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Life span and health

Updated: Monday, Apr 01,2013, 9:35:14 AM
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TCM classic Huangdi Neijing, or Canon of Medicine, holds that life consists of "qi"( "qi" belongs to the classical philosophical category, referring to the basic element which constitutes everything in the world). The balance and harmony of the internal environment of the human body, the wholism and unity of the human body and the external surroundings are the foundation for man to live and exist. In normal cases, the adjustment of the human body can adapt the internal environment to the changes of the external natural environment to maintain normal physiological functions. If human activities violate the patterns of natural changes, or abnormal and violent changes occur in the external natural surroundings, the regulatory function of the human body will fail to adapt it-self to the situation, destroying the  relative balance of the internal and external surroundings and consequently giving rise to disease. Therefore, "conforming to nature" is the first requirement for health preservation.

Essence, qi and spirit are the basic substances essential to vital activities.
Essence is the basic material constituting the human body and promoting the growth and development of the human body. Essence is divided into "congenital essence" and "acquired essence". Congenital essence is inherited from the parents. Mter birth, the nutritious cream derived form the diet is called acquired essence. Congenital essence and acquired essence can be transformed into each other and supplement mutually to form the dynamic foundation of vital activities. If essence is deficient, vital activities will decline, causing premature ageing and susceptibility to diseases.

Qi is the important substance constituting life, too. The sufficiency or deficiency of qi determines the strength of the life force and the length of the life span. The vital phenomena are the ascending, descending, coming-in and coming-out of the functional activities of qi.
Spirit is a general term for vital activities of body and also the outward manifestation of vital activities of the human body. It includes mentality, consciousness, thinking, movement, perception, etc. Essence and blood are the material foundation for spirit. And sufficient essence and qi bring on prosperous spirit. Therefore, whether life is healthy or not can be judged by inspecting the state of spirit.

It can be seen from the above that vital activities are determined by the conditions of essence, qi, spirit and visceral functions. Abundant essence, qi and spirit, the balance of visceral qi and blood ensure good health and freedom from diseases, insusceptibility to ageing, and extension of life span.

 Life span and health

In ancient China, life span was called "tiannian", which means "the life span endowed by Heaven for existence in the world." Ancient medical professionals believed that the normal human life span is 100 years to 120 years. According to the biological laws, the life span of mammary animals is 5 times to 7 times that of the period of growth. The life span of human is calculated according to the time of dentition of the last tooth (at the age of 20 to 25). Accordingly, the life span of human should be 120 or so. However, due to natural and man-made calamities, poverty and diseases, most people suffer from shorter life and cannot reach the normal life expectancy. The average life span of the Chinese is about 70, 50 years shorter or so theoretically.

Life span is determined by the human health conditions while the main factors affecting health are ageing and diseases. Accordingly, preserving and restoring health are the essential requirements for longevity.

Inspecting "spirit" can judge whether the human body is healthy or not. The signs of "having spirit" are as follows: the general appearance is sturdy, neither fat nor thin; the beard and hair are black, bright and lustrous; the complexion is ruddy with delightful expression; the eyes are expressive and full of vividness; the respiration is calm and neither rapid nor slow; the appetite is good with three meals deliciously eaten; the teeth are hard and firm without caries and injury; the sense of hearing is acute without tinnitus; the voice is loud and clear with long breath; the waist and legs are flexible without pain and soreness; the urination and defecation are smooth with normal discharges; the tongue is red with thin fur while the pulse is even and slow.

The above discussion includes the two parts of physiological and psychological health states. In fact, TCM has held that psychological health is as important as physiological health since ancient times. The theory of "seven emotions" in the etiology requires emotional regulation and spiritual happiness. This is also the external manifestation of good visceral functions.

Tags: Health Chinese-medicine nature Traditional-Chinese-

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