Many TCM classics record legendary top doctors who can help cure diseases before their onset.
Yet, anyone can try being a top doctor as long as they keep themselves free of impure energy, water and accumulated excreta, says Zhongli Baren, a best-selling health writer.
Curing a disease before its onset is not as mysterious or superstitious as many people think.
"The doctors are actually not curing you before you are ill, but help get rid of the pathogenic environment inside lest you get ill. Soil rooted out, ailments, of course, won't grow," says the writer of Asking Help From A Doctor Is No Better Than Asking Help From Ourselves.
The pathogenic environment is usually caused by three "impure" things - impure energy, water and excreta accumulated inside, according to the health writer.
Those impure items attract germs and viruses just like rubbish attracts flies and cockroaches.
Most people are aware of the importance of daily bowel movements, yet few know anything about getting rid of impure energy and water as well.
Impure energy is actually produced every day just like urine and excreta.
It may be absorbed from outside, produced from digestion or grow from a bad mood. It is much easier to dispel it than to prevent its production.
Of course, it is impossible for anyone to stay happy throughout the 24 hours; crying, yelling and even jumping up and down to release anger are actually all healthy habits, as impure energy produced by bad moods are released through these ways.
Yet, if you are not allowed to do so, you have another choice - according to Zhongli Baren - to fart.
TCM suggests that the impure energy growing from a bad mood is usually born in the liver and gallbladder; but as these two organs are not directly connected from outside, the energy needs to get out by way of the digestive system.
If people hold in the impure energy instead of farting, the energy will first gather in the digestive system, and then travel with blood to other organs.
With impure energy in it, blood usually travels more slowly and may even stagnate and cause ailments.
There are also cases of impure water gathered in the body instead of being dispelled through urination. It may also cause various ailments including obesity.
The gathered impure water will disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system.
If you keep drinking large amounts of water while impure water blocks the digestive system, it may cause water poisoning rather than help dispel toxins, according to the writer.
Eating foods that help "soothe energy" such as turnips, beans and sweet potatoes are all good choices to help get rid of impure energy. Knocking wei jing (the stomach meridian) every day can also help relieve gathered impure energy.
Zhongli Baren strongly recommends rubbing your stomach every day. This can help dispel impure energy, water and excreta. It can also help relieve related ailments, especially chronic ones.
You can use your finger, palm or fist to rub the area from the heart to the lower stomach. You have to do it slowly and search for energy-blocking spots. They may be hard, aching, or a spot where you hear a water sound when rubbing.
If you find the energy-blocking spots, rub slowly until they melt away or at least melt away a bit. Do this once in the morning and once at night and you may find your problems relieved.
If you hiccup or break the wind while rubbing your stomach, it is a good sign of ascending clear energy and descending impure energy inside your body.
If you hear a water sound when rubbing, it suggests the movement of accumulated impure water inside. Try rubbing more to get it out through urination, lest it causes headache, eczema or diarrhea when it travels to other organs.
There is another recommended exercise for those with constipation problems - walking while squatting. There are cases where people suffer constipation not because of pathogenic heat, but insufficient energy in the stomach and intestines.
Try accumulating energy and blood in the lower stomach to help in this case. Zhongli Baren suggests patients squat and hold their knees with their arms. Then, try walking without lifting the heels. In this case, muscles in stomach will be the only power for walking.
Energy and blood will all run to the part to help complete the movement. Though it may be difficult at first, it can effectively gather energy and blood in the lower stomach, and thus help dispel impure material more efficiently.
(Shanghai Daily August 25, 2009)