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Living in Balance
By Peter Games, L. Ac.

Acupuncture Boise, Idaho - Living in BalanceIt seems that almost every week we learn about a new health study, the results of which show that something is either very beneficial or very harmful for us. As a result, many people scramble to quickly add excessive quantities of the “healthy” or remove all traces of the “unhealthy” in order to achieve a state of maximum health. We, as a society, like to categorize things as either “good” or “bad” for our health and often mistakenly assume that if something is good for us, more of it must be better for us.

This strongly contradicts Chinese medical theory which avoids classifying things as “healthy” or “unhealthy” and places little emphasis on avoiding supposed “unhealthy” choices. Instead, it stresses the importance of achieving balance in all aspects of our lives. In other words, almost nothing is seen as unhealthy in moderation and our goal should be to effectively balance all facets of our lives to achieve health.

For example, a balanced approach emphasizes the value of both activity and inactivity on a physical and an emotional level. Far too often, our bodies lack physical activity while our minds are overflowing with concerns and worries. A balanced approach stresses the importance of moderate exercise to help balance our sedentary lifestyle, and meditation, or time for repose and relaxation, to help quiet our busy, overly active minds. The inability to strike a balance between activity and inactivity, both physically and emotionally, is very common in our society and can often lead to a variety of health problems.

In terms of diet, eating a wide variety of different foods is considered optimal. For instance, even though many people in the west regard beef as unhealthy, it is deemed an important part of a healthy diet from a Chinese medicine viewpoint. However, beef is only seen as beneficial when consumed in moderation and balanced with other healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Foods can only be considered healthful when consumed within reasonable limits and in the context of a balanced diet.

Acupuncture Boise - Yin & YangThis important concept of balance is perhaps best exemplified by the theory of Yin and Yang (rhymes with “song”). Yin and Yang are polar opposites used to describe how things function in relation to each other. They are simply labels used to compare relative differences. All objects have both Yin and Yang aspects in some state of balance. The Chinese character for Yang depicts the sunny side of a slope, whereas the character for Yin depicts the shady side of a slope. Yang is associated with qualities such as heat, light, dryness, and activity, while Yin is associated with qualities such as cold, dark, moisture, and passivity.


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