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Yong Kang Clinic is not just a place where people come to find relief from allergies and headaches, or to find natural methods of coping with chronic illness, or to freely drop in when their back goes suddenly out.It’s also a place where practitioners gather to drink tea, puzzle over the meaning of the medical classics and explore and challenge our ideas about how acupuncture works. It’s informal, like those guys on Yong Kang Street in Taiwan would gather around I-Tsung’s antique table to mull over tea and life.Yesterday it was 3 of the boys chewing over how Chinese medicine has been practiced over the span of centuries. Just what did those old master’s have in mind when they were writing?
After all, time, circumstance, worldview and culture are all malleable as Play-Doh.
Looking at our modern Western world, we did conclude, the focus is almost always on what’s wrong.Pathology, the study of what is wrong. It’s one of Western medicine’s strong suits, and as practitioners of a so-called “alternative medicine” we often find ourselves seduced into that way of looking at the world.But, I’ve got a suspicion that Chinese medicine, while we can use the lens of pathology to view our patients and what we do to help them. It is not as powerful as the…ahhh.., using the prism of…uuhhh, the filter of…ahhh…err…the..Well, actually, there is not really a good way to say in English what the Chinese call the Zheng Qi. Zheng qi is that which is correct, upright and proper. All the things that are going well. Everything that is working right, already harmonious, fluid, full of ease and power.Sure we can Fight disease, and I’ve plenty of books that have not made their way into English that discuss in depth, how to clear out what’s pathologic. There is a time when knowing what’s wrong and doing something about it is absolutely called for. But, in addition to Qu Xie, driving out the pathogenic influence, the Chinese also have this idea of Yang Sheng. To support and nourish that which is already healthy. Indeed, if you nourish that which is already healthy, there is very little space for illness to get a foothold. In fact, in setting right what is wrong, one of the most important allies is that which is right!
I once heard someone say “you can fight against something, but that will quickly wear you out, better to fight for something, that will give you inspiration”Yang Sheng, it has similarities to what in the West we call “wellness”. However, it is not only about the absence of disease, but the cultivation of health, wellbeing and longevity. Go to any Chinese bookstore and there are rows and rows of books on this subject.And it’s even more than what is popularly called “preventive medicine”.
Notice the twist there? “Preventive medicine”, it’s still focused on illness.Yang Sheng, it’s like experiencing Joy for it’s own sake.
It’s like bringing flowers to someone that you have already loved for a long long time.Posted in Acupuncture, Health, Medicine, Wellness |

4 Responses to “Yang Sheng”

  1. on at 7:49 am Rebecca Beltran
Great post Michael!
I love this concept of nourishing the good instead of fighting against anything.Are there any books or other practical resources you might recommend for someone wanting to learn more about implementing this for themselves?Rebecca
  1. on at Michael Max
Rebecca, great question! As to books that cover this topic. I have several, but they are all in Chinese. When I try to think of what there is in English, I run into a bit of wall. What I have learned about “yang sheng” has come from my training as a Chinese medicine practitioner. That and reading the books I have in Chinese. Here in Seattle there is a fantastic place to study tai chi and qi gong. It is called the Taoist Studies Institute http://taoiststudiesinstitute.org /. Of course, tai chi and qi gong as long considered essential aspects of “yang sheng”, but they also have a library there, and I suspect you would find some books there in English. In the meantime, I will on occasion translate something of interest and post it on the blog. Also, Redwing books, http://www.redwingbooks.com has a huge selection of books on Chinese medicine and Eastern traditions. I’d recommend browsing their website and buying something that looks interesting. And I will keep my eyes open for something in English!
  1. on at Joel Robbins
FYI - Taoist Studies Institute now has a full program in Yang Sheng. Check it out at the same website. I am attending the program right now and enjoying it very much. Was just looking for some background on Yang Sheng and found myself here. Thought I would chime in… Also, I guess I had never really looked that closely at the term “preventative medicine”. Enlightening when examined this way. Thanks!Blessings!
  1. on at Michael Max
Yes, Taoist Studies Institute in Seattle is a fantastic place to not only study taichi and qigong, but to explore the Chinese arts of “yang sheng”. Thanks for the reminder!
What do you want to tell us with that?
Interesante. Nunca (yo) he visto la palabra, "Platicar". Yo busqué y encontré: "To talk". ¿Es correcto?

¿Cuándo se puede usar esta palabra, en lugar de, "hablar"?