Chinese medicine is energetic in nature and brings the body into its natural harmony (balance of Yin and Yang). To maintain the body’s balance it is just as important to get enough rest as it is to exercise regularly. Exercising is considered Yang in nature – active and warming whereas rest and sleep is Yin in nature – rejuvenating and cooling. In Chinese Medicine, good health is all about movement in the form of flow, that is the flow of Qi (energy, life force). Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioners understand that this flow creates more flow and it’s when there is an imbalance and the energy is deficient or blocked that problems can develop. This can manifest in the body in several ways such as disease, indigestion, heartburn, blood clots, muscular aches and pains, stress and depression and pain to name a few. Acupuncture can be a valuable technique to help harmonise the body’s Yin and Yang and for you to experience healthy upright qi.
Regular exercise can be the perfect antidote to stagnation, both physically and emotionally. Through exercise we increase blood flow through our vessels, increase lung capacity through our breath, move food through our digestive system, activate nerve signals that flow to and from our brain, increase our heart rate, activate our muscles, create feel-good endorphins and we alleviate stress levels. All in all, movement is a win win, wouldn’t you say?! Keeping your heart and lungs healthy, your bones dense, your muscles strong and having good core strength are great long-term goals for a regular exercise regime.
The types of exercise preferred from our perspective are forms of movement such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Yoga where the body is moving gently and with mindfulness. Vigorous exercise and over-exercising is not recommended due to damaging Heart Yang, given that Heart Yang is used to expel sweat from the pores of the skin. The depletion of Blood and Qi due to overwork can be harmful to our muscles and tendons. Lifting very heavy weights over long periods of time, for example, is regarded by TCM and western medicine as harmful to the joints, tendons and bones.
A condition we call “overwork” is considered to be a cause of illness. It can occur with the body or mind. Vigorous exercising and over exercising, such as spending too many hours at work, too many hours at the computer or on your device or care-giving without respite are all examples of conditions of “overworking” and over-thinking. Tell-tale signs of this condition can be pain, irritability, mood swings, disruption to your sleep and muscular tension and injury. Exercising the mind, mindfullly; that is being kind and loving to the mind. This will help us stay vital with clarity, emptiness and compassion. However distracting the mind too much by over-thinking, stressing-out with negative thoughts and emotions can wear us out. Once again, it’s about maintaining that healthy balance and moderation in life.
Be kind to the mind. Meditation is not what you think…
For more information on exercising Your Body + Mind, feel free to contact Dr Mark McAuliffe (Acupuncturist) at Morningside Healing Sanctuary, Brisbane, Australia