Long lasting health: A Chinese Medicine Perspective

by Amy O’Brien, FGHG Acupuncurist

This is important. And it’s inspired by the conversations we have in the clinic every day around truly cultivating wellness.

In Chinese Medicine, long-lasting health is a result of good balance. Balance between what we create and what we use. We feel abundant and strong when we’re producing more blood, energy, oxygen and nutrients than we are using. When this is the case there’s a net gain. We are in surplus and it feels good.

We are saving for a rainy day. We are flooding all our organs and tissues with a full amount of nutritious fluids. We are passionately building our stores. Deeply nourishing our body. We do this because it feels good, but it also allows us to build a reserve that we can access in times of need.

Many moons ago it was this reserve that would have allowed us to run away from the tiger.

It can be relied upon in times of conflict, famine and trauma. We draw from this stockpile to repair us when we are unwell, and as we age. Women naturally draw from this reserve when we are pregnant, when we breastfeed, and, to a lesser extent, when we have our periods. Our reserve also acts to strengthen us and provide a necessary buffer when we’re thrown a curve ball and big life changes come our way.

It’s important that we hold onto this deep reserve. This self nourishment. But do we?

As a society it seems that we are relying more and more on these reserves just to get through the day. Extreme overwork and constant stress are asking us to dig deeply regularly. We’re pushing hard, and we’re praised for doing so. The warning lights are there, in fact, they’re often all over the place. But we’re busy. We ignore them, and push through.

At this point, we’re running at a deficit, using more energy then we’re creating, depleting our blood, and depleting our bodies. We are left with no buffer.

Call it burnout, adrenal fatigue, adrenal exhaustion or chronic fatigue. Call it hard to get out of bed in the morning, foggy head, susceptibility to coughs and colds or a chest infection that just never completely resolves. Call it a reliance on coffee to feel alive or finally taking that holiday only to find your body collapses in a heap the moment you arrive. Call it constant, sub-par health, and just not feeling ‘amazing’.

It’s a common place to be. But definitely not a fun place to be.

Now for the amazing part.

It’s all up to us.

This is totally and completely in our own two hands.

We control where our energy goes.

We can create and add to the stockpile through:

  • Good food and nutrition
  • Early nights (10pm)
  • Deep breathing
  • Exercise (moderate)
  • Rest

We can avoid depleting our stockpile by becoming aware of and actively managing:

  • Over thinking and excessive worry (ie: using our brains too much)
  • Poor diet
  • Late nights
  • Overwork
  • Overexercise
  • Inefficient Breathing
  • Stress
  • Excessive fluid loss: heavy bleeding, heavy sweating

We can learn to relax, build in downtime, and give our body a real chance to be as brilliant as they are designed to be.

We can listen to our bodies.

So simple, but so vital. We can become more observant of the warning lights.

We can explore and uplevel our own blend of lifestyle and dietary needs.

We can replenish.

We can engage more with what trusted health professionals have to say.

We can listen to the insides of our own skins.

Chances are it will often crave rest and downtime, peace and quiet, time for creativity, development and learning new things.

Sometimes it will so desperately want us to say no to a dinner date or jam packed weekend plans. Maybe we can let it.

Sometimes our bodies will want to move. Pop the runners on.

And when feelings of guilt come, greet them like an old friend. Gently remind yourself of your commitment to become whole, full and vibrant in health. Because when you do that, you serve the world up some of your finest work.


Amy O'Brien black and whiteAmy O’Brien is an Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner passionate about working with every aspect of health and disease, including fertility, pregnancy, period problems and cycle irregularities, as well as the conditions that often accompany them such as anxiety, sleep issues and digestive disorders. She thrives on empowering people to take an active part in their own health story.