Everything requires balance, especially the body. It’s constantly in a see-saw state of maintaining equilibrium, so effectively we mostly don’t even realise it’s happening - until our skin breaks out and warns us that all isn’t quite so well!
We do notice when things are out of balance though, usually in the form of various health conditions.
According to many traditional healthcare philosophies, diet, herbs and nutrients can be used to bring balance and health back into the body. Despite many of these healthcare systems being centuries old, there is a lot of modern science to back up their theories, and some of Grandma’s wisdom may not have been so far removed from modern research.
What is Chi?
Chi is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concept of energy flow throughout the body. It refers to the energy force or vitality within a person.
Someone with weak chi might present with symptoms of illness, while someone with strong chi should be robust and in good health. Within TCM, “blockages” to the flow of chi are what contribute to disease, which makes sense when considering that each system within the body is connected with another.
Other traditional systems of medicine have a similar outlook on health. Ayurvedic medicine refers to “prana” and the energetic foundations of the body; “doshas”. Traditional naturopathic medicine talks of different “humours”, no doubt based on Ancient Greek “temperaments” of humanity. It all boils down to a similar idea: That individuals are prone to certain “blockages” or conditions, and balance is required to bring them back to health.
Skin is usually a good indicator of overall health. Someone who is unwell might appear sallow, pale, or even odd colours such as green or yellow. A healthful person is referred to as having “glowing” skin, radiating from within - as that’s where good health begins.
Cleansing the Body
A bit of a misconception in terminology has led many to believe that we can take medicines which “cleanse” the body of toxins and therefore of disease.
In actual fact, the body is quite capable of cleansing itself, thanks to a highly efficient digestive, urinary and respiratory system. The problem arises when things are out of whack, and these systems are overworked and under-appreciated.
Given that the skin is a reflection of internal health, a person whose organs are chugging along happily will have healthful skin; clear and glowing. If the liver is overwhelmed by toxins and fast food to process, or if the bowels aren’t emptying quite as often as they should, then that person is far more prone to acne, dermatitis or dull, blemished skin.
Herbs and supplements such as dandelion, St Mary’s thistle, slippery elm and chlorella are useful for shuffling things along the elimination line, and helping those organs to function more effectively. Add in a good dose of water, fibre and probiotics, and the body should have all the support it needs to cleanse properly.
Each system within the body is closely linked to another, and no system works in isolation. It’s why blockages to chi have such an impact on someone’s health, as one area not pulling its weight will put strain on the rest of the team.
There are many ways to create balance, and almost all of them involve caring for your diet and those systems which need extra assistance. Herbs to support the digestive and nervous systems will ensure that cleansing occurs effectively and stress is minimised - both emotionally and physically.
Maca root powder and dandelion leaf are highly nutritious herbs which help to boost energy and support the reproductive and digestive systems. Ashwaganda, Siberian Ginseng and Panax Ginseng are all excellent for moderating stress, improving energy and reducing inflammation. Lemon Balm works on the nervous system for lifting one’s mood.
These are just some examples of harmonising and cleansing herbs which can assist in balancing chi. Where the body is in balance, chi flows smoothly, and your skin should reflect that beautifully.
Mem Davis is a naturopath, writer, and food lover. She loves feeling healthy and strong, and is a proud vegan nutrition advocate. In her spare time she goes hiking, attends live music events and hangs out with her cuddly cat.
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W. Groves, P., 2004. Philosophy of Natural Healing. 3rd ed. Castlecrag, Australia: UNSW Printery.