On the evening of February 28th, 2020, in response to an invitation of the Ma’s Moxibustion WeChat Group, I shared how I, an individual person living in Wuhan, have been trying to keep fit and prevent from being infected by the novel coronavirus or by any other diseases. Here comes the details of what I have shared.
Since mid-December 2019, cases of unexplained pneumonia with fever, fatigue, cough and dyspnea have been reported in Wuhan.The World Health Organization has confirmed that the cause of such cases is a novel coronavirus. The pneumonia caused by this virus is referred to as the novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP).
On January 23rd, 2020 (2 days before China’s Spring Festival ), by closing all the passages leaving Wuhan, Wuhan became a closed city, and nearly 10 million Wuhan residents, including me and my husband, began to stay at home in quarantine. Up till today (Mar. 13th) , I have been staying home without going out for 51 days.
Under such circumstances, as residents of Wuhan, what can each of us do and how should we live to help ourselves survive the epidemic and return to our normal life with physical and mental well-being?
To this question, a response can be found in an article entitled “My child, see that you learn something of traditional Chinese medicine after the end of the epidemic!”, issued in Ma’s Moxibustion Wechat Subscription: “Live a life of your own, and traditional Chinese medicine will safeguard you.”
And that fits well with the answer I’m going to offer today. My answer is:
Learn and try to live an ecologically healthy life.
An ecologically healthy life refers to a type of life that is filled with ecological wisdom.
According to the idea of ancient Chinese philosophy that all things of different structures are from the same origin and are universally connected, a basic rule of ecological wisdom is that we humans should respect and follow the natural law, affirm that human and other things in the world are in consistency with each other, understand the complex and changeable ecological relations in the world, and live and develop in accordance with them healthily and sustainably.
This is in agreement with the organic integral concept about the universe, held by thinkers of constructive postmodernism based on Whitehead’s philosophy, that “human and nature are of one life community.” Each individual human being is an organic part of nature on the one hand, and a relatively ecological whole on the other hand.
In this sense, we can find wisdom in many traditional practices and sources of wisdom:
the pneumatism (jing-qi theory),
the yin-yang theory,
the five-element theory,
the meridian and collateral theory,
the systematic holistic perspective of Chinese philosophy and culture
the syndrome differentiation treatment thought of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the three main methods of TCM treatment – acupuncture, moxibustion and medicine
Therefore, to live an ecologically healthy life means to live a type of simple, natural, balanced, harmonious and normal life. How can we live such an ecologically healthy life?
I. Not letting our emotions go to extremes, or we can be physically hurt
Huangdi Neijing (Huang Di’s Canon of Internal Medicine) discusses the basic principle of inter-resistance of emotions (one emotion suppressing another) in detail, which we can use as the guiding ideology for self-cultivation and emotion adjustment while staying at home in quarantine:
The leading emotion of liver is anger, so excessive anger can hurt liver, while sorrow can suppress anger (metal restricting wood / lung restricting liver). The leading emotion of heart is joy, so excessive joy can hurt heart, while fear can suppress joy (water restricting fire / kidney restricting heart). The leading emotion of spleen is anxiety, so excessive anxiety can hurt spleen, while anger can suppress anxiety (wood restricting soil / liver restricting spleen). The leading emotion of lung is sorrow, so excessive sorrow can hurt lung, while joy can suppress sorrow ( fire restricting metal / heart restricting lung). The leading emotion of kidney is fear, so excessive fear can hurt kidney, while anxiety can suppress fear (soil restricting water / spleen restricting kidney).
II. Living regularly
Try to be a normal (healthy) person -- do the right thing at the right time, otherwise we can get physically hurt.
Do the right thing at the right time: Follow the meridian flow sequence, and conduct the livelihood routines (including eating, drinking, defecating, urinating, sleeping, etc.) naturally!
The time each of the 12 main channels at work
The period of the day from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. (子时): Shaoyang Gallbladder Channel of Foot is at work, when gallbladder secretes bile, which can aid digestion. It’s the right time for us to be sound asleep. It’s not the right time for us to eat or drink, or to have midnight snack, for it can increase burden for gallbladder, and may bring about various health problems, such as gaining weight.
The period of the day from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. (丑时): Jueyin Liver Channel of Foot is at work. It’s a time for liver to perform its functions, and lying down and sleeping is the right way to support it, so it’s the right time for us to be sound asleep. Staying up late may do harm to liver and bring about various health problems related to the liver system, such as insomnia and patches on the skin.
The period of the day from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. (寅时): Taiyin Lung Channel of Hand is at work. It’s the right time for lung to perform its functions, and for our body to enjoy deep sleep. It’s more possible for those with lung diseases to cough at this time.
The period of the day from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. (卯时): Yangming Large-intestine Channel of Hand is at work. It’s a time for large intestine to perform its functions, so it’s the right time for us to get up, and to defecate (eliminate toxins).
The period of the day from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. (辰时): Yangming Stomach Channel of Foot is at work. It’s a time for stomach to perform its functions, and so it’s the right time for us to have breakfast.
The period of the day from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (巳时): Taiyin Spleen Channel of Foot is at work. It’s a time for spleen to perform its functions, so it’s the right time for us to feel energetic and to work effectively.
The period of the day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (午时): Shaoyin Heart Channel of Hand is at work. It’s a time for heart to perform its functions, so it’s the right time for us to calm down and to have lunch.
The period of the day from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (未时): Taiyang Small-intestine Channel of Hand is at work. It’s a time for small intestine to perform its functions, It’s the right time for us to have midday break, absorb nutrients, and relieve from fatigue.
The period of the day from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (申时): Taiyang Bladder Channel of Foot is at work. It’s a time for bladder to perform its functions, so it’s the right time for us to work, and to defecate and eliminate toxins.
The period of the day from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (酉时): Shaoyin Kidney Channel of Foot is at work. It’s a time for kidney to perform its functions, so it’s the right time for us to have supper.
The period of the day from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (戌时): Jueyin Pericardium Channel of Hand is at work. It’s a time for pericardium to perform its functions, and so it’s the right time for us to work or study, or to go dating, for we tend to be excited and passionate, and may be touched more easily.
The period of the day from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. (亥时): Shaoyang Triple- energizer Channel of Hand is at work. It’s a time for triple energizer to perform its functions, so it’s the right time for us to go to bed early and enjoy beauty sleep.
In fact, while one channel is on duty at due time, all the other channels are supportive by working regularly and naturally, so that our body turns out to be an ecological whole, and enables us to be a normal (healthy) person.
III. Being temperate in eating and drinking
According to the Confucian idea that “there is something we can do and something we cannot do”, we should know “what to eat / drink and what not to eat / drink”, “when to eat / drink and when not to eat / drink”, and “how many times to eat / drink a day and how much to eat / drink at a time”, and try to carry it out in our daily life.
As far as eating is concerned, we should eat a variety of food, cereals, something soft rather than hard, and do our to follow the four “do-not-eat” rules:
Do not eat untimely: Do not eat what is not in season, and do not eat when it is not the right time to eat.
Do not eat unsuitably: Do not eat things unsuitable for our age, and do not eat things unsuitable for our physical constitution.
Do not eat wrongly: Do not eat things that are not local, and do not eat things that can not and should not be eaten.
Do not eat coldly: Do not eat things that are cold and uncooked. Do eat things that are warm and cooked at any time. Always keep this in mind and observe it: “Never let your stomach make uncooked things cooked; never let your stomach make cold things warm.”
IV. Combining labor and leisure appropriately
Do daily housework.
Do Chinese physical and breathing exercises, including Chinese health qigong, tai chi and kneeling. When it comes to Chinese health qigong, the following are included: Baduan Jin, Wuqin Xi, Da Wu, Mawangdui Daoyinshu, Liuzi Jue, Yijin Jing, Shierduan Jin, etc.
V. My personal experience of keeping fit & preventing disease
Follow the traditional Chinese medical wisdom -- “taking preventive measures before the occurrence of disease”, and adhere to green self-supportive health care in daily life:
Enjoy moxibustion and scraping therapy all the year round.
Create and do wake-up morning exercise (the whole process lasting about 45 minutes):
Push and knead the chest and abdomen (using bian-stone).
Massage the face.
Care the eyes and keep them healthy -- press the eyebrow acupoints, and scrape the eye socket.
Massage the head with the ten fingers.
Knead the ears.
Do ankle exercise.
Create and do hand exercise (the whole process lasting about 30 minutes);
Knock the ten fingertips.
Knock the finger-junctions
Clap the palms.
Clap the hand backs.
Knock the Hegu Acupoint (合谷穴) of one hand with the Houxi Acupoint (后溪穴) of the other hand.
Wiggle the fingers of one hand with the fingers of the other hand.
Wiggle the wrist of one hand with the other hand.
Twirl the two wrists.
Rub down the ten fingers one by one (from the roots to the tips).
Here is what I have personally tried online to help others to prevent from being infected by the NCP, or to deal with and recover from other diseases:
Make use of WeChat groups and friend-circle to spread the ideas of traditional Chinese medicine and the function of the moxibustion therapy in particular, and share messages of safety.
Respond to questions that my relatives and friends ask about their health conditions, and direct them to take care of themselves and their family members from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine: try to maintain in balance their mentality, diet and physical exercise, etc., and do moxibustion and scrapping regularly.
Help 3 friends deal with common cold by doing moxibustion, who rapidly got relieved, and recovered in three or so days.
Help an 81-year-old woman deal with acute urethritis by using Chinese mugwort: fumigating and washing with hot water with mugwort leaves boiled in it, and doing moxibustion afterwards. She got relieved almost immediately after she received the treatment, and recovered within two days.
Help an 83-year-old man, a diabetic patient, deal with constipation by kneading his abdomen and doing moxibustion. He received such treatment that very night, and managed to defecate the next morning.
Help an 60-year-old man deal with the onset of cholelithiasis by doing scrapping and moxibustion. He got relieved almost immediately after he received the treatment, and recovered in about a week.
Help an 42-year-old man deal with retention of food by doing scrapping and moxibustion. He got relieved on the very day after he received the treatment, and recovered in 3 days.
VII. Reward of living so
What kind of physical, mental and living conditions can the above-mentioned lifestyle bring about? Myself: Such an ecologically-healthy lifestyle brings me physical and mental balance. Nearly four years of continuous moxibustion therapy has cured me of quite a lot of health problems, major and minor, such as: cervical spondylosis, periarthritis of shoulder, sleep problems, hashimoto's thyroiditis, cholecystitis, pompholyx, constipation, and cracked heels, etc..
My family members and friends: They are all healthy and in peace and harmony, with none of them infected by the novel coronavirus, serious as the condition in Wuhan and Hubei is. Moxibustion therapy is one of the means to help protect them.
Our body won’t be attacked by any ill qi when it is filled with healthy qi (正气存内，邪不可干). The concept of leading an ecologically healthy life can lead us to living a simple, natural, balanced, harmonious and normal life, maintaining our healthy qi and resisting ill qi and epidemic. I hope more people can join us and benefit from it. May there be no disease in the world！
Living an Ecologically Healthy Life (Chinese version)