Tofino Wellness: The Easy Way to Health
by Kevin Scrimgeour, Tofino
There is an old saying a good doctor treats a sick person but the best
doctor treats a person before they get sick. This means that prevention
is the most effective way to health. In the old days of China a doctor
would be paid to look after a village and if people got sick then they
would get treatment free of charge. It was like an insurance system
where it was in the doctors interest to keep his patients healthy.
In this old system if people came in for 'tune-ups' and
followed simple diet advice, the doctor would keep the community happy
and productive with relative ease. In the spirit of this ancient system,
today's acupuncture treatments in can take the place of these 'tune-ups'.
Acupuncture can help balance subtle disharmonies before they snowball
into obvious medical problems. Four treatments a year – at the
change of the seasons – combined with the advice below is one
way you can maintain a healthy life for years to come.
The early Chinese – similar to our modern aging population – were
obsessed with longevity. They found that health could be understood
as substances that could be cultivated, accumulated and preserved.
They called these substances of health the three treasures. Accumulating
these treasures is not complicated if basic principles are followed
daily. There is no real secret to being fit and active even into your
90's it is simple common sense and a little bit of daily discipline.
Cultivating a Healthy Spirit or Shen
Opening and purifying the mind and strengthening the spirit through
consistent awareness practices is the most effective way to strengthen
the body. Without mental growth the body too will become stagnant.
In the modern day information age we can become fragmented mentally,
distracted, making it difficult to maintain any kind of diet or exercise
regime. It is now more important than ever to develop a personal internal
practice. A practice can be anything that on a daily level develops
peace of mind patience and moderation. Use this quiet time to guide
you in your life and make important decisions while calm focused and
relaxed. Any diet of exercise program will be short lived in its effects
without a spiritual foundation of some sort. This aspect gives the
focus and power for true healing to occur and the will power to maintain
any health regime.
To circulate Qi exercise is good when Qi moves we feel alive and
energized even euphoric. This is good, but to Build Qi one must exercise
an awareness component. Examples of this combination are yoga, Taichi,
any activity is fine, it should be appropriate to your level, not excessive,
but balanced and disciplined. Work and rest must also be balanced.
The best exercises are ones that allow one to develop a mind body connection.
The most obvious ones are taichi, qi kung (Chinese Yoga) or meditative
walking. Any activity is fine even running as long as an awareness
development component is included. Remember to be active regularly
or everyday if possible. Get to the point where you are not saying "Am
I going to exercise today?" but "When am I going to exercise
today?" You don't have to be training for a marathon but
a daily walk where you get the heart rate up is good for a maintenance
level of health.
Building Your Jing
What you eat is important but also how you eat is equally important.
One should eat in a calm state of mind, sitting down with family or
friends at regular times. Train yourself to appreciate every bite and
chew your food. The idea of grace before meals is a good one because
it trains one to appreciate the food. This state of appreciation is
a healing state that has been found to regulate the autonomic nervous
system and thus the digestive process. Do not overeat – it is
better to have small frequent meals. The exception is breakfast – always
try to eat a large healthy and hot breakfast. This builds the body
and the metabolism and you will actually lose weight this way. Taper
off the size of meal you eat towards the end of the day. "Breakfast
like a King, Lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper."
When cooking fresh food, don't overcook! Steam vegetables not
to destroy their nutrients.
Building your treasures with proper food.
When deciding what food is to eat there are many systems. The simplest
way is to ask yourself what would you be eating if you were growing
your own food. Eating local seasonal food is the healthiest and
easiest way to build and maintain health. If you look at the many diet
and you will find this is actually what they are based on.
Fresh foods promote tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin, which
produce deep sleep and calmness. This directly effects immunity
stability. Another reason to think globally and act locally.
Kevin Scrimgeour is a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and
a registered accupuncturist. For an appointment call Tofino Massageworks
Tofino Body & Soul - Spa and Wellness articles