5 Healthy Habits From Traditional Chinese Medicine

Balance your qi with this ancient Chinese wisdom.

Chinese practitioner of traditional healing.

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In the West, people tend to visit their doctor when they feel sick. Yet ancient practices from the East take a very different approach. In traditional Chinese medicine, treatment is not just for those who have already fallen ill, it is also for those who are healthy!

Dating back thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine looks at how maintaining a healthy lifestyle prevents diseases from developing in the first place according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.The keyword to health is balance.

 According to traditional Chinese medicine, each person has a life force energy inside. In Chinese, they call it “qi” (pronounced chee). When in balance, qi flows freely through pathways in the body, called meridians. Balance the flow of energy in your body with these health tips from traditional Chinese medicine. 

Nutritional therapy

For traditional Chinese medicine, food and medicine are the same thing. You should eat foods, not just for their taste, but for their nutritious and healing properties, too. A Chinese medicine diet boils down to the important principle of draining dampness, according to Inner Light.

 Dampness is a by-product of eating foods that clog the flow of energy in the body. Cheese, yogurt, flour, sugar are “damp” foods that create blockages and prevent the flow of qi. As a result, you may get too much mucus in the sinuses or lungs, constipation, swollen joints, and excess body fat. So eliminate dairy and raw foods, as both are said to hinder digestion.   

For the ideal Chinese medicine menu, make sure to eat lots of vegetables to help flush the system of dampness and toxins. Rice also helps to cleanse the body while draining dampness, just as it does on your plate. Include small quantities of protein like meat, fish, and beans.

Healthy Chinese food.

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Movement exercises

The Chinese have practiced tai chi and qi gong for centuries, forms of martial arts that combine meditation with gentle, flowing movements. These exercises direct the energy flow of qi in the body, ultimately balancing your life force within. This low impact movement not only relaxes the mind but also improves flexibility and balance, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Tai chai is a healthy habit from traditional Chinese medicine.

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Tuina (massage therapy) balances qi by releasing pressure along the meridian points in the body. Twisting, turning, and kneading relaxes the muscles and relieves tension.

Your body naturally releases feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and opiates during massage. At the same time, massage therapy turns down the body’s fight-or-flight response and decreases stress hormone (cortisol) levels. 

Woman getting a massage, a healthy habit from China.

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You may be familiar with acupuncture, a traditional Chinese treatment that involves sticking thin needles into the skin. As painful as it may look, acupuncture actually treats pain!

Practitioners carefully place each needle into specific points along the meridians to promote the flow of qi. Acupuncture treatment does effectively reduce a number of chronic pain conditions according to the UC San Diego school of medicine.

Acupuncture is an ancient treatment for pain.

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Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but physicians in China have used the method for centuries. The practice involves filling cups with flammable substances, such as alcohol, herbs, or paper before setting them on fire. The cups are then placed upside down on the skin to create a suction. As the cup cools, a vacuum forms which expands the blood vessels. 

Drawing impurities to the skin’s surface helps remove toxins from the body, according to MedicineNet. It may also help reduce inflammation and relax tissue, similar to a massage. 

This man is getting a cupping treatment for wellness.

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