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Concept of “養生” – You-Sei


“養生” – You-Sei, Yang Sheng in Chinese, is one of the fundamental concepts of Daoism and Kampo (Traditional Japanese Medicine), which translates to “nurture life”. 

It emphasises addressing minor health issues at their root to prevent the onset of illness. Essentially, it embodies the concept of ‘prevention rather than cure’. 

You-Sei holds significant importance in Eastern Medicine culture. It involves nurturing body, mind, and spirit in harmony with natural rhythms and universal laws to foster health and well-being.

Developed over millennia, this is holistic, encompassing physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. It acknowledges their interconnectedness and their role in shaping behaviour patterns.

It’s been described as the integration of mind and body, achieving physical and mental balance, managing emotions, maintaining health and fitness throughout life, and attaining wisdom. You-Sei involves cultivating a mindful approach to self-care.

Think of it as the legs of a chair – you need all four pillars for stability: mind and emotions, body, exercise, and sleep. 

You-Sei integrates core principles such as yin and yang, adherence to natural laws, and the harmonious flow of Qi, the body’s vital energy. It aims for optimal functioning and balance of the entire self – body, mind, and spirit – considering one’s relationships with others and the environment.

In the West, we tend to overlook wellness and disease prevention, taking good health for granted and resorting to symptom management rather than addressing root causes. You-Sei, however, focuses on identifying energy imbalances before they manifest as disease, working towards maintaining balance and health.

Qi, or vital energy, flows through the body, facilitating various bodily functions. Maintaining the free flow of Qi and blood is essential for good health and vitality.

However, modern lifestyles often disrupt Qi flow, leading to issues like stress, pain, fatigue, and digestive problems.  to strengthen Qi and promote its smooth flow, counteracting the negative effects of modern living.

“Mind” and “body” are our very existence, and “exercise” and “rest” are essential activities for living. These four aspects nourish us and our life force.

First, place “mind” and “body” on the vertical axis, and place “exercise” and “rest” on the horizontal axis. Then, The element directly related to “body” is “diet.

The relationship between “mind” and “body” placed on the vertical axis is the unity of mind and body.

Furthermore, “exercise” and “rest” on the horizontal axis represent the balance of yin and yang”, which represents one of the fundamental principles in the basic theory of natural medicine and health preservation.

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