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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Wragg

Yang Sheng - Demystifying the Terminology in Chinese Medicine

You may or may not have had your acupuncturist talk about Yang Sheng (the nurturing of life) in a consultation and thought what is that? Yang Sheng is an ancient Chinese philosophy of obtaining wellness and a healthy long life through simple lifestyle practices. This rhythm of living has been tried and tested for thousands of years and has a potent relevance in today's face-paced, pressurised society. These practices include nutrition, nourishing the body with movement, mindfulness, and the use of holistic treatments such as acupuncture. Yang Sheng intertwines these practices together to bring about a multifaceted approach to wellbeing. Your Chinese medicine practitioner will focus on your signs and symptoms during consultations by listening, being supportive and also with post-treatment guidance on diet and lifestyle in order to support your return to optimum living and better health.

Dietary Advice

Chinese medicine nutrition does not work on the basis that one food fits all, neither does one eating style or a diet that is based on restrictive or reductive eating habits. Foods have different energetics and in order to determine the appropriate foods for each patient, the season, the strength of the bodily systems and the nature of illness are all taken into account. Yang Sheng places a great deal of importance on the environment we eat in; fast food, eating on the go, eating whilst sitting and working will not boost our digestion. Good digestion is about quality, quantity, the season and what produce fits with the current time of year and most of all creating an enjoyable and positive environment around meal times and connected to food in general.

If you want to find out a little more about Chinese Nutrition and some inspirational recipes check out The Way of Living booklet:

Move Your Body

This Yang Sheng principle applies to exercise. Daily movement is essential in ensuring circulation throughout the body, which helps to improve the breath and move our energy, it brings oxygen into the body and into our bloodstream which strengthens us as it is transported all over the body. High intensity exercise can be beneficial in moderation for the right person, but excessive exercise can exhaust the body, just as too little exercise can cause the body to stagnate. Gentle mind-body exercises such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, yoga, pilates or a daily 30 minute walk can be just as effective when trying to maintain health and fitness, without taxing our body’s energy reserves.

'The motion of walking stimulates qi, helping it flow better, and helps regulate yin and yang. The idea is consciously, to coordinate your breath with your steps.'

Yang Sheng, The Art of Chinese Self-Healing by Katie Brindle

Make Time for Mindfulness

Mental and spiritual exercises are paramount in the practice of Yang Sheng. Techniques such as meditation, breathwork and mindful movement (Tai Chi, Qi Gong, yoga) are used to regulate mind, body and breathing, in order to achieve a state of harmony within. The quality of our mind and thoughts is the single most important factor affecting the quality and quantity of our energy flow. When the mind is at peace, our energy flows easily throughout the body. Within our fast-paced, stress-filled daily lives in the United Kingdom, these mindful practices are an essential component in maintaining and optimising our overall health. Having a place in the day to concentrate on our breath, aside from daily tasks to empty our mind of worries, these practices boost and unify mind, body and spirit.

** We have a number of acupuncturists who work from the acu.e8 clinic, please discuss with your practitioner with regards to obtaining a personalised plan that is tailored to your needs that will encompass the strategies above and provide a pathway back to optimal health.

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