by Carl Johns, LMT, Mountain Medicine Integrative Wellness Center
“Their eating and drinking was moderate. Their rising and resting had regularity. They did not tax themselves with meaningless work.”
—Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine)
The Nei Jing is framed as a conversation between the Yellow Emperor and his physician about healthy living. When we see the term “internal medicine” in the title, our modern mind thinks of a text that may outline the principals of treating disease.
Here, the term “internal medicine” is more about the alchemy of health and how we can conduct ourselves in daily life to achieve and maintain optimal health and longevity. This is the point of the magazine you are now reading, and dare I say, should be the point of national and worldwide systems of health care.
In many ancient Chinese writings, simple statements, such as the text above, carry deep and profound meaning and should be contemplated for some time in the context of meaning to the reader and how it may relate to the reader’s life.
These three lines are the answer to a question about how the people of ancient times lived healthy lives of 100 years or longer. The first two lines relate to the care of the physical body in terms of diet and rest. These two things can certainly be a factor in emotional well-being, but the third line fully embraces the concept of stress and emotional well-being.
It is a life task for each of us to consider what it might mean to tax ourselves with meaningless work and what it might mean to bring meaning to our work — to our life.
This task is not simple or easy; it is often a long journey. The ancients have given us some helpful practices to engage with along the way to help us in achieving health in body, mind and spirit, and to aid us when we get off the path and need a little healing — or maybe more accurately, a little insight.
These ancient practices are meditation, tai chi, yoga, acupuncture, herbalism and the all-important art of touch — massage and bodywork. In the best sense, these practices are not here to fix you, but to guide you on your own individual journey to health, wholeness and emotional well-being.