Dietary and lifestyle advice is a very important part of Chinese Medicine. The Classic Texts of acupuncture and herbs tell us that it is the first area that should be looked at when we become ill – before trying other therapeutic modalities. All our practitioners have been trained in dietary theory, and will be able to give you specific advice, tailored to your sypmtoms, as well as suggest specific exercises, if appropriate, to help you move towards a healthier life.
Chinese Dietary Therapy
Chinese dietary therapy, a key component of traditional Chinese medicine, understands the importance that food and our diet has on our overall health and well-being.
Chinese dietary therapy views food not only as a source of sustenance but also as medicine that can prevent and treat diseases when consumed in a mindful and balanced manner. It recognizes that different foods possess distinct energetic properties, flavors, and effects on the body. The aim is to harmonize these qualities to support the body’s natural healing processes and restore equilibrium.
Chinese dietary therapy emphasises the importance of eating seasonally and locally. By consuming foods that naturally grow in a particular season and region, we align ourselves with the rhythms of nature, supporting our body’s inherent needs. For example, in the summertime, cooling foods like watermelon and cucumber are recommended to counterbalance the heat.
It also considers the energetic properties of food, such as warming or cooling, and their impact on different individuals based on their constitution and imbalances. For instance, someone with a tendency toward excess heat might benefit from consuming cooling foods like leafy greens and mung bean sprouts.
One of the first know therapists to discuss diet was Sun Si Miao, often referred to as the “King of Medicine,”. He was prominent physician, scholar, and author during the Tang Dynasty. Sun Si Miao believed that a healthy diet was paramount in maintaining optimal health and preventing illness.
According to Sun Si Miao’s teachings, a well-rounded diet should embrace the concept of the “Five Flavors” – sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty. Each flavor corresponds to specific organ systems and carries unique properties. Balancing these flavors in our meals can nourish the body holistically. For instance, bitter foods, such as bitter melon or dandelion greens, can help clear heat and toxins from the body, while sweet foods, like sweet potatoes or dates, can nourish and tonify.
Incorporating the principles of Chinese dietary therapy into our lives can have numerous benefits. It not only promotes physical health but also nurtures our connection with nature and enhances our overall well-being. By embracing mindful eating habits and being attuned to our body’s needs, we can optimize digestion, strengthen our immune system, and foster a harmonious relationship with food.