Here are three healthy choices that follow the Eastern medicine approach to a healthy lifestyle.
Qigong [pronounced “chee-gung”]
The word qigong contains two Chinese words - qi means life force, and gong means accomplishment. Combined, they mean to cultivate energy. Qigong integrates physical postures, breathing techniques, and mental focus.
Healthcare professionals often recommend Qigong as a complementary medicine to increase vitality, build strength, and enhance the immune system. Studies have shown that Qigong also improves cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, and digestive health.
A wide variety of Qigong practices exist-some are more physically challenging and others are more meditative and slower moving. All practices help to reduce stress and increase a sense of quality of life.
People of any age can practice Qigong. El Camino Hospital offers Qigong community classes. Class times are listed in the right-hand bar of this HealthPerks newsletter. For more information, call 650-940-7000 ext. 8745.
Did you know that black tea and green tea come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis? The difference between the two teas comes from the way they’re processed. Both teas are harvested and dried, or “withered.” But unlike black tea, which is crushed and oxidized, Green tea is only steamed before it is packaged.
Because green tea is not as processed as black tea, it contains a higher concentration of catechins, antioxidants that fight and prevent cell damage in the body.
Green tea has been shown to help lower cholesterol and prevent heart-related health issues including high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. It has also been reported to help the working-memory area of the brain, and to help block the formation of plaques related to Alzheimer’s disease. It also helps to keep blood sugar stable in people with diabetes.
Adding green tea to your diet is a simple and pleasurable way to boost your health.
Acupuncture & Acupressure
Traditional Chinese medicine describes acupuncture and acupressure as methods for balancing energy or life force-known as qi or chi-that flows along pathways in the body. Acupuncturists insert hair-thin needles at points along those pathways-or meridians-where energy is blocked, in order to restore the flow of chi. Practitioners of acupressure apply pressure rather than needles at those same points within the body where life force is stagnant.
In the West, acupuncture is often used to relieve pain and discomfort associated with various health conditions. Some of these include dental pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, low back pain, and osteoarthritis.
Choosing a Practitioner
Some massage therapists are trained in acupressure. Be sure to ask about training and credentials when booking an appointment.
When considering an acupuncturist, take the same steps you would in choosing a doctor:
- Ask for recommendations from friends and family.
- Verify the practitioner’s credentials. Most states require that practitioners pass the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
- Make an appointment with the practitioner to talk about treatment, cost, and if acupuncture can help you.
- Verify health insurance coverage. Some policies cover acupuncture treatments.
This article first appeared in the January 2016 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.