optimum health picThere is a saying in the oldest texts of Traditional Chinese medicine that a good doctor treats diseases by preventing illness before it begins. The Yellow Emperor said “treating an illness after it has began is like suppressing revolt after it has broken out… If someone digs a well when thirsty, one can not help but ask: are not these actions too late”.

There are a variety of theories about how to maintain optimum health. One common thread is the connection between Spirit and Form. Form, the physical body and spirit are inseparable from each other and during health cultivation/preservation both spiritual and physical exercises are stressed. The basic 5 rules of health preservation are: moral quality, breathing exercises, physical exercises, mental health and diet.

Joy Brown, Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner, suggests a simple daily routine to maintain your health. You don’t have to do all these things but start with those that you are comfortable with and gradually add the other suggestions that will challenge you some more.

  1. Drink 200-400 ml of warm water (never drink ice cold water), mixed with juice of half a fresh lemon after getting up in the morning before eating.  This will help kickstart the digestion process for the day.
  2. When waking up allow your body a couple of minutes to adjust itself to the morning rush by lying in bed. Take a few deep breaths feeling the morning energy rushing from head to toes.
  3. Walk for half an hour in the morning fresh air or jog with mild perspiration. If you are unable to walk or jog, do some simple stretching at home for 10 minutes.
  4. Practice 10 minutes of Qi gong – breathing exercise: eyes closed, inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth for 10 minutes. Keep your breathing slow and deep.
  5. Eat a healthy breakfast. Joy suggests Oatmeal porridge for its healing properties. It has a warming nature, which soothes the digestive system, strengthens the spleen and builds Qi energy. Oats have high contents of fibre and antioxidants. Research shows that eating one bowl of oats per day can significantly lower cholesterol levels and removes cholesterol from the digestive tract and arteries, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Oats contain phosphorus, required for brain and nerve formation during youth.
  6. Apply abdominal massage after every meal, 100 circles in each direction. This simple exercise will warm up your stomach, increase enzyme function and will aid in digestion to prevent bloating and indigestion.
  7. Drink another 600 ml of water during the day.
  8. Eat a balanced healthy dinner no later than 8 pm (at least three hours before bedtime). Take a 30 minutes walk after dinner when possible.
  9. Practice 5 minutes of meditation while you are in bed before falling asleep.
  10. Be happy. Do things that make you happy, make other people happy, smile, laugh and enjoy the little things in life.

Article written by Joy Brown (Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner)