The Secrets to Longevity
- Posted on: Nov 22 2017
Longevity secrets in Chinese Medicine span the course of 5 millennia. The eight branches of Chinese Medicine include: meditation, exercise, diet, cosmology, feng shui, bodywork, herbal medicine, and acupuncture. Each branch works on a different layer of a human being and is an expression of the spherical nature of life. In this short essay I will introduce a few ways that can help enrich your life as well as keep you healthy.
In ancient times, Taoists living in the mountains of China observed that during snowy winters the only plants exhibit resilience were evergreens such as pines. Through experimentation, they found a therapeutic use for every part of the pine tree: a physical and mental energy boost from pine needle tea and bark tea, antimicrobial properties in sap, and sustenance from pine nuts as a food. Since then, the pine has become a symbol of longevity in Chinese culture.
A potent antioxidant in pine called pycnogenol protects endothelial cells (which make up the lining of the blood vessels and heart) from free radical damage, serves as an anti-inflammatory, and preserves healthy skin structure. It is one of only a few antioxidants that cross the blood-brain barrier, protecting brain cells from the ravages of free radicals in the blood. Pycnogenol is available in dietary supplement form, but the same beneficial flavonoids can be obtained by eating pine nuts. Also pine bark and oil are known for its cleansing properties for the ear, nose, and throat. Also, these wonderful evergreens are very effective in elimination coughs by purging and transforming sticky mucous from air passageways.
Tai chi is a centuries-old Chinese martial art that descends from qigong, an ancient Chinese discipline that has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine. (The people that you see moving gracefully with flowing motions in parks throughout China, and increasingly throughout much of the modern world, are practicing tai chi.) According to some records, tai chi dates back as far as 2,500 years! It involves a series of slow, meditative body movements that were originally designed for self-defense and to promote inner peace and calm. In fact, Chinese medicine is believed to be around 5000 years old and Qi gong the precursor to tai chi has unknown origins much like I-Ching. The mysterious origins of these profoundly powerful practices give weight to the idea that the founders of Chinese medicine were men who could tap into the eternal and pull forward tools that help mankind live better more virtuous lives and realize their full potential. Tai chi mimics movements in nature such as a fox, blowing grass, or a tiger in the wild. Along with movement the breath slowly becomes uniform with the movements and the two synergize into one. The byproduct is a calming of the mind and thoughts, an elevation in perceptions, harmonizing blood flow, and an increase in the body’s ability to defend itself from disease and illness.
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