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Guarding ESSENCE: Taking control of the root of your health

Chinese medicine, in contrast to Western medicine, is designed to keep your body healthy rather than just reacting to illness.  The first step to realising this proactive approach is a constellation of strategies collectively called “guarding essence.”  Jing, Qi (pronounced “chee”) and Shen, or Essence, Energy and Spirit, are cornerstones of the Taoist understanding of the human organism.

Essence or Jing is the building block, the fuel if you will, for Qi and Shen.  The degree to which you cultivate and protect your essence determines the energy and vitality that you will have.  Essence is divided into prenatal and postnatal, prenatal essence being the store that you have from before birth that is stored in the kidney organ system, while postnatal essence is produced in your body from in the form of vital fluids, such as blood, hormones, cerebrospinal fluid and lymph.

Food and water are necessary to produce postnatal essence, therefore the first step to balancing essence is to ensure quality fuel for your body.  Chinese medicine classifies food according to its energetic properties; yin foods having a calming or cooling effect and yang vice versa.  These can be consumed in balance based on an awareness of the needs of the your system, for instance by consuming yang food in cold weather.  Before the twentieth century, there was a natural balance between climate and diet, with fruits and vegetables being consumed in summer and heavier, fattier foods in winter.  Even the US Army ran into this principle when it started fighting in jungle climates.  It was quickly discovered that the heavy, high-energy rations used in northern climates led to illnesses.  The result was the creation of specialised “jungle rations.”

Chemically, the distinction is often between foods that have an alkalising effect on your body and those with an acidifying effect.  Your body has mechanisms that regulate its pH balance, but because your body, and particularly the blood, has such a narrow tolerance for pH variation, acidification particularly becomes a health issue, associated with nervous disorders, chronic fatigue, gout, osteoporosis and pretty much every form of degenerative disease.

Essence transforms into energy, and enzymes are a catalyst your body uses for that process.  Enzymes themselves are endowed with measurable energy.  Although your body can produce enzymes, it also gains necessary enzymes from fresh foods.  Unfortunately, large parts of the modern Western diet are nearly devoid of enzymes because of the methods used to cultivate and process them.  Chemical, radiological and thermal interference leave foods enzyme-dead, with your body expending essence to make up the difference.

There are many nutritional principles that we can go through, from food combining to the place of fermented foods in the diet.  Perhaps the most important general rule for guarding your essence through proper nutrition is to avoid putting large quantities of unnatural chemicals into your system.  This could be refined sugar (which is a foreign substance to your body and causes insulin spikes which in turn cause hormonal imbalances that wreak havoc with your immune system), transfats (a carcinogenic mutation of familiar fats and oils through the introduction of chemicals or prolonged heat), fruits and vegetables treated with pesticides, or, especially, genetically modified, hormone and antibiotic-ridden meat.  The idea that the body can cope with this bombardment of totally unnatural molecules and biological inputs without ill effects is ludicrous.

Apart from nutrition, there are a few other ways you can protect essence.  Modern diets lead to toxic bowels, owing to problems like enzyme and fibre-poor foods and improper food combinations further exacerbated by stress.  This slows digestion and compresses stool, allowing toxins to build up and impacting the bowel.  These toxins are then translated into your bloodstream.  Taking the time to cleanse your bowel actually helps to clean the blood, and all of the tissues to which the blood is carrying those toxins.

A Chinese saying goes that a moving hinge gathers no rust, and your body, which is designed to be active, cannot be healthy without exercise.  If your various essential fluids are not exercised, they will stagnate, and the same applies to the joints, which are also a key concern of Chinese medicine.  We have previously written about some of the exercise methods you could use, but at the basic level, anything that gets you moving out in the fresh air and sunlight is the first choice.  Massage and Chiropractic, which get the fluids, tissues and joints moving, are also helpful.

What if the balance of your essence has broken down and your system has gotten to the point of acute illness?  The answer of traditional Chinese medicine is simple.  First, stop eating all heavy, acidifying and mucus-forming foods, especially meat, dairy, most starch and all sugar, and if possible, fast on filtered water.  This is the most basic method of eliminating toxins and allowing the system to reset.  If you can’t fast completely, restrict yourself to fresh fruits and vegetables.  Also important are bowel cleansing and appropriate herbal supplements.  The latter can substantially boost your immune system and promote detoxification.

One thing that sometimes does not come across in popular works on Chinese medicine and yet is essential to guarding your essence is this: your mind effects your body and vice versa.  If you feel bad mentally and stress is making you either sluggish or frantic, this feeling can be symptomatic of a physical imbalance that can be addressed by the methods of cultivating essence.  In general these methods should improve your ability to cope with stress.  But it also works the other way:  if your mental state is imbalanced, that affects the functions of your body, and no one can recover a balanced essence if they are not on a path toward feeling good mentally.

You can watch a good introduction to Chinese medicine right here.  Pay special attention whenever the speakers talk about your immune system – as long as your Jing is strong and flourishing, your immune system will fight off just about anything:

The principle of guarding essence is important above all because it requires you not just to try to follow a list of requirements and hope it makes you healthy, but to experiment and be active in safeguarding the very source of your health.  There is a Taoist principle which can be rendered as, “inflexible goal, flexible methods.”  In other words, in applying these principles, you begin to become aware of your own state and proactively do what will help to restore the balance of your Jing.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Colon Cleansing – Why and How to Get Started

It’s no secret that our bodies are piled high with toxins these days, toxins from our corrupted food chain and water supply, the air we breathe, the household cleansers we use and any number of other sources.

So if you’re serious about your health, immunity and overall resilience, you do need to be thinking about incorporating a regular detoxification program into your life.  And the best place to start for most people is definitely the colon.  Why?

  • Over time, thanks partly to poor dietary habits, not all your bodily waste is excreted and some of the leftover ends up attached to the walls of your intestines, where it eventually becomes toxic and leaches those toxins into your bloodstream
  • This leads to a less efficient colon, longer “transit times” for waste matter through your colon and more toxic build-up
  • The most extreme colon cleanse is a colonic irrigation, where the colon is filled with water.  This breaks down and flushes out the caked on waste matter and what comes out is quite a shocking revelation to most people!
  • Colon cleansing was quite popular until the pharmaceutical revolution of the ’20s and ’30s buried it under false promises of “miracle drugs”
  • Great 20th century exponents of colon cleansing, such as Dr. Bernard Jensen and Victor Irons, lived extraordinarily long and healthy lives 

So colon cleansing sounds like a great thing to do for your health, right?  Unfortunately though, very few beginners have any idea where to start and what to do…

Blessed Herbs – Colon Cleanse in a Box

One of the easiest ways to get started and to see and feel great results is to use a colon cleanse based on herbs and fiber rather than on colonic irrigation.  It’s quite a bit easier and more convenient, and I say that as someone who’s done it all.  

One of the top cleansing kits out there comes from Blessed Herbs and I love their Internal Cleansing and Colon Cleansing kits because they’re so well laid out, so easy to use and have such clear directions.  

Here’s a brief video about their Colon Cleansing kit and three different ways to use it:

As a point of information for you, the Blessed Herbs Internal Cleansing kit targets the intestines, the liver, gallbladder, lungs, kidneys, lymph, blood and skin.  While you can order the Colon Cleansing kit on its own, it’s currently being offered for free if you go for the Internal Cleansing kit.  

You can find all the information you need right here.

However you do it, I would encourage you to make regular cleansing and detoxification a part of your health routine this year – the benefits are truly astounding.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger