The Eight Branches of Chinese Medicine

Chinese Medicine from its beginnings some 3000 years ago was already holistic and integrated. Confusing though it might seem to us Westerners, the Chinese Medical approach was always multifaceted.

There has always been an eight-pronged design for how an individual might approach their health challenges and healing. I will list them in order of importance.

  1. Meditation: Meditation focuses the mind using the breath to balance the body/mind/spirit. The mind calms and the Qi moves through the body with the breath. This practice allows for self-realization and centering.
  2. Exercise: Qigong The movement, breath, and intention of Qigong moves the Qi and circulates the blood. Specific kinds of exercises are prescribed according of the physical condition and symptoms, or complaints of a person.
  3. Nutrition: There is hardly a more confusing topic than how one should eat. However, we can all agree that a diet emphasizing fresh fruit, veggies, and grains is much preferable to a diet of processed foods. In general, the ideal would be to warmer, heavier meals in the Fall/Winter and to eat raw, lighter meals in the Spring/Summer.
  4. Living in Harmony with the Season. Awareness of ones environment and living in harmony with the seasons is an underlying principle in Chinese Medicine. In the winter when the nights are long, and the temperature cold, we need more sleep and heavier meals. In the summer, we can be out later, and eat lighter meals. Our bodies know this if we pay attention.
  5. Feng Shui: Your environment affects your Qi flow and your life. How you design your environment has a direct influence on your vitality and overall sense of balance.
  6. Body work: Massage and other styles of bodywork increase the circulation and flow of Qi to the muscles and releases blockages.
  7. Herbs: For thousands of years the properties of plants have been used to create elegant formulas to address a person’s ailments. Herbal formulas are available for most any complaint.
  8. Acupuncture: Acupuncture helps direct the flow of qi through the use of fine delicate needles in specific points that are on pathways through the body called meridians. The meridians are used like a map to create balance, harmony and wholeness.
    What stands out in this prioritized list is how important it is to always focus on what you can do for yourself that will increase your health and well being. Look at the list and do an honest assessment of where you need to give your attention. I agree with the order and priority of this list. This is one of the reasons that I offer Qigong and Meditation classes for my clients.

What stands out in this prioritized list is how important it is to always focus on what you can do for yourself that will increase your health and well being. Look at the list and do an honest assessment of where you need to give your attention. I agree with the order and priority of this list. This is one of the reasons that I offer Qigong and Meditation classes for my clients.

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