the necessity of maintenance of healthy body.
Seemingly false statement as such can easily be explained with theory of yin and yang. In order to create energy and life, bodies need yin and yang within to interact with each other. If heat rises indefinitely and cold sinks indefinitely, there is no interaction between heat(yang) and cold(yin). Ancient classics want to say that a person is healthy if the person’s lower the body is warm and upper body is cool which demonstrates constant interaction and circulation. In modern days, eastern medicine doctors always emphasize to keep our head cool and feet warm which is very good indication of ascending fire and descending water.
To contain broader yet more practical implications of healthy life style in simple phrase, ancient doctors brought forth principle of ascending water and descending fire so that people can be mindful of the principle and it can be exercised in everyday life.
What are some easy ways to apply this principle to promote health?
Ancient doctrine and classics were written in metaphors and codes and no practical examples were given. Fortunately, there were some enlightened practitioners who were able to decode and lay out some details for scholars to follow.
One of the most popular practice of the principle is foot-bath. Eastern medicine doctors recommend 15 to 20 minutes of bathing foot in hot water every night if a person has cold hands and feet and women with menstrual cramps. By warming feet, where cold tends to sink and reside, body starts to transfer the heat toward the top. This will promote circulation of energy and blood and unblocks un-desired stagnations in the body.
There is no single health protocol that fits everyone’s needs. Everyone has different body types and different life style. What works for one person might do harm to others. However, understanding the mechanism of energy circulation can serve as a good indicator of one’s circulation issues and if one can be mindful of the principle, it helps to maintain good health.
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