Water as Medicine.
The Chinese character 活 ‘huó’ meaning ‘life’ reflects the profound need of all life forms for water. There are two radicals (symbols) in this character 活 huó. The left radical 氵 means ‘water’. The right radical 舌 is the ‘tongue’.
Water 氵+ Tongue 舌 = Life 活
The body is two-thirds water. The basic component of our blood, fascia and our cells, is water. When the water in the body is in balance, the skin is soft and glowing and the body is strong, supple and resistant to injury. The joints are well lubricated so that they function smoothly. The mouth produces plentiful saliva, like drops of clear, fresh liquid, there is no sensation of thirst and the appetite and body weight is well regulated.
Modern healthcare promotes high-tech, high-cost solutions to treat problems. I prefer to first focus on proactive, low-tech, low-cost solutions to promote natural health. With sufficient interest and motivation, you will achieve aamazing result.
These days we often use Chinese medicine within a modern healthcare framework, that is to focus on treating problems and disease. In fact, the greatest practitioner of Chinese Medicine over the last 2000-years, 孫思邈 Sūn Sīmiǎo emphasises,
‘Only when your diet and lifestyle fail, should you see a doctor’
It is my belief that his approach is correct and the true power of Chinese medicine is in the preventative. Chinese medicine is a treasure trove of techniques and methods to support the underlying assumption,
‘When the human body is kept in harmonious balance, health and wellbeing will naturally be maintained’
I have experienced so many students, as well as myself, benefit from these low-tech, low-cost solutions to promoting and maintaining health on a daily basis. Many of these points are part of everyday Chinese culture, or perhaps your own traditional culture, and they are all associated with Chinese Medicine.
Let’s explore how the Chinese traditionally use hot and cold water to promote health.:
Water as a precious medium
In Chinese medicine, water is considered the perfect medium for life and nutrition. Water embodies ‘yin’ as fire embodies ‘yang’. Water is seen as nourishment and a most precious vehicle that possesses the ability to carry the essence and spirit of the plants, animals and minerals into our own human-body essence. We could simply eat those plants, animals and minerals, like other animals, however, the cooking process and using water as the medium is uniquely human and considered far more effective.
There is an ancient saying from Book of Rites, which dates back to the Zhou dynasty (1046 BCE-256 BCE), referring to the history of human beings which states,
’man discovered how to control fire and the sages arose’.
I believe this is about how humans discovered how to cook and the consequent development of their cerebral cortex. Agricultural humans learnt, by building rhythm in their stomach’s with cooked food, greater levels of order and consciousness arose. Think about a herbal decoction. Now, think about a soup or porridge. Think about a cup of tea. The water absorbs the spirit of the ingredients, that infuses in your body better than eating the ingredients with less trouble for your digestion. Think bone broth, Scottish broth, minestrone, vegetable soups, herbal tea, stews and porridges. Think about their place in your cultural tradition. The ancients considered drinking plain water almost like we are missing an opportunity to fuse the spirit of animal or plant matter into our being.
A glass of hot water as part of your daily diet
There is a saying from the Chinese countryside,
‘a glass of hot water in the morning is worth more than any medicine money can buy’.
It rehydrates the body after a nights rest, hot water promotes ‘yang qi’ in the morning, both encouraging a bowel movement and preparing the body for the most important meal of the day. Add a slice of lemon to your cup of hot water in the morning, this will help your body get rid of harmful toxins. Try what I call yin-yang water, 50:50 ratio, room temperature water:boiling water. Sip it from the moment you get up in the morning and throughout the day.
Hot water helps alleviate some of the symptoms of a respiratory tract infection, says Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD MS. Drinking hot water benefits nasal congestion quicker than drinking cold water does because the higher temperature speeds up the rate at which mucus may travel.
"The temperature of fluids we drink may possibly make a difference in the way we manage and deal with certain upper respiratory infection symptoms,” says Dr. Okeke-Igbokwe.
What's the relevance between Qigong and water?
'Movement – whole body and variable in rhythm – is a congestion-buster. Qigong is a necessary part of your diet. Movement is your natural medicine.
The fix: the main fluid in the body is water, and the majority of it is tied up in the fascia. Like the water in the goldfish bowl, it needs to be changed frequently. Of course, drinking good water is helpful, but what really gets the old water (and impurities) out of the fascia is ‘squeezing the sponge’ of the tissue, which occurs with lengthening, spiralling movement, melting-stretches, whole-body exercises, and upping the core body temperature. When tissue is squeezed – and it is squeezed through tension or compression – it is like squeezing out your sponge at the end of washing the dishes to release the dregs and create space for new, clean water.
The big muscles are the physiological engines of the body, pulling the chemistry along in the flow necessary to life.'
Excerpt from MOVE LIFE BETTER (pg 7) by Deniz Paradot
#movelifebetter #socialdistancing #stuckathome #COVID-19 #stayathome #stayhomestaysafe #drinkhotwater
* These practices and techniques are all available in the catch-up videos and taught in the Live Online Qigong Classes. They are completely FREE and ANYONE can join.
** MOVE LIFE BETTER is Deniz's forthcoming book. An illustrated and practical guide to empower people to live healthy and active lives, through intelligent movement.