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Today is Part Five of our Five Taxation series. First, a quick review:
Part 1: Goldilocks and the Five Taxations: An Introduction
Chinese medicine advocates balance in everything. Even activities that seem harmless, or are considered positive by most people, should only be done in balance. Too much of any activity will cause an imbalance somewhere else.
Part 2: I Can See Clearly Now: To Observe Over a Long Time Harms the Blood
Our eyes are sensitive to overwork. Because of the connections they have with the Liver, Gallbladder, and Wood Element in Chinese medicine, overusing your eyes can hurt your health over time.
Part 3: Get Up and Boogie: Excessive Lying Down, Which Damages Flesh
Lying down too much means you cannot be getting enough exercise. Inadequate exercise leads to a host of problems, including blood sugar issues, poor circulation, obesity, and has been linked to dementia and poor stress management.
Part 4: Sitting Needs Moderation
“Oversitting” is at least as bad as “excessive lying down,” with the same issues plus more problems with posture.
And today’s entry, “excessive standing, which injures bones.”
These days, standing is in vogue. There are standing desks, standing meetings, and advice to never, ever, ever sit.
As with most things advised in our modern world, Chinese medicine would disagree with such an all-or-nothing approach. Standing for long periods is hard on the blood vessels in the legs, increasing the risk of carotid atherosclerosis ninefold, as well as contributing to varicose veins. For many people, it can aggravate back, foot, or knee pain, especially if the surface they need to stand on is too unyielding. It can also cause fatigue if there is no option to sit or rest.
Chinese medicine sees standing too long as harmful to the bones. The bones are governed by the Water element, which also includes the Kidney and Bladder systems. More than the organs that filter and excrete urine, in the Chinese medical system they also have a major role in maintaining you jing, or essence–which deals with your reproductive health as well as your “reserve energy”–the well you go to when you’re exhausted but need to keep going. Anything that taxes this system will make it harder for you to overcome stress, especially long-term, unrelenting stress that eats at your peace.
So what’s a person to do? Don’t look out too much. Don’t sit too long, don’t stand too long, don’t lie down too much, and don’t walk a lot (our next and final taxation)–unless you can levitate, there’s only one answer left someone seeking the wisdom of a millenia-old system of medicine. Do a little bit of all of them. Sit sometimes, stand a little, lie down to rest, and walk enough for exercise, but not to exhaustion. Our bodies are made for lots of different activities. In our computer age, we have made sitting and exercise-for-exercise’s sake our primary movements. How about we try other things? Walk with a friend, or walk or bike to get from Point A to Point B. Stretch to rock climb, or reach something from a high shelf, or to dance to music. Lay down on the grass and look at the clouds. Or let your eyes rest, and listen to the birds and the breeze and the sound of children laughing. Stand to greet others, or to give your seat to someone who is tired and needs the rest. If you want other ideas, this article might be helpful.
Chinese medicine is about balance. Instead of latching on to one activity, how about filling your life with the variety of all activities that bring you health?
Articles used in writing this post: