chinese thinking on lifestyle

Chinese thinking can help your health

The Chinese approach encourages a careful, moderate life style and there is much useful advice on this in the classics. Chinese doctors were paid to keep their clients well; they were not rewarded when illness struck. Read more...

Lifestyle changes can help treatment to work

The American acupuncturist Miriam Lee has written of failure to get good results with a young man suffering from fatigue and sinus problems. The turning point came when she found that he had a large glass of cold orange juice every morning. Such advice is specific to the patient, so do not rush to stop your daily juice! Read more...

Advice from the classics

The Nei Jing suggests that when eating one should "eat until Chi-ba fen, that is until 70-80% full."

Elsewhere it says:

Eating and drinking had their limit,
Activity and rest had their norm,
Not exerting themselves thoughtlessly, Body and spirit held together,
Having reached their natural span,
They departed at 100 years of age.'

Miriam Lee says

That the Chinese have long considered the qi (energy) that comes from grain to be indispensable to life. Meat too (including eggs) is essential to survive in the busy world that most of us must live in. Vegetarianism is only appropriate for those whose main activity is meditation and whose lives are lived in the shelter of a temple.

What lifestyle change can help treatment

Choosing a healthy diet

Food supports life and, inevitably, good food is essential for a good quality of life. Chinese thinking identifies a sound diet that includes much of the same ideas as Western diets - reducing fat, eating more vegetables etc. However when a person is not in good health, adjustments of diet are recommended and these are highly specific to the problems underlying their ill health.

Here are a few general tips:

  • Do not eat a lot of cold food as it takes more energy to digest
  • Do not eat a lot of raw food as, again, it takes more energy to digest
  • Do not eat too much sweet food as it weakens the digestive organs
  • Eat breakfast as the digestive organs are strong at this time of day
  • Do not eat late in the evening


The Chinese speak of emotions as the "causes" of disease. Excessive anger, worry or stress can cause illness. The relationship with disease is circular because part of an apparently physical illness (such as IBS) may well be specific emotional problems, perhaps being unable to stop worrying. Finding ways of being calm and pragmatic is often necessary to be and remain healthy. Qigong is highly recommended to help with such serenity, details of classes are on this site.

There is also further information on this site on difficult emotional states such as anxiety, depression, OCD etc


Nei Jing
An abbreviation for The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine which dates from about 2000 years ago. English translations are available.
Miriam Lee
Chinese acupuncturist practicing in America, author of Insights of a Senior Acupuncturist ISBN 0-936185-33-3. Recommended to practitioners as enjoyable reading with a strong practical bias.
Beinfield and Korngold
Cited in Daniel Reid's Traditional Chinese Medicine ISBN 1-57062-141-1