Seeking Balance: Traditional Chinese Medicine
“The three months of the spring season bring about the revitalization of all things in nature…This is when heaven and earth are reborn.”
Huang Di, The Neijing
Spring is the start of year in the Chinese calendar. It is a time of new beginnings, a time when we plant seeds. As part of the living green world, we should flow with these cycles of nature. Yet we can all feel disconnected from the rhythms of the season, the moon, the soil. I find that when the little stresses of daily life are compounded, I can feel imbalanced. A cloud drifts over the mirror of my mind, bringing a sense of disquiet.
In traditional Chinese philosophy, this is considered an imbalance of Qi (pronounced “Chee”), or the essential life force. Qi is the energy that flows through the pathways of the body, vitalizing us. When I feel malaise, I often turn to Traditional Chinese Medicine, which seeks to restore the flow of Qi by addressing its imbalances and deficiencies.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, dates back over 2,000 years and is rooted in the Taoist philosophy of Yin and Yang. It proposes that illness can be caused by an imbalance of these forces in the body (its principles are historically attributed to the Neijing, or The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, a third-century BCE text). The TCM practitioner seeks to restore balance with therapies including herbalism, acupuncture, and movement.
My practitioner turns to a wooden cabinet of drawers housing dried herbs and roots to blend a natural remedy tailored to my particular ailment. It might include a tea of goji, or danggui. I feel that nurturing Qi is a constant practice, a way of life. It may be a remedy, or the slowing down for the ritual of tea, a walk in the woods, meditation. It is bringing ourselves in alignment with the natural world holistically, anciently.