Many of us think we are essentially one way or the other: Outgoing or shy, athletic or clumsy, male or female. In truth, most of us are less clear-cut, something the ancient Chinese understood, and which has been handed down through generations.
A gift of Chinese medicine is that practitioners have learned and refined wonderful truths over the centuries, and we can learn them today.
One concept is the balance of yin and yang, represented by the familiar circle of black and white pieces that fit snugly together, yet each area contains a “seed” of the opposite.
Balance is the goal of acupuncture, which opens blockages to allow your life flow to move freely throughout your body. Balance is something you can achieve on your own as well, with the practice of traditional exercises Qi Gong and Tai Ji.
An ancient discovery
Qi Gong is the older practice and it includes fewer and slower movements. But both are exercises you can enjoy with a group or in private, and both encourage the growth and flow of the life force within each of us.
Qi Gong coordinates meditation with slow movements and deep breathing in prescribed poses that also improve posture. This form of physical meditation is meant to decrease stress and promote a sense of tranquility that is often absent from our everyday lives. As your thoughts quiet, the gentle Qi Gong movements warm muscles and promote circulation.
If you want more activity
The principal of Tai Ji, also known as tai chi, is that movement promotes tranquility, and tranquility leads to movement – the yin and yang in practice. Achieving the yin and yang leads to harmony in the body, which in turn produces the five elements, described in Chinese medicine as water, fire, wood, metal and earth.
Tai Ji offers a more complex series of movements than Qi Gong, although many of the basics are similar.
Importantly, you can enjoy significant health improvements from both Qi Gong and Tai Ji, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a department of the National Institutes of Health.
Good for all of us
The benefits include a slow-down in bone loss, reduced blood pressure, and improved balance and mental outlook. Flexibility also improves, along with the immune system of practitioners.
Happily, Qi Gong and Tai Ji can appeal to men who question whether exercising in loose clothing (that might look like pajamas) is, well, manly enough. Both are forms of martial arts and can be the foundation of more active fighting techniques.
In the meantime, these physical forms of Chinese medicine will increase your physical and mental abilities as it connects you to a wider understanding of the world.
Set up an appointment with me at Mayflower Acupuncture to discuss the many aspects of Chinese medicine, and which ones might be right for you.