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by Mary Melling, Senior Practitioner.
The chronic degenerative diseases of aging are now known to be partly inheritance but mostly due to life style. We hear terrifying facts these days that many children being born now will not outlive their parents. The baby boomers however are expected to live longer than ever. We have two opposing spectrums here. People in their sixties expecting to reach at least ninety and young children being told they may not have a long life. What is happening?
We all know that aging is a natural progression in life. However as the baby boomers age there is more concern about how long they will live for and how healthy they will be. I think most people would agree that they would like to die healthy. Wouldn’t it be nice to grow old, be mentally alert and active? In traditional Chinese medicine it is said that we are all born with a certain amount of “Jing” (meaning essence). This is related to what energy we inherit from our parents. In other words if both parents are in great health and the mother looks after herself while pregnant, then the baby will inherit lots of Jing. This means they will have good energy and should age well and have a long and healthy life. The Jing is stored in the kidneys as a reserve and hopefully only gets used up in later life. When you die it is thought that all your Jing is used up. For this reason alone it is important that potential parents can prepare for a healthy pregnancy.
Once we inherit our jing we have our constitutional profile. It is then important what we do with our lives so we don’t start tapping into our inherent energy before it is ready to be used up. The ancient Chinese texts talk about things that will start using this stored energy too early on in life. They talk about:
- too much work
- too much partying
- too much sex
- too much alcohol or drugs
- too much exercise
- too much worrying
and so on. Basically, too much of anything that can weaken you and thus deplete your Jing. We know that elite athletes can suffer from chronic fatigue and we know they can over do the exercise and this can weaken the body. This means their Jing may be tapped into and their reserve energy is being used. The same applies to people who survive on little sleep, study too hard, party too hard or whatever is causing them to sleep less. Anything that is pushing the body or mind beyond its comfortable limits will use up this reserve energy. This reserve energy or “Jing” is difficult or impossible to replace. It is there as our reserve for old age. Signs of poor Jing can be weakening of the bones or teeth, poor memory, lowering of energy and other things we associate with aging.
In order to reserve this energy then it is important we build a natural supply of Qi (energy) and blood. Building our post natal energy means we don’t have to use our stored essence (Jing). This involves eating good nourishing foods that includes the rainbow colours of fruit and vegetables. It includes good quality proteins and whole grains and nuts and seeds. All processed foods lacks vitality and don’t have the nourishing qualities needed to give us a naturally good energy. We also need to keep active and keep muscle tone on our body. We need to have quality sleep and rest. We need time to relax and enjoy our lives.
The modern day concerns for our health increase as stress levels rise, diets become less organic and natural, toxins in our environments are on the increase and there seems to be less time to relax, meditate or just have down time. Traditional Chinese medicine sees the importance of keeping the body in balance, making good Qi and blood through diet and lifestyle and making sure all the organs and channels in the body are in optimum health in order to reach your healthy potential.
Acupuncture is a wonderful way of balancing energies in your body and maintaining good health. By having your pulses checked the practitioner can tell you where your deficiencies are and help strengthen those weaker energies. The regularity of acupuncture is not only a time to relax and calm the mind but the body is also being balanced enabling the individual to reach their full health potential.
“Honour the physical temple that houses you by eating healthily, exercising, listening to your body’s needs and treating it with dignity and love” Dr Wayne Dyer