Hu Naiwen, a 76-year-old well-known traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner, sees many patients every day. He is also a celebrity TCM physician on YouTube. Despite his busy schedule, he is full of energy, always looks sharp, and shows no sign of feeling tired. He said he keeps his body strong with four methods of health maintenance.
1. Meditate Every Day
Spiritual recuperation is an important part of health. The most basic way to recuperate is through meditation. I meditate for a period every day, during which I close my eyes, cross my legs, and put my mind into complete solitude. At this moment, all things come together, and the mind becomes pure.
Here are some of the benefits of meditation:
Erases Your Frustrations
When I was young, I used to be rather impatient. During the day, I was busy seeing patients, and it was only during dinner that I had time to chat with my boy and show how much I cared about him. But most of the time, such “short notice” caring was ineffective and became more of a frustration in the end. For example, when I was talking to my child, he often just focused on the meal and ignored me. This behavior would often provoke my “fatherly” reactions, and the kind atmosphere would sour. After taking up meditation regularly, my mind gradually became less agitated, and I became less irritable and prone to rage. Now when encountering children who seem ignorant or disobedient, I seldom react with anger.
During the period when I was studying TCM and preparing for the exam, I would meditate every night, close my eyes, and rest my mind, thinking about nothing but what I had read that day, the so-called “review while meditating.” As a result, even though it has been more than 30 years now, I can still remember almost all I read before. I guess this must have something to do with meditation.
Lets You Fall Asleep as Soon as You Lie Down
Another advantage of sitting in meditation is that it makes the mind go into a completely silent state and get rid of all the other noises. The result is, I often fall asleep as soon as I lie down, and I feel better after sleeping and can focus on the work again easily during the day.
Enhances Immunity, With Less Reliance on Medicine
Meditation can enhance immunity. For more than 30 years, because of meditation, I have been in good health and seldom need to take medicine. There is also no need to spend money on vitamins, mineral supplements, or various nutritional products.
I would suggest the followers of this program try meditation twice a week. For example, on Saturdays and Sundays, sit quietly for 15 to 20 minutes each time, or even longer, without thinking about anything else. Let yourself escape into a completely quiet state. When you can calm down, you will find that the more you sit still, the longer you’ll want to do it.
2. Eat Seasonal Vegetables and Fruits
I don’t spend a lot of effort worrying about food, clothing, housing, and transportation. Usually, my diet is light, I seldom engage in extravagant banquets, and usually eat meals at home.
Whenever there is bento (lunch box) ordered in the clinic where I work, I will eat bento like everybody else. Otherwise, I’ll just make myself something simple to eat.
Whenever you want to stir-fry vegetables, do it in the simplest way. Stir-fry vegetables with lard, olive oil, or salad oil, add a little salt, and that’s it. When buying vegetables, choose what are in season, which are not only the freshest but also the most delicious. There is almost no need to add any other seasonings—just enjoy their natural flavor. Choose seasonal fruits, as well.
Most importantly, I don’t eat raw food, and I rarely eat lettuce salads either. Some raw vegetables can cause problems such as goiter or parasitic infection. I also don’t drink much ice water.
3. Maintain Healthy Teeth
When the teeth are strong, the body can better absorb the nutrients from food. That’s why I pay special attention to the maintenance of my teeth.
Chen Xiuyuan, an eminent physician in the Qing Dynasty, had a tooth-powder remedy: “Gu Chi Shen Fang (recipe for strengthening the teeth).” The recipe included green salt, gypsum, psoralen, pepper, angelica, mint, Eclipta prostrata, and parsnip (Saposhnikoviae radix), which can all be used to brush your teeth or as a mouthwash.
After I brush my teeth with this mixture, I put the water with tooth powder in my mouth, take a bath, and let my teeth soak in the tooth powder the whole time, which is good for both the gums and teeth, and can prevent tooth inflammation and decay.
Chen Xiuyuan once wrote that if a person brushes his teeth with this remedy from the age of 3 or 4, he can keep his teeth “solid until old age, and never suffer from dental problems.”
4. Recharge Your Spirit With Music and Performances
In my spare time, I listen to fine music, enjoy watching performances, and view fine artwork.
According to TCM, the “five tones” in music, jiao (mi), zheng (sol), gong (do), shang (re), and yu (la), correspond to the “five internal organs” of human beings: liver, heart, spleen, lung, and kidney. Listening to the right music can soothe the nerves and benefit the corresponding organs.
- Listening to the jiao tune can soothe the spirit
- Listening to the zheng tune can penetrate the heart, make people happy, and relieve sadness
- Listening to the gong tune can improve the digestive function of the spleen and stomach
- Listening to the shang tune can improve cold resistance, reducing your chance of catching a cold
- Listening to the yu tune can enter the kidneys and enhance vitality
Whenever you are suspicious of something affecting any of the five viscera, try listening to the music of the corresponding tune.
I occasionally listen to very slow-paced music inside my consultation room. There are two pieces of music called “Pudu” and “Jishi.” Once, when I was playing these pieces of music, a patient in my clinic fell asleep unexpectedly. He later told me, “I haven’t slept well for a long time, but after hearing such nice music here, I fell asleep unconsciously while sitting.”
Watching artistic performances can also give people positive energy. For more than 10 years, I used to go to performances of the well-known U.S. group “Shen Yun Performing Arts” every year. The content of its performances is always on traditional Chinese culture.
There was once a program that played the story of Hua Mulan joining the army in place of her father, which moved me deeply. At that time, whenever I thought of Hua Mulan, there were tears in my eyes.
In the performance, Hua Mulan’s old father got a conscription order and hesitated about whether to let his daughter know about it. The gesture of the father repeatedly handing out and taking back the general’s warrant touched me. I couldn’t help but wonder if, being a father myself, I had acted like that, too. Similarly, seeing Hua Mulan kneel and promise to take up the conscription call on her father’s behalf when she learned he would go, I was completely moved by her filial piety (respect for her elders). Something immediately came to mind—had I ever done such a nice thing for my parents when I was young?
Positive literature and artistic content make people think deeply. In this process of self-reflection, people can enhance their positive energy. At the same time, you will unconsciously improve your morality and make yourself a better person. Such an elevation on the spiritual level will naturally bring about changes in the physical state.
*Some herbs mentioned in this article may be unfamiliar, but they are generally available in Asian supermarkets.
Note: Because different people have different physiques, it is recommended to consult your doctor or TCM experts.