Total Health the Chinese Way
March 10, 2013
Authors Esther Ting, Ph.D., Marianne Jas
Publisher Da Capo Lifelong Books
Publication Date 2009
Since I am interested in health and fitness, reading about Traditional Chinese Medicine was one of the things I did to try to get a better sense of Chinese culture. This book did not in any way enhance my language skills, but it maybe gave them a little context.
Total Health the Chinese Way underscores the difference between the Chinese approach, which treats the whole person, and the Western approach, which Esther Ting, a Ph.D. and licensed acupuncturist, does not disparage, but which my own life experience suggests is too compartmentalized into specialties and too focused on pharmaceuticals rather than ferreting out lifestyle causes of health problems.
This book spoke to me personally, as I feel very strongly that input—diet, exercise, sleep, mental health—matters, and that Americans’ habit of reflexively throwing drugs at lifestyle-induced ailments is dangerous.
Dr. Ting talks about acupuncture, tui na (Chinese massage), herbal medicine, and Chinese martial arts. While studying Chinese, I did not just read about these things; I tried them all. With care, naturally—especially with respect to the herbs.
Ting also writes about the emotional content of disease. In the at least 3,000-year-old tradition of Chinese medicine, she notes, “Chinese practitioners have had remarkable success with emotion-based illnesses, as well as with serious and chronic diseases that have historically been difficult to treat, diseases such as lupus, diabetes, and fibromyalgia.”
Not all the descriptions of Chinese concepts were meaningful to me—some of them struck me as more literary than medically based—but I tried to remain open-minded, and this was truly a meaningful supplement to the language study.
However, this health angle is just one example of what you could select to explore from the thousands of years of Chinese history and culture. You could try art, or calligraphy, or cuisine, or learn about a particular dynasty, or whatever—just have fun!