8 Health Lessons I Learned from a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

8 Health Lessons I Learned from a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Dr Benjamin Yang is one of America’s most recognized doctors of traditional Chinese medicine whose practice spans more than 30 years in the areas of complementary and alternative medicine.

A great wine lover, Doctor Yang has been a huge influence in maintaining my health for more than a decade. He is also the “go-to” for Bay area wine and hospitality professionals, treating all manner of ailments resulting from a life of wine and dining, and always with great compassion and non-judgement.

Over the course of his career, Dr Yang has developed his own eight guiding principles which he believes will promote a long and happy quality of life, and it is a pleasure to share them here:

1. One glass of red wine per day, and a beautiful dream.

For healthy adults, one standard glass of red wine helps sustain your heart due to the anthocyanins and antioxidants contained in the wine. Of course if you do not drink wine, there are alternatives to antioxidants that can be taken.
Yang believes that “in your life, you must always have at least one beautiful dream.” He believes the process of constantly setting and achieving goals keeps the mental and physical body active, engaged and hopeful for the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

2. Two chicken eggs per day.

Chicken eggs are very inexpensive and an easily accessible form of high protein that contains a broad range of vitamins and a very good level of nutrition. For those following vegan diets, alternatives are easily available.

3. Three minutes of laughing.

Sometimes people say, “Alcohol makes me happy,” but actually laughing makes you happy, too. At least three minutes a day. In China there is a traditional saying that if you laugh three times per day, you laugh your problems away. If you cannot laugh, at least sing a song – it is great exercise for the lungs.

4. Forty minutes of meditation.

Meditation is critical to help calm the mind and balance the body. Forty minutes of mindful meditation may be difficult to start, but will quickly become something you actually look forward to. You can do it anywhere you find the space to be still.

5. Five different colors (not types) of vegetables.

The five natural elements are foundational to Chinese medicine: earth, water, fire, metal and wood. But they’re also found in nutrition, where every element corresponds with five colors of vegetables. This diversity brings the broadest range of different nutrients to ensure that you are eating across the plant spectrum.

6. Sixty minutes of fast walking.

Yang recommends fast walking over running as it is far easier on the body than the impact of jogging or running. Cardiovascular health is important, and you can get this from 60 minutes of a fast walking pace without the potential of high impact injury.

7. Seven glasses of clean drinking water.

The volume of water that is ideal varies by weight. For an easy way to understand how much water is required for balance, convert your weight in kilograms into the number of glasses required. For example, a person of 60 kilograms (about 125 pounds) needs 6 glasses of water, 70 kilograms (about 145 pounds) needs seven glasses of water per day and so on. One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds so it is easy to equate the ounces to glasses.

8. Eight hours of sleep.

Sleep is critical for the body to RENEW and maintain optimum health. While eight hours may not be possible every night, it is most critical to sleep from 11pm to 3am when the energy renewal is strongest in the gall bladder and liver. If uninterrupted sleep is not possible, for healthy adults napping for 30 minutes to one hour is also beneficial.

When these eight principals are lived as part of a preventative medicine program including acupuncture, massage and herbal medicine, Yang believes people will live a long and happy life.

When I asked Yang what his one beautiful dream was? He responded with a wry smile and a quip: “That people will follow my principals and no longer need doctors or acupuncture treatment. And put me out of a job.”

Dr Benjamin Yang is a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. He is the former Chairperson of the California State Acupuncture Board (1998), former President of the California Chinese Medicine Association, member of the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIH), and former member of the California State Industrial Medical Council (2000-2003).

The information provided above is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please see your primary health care provider about any personal health concerns.

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Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the folks who make our profession so dynamic.

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Stephanie Teuwen, Co-Founder and President, Teuwen Communications (USA)

Years In Industry:
I grew up in a restaurant in Provence, and learned about food, wine and hospitality at a very young age. From this early experience, I wanted nothing to do with restaurant life and instead found myself in corporate PR/marketing roles in Paris and New York. I was pulled back into the food world when a great French chef opened a restaurant in NYC and asked me to quit my job and open my own agency 24 years ago—merging my professional and personal. Teuwen Communications is entirely devoted to wine, food, and spirits.

My Biggest Challenge To Wellness:
It’s a recurrent theme on this platform, isn’t it? I entertain a lot, travel a lot, and cooking is a passion! So my diet and alcohol intake are a weekly challenge. Additionally on the work front, managing a boutique PR agency with multiple national and international programs is definitely akin to the art of plate spinning. If I don’t carve downtime, there isn’t any, and since my 24 x 7 partner and husband and I work together, I have to make a constant effort not to turn every meal or outing into a work meeting.

How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:
Nature is my refuge. I spend weekends in Upstate NY working in the garden of our little cabin, hiking in the 3,500 acre park and riding my cute, most stubborn Icelandic horse, Lukka. She is my zen master—if I am not present, she takes over and off we run back to barn!

I also practice yoga several times a week either in a class or at home and I guzzle huge amounts of water daily. Cooking and entertaining is another calming activity for me, I love creating healthy, seasonal recipes with tons of herbs and spices and gathering friends. Laughing, chatting, sharing with people I love and care for is re-centering always.

You can connect with Stephanie on Instagram @TeuwenComm and @StephanieTeuwen or on the Teuwen Communications website, teuwen.com

Let’s Meet Up!

As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you.  

Drop a line to rebecca@abalancedglass.com or cathy@enolytics.com if you are interested in getting together for practice, a chat or a great glass together.

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