Should you smoke whilst doing Tai Chi? (A view on Acupuncture in Spring)

I’m often asked about how Chinese Medicine or acupuncture works and my reply is always that it is really, very simple – common sense in fact. Its power comes from its simplicity and its basis in the natural and physical laws that we take for granted.

The Chinese attitude to health is the same. Pragmatic and straight forward.

Visit any large city park in China around 7am and you’ll see hundreds of people doing tai-chi. Are they ALL tuning in to a higher field of energy or having a deeply spiritual experience? No – of course not. They’re having a morning stretch. A constitutional. Like we would walk the dog or go for a swim – blowing the mental and physical cobwebs away so they feel free and easy to get on with their day. Don’t get me wrong – the emotional, spiritual and mental benefits of Tai Chi are there for the taking, but in China a lot of people use it as a very practical even mundane form of exercise. Ever seen anyone in the UK doing tai-chi while talking on a mobile or smoking? Well – you will in China.

Why am I telling you this? Because I am on a mission to demystify Chinese medicine for you.

And we need to talk about Spring…because its coming soon.

In Chinese medicine, as in nature, Spring is a time of transformation when we begin to return to full life. We get more vital, more animated and more energy as the days get longer and the weather warms up. Where does all of this renewed energy come from? Well, if we take our cues from nature it can only come from one place – Winter. Specifically – a Winter spent conserving our resources, reserves and energy for the months ahead.

Sound familiar? Of course not.

Unless you are a hermit! The chances are you’ll have partied through Christmas, then hit the gym hard for 2014 before getting skint and depressed at the end of January and given zero thought to hibernating to conserve energy for what’s to come. Why would you – you’re not a bear or a squirrel? (Bear with me…)

So if we get to Spring and it turns out we haven’t got any energy after a Winter of hard work and hard living we can see why. Stop there. Don’t rush out to stock up on Berocca, multi-vitamins or low GI diets. Just put a note in your diary to hibernate more next Winter. And get in a few early nights quick – while the occasional frost is still on the ground.