Life span and health

Secrets of longevity in Chinese medicine
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China is a country with longer average life span in the world, and a history of studying the theory and methods of longevity for more than 2,000 years. During each historical period, there exist famous typical longevous masters. They have not only lived a long life, but also accumulated much experience in strengthening health and prolonging life.

1. Lao Zi: "Cherish no worries and keep away from fame and gain"
During the periods of the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States, Lao Zi, the originator of Taoism, put forward his ideas about life cultivation: "Cherish no worries and keep away from fame and gain", "Man restores the pure and innocent nature of the ancients", "Conform to nature", "Cherish mild character" and "Train the body to remove depression". The chief gist of these ideas lies in mental tranquilization and abstinence from improper personal desires. Only in this way, can human spirit be cultivated, essence and qi internally stored.

Consequently, health and longevity can be obtained. Experts on life cultivation throughout the ages have attached importance to the thought on life cultivation of "cherishing no worries and keeping away from fame and gain." It is the theoretical source of TCM life cultivation. According to the record of historical literature, the life span of Lao Zi exceeded 160 years. More information, please read Two Aspects of Occurrence of Disease.

2. Confucius: "Be benevolent to achieve longevity"
Confucius was the academic founder of Confucianism. As far as life cultivation and longevity are concerned, Confucius advocated moral life cultivation, stressed the importance of cultivation of the mind, that material desires should be reduced as much as possible and that human behavior should be restrained by social norms. Of these social norms, the philosophical concepts of "benevolence" and "the doctrine of the mean" were also embodied in his life cultivation practice such as "three kinds of abstinence for gentlemen" (Namely: "abstinence from sexual life, abstinence from fights and abstinence from worrying about personal gains and losses.)"

secrets of longevity in chinese medicine

In addition, people should live a regular life and avoid overstrain and overrest; dietary requirements should be nutritious, fresh, clean, meticulously cooked and delicious. Though Confucius lived in an age of chaos caused by war, his life span also reached 72 years. Menicus, another representative figure of Confucianism who was good at cultivating noble spirit, died at the age of 83. More information, please read Insufficiency of Healthy Qi.

3. Hua Tuo: "Aging does not occur with the movement of the body"
Hua Tuo, the noted doctor in the Han Dynasty, theoretically expounded life cultivation with the bodily movement. He thought "movement" promotes easy digestion and smooth blood circulation, and that in this way, people can enjoy long life just as "Running water is never stale and a door hinge never gets worm-eaten." On this basis, he invented the famous "Wuqinxi", or the five mimic-animal games. It is an easy, convenient and effective keep-fit exercise which imitates the motions of the five animals of tiger, dear, bear, monkey and bird. Hua Tuo lived to be over 80. Hua Tuo should have been a longevous man if he had not been detained and killed. More information, please read Invasion of Pathogenic Factors.

4. Tao Hongjing: "Cultivate the mind to nourish the body "
Tao Hongjing, the famous expert on life cultivation in the Southern Dynasty, had a good command of medicine and was well versed in Buddhism and Taoism. His book Records on Cultivating Character and Prolonging Life is the earliest extant treatise on life cultivation in China. The book discusses a great number of life cultivation principles and methods, the main ones of which include conformity to seasonal changes, regulation of emotions, movement of every joint, regulation of respiration, moderate amount of food intake, light physical labor, proper sexual life, etc. Of all the principles and methods, "cultivate the mind to nourish the body" is the dominant idea. Tao Hongjing also died at the age of 80. More information, please read Definition of Constitution.

5. Sun Simiao: "Cultivate the disposition to preserve health"
Sun Simiao, a great expert on medicine and life cultivation, wrote a great work Qian Jin Fang, or Valuable Prescriptions, which has been handed down. Besides, he wrote treatises on life cultivation such as Sheyang Zhenzhong Fang, or Handy Prescriptions for Life Cultivation. The comprehensive regulation methods are adopted in his life cultivation techniques such as dietary therapy for life cultivation, promotion of health with moderate sexual life (Sexual life promotes health.), regulation of the mind for promotion of activities, massage, etc. The content is very rich. The application of these life cultivation methods is based on the theory of "cultivation of disposition" (regulating emotions, taking prevention before the onset of diseases). Sun Simiao lived to 101 years old. More information, please read Formation of Constitution.

6. Li Dongyuan: "Regulate the spleen and stomach"
Li Dongyuan, the founder of the School of Nourishing Earth (Spleen) of the four medical schools in the Jin and Yuan Dynasties, also emphasized that the protection of splenogastric functions is the important principle for prolonging life. This means, firstly, regulation of diet protects and nourishes the spleen and stomach; secondly, emotional regulation protects the spleen and stomach; thirdly, in preventing and treating diseases, protection of the spleen and stomach should be taken into consideration. This theory has laid a foundation for health preservation, especially for senile life cultivation. Li Dongyuan died at the age of 71. More information, please read Classification of Constitution.

7. Zhu Danxi: "Nourish and protect yin"
Zhu Danxi put forth a well-known theory concerning the human health "Yang is usually in excess while yin is constantly insufficient in the human body." He especially emphasized the importance of protecting essence. Particularly, he warned people of the impairment of yin due to excessive sexual life. The specific measures for protecting yin include conforming to seasonal variations to regulate and nourish the mind and qi, eating bland diet to avoid promoting fire and promoting dampness, abstinence from sexual desires for conservation of essence to extinguish renal fire and eliminate lust. Zhu Danxi died at the age of 77. More information, please read Influence of Constitution.

8. Li Shizhen: "Stand hard work to extend life span"
Li Shizhen of the Ming Dynasty was not only famous for Bencao Gangmu, or Compendium of Materia Medica, but also had a good command of the comprehensive application of life cultivation techniques. He had very rich discussions concerning life cultivation with drugs and the diet, collected many dietary therapeutic methods. Li Shizhen advocated that senior citizens should reinforce and tonify primordial qi, regulate the spleen and stomach, use prescriptions with warming and tonic actions to prolong life. He himself earnestly practiced his advocation of "standing hard work to prolong life. "On the one hand, he made nothing of hardships, traveled across mountains and rivers to seek for medical materials. On the other hand, he also strengthened his constitution in this way. Li Shizhen lived to 75 years old. More information, please read Decline and Changes.

9. Zhang Jingyue: "The interdependence of yin and yang"
Zhang Jingyue, a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty, believed that yang qi and yin essence were rooted in the kidney. Therefore, he advocated that life cultivation should concentrate on enhancing the kidney with simultaneous consideration of yin and yang. And he also established a set of tonic prescriptions with the actions of mutual tonification of yin and yang which has been handed down up to now. In addition, he also put forward the theory of "life cultivation in the middle-aged" (which attaches importance to life cultivation in middle-aged people). There is a positive significance for prevention of premature ageing and senile diseases. He died at the age of 77. More information, please read Inter-Consumption of Yin and Yang.

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