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Beneficial adaptation



I've recently read the yellow emperor's classic and realised that there

is no theory of adaptation allowed in the tcm paradigm. Where the western model would see

exercise as strengthening bones, muscles, the heart and keeps the lungs healthy and so help to preserve health and youth.

But tcm only allows to see exercise as a waste of yuan chi even though they do of course say that exercise is good for you. But no explanation as to why.

Am i mising something? Is there an explanation for beneficial adaptations in the tcm paradigm?


The TCM is basice on thousand years of experience, the western medicine is basic on science test, they are totally different way of study the medical theory. The TCM use Yin Yang balance theory to keep human body health balance, the western medicine use science test to find out the bacteria or virus and use medicine to kill them to make human health. The TCM doctor use needle stimulat the meridians&#39s points to make body Qi and Blood active smoothly and help move out sick energy, the western doctor use knife open the sick location and cut out the sick organs. The TCM doctor use herbs to treat illness is a nature way, the western doctor use chemcial way to distroy the illness. You can not find a TCM pattern totally the same as western medicine symdrone, it is very difficult to make a equlity sign.


right, but how would you say tcm theory would explain getting stronger and healthier from strain/exercise?


TCM theory emphasize balance and internal organs&#39 coordination, also emphasize human body&#39s essence, qi and mind(spirite) three kinds of power united as one, through body exercise to effective the internal organ&#39s secretion(endocrine) balance conditiion to get health, coordinate different part of body&#39s energy and strong the body autoimmue power to get stronger, use meditation to lead Qi combine with essence to refresh and tonify body energy, also give out sick energy through meridians use breathing exercise such as Qi Gong or Tai Chi exercise and make body and mind stronger and healther.


The first point that comes to my mind is that you need to think back to when the yellow emperor&#39s classic was written. Exercise truly is an issue that only become relevant with wealth and to some degree literacy/education. In other words, the text was written at a time where people had far more significant life/death health issues to be concerned with than whether jogging would be good for their health. Accordingly the text deals with such issues in less significant terms.

That said, the principles in the text can be applied to more modern times with more modern issues. Our problems largely being from lack of movement, stress, and indulgence and historical issues being from physical labor, hygiene/sanitation issues, and all that comes with poverty.

For us the rules become moderation, not letting our hinges rust and controlling our emotions which are all mentioned in the text to varying degrees along with the issues that were more common among the masses at that time...

While I cannot put words into the yellow emperor&#39s mouth, I can say the general rule with exercise is the same with every other aspect of our lives - not too much, not too little - and I do believe this is the whole point of the classics. Too little creates dampness and stagnation, too much weakens our blood and qi. The trick for the modern day is to try to understand things that at the time would of seemed absolutely ridiculous like jogging into that paradigm. In our culture we tend to be drawn to more substantial exercise because of the incredible sedentary nature of many of our work/home lives. Perhaps office workers need to jog really fast or take power yoga as a balance, perhaps manual laborers need tai chi, I imagine this is a question that people can answer on their own. The problems again, in my opinion, only come from too much or too little and this will be an individual decision.


I might add to this that as Chad and Feng pointed it out, the Yellow Emperor&#39s classic was written over 2,000 years ago when most people didn&#39t need exercise as we speak of today, in those times people were active with daily activities and did not need extra exercise.

Depleting the &#39Yuan Qi&#39 comes to play when you over exercise which diminishes the body&#39s capacity in many ways: decreased immune function or weakening the body in many other ways. Exercising in modern times is for balancing out the inactivity that many modern jobs bring along but did not have in ancient times. Over exercise is still possible - usually depending on a person&#39s physical ability - and it does deplete the Yuan Qi.


I guess what I don&#39t understand is the idea of strengthening in the tcm model. I accept that the purpose behind all the theory was created for the purpose of managing health.

But at the same time I would have thought that the palace would have been aware of the benefits of strength training as regards to their soldiers.

Correct me if I&#39m wrong but the only means of increase in strength alluded to in the classic is in relation to uptake and processing of the different forms of chi. Beneficial adaptation is completely absent whether it be callouses, bones mending, tendons or muscles growing.

If I understand the situation correctly the paradigm was created for the purpose of health management and so obviously wouldn&#39t contain these elements. However don&#39t you think there might be some really useful missing pieces to the model?


I think your confusion comes from not fully understanding the difference between the western and the eastern idea behind &#39strenghtening&#39 the body and achieving good health.

In the West most people place importance on strengthening the external and material (generally the visible) part of the body. The exercises include weight liftings, body building or aerobic exercises that visibly strengthen the muscle tissues or organs. TCM is based on the traditional Chinese concept of energy (non-visible) exercises that maintain the proper flow and circulation of internal energies (Qi). These traditional exercises include Qi Kung, Tai Chi and most martial arts (kung fu) styles - especially the soft and the internal arts. When the Chinese trained their solders the exercises were also geared towards strengthening their internal energies. Everything external is built on these.

So I believe where you&#39re lost is not yet having a clear understanding of the difference between a western set of mind of what exercises and body strengthening should be and what the eastern idiology is. What people do in the West is pretty much the opposite of what is done in the East. One method isn&#39t better just a different way of looking things. The best if you study and practice both for they do complement each other.

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