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A Health Promoting (Ideal) Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle means different things to different people. Here we will lay out the basic, Chinese Medicine, ideas of health maintenance, disease prevention and the means to a happy and fulfilling life. All of this is accomplished by following the laws of nature. This means, to live according to nature, or in accord with nature. It has been known since the dawn of time, around the world, that to live according to nature leads to health and happiness, while to live contrary to nature leads to unhappiness, disease and an early death.  
     Most mammals, living in the wild, live according to nature. They rise with the sun, work as little as possible (only as much as they need to survive), never think about money, and nap often. They also play often, have sex infrequently and with little fanfare; and when ill they rest until fully recovered. Non-human animals drink only water and eat only raw, whole, organic foods; they run or fight when they are threatened (thus burning off the harmful adrenal chemical reaction). They never fly in an airplane, or ride in a car, bus or train. They rarely hear loud noises, get yelled at, or see violence of any kind. They never come in contact with a television, computer, radio, or movie theater. They go to sleep at about the same time every evening, usually in the same place, and they sleep in relative silence until the are finished. They also do very little thinking or worrying.

 

Even a moments reflection on the life of a natural animal can tell us how far away we've drifted. 

 

How to Regulate Your Lifestyle

It would take volumes to record every aspect of healthy living. Here, we will detail the healthy way to approach some major elements of modern life, including breathing, body care, sleeping, eating, drinking, bowels and urination, emotions, thoughts, work, climate and seasons, exercise and massage, qi gong (exercising energy), pets, living environment, drugs, alcohol, and chemicals.
     It should be noted that, in general, you can 'get away with' more when you're young, and less when you're old. The young may be able to afford going out in winter without a coat once in a while, but it will still tax their body. The young may survive having intercourse several times a week, the old must not. The older you get, the less carefree you can be with your lifestyle. Women live on 7, and men on 8, year cycles of change. For women, it is necessary to calm and regulate ones lifestyle by age 21 (or at least 28). For men, the same is true at ages 24 (or at least by 32). The more one
neglects a healthy lifestyle as the phases of life come and go, the more difficult it will be to ever (re)establish good health. The more you live a healthy lifestyle before these ages of change, the healthier you will be afterwards.

 

 
Breathing

Contrary to popular belief and practice, breathing doesn't really just 'take care of itself.' As we leave infancy, the pressures of modern life commonly keep us from breathing fully. Yes, shallow irregular breathing literally starts in pre-school.

     To learn how to breathe perfectly, watch how a baby breathes when they are asleep. Breathing should be very deep, slow and rhythmic. You should feel your stomach (lower abdomen) expand with each inhale, and contract mildly with each exhale. The air you breathe should be pure, clean, chemical free and have plenty of oxygen. Spoiler! There may not be a city in the world whose air qualifies with this criterion.

     You should spend at least twenty minutes a day doing nothing but concentrating on your breathing. Breathing is life. It is not to be ignored, or left to suffer from our emotional concerns. It is to be treasured and capitalized on. There is enormous potential for healing, qi (energy) development, and peace of mind to be found within proper breathing. 

 

 
Body Care

The following discussion of body care is designed to give you an idea of what is health promoting body care. It is impossible to detail every aspect of body care, which may come up for every person. That said, this is meant to be a sample of the countless aspects of proper body care.
     Wash daily, with a natural (lye free) soap, and chemical-free water. Wash your hair only as needed (depending on natural oil content). Do not wash your hair everyday, unless you have very greasy hair (which can be treated by changing your diet, etc.). Use only all natural, or organic, shampoos and conditioners. Most shampoos and conditioners sold are literally made of carcinogenic chemicals, which rip all possible nutrients from your hair, traumatizing it on a regular basis.
     Do not apply antiperspirant to your underarms, or anywhere else on your body. A healthy person does not need deodorant of any kind, any more than any other animal needs deodorant. Additionally, antiperspirants contain aluminum (which causes brain damage), and many other harmful chemical ingredients. If you believe you must use deodorant, use only an all natural or organic brand, without antiperspirant properties.

     It is best, for the health of your skin, to not wear makeup. A healthy person does not need make up, any more then any other animal needs to wear makeup. Additionally, the chemicals in the makeup will be absorbed into your body through your skin (the body's largest organ). In general, we should not need to apply any powders or oils to our face, body, genitals or feet. I do find organic jojoba to be an exception since it is so very close to what our skin produces naturally. 

     Use only organic, chemical free menstrual pads. Do not use tampons. Tampons deliver a substantial load of chemicals directly to the cervix, which is quite tender and easily corrupted (eventually leading to cervical cancer). 

     Use only natural organic soaps for your laundry and dishes. Avoid bringing your body into contact with any chemicals (most are harmful). This prohibition includes pharmaceuticals, which are made primarily out of dangerous chemicals. Use natural, dye and chemical free, toilet paper, tissues, napkins, paper towels, and Q-tips. Better yet, use only organic cotton clothes which can be washed and reused. In place of toilet paper, use a 'bidet.' 
     Do not pierce or tattoo yourself, as it taxes your body unnecessarily (with chemicals and trauma, respectively). Trim and clean your hand and toe nails regularly, but do not over-trim them as that encourages infection. Do not use chemicals to paint your nails, as those chemicals will be absorbed by your lungs and through your skin. Use organic tooth paste, and mouthwash. 

Sleep

Sleep should be regular. This means sleeping in the same place each evening, sleeping in the same position (for the human spine, this position is on your back), and sleeping for the same amount of time each evening (at least 8 hours).

     Sleep should take place in an environment that is silent, smells good, is comfortable, and is safe. Do not work, read, watch TV, eat, or worry (think) in your sleeping space. Sleep more in winter, less in summer. 
     Do not sleep in a bed that is too soft, or too hard. However, given the choice between hard and soft, always choose hard. In general, "pillow top" and plush beds are to be avoided as they do not support your spine, and thus strain the muscles. Use a thin contoured pillow, or a neck support only, as large pillows put a deforming strain on your neck. 

 

  
Eating

Eating should consist of between two and four meals a day, depending on needs and energy output. Each meal should be fairly small, and should not leave you feeling full, or bloated. Avoid overeating. Meals should not be overly spicy, bitter, bland, salty, or sweet, but a balance of these flavors. Food should be eaten warm or very warm. This applies to all seasons, with the exception that some cool foods can be eaten in summertime.
     Even when organic and of high quality, you should still avoid eating excessive amounts of fat, meat, fruit or grains. All these things are to be eaten in moderation.

     Humans are omnivores. This means that we are meant to eat vegetables, legumes, beans, certain whole grains, roots, herbs, berries, fruit, animal flesh, eggs, dairy and fish. Entirely whole foods. Eat a wide variety of food, and do not eat the same things too often. Many people consume the same foods far too regularly. This can cause an imbalance in the body due to having too much of some vitamins and minerals and too little of others (the foods that are not being eaten).

     We must learn to actually 'listen' to our own body's. When we feel the request for red meat, that means we need it. However, if we feel the urge for a candy bar, that does not mean that we need it! Hence, it takes practice! 
     Shellfish can cause toxic heat to accumulate in the body. Hence it should be consumed rarely and in relatively small quantities. Foods fried in hydrogenated oils should never be consumed.

     It takes especially strong digestion to handle raw or cold foods. Thus they should never be eaten by those with weak digestion.

     In the USA, beef, pork and chicken are to be avoided. Most people's health does not prosper, when they eat too much meat. However, most of us should consume red meat sometimes. If you live in a northern climate, it is more necessary more often. In either case, try to restrict your consumption to strong, healthy animals, such as: bison (buffalo), ostrich, turkey, lamb/sheep, goat, ox, yak, camel, deer, caribou, lama, alligator, game birds, snake, etc. A small amount of meat per serving (about 4 oz) will generally satisfy your nutritional needs. 
     Nature never intended for us to "eat chemicals." For the most part, nature never even intended for us to come in contact with any chemicals. You should not eat processed foods, nor foods that contain chemicals. You shouldn't eat anything you can't pronounce or don't know what it is. Never consume refined, white sugar, or refined, white flour. In these modern times, you should eat only foods that are "certified organic." In the United States, one should strictly avoid soy, wheat and corn (in all their endless forms). In all places, one should avoid safflower, canola, soy and "vegetable" oils. 

 

 
Drinking

You should primarily drink flavored room-temperature water. Use organic essential oil, such as peppermint, lemon or orange to flavor your water. You can also use organic, naturally caffeine free teas, such as rooibos / red tea, peppermint or chamomile tea. Drink gradually, throughout the day.

     Never drink soda of any kind. Do not drink coffee, or any caffeinated beverage, as they interfere with your brain, sleep and energy levels. An exception to this general rule is organic macha (altered green tea), which is only helpful. Organic herbal teas are fine to drink, as long as they do not contain other harmful ingredients. Avoid over-the-counter medicinal teas. They are often highly generalized, and not uncommonly the opposite of what is actually needed.
     You should never drink chemicals. Chemicals are in most beverages in the United States, as either coloring's or flavorings or both. If you drink juice, it should be certified organic and 100% juice. Juice consists primarily of fructose, and contains only a small portion of the nutrients, and virtually none of the fiber, of whole fruit. Therefore, consuming the whole fruit is a much better choice. Juice can be used to flavor water, as 70 - 90% water mixed with 10 - 30% juice. 

  

 
Bowels and Urination

     Bowels and urination should be held only to a reasonable degree. As your bladder or bowels tell you it's time to empty them, simply listen and cooperate! Do not say, "I'll go a little later" because, this delay will cause stagnation (like a dam in a river that quickly accumulates filth and debris). This is a very important rule to remember. When you feel the clear inclination to urinate or defecate, find your way to the nearest sanitary bathroom and comply. Retaining the bowels and/or urination will cause all manor of problems, not just in your bladder and colon, but throughout your body. Additionally, never strain at the bowels, and never force the urination. Relax! 
     Always 'do your business' in a place that is comfortable and clean. Keep your restrooms spotlessly clean at home and at work. Keep all bathrooms smelling wonderful and with a good supply of fresh air and sunlight (if possible). Make your bathroom a pleasant place to be, with bright cheerful colors, paintings, wallpaper, etc.
     Use only all natural, or even certified organic, toilet paper. Your colon is one of the most vascular areas in your body. It does not benefit you to add chemicals to the local area - which will be absorbed through the blood, directly into the body. All standard toilet papers are saturated in chemicals. These chemicals accumulate, with use and over time, in the vagina, cervix, uterus, colon and prostate. Thus causing, or at least contributing to, local cancers. 

A note for women: always wipe 'front to back,' as this helps to prevent vaginal infections. 

 

Emotions

When we're in a healthy state, emotions are mild things, that come and go freely and never pose a problem. No emotion should be indulged, i.e. concentrated on too hard or for too long. If you are feeling angry, let it go and move on. If you are feeling sad, let it go and move on. This is the correct and healthy way to handle most emotions.
     Indulging in emotions damages the related organs. These relationships, between emotions and certain organs have been parsed out by Chinese medicine thousands of years ago, and clinical practice confirms these connections every day. 

     

The Organ-Emotion Connections:

excessive or pathological joy - damages the Heart

excessive or pathological grief - damages the Lungs

excessive or pathological thinking - damages the Spleen/Pancreas

excessive or pathological anger - damages the Liver

excessive or pathological fear - damages the Kidneys

 

Many people who indulge in pathological joy die of heart attacks. Many people who live a life repressing their grief die of lung cancer. And many angry people die of cirrhosis of the liver.
     Hence, we must not groan and spew over the loss of a favorite pen. We must not be overly happy to be eating a piece of our favorite pie. Take life in stride, and don't get worked up about anything. Control your emotions, but not through force or rigidity, but by controlled and deliberate relaxation. 
     If you know that a certain situation causes you emotional upset, avoid that situation. Do what it takes to avoid it, regardless of what it is (e.g a certain family member). Life is too short to put yourself into situations that cause you emotional upset. On the flip side, try not letting things get to you. Last but not least, do not repress your feelings! Repression is a straight road to illness and misery. 


Thoughts

Thoughts, like emotions, should be smooth and steady. Don't indulge in frivolous, wasteful thoughts such as worry or anger. Also do not dwell on thoughts. Think about something, if you need to, then let it pass. Do not let your thoughts control you. Instead, you can and should control your thoughts! This can be done in a mild and gentle way. Feel free to tell your brain, "that's a waste of time, forget about it, and think of it no longer." Remember, your brain works for your consciousness, not vice versa. 'Ask, and ye shall receive.' Be sure to tell your brain what you expect of it. For example, you might tell your brain that you will no longer tolerate negative thoughts or comments. Or you may tell your brain that you will no longer tolerate its constant desire to question the past. You may tell your brain that you expect it to remember the information you will now present to it. Take control! If you do not, something else (probably your limbic system) will.
     You do not need to remember, or reflect on, good or bad things that have happened in your life. Choose to remember only what is of interest or benefit to you, and basically forget the rest. Clear your mind. Your brain is a precious gift. Do not make it a garbage dumb with masses of useless information, such as TV, movies, songs, advertisements, gossip, sports statistics, "news," etc. You will be amazed at the power of your mind, if you purge it of these unhelpful things. 

 

Work

Do not do work that is stressful for you. If your work is stressful, you should do whatever is necessary to either make the work not stressful, or find / create new work. 
     Avoid overwork of any kind. Also avoid heavy physical labor and/or excessive mental work. Do not work passed dark. Work at most 6 to 7 hours a day, 3 or 4 days a week. Do not take work home with you (unless you work at home). 
     Take long vacations often. Do not take your work on vacation with you, as that's then no longer a vacation. You can work a bit more in summer, but one should work quite a bit less in winter. Ideally, work should be a balance of sitting, standing and walking.

 

Work and the Body: 

Excessive walking damages the tendons

Excessive standing damages the bones

Excessive sitting damages the flesh and muscles 

Excessive lying damages the lung energy

Excessive reading, reading small print, reading in low light, or reading at night all damage the blood
 

  
Climate, Seasons and Your Indoor Environment

Throughout the world people have observed that various weather conditions can result in illness. Some examples are wind and cold causing the common cold, arthritis, or Bell Palsy; or damp hot weather stirring up eczema or Multiple Sclerosis. What to do? Avoid extremes of weather, and dress appropriately for various kinds of weather. Dress warmly in cold weather and dress coolly in warm weather. Do not, as your mother probably told you, go out without a coat on in winter. It may seem like common sense, but as always, in practice is not so common. Avoid prolonged exposure to extremes of weather, such as wind, damp, cold, heat, or dryness. Be sure to keep your sleeping and working space a comfortable, regular temperature and avoid exposure to wind. 

Changing Our Behavior According to the Seasons

 

Spring is the season of the Liver. The Liver is the wood organ. As such, the Liver 'likes orderly growth.' Also, like wood, the Liver may be soft (typical when young) and rigid (typical when old). The Liver is averse to wind, which may stagnate it, and is most common in spring. Too much wind will create dryness (in nature and in the body), as well as breaking trees (branches, whole trees). The Liver, in both Eastern and Western medicine, 'stores the blood' and thus fears wind-dryness, which may easily desiccate the blood volume causing stagnation and accumulation. 
     Just as a sapling grows mostly in springtime, the same is correct for the body. This makes spring the time for new projects, growth and expansion. You can eat more in this season, and you can have more sexual activity (up to three times a week if you are under 35 and three times a month over 35). However, it is still necessary to abstain from sexual activity when ill or weak. Eat foods with a warm-spicy nature in spring, but avoid the sour flavor. Keep a regular, but not rigid, schedule. Also, be extra patient and forgiving, so as to keep the Liver qi flowing smoothly. 

  

Summer is the season of the Heart. The Heart is the fire organ. The 'fire' of the heart relates to activity and joy. Too little, and we are apathetic. Too much and we are manic and agitated.
     The Heart is easily injured by heat. Just as fire spreads and devours rapidly, summer is the time for continuing growth and expansion. However, it is not the best time to start something new. You can eat plenty in this season, as long as you stay active. Eat cool-natured foods in summer, with a salty and/or bland flavor. Avoid spicy and/or greasy foods, and alcohol, as these all add heat to the body. Also, avoid prolonged exposure to excessive heat, as this may cause Heart-related disease. 

  
Late summer is the season of the Spleen (/Pancreas). The Spleen is the earth organ. The 'earth' is thought of as dams and irrigation used to control the flow of water, and where all (plant) life stems from. The Spleen is averse to dampness, which is prevalent in late summer. Too much water washes away irrigation systems and kills plants.
     At this time of year, the local environment's yang energy is beginning to decline, hence you should also begin to contract and withdraw. Continue projects, but at a more leisurely pace. You should not eat too much in this season, because the Spleen is easily suppressed by the atmospheric dampness. The Spleen (/Pancreas) is responsible for the digestion of food, in Chinese medicine. The dampness of late summer will easily fatigue the muscles, so care should be taken not to overuse them, lest a damp-obstruction (pain) syndrome result. Eating small healthy meals regularly is especially important in this season. One should only have sexual intercourse one or two times a week in late summer, if you are under 35, and one or two times a month, if over 35. However, it is necessary to abstain from sexual activity when ill or weak. In all cases, the seasonal dampness will tend to tax the Spleen and Kidney qi.  
  
Autumn is the season of the Lungs. The Lungs are the organ of metal. This relays that its attributes are rigidity and fixed ways. Autumn is often a time that we re-live grief. Loss is, even potentially by definition, a change against our will or wishes. Hence we must 'let go' when we did not plan on needing to let go. This relates to the Lungs governance of breathing, which is taking in (and keeping what is of value) and letting go (of what is waste or no longer serving our well-being). Hence, in contrast, autumn is a time for us to relax, to minimize rigidity, to let things go! Thus we begin preparations for the winter rest and contraction.
     Breathing deeply and rhythmically is of chief importance in this season. It is good to keep the Lungs moist, with Loquat syrup, coconut water or pear juice, as they are easily injured by dryness and contraction, both prevalent in autumn. Also, avoid excessive exposure to wind, invasion of which is the starting point of many illnesses. One should begin to reduce physical and sexual activity, preparing for winter. 
  
Winter is the season of the Kidneys. The Kidneys are the organ of water. The water the ancient Chinese had in mind was that of a cold, dark, deep, ocean - sometimes quiet and at other times turbulent and even violent. The water of the Kidneys also refers a well of stored energy and life, called Kidney essence. This is something we accumulate through healthful activities and lose through stress and over-work. 

     In winter, nature is urging us to withdraw from all but the most essential things. In the cold northern climates one should greatly reduce their contact with the outside world. We should work minimally, but eat a bit more, and sleep more than usual. Our tender warm-blooded body's are fearful of the winter cold, and hence we desire large, healthy, slightly salty, slightly fatty meals on a regular basis. We should avoid heavy lifting and manual labor. To protect our body's and our Kidney-water, we should wear appropriately warm clothing, and avoid rapid changes from warm to cold, or cold to warm. Cold damages the Kidney yang qi, easily causing fatigue, fear of cold, lack of motivation and impotence (especially if sexual activity is overindulged in during winter). Sexual activity should be minimal, or not at all, through the winter. The Kidneys are the organ primarily taxed by sexual intercourse, reproduction and birth. 


Indoor Climate Factors of Note

Avoid air conditioning, unless truly necessary. Also avoid exposure to wind (fans), again unless necessary. Indirect air flow is generally not a problem, especially if you are in good health. Avoid dry heat, such as forced air or electric heat. Keep your home and work space at a regular temperature, but also adjust with the seasons. A healthy body is able to easily adjust to a fairly large range in temperature and humidity. If you are healthy, you should be quite comfortable setting your thermostat to 78 - 80F in the summer and 68 - 70F in the winter. 

 

Exercise, Massage, Physical Movement

Exercise should never be a rigid affair. All rigidity is harmful to health. Weight lifting should only be done with light to moderate weights that will not damage your muscles. Aerobic exercise that encompasses strength training is an excellent choice. Good examples include the elliptical machine, stairmaster, rowing machine, swimming, cross country skiing, and walking on a treadmill. Tai Chi, Yoga, Kung Fu and other martial arts, and Qi Gong can be useful and meditative exercises. Too much practice of the same routine can cause harm, it's better to alternate. Avoid poorly trained instructors! These are often found in gyms, martial arts studios and yoga studios. Just be discerning and you should be fine
     Exercise should be a regular part of your life. One should do an hour or more, every other day. Do not do any exercise that causes you pain. Pain is not gain. Pain is a signal that something is wrong. When you are doing effective correct exercise you will feel rejuvenated and refreshed, and your muscles will feel fantastic (not in pain).
     Massage is good for relaxation and physical therapy. It is very useful to soften and relax the muscles, but should never be substituted for exercise. As with all healing modalities, you may have to put some effort into finding a good practitioner. 

Qi Gong / Exercising Energy

Qi Gong literally means "energy exercise." In other words, the energy of the body is actually given a workout. The body's two main functional elements are energy (qi) and blood, qi is yang and blood is yin. It is necessary, in order to maintain health, to regularly add to (tonify) ones qi and to nourish ones blood. One of the best ways to tonify, or increase, the qi of the body is to perform 'qi gong' exercises. Qi Gong is used in two main ways. It can be emitted from one person to heal another, or practiced solo for health preservation. Qi Gong is a very important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Ideally, it can be practiced for at least one hour daily. The best start time being fifteen minutes before sunrise, then proceeding for one hour. 

     Qi Gong exercises are performed in a wide variety of ways. However, there is one element that is central to all forms of meditation, namely controlling ones breath. Control of the breath is the key concept that allows Qi Gong practice to build the bodies qi (or energy). The qi is built up rhythmically through the process of respiration. The three primary ways to gain energy are proper eating, sleeping and breathing. In order to gather qi from the air, the lungs must take very deep, controlled breaths, just like a sleeping baby does naturally. Through this method of deep breathing the body is able to absorb the maximum amount of air qi, and store it in the body. 
     In Chinese medicine, it is said that, "the Lungs control the qi of the body." This means that the Lungs govern, or manage, the body's energy. The Lungs also govern the surface of the body. This means that if the Lungs are weak, 'external' disease will result; i.e. an invasion from the outside. That is, a common cold. If the Lungs are strong, the body is defended from viruses, colds, flu's, etc. and will not become ill. When deep breaths are taken they aid the Lungs in circulating qi around the body. This eliminates stagnant qi, which is often the precursor of disease, and especially of cancer. The Lungs are associated with the emotion of grief, which is itself associated with stagnant qi in the chest. This connection can explain why grief is commonly related to cancer. These deep breaths, coupled with visualizations and specific body movements, can act as a complete form of meditation and exercise, resulting in greatly improved health. 

     One key difference between Qi Gong and other forms of exercise, is that Qi Gong is actually able to directly treat and prevent disease. Most forms of exercise prevent disease indirectly, through moving, tonifying and reordering the qi. However, Qi Gong can actually treat disease directly by tapping into the body's own healing potential. The principle differences lie in the deep belly breathing and controlled visualizations, which most forms of exercise lack. 
     The functions of Qi Gong vary somewhat depending on the type of exercise being preformed and the intention of the practitioner. However, there are numerous benefits that are consistent throughout all Qi Gong exercises. Qi Gong practice will calm and regulate the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, increase muscle and organ blood supply, regulate peristalsis (the digestive movements of the intestines), regulate blood pressure, regulate the heart beat, calm the mind, benefit the brain, tonify the kidneys and all the organs, tonify the qi and aid in the generation of new blood, fight infection, reduce and reverse aging, promote the smooth circulation of qi, reduce stress syndromes, and many other benefits too numerous to list here. 
     Qi Gong can be performed in a variety of ways, commonly while walking, standing or sitting. Lying down postures are generally used with the very weak, elderly or ill persons and tend to primarily focus on breathing and visualization. Different postures are used to illicit various effects. There are many ancient postures from diverse sources, and new postures are being developed as needed. In all routines, the primary goals are to activate and increase the circulation of the qi through the channels and internal organs. There are great benefits derived from simply working on your posture as you control your breathing. The benefits include corrected spinal alignment, reduced pain, and improved organic function (as they are compressed when you you are hunched). It is important to note that of chief importance when performing Qi Gong is peace of mind, concentration and intent. Hence, the environment must be carefully selected. 

 
Our Beloved Pets

It's so very easy to love a wonderful dog or cat! Much research has shown that dogs increase our quality of life, reduce stress, and help us live longer. One the main reasons for these effects is that dogs get us out of the house and walking! Walking has been proven to be the ideal human exercise. It is what we're made to do. That is, we are not a running animal! Nor do we crawl or jump all that well. Dogs, and occasionally cats or other animals, can also give us unconditional love. 

     This being said, we must also acknowledge that many pets can be toxic to humans, particularly when contained in-doors too much, or when cleaning is not frequent enough. Times change, circumstances change. In 'the old days,' people spent far more time out doors. There were no TV's, no computers, etc. to keep people indoors. More time outside contributed to healthier lungs, making most folks better able to tolerate the allergens generated by their pets. People nowadays cannot tolerate these allergens so easily. We are weakened by many factors, starting with the fact that we do not live naturally. We have chemicals in every aspect of our lives. In addition to damaging factors like radiation, coming from cellular phones, TV's, phone and computer towers, etc. Many people do no form of exercise whatsoever. Western people have become very weak, or qi deficient, if you will. We are overworked, overly busy, and over-taxed by our toxic world. It takes a large amount of energy and resources to fight off the dander / allergens that pets create. People today simply do not have the extra energy to do it. So, what happens? "Allergies," and other problems of a weakened immune system, such as frequent illness.  
     If you are suffering from allergies, your pet could be the reason. In general, pets weaken your body's immune system. Hence, for better health, no type of mammal should be kept in the house. One of the only sanitary pets to have is fish (most of the damaging bacteria, etc. from other animals is airborne). Birds are probably the worst, next to lizards or snakes. 

Living Environment

Your house, car, boat, work space, and any other place you spend time should be spotlessly clean at all times. Avoid clutter and unnecessary junk. Dispose of anything that you don't need or know is really just garbage. Eliminate dust (and thereby dust-mite feces bacteria) from your life. Replace pillows, clothes, beds, furniture, etc. as regularly as needed. Don't stick with a 'favorite' pillow from 1o years ago! Dust and mildew accumulate over time. Burn pure herbal incenses on a regular basis. Good choices are sage, frankincense, myrrh, jasmine, rose, amber, cedar, sandalwood, or any other organic substance you like the smell of. 
     Keep the space that you live in clean, bright, and full of fresh air. Keep only as large, and complex, a space as you can easily manage. Do not live beyond your means. Do not have white walls, as they drain energy and life. Do not live in a dark space, neither by absence of light or through dark colors, as such is depressing to your emotional health. 
Use bright, rich colors such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. 
     Avoid all loud or sudden noises, as they disrupt your natural state. Avoid angry sounds of any kind, as they will stagnate the Liver qi, and disrupt the smooth flow of qi. This includes things like a person shouting (TV/movies also count), rap music, thrash or heavy metal music, construction noises (such as a jackhammer), etc. 

Drugs, Alcohol, and Chemicals

In general, all drugs and chemicals are to be avoided. Avoid chemicals in your air, water, food, on your skin and in your medicine, etc. For clean air, live in the countryside, far from an urban center. For clean water, drink deep well or spring water, or purchase a reverse osmosis filter for your home and office (you must remineralize such water). For chemical free food, eat only foods labeled Certified Organic by companies other than the USDA. For chemical free skin, avoid "name brand" skin creams, shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, etc. and instead seek truly organic choices. For chemical free medicine, use Chinese herbal medicine (these days often even certified organic) instead of chemical pharmaceuticals. 
     

Drugs such as marijuana are often produced in unsafe conditions, since they are produced illegally. Marijuana, the most popular drug, can be fairly harmful to your lungs (when smoked) and brain (regardless of the means of ingestion). CBD oil can be much safer and more useful as a calmative. However, it is still very new and therefore the long-term effects of use are entirely unknown. Additionally, most of the CBD oil is made from chemical-sprayed plants, and is otherwise chemically processed, thus making the oil fairly toxic. Other than marijuana, all illicit chemical drugs are extremely harmful to your brain, spine, heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Not to mention your consciousness and hormonal balance. Truly pure (ideally organically grown) mushrooms (psilocybin, peyote, fly agaric, etc.) can still harm your brain, though not too likely to do so with moderate use. 
   

Alcohol can be used in small amounts, even every day. However, alcohol in any amount is harmful to our system. Hence, people with heat conditions, cancer, fluid accumulation, a weak appetite with sweet cravings, pregnancy, post- or pre-surgery, or depression, should not consume any. Hard liquors should generally be avoided, but will not lead to any harm if the alcohol is cooked off (which takes a long time). If your health is relatively strong, and none of the above-mentioned conditions apply to you, then red wine can be considered vaguely health promoting, and thus can can be consumed as a glass a day. Although not always as tasty, organic sulfite-free wine should be chosen when possible. 

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