Medical gymnastics and Chinese dietetics by Liliana Atz

In Taoist philosophy the world is a continuous becoming, whose driving force derives from the dynamics of Yin / Yang, For the Chinese tradition the Yin includes what is on the “shady side of the hill”, while the Yang what is on its “sunny side”.
In Chinese energy philosophy the body is always too Yang (Fire), except in cases where a fast or illness does not make it too Yin.
Another very important aspect in Traditional Chinese Medicine is Qi. Ted Kaptchuk (1) attempting a description of this term defines it as “matter on the verge of becoming energy and energy on the verge of materializing”.

The Qi, the bioelectric circulation within the human body is generated by several possible causes, internal and external, including, for the purpose of understanding this article:
1. The movement of the planets and atmospheric agents: sun, moon, stars, movement of clouds, the Earth’s magnetic field and other energies that surround us.
Here arises spontaneously a reflection on how much technology regulates the life of Western man …
2. Food and air, which must be “fair and clean”.
3. From thought, as a source of bioelectric electromotive force. We think, therefore, about the importance of the quality of our thoughts in generating well-being or disease.
4. From a correct physical movement that, using the mind to control the body, causes an increase in production and hormonal circulation in the body and a consequent greater psycho-physical vitality.
A Fire Qi (Yang) is an impure Qi, which causes a heating of the organism and a psycho/spiritual imbalance of the body.
Different is the situation of Water Qi (Yin), which is able to cool the excess fire of the body.
And it is precisely the study of Yin / Yang rebalancing that is sought through the use of the different modalities in which Traditional Chinese Medicine is articulated.
Medical gymnastics, breathing exercises, meditation, relaxation techniques, phytotherapy, massage, acupuncture and dietetics are used to bring the body back to a neutral state.

Food and Health
If what we eat becomes part of us, it is logical to think that, in the medium to long term, implementing precise food choices can profoundly change the body. From this intuition comes the awareness of the therapeutic power of the diet, understood as a programmed diet regimen.
In the Chinese dietary vision, great importance is given to the understanding of the individual Yin/Yang characteristics of food, appearance, provenance, temperature, season, nature and taste. Later, also to the type of cooking used.
As far as appearance is concerned, dark food is called Yin, while colored food is Yang.

The food that grows underground is Yin, while the one that ripens in the sun is Yang. A food containing a high percentage of water is Yin, while a dry food is Yang.
A food served cold is Yin, while a food served hot is Yang, etc.
The same importance is attributed to the flavors of food, which are five and, precisely:
1. acidic;
2. bitter;
3. sweet;
4. spicy;
5. Salty.
According to the law of the Five Movements, each of them corresponds:
1. an energetic loggia: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water;
2. one season: spring, summer, late summer (the fifth season of the Chinese), autumn and winter;
3. a climatic condition: wind, heat, humidity, dryness and cold;
4. an organ: liver, heart, spleen/pancreas, lung and kidney.

Each taste naturally has specific properties, which lead it to refer to the categories of Yin/Yang. In Yang, in particular, sweet, spicy and tasteless flavors (tastes that lead to sweating and / or urinating), in Yin all those flavors that instead determine a retention of liquids (ie acid, sour, salty and bitter).
Contrary to Western dietetics, which does not consider the constitutional characteristics of the individual, Chinese food science adapts the choice of foods to the constitution and psycho-physical type of the person.

Foods are prepared by harmonizing the five flavors to allow the body to benefit from their balanced interrelationship.
Water and Fire (Yin / Yang) determine, in fact, the acid-base balance of the Blood, whose alteration leads to pathological situations and degenerative diseases related to cellular aging.
Since it is only from the return to harmony of Man with his environment, from a prudent and conscious use of resources and food that derives true health:
“If you’re traveling, don’t worry about the distance, but about the destination… If you sit at a banquet, don’t watch
to the quantity, but to the quality of the dishes that are served to you”.

(Chinese proverb)

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