Chinese medicine is about prevention and harmony. Both are achieved when the internal energy, or chi, flows unhindered — supporting emotional, physical and spiritual health.

“When all aspects are balanced, you are alert and focused,” says Dr. Aihan Kuhn, who heads the nonprofit Tai Chi & Qi Gong Healing Institute in Massachusetts and organized the The New England Tai Chi Conference in Boston last month. “Your life gets easier.”

Traditional Chinese medicine incorporates diet, movement through practices like tai chi and qigong, medicinal herbs, massage and acupuncture. While some elements require a practitioner, diet and “healing exercise,” such as qigong, can be easily incorporated into daily life. Dr. Kuhn recommends about 15 to 30 minutes of qigong — said to help balance your chi — a day. “Relaxation is the most important thing. It should be easy, or you won’t do it. But put your intention into it,” she says.

Maria Shea, director of The Langham, Boston’s Chuan Body + Soul Spa, where treatments and therapies are based on traditional Chinese medicine practices, swears by the Five Elements Food Connection, a way of incorporating various colors and tastes into your diet to promote overall health.

 

“This is a strong base for healthy living,” says Shea. “Healthy living is the most difficult ‘simple’ thing. But use you intuition. Ask, ‘Is this good for me?’”

As Dr. Kuhn adds, “There is a Chinese proverb that says, ‘The patient who doesn’t pay attention to diet is wasting the physician’s time.’”

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