"Where the Mind goes
Bodies in Balance the Art of Oriental Medicine
The ancient art of oriental medicine is a comprehensive health care system which integrates the wholeness of the mind, the body and the spirit.
It encompasses several branches or types of treatment, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, dietary therapy, conscious movement practices, meditation and feng shui, as well as incorporating other methodologies for maintaining balance and harmony. These form a vast field of study and demonstrate that the ancient cultures of Eastern Asia were extremely developed in their array of curative and preventative methods.
Oriental medicine considers illnesses and cures in human bodies to be a combination of physical, psychological, emotional, environmental and even cosmic factors. A doctor looks upon illness as something that is caused by a disturbance in a person’s relationship with either his surroundings or himself, and therefore uses whatever means are at his disposal to restore the person’s internal peace and achieve a cure.
This tradition sees the body as a model of the universe. The internal realm of the body is full of things that appear in the macrocosm: stars, mountains, woods, lakes, waterfalls. When all these are in harmony and the internal landscape is well governed, the human body enjoys perfect health.
Human life is the guardian of three treasures that are to be well kept, cultivated and enjoyed, namely Shen 神,
Qi 氣 and Jing 精. Any imbalance between these will result in what is referred to as the “ten thousand diseases”.
Shen 神: the vitality aspect of ourselves, also referred to as spirit, numen, mind, consciousness, psyche, soul.
Qi 氣: the potential to activate and move, also referred to as breath, air, gas, light, electromagnetic energy, attitude, vigour.
Jing 精: the source of life, also referred to as life force, marrow, bone, sexual essence, libido, ova, sperm, hormones.
If we use the image of a candle representing the human body, Shen would be the light emanating from the candle, Qi would be the flame, and Jing the wax and the wick, whose length determines the duration of our life.
Health is therefore the free flow of these treasures between the organs, the meridians, and every pore in the body. Therapy is based on understanding relations between part and whole and treating each individual as unique.
“Quiet peacefulness, absolute emptiness, the true qi follows these states.
When essence and spirit are guarded internally, where could a disease come from?
Hence, the mind is relaxed and one has a few desires.
The heart is at peace and one is not in fear.
The physical appearance is taxed, but is not tired.
The qi follows its appropriate course and therefore results compliance:
everything follows one’s wishes; in every respect one achieves what one longs for.”
Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, c. Second Century BCE