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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Andre Budihardjo and Physician Kwek Le Yin on December 15, 2022

Best Self Healing Tips To Help You Practice TCM At Home

This four-step self healing plan can help you prevent and treat symptoms of many diseases. Best of all, you can do them right at home.

Self healing min scaled

Self healing is a primary concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which focuses on both disease prevention and treatment.

It has been practiced for thousands of years in China. Today, it’s gaining more prominence globally.

TCM believes that good health results from the harmony of body and mind. This contributes to the concept of yang sheng, or “nourishing life.” Did you know you can practice many self healing TCM techniques right at home?

This guide will explain the importance of harmonizing the body using self-care from a TCM perspective. You’ll also learn tips for how to practice TCM right at home.

What Does Self Healing Mean?

A woman in pink pajamas practicing morning meditation on her bed
Meditation is a form of self healing that can be done at home.

Yang sheng refers to a set of lifestyle practices that promote longevity and good health. It focuses on maintaining jing (life force), qi (vital energy) and shen (“spirit” or mental health).

Modern self healing practices such as acupressure, breathing exercises (Qigong), and a mindful diet have their roots in yang sheng.

One method to promote self-healing and to nourish jingqi and shen is through consuming the right nutrients. Aside from regular food, Chinese herbal decoctions and tisanes are often consumed to bolster good health.

As TCM gains mainstream popularity, common TCM herbs are more accessible for purchase, be it in traditional markets or supermarkets. Furthermore, making basic herbal tisanes is not much different from brewing tea, so consuming them is a convenient way to unwind and help your body heal from daily stressors. 

How To Make Herbal Tisanes 

You’ll need tea bags (food-grade cotton preferable over nylon ones) measuring 6×8 centimeters for 10 grams or 7×9 centimeters for up to 15 grams of herbs.

Pour hot boiled water (200-350 milliliters) over the filled bag of cleaned herbs and steep for five minutes or more for best results. Unlike tea leaves, the herbs can be steeped longer for a bolder flavor.

Below are some TCM-based simple tisane combinations you can steep or brew at home. Serve them warm for an instant pick-me-up! 

For eye health 

An image of dried chrysanthemum flower buds and white chrysanthemum tea being poured from a teapot into teacups
Drinking tea that is made with white chrysanthemum flowers, among other ingredients, can help with eyesight.

To refresh tired eyes from long hours of blue-screen exposure, try a combination of white chrysanthemum flowers (3 to 6 grams), goji berries (3 to 6 grams), and red jujubes (1 to 2 whole jujubes or around 4 to 8 grams).

  • White Chrysanthemum flowers (bai ju hua) clear Heat from the Liver, which benefits the eyes while goji berries (gou qi) strengthen Kidneys for sufficient yin essence that nourishes the eyes. 
  • Red jujubes (da zao) add sweetness, have anti-inflammatory properties, and are rich in antioxidants that boost your immunity.

To Banish Wind-Heat flu symptoms

Peppermint tea in a white porcelain teacup pictured on a gray background
Peppermint tea, along with Chinese licorice, can help with flu symptoms such as an inflamed throat or headache.

Another TCM-based tisane combination you can brew is peppermint (bo he) and unprocessed Chinese licorice (sheng gan cao) tisane. This tisane can help to expel Wind-Heat and relieve the first signs of the flu, inflamed throat or headache.

Firstly, wash the herbs (9 grams of mint, and 3 to 6 grams of Chinese licorice) to remove dirt and dust. For this combination, it is recommended to brew the herbs in about 500 milliliters of boiling water for 10 minutes. You can also add a little sugar to taste. 

  • Peppermint aids in releasing trapped Heat, which can cause tension headaches, eye strain, a blocked nose, and muscle pain.
  • Chinese licorice helps to clear Heat. Note that this tisane can help induce sweating, so people with Yin Deficiency (characterized by dry symptoms) or those who sweat profusely might want to avoid consuming it without a TCM physician’s advice. 

Four-Step Self Healing Plan

Yang sheng may date back to ancient China, but its underlying concept of a holistic lifestyle is increasingly prevalent in modern health practices.

In his book How to Make Disease Disappear, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee proposes a plan to counter the onset of chronic diseases.

Four lifestyle aspects are involved: relax, eat, move, and sleep. Incorporating sufficient time to relax, sleep, as well as eat and move in moderation can calibrate your body to work optimally and heal itself from the onset of chronic diseases. This is what self healing and yang sheng is all about.

Below is a simple checklist you can practice regularly at home according to the Four-Pillar Plan: 

RELAX EATMOVESLEEP
Practice meditation daily Normalize not eating sugar Do strength training exercises twice a week Create a bedtime routine 
Weekly screen-free Sabbath (break from gadgets) Eat within a 12-hour window Move often during the day when possible Spend at least 20 minutes outside every morning 
Keep a gratitude journal Avoid food products with more than 5 ingredients Walk 10,000 steps per day Have your caffeine before noon 
Use this chart to help you practice self healing at home.

For example, you can practice stillness by doing a simple 3-4-5 breathing exercise. Breathe in for 3 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for 5 seconds.

  • Gradually step up your “move” portion by walking for 3,000 steps daily for the first week, then increase it gradually to 4,000 and more as your stamina improves. 
  • Keep track of how you balance the four aspects of self healing lifestyle habits and fine-tune as you go. 

Try Self Healing Herbal Soups

TCM herbal soup in a white bowl pictured next to herbal soup ingredients such as goji berries, red Chinese dates, and snow fungus
Herbal soups made with TCM ingredients can help heal the body.

Most of us try to live a balanced lifestyle, but there’ll be times when our schedules are just too tight to fit in all the self healing practices.

On such occasions, you can try supplementing your meals with herbal soups using herb mixtures based on traditional Chinese recipes, such as the Ning Shen Calming herbal soup.

Aside from nourishment for the body, it contains herbs such as lily bulbs (bai he) and Solomon’s seal (yu zhu), which help relax the shen or calm the Heart for a wholesome yang sheng treat.

Seek Help If Self Healing Isn’t Working

Self healing can bring you some peace of mind and is a great pick-me-up routine you can do every day.

But remember, there are conditions that require medical attention, especially if you experience discomfort that hinders you from performing daily activities.

Always be in tune with your health, and your body will reward you greatly.

How do you practice self healing at home? Let us know in the comments below.

References

  1. National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2019. 5 Key Words to the Essence of Yangsheng [online] Available at: http://www.satcm.gov.cn/hudongjiaoliu/guanfangweixin/2019-04-29/9712.html,
  2. Britannica.com. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/yangsheng
  3. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. 2011. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92756/ 
  4. Jiangsu Renmin Chubanshe, 1973. Chinese Medicine Food Prescriptions. [offline]
  5. HarperCollins. 2018. How to Make Disease Disappear by Rangan Chatterjee. [offline]

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