Ancient Stress Relief

For those of us looking to make our health a higher priority in our lives, one of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s oldest books, compiled in approximately 200 B.C. and titled Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine), continues to provide us with a wealth of information for improving our health.

In a particular section of this acupuncture textbook, the Emperor was asking his court physician why people of their day weren’t living as long, compared to those of ancient China.

His doctor replied:

“These days, people have changed their way of life. They drink wine as though it were water, indulge excessively in destructive activities, and deplete their energy… Seeking emotional excitement and momentary pleasures, people disregard the natural rhythm and order of the universe. They fail to regulate their lifestyle and diet, and sleep improperly. So it is not surprising that they look old at fifty and die soon after.”

This description, written over 2,000 years ago, sounds much like our own current situation and the doctor’s advice seems just as relevant for today’s society:

“Previously, people led a calm and honest existence, detached from undue desire and ambition… They were active, but never depleted themselves. Because they lived simply, these individuals knew contentment, as reflected in their diet of basic but nourishing foods and attire that was appropriate to the season… Since they were happy with their position in life, they did not feel jealousy or greed. They had compassion for others and were helpful and honest… They treated others justly, regardless of their level of intelligence or social position… They avoided over-stressing their bodies and minds, and refrained from overindulgence of all kinds. They maintained well-being of body and mind; thus, it is not surprising that they lived over one hundred years.”

Living simply and in moderation – as we face the challenges of life, this advice seems even more important than ever. As more of us search for solutions to improving and maintaining our good health, the time-tested wisdom of Traditional Oriental Medicine is able to continue to lead us into healthier and more balanced lives.