Traditional Healing Arts in Modern China

Effie Chow, PhD (San Francisco, CA).Practitioner and teacher of traditional Chinese healing arts. “The status of Chinese healing arts as the country Westernizes.”

Effie Chow is a PhD, licensed acupuncturist and teacher and practitioner of traditional Chinese healing arts. She has been an advisor to the National Institutes of Health Alternative Medicine program. Dr. Chow is a powerful advocate of avoiding formulated medicines and drastic procedures through prevention and health maintenance.

As Sharon notes, “To survive on our changing planet, we must take care of our own health and the planet’s health. There is much we can do to be proactive before going to the medicine cabinet.”

According to Dr. Chow, Chinese medicine is the envy of the world and has been for thousands of years. It is ironic that at a time when the rest of the world is finally discovering Chinese medicine, China itself is rapidly Westernizing and failing to take proper care of its environment or the health of its citizens. In parts of China, water shortages are critical, rivers are extremely polluted and even poisonous, and the air is even worse.

Water and air are the two basic essentials to life. You can go for weeks without food but you cannot live for long without air and water.

Dr. Chow believes that China’s environmental problems (much like environmental problems everywhere in industrialized economies), are based on greed, impatience and shortsightedness. The Chinese government has chosen to place a higher priority on creating jobs for the country’s massive population, and successfully competing on the global market, than it has on environmental protection and health. India is in a similar situation.

Eye infections are rampant in China, mostly due to air pollution, insufficient water, and poor sanitation. Natural dust, blowing from China’s eastern desert regions across the Loess Plateau, which is China’s industrial heartland, contributes to the problem. The Chinese are taking water from the more agricultural south and using it to support populations in the industrial north.

The conversation then turned to internal health, noting that each person is a microcosm of the planet and that each cell is a microcosm of the whole body. Our internal life force must correspond with the external life force. Thus, China’s national experience, and the American national experience, reflects the internal health of its citizens.

Dr. Chow talked about the “Qi,” (pronounced “Chee”) which refers to energy flow or God force, as an essential element in health.

There was considerable discussion of proper breathing. Dr. Chow states that breathing is the first thing she teaches. You should breathe with your shoulders back and from the diaphragm. Take long deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Do this two or three times a day for ten minutes and also whenever you feel stressed.

Proper breathing should improve muscle tone, immediately reduce girth, and has been known to help fibromyalgia, glaucoma, macular degeneration and overall attitude.

Sharon noted that everything breathes – the lungs, the skin, the hair, the soil and the planet. If you do not breathe, life will quickly end.

Dr. Chow’s final words: Live with the planet and trust yourself – you were born with everything you need for this life, and for other lives that may follow. Start by giving eight hugs a day and allowing yourself three long laughs a day.

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