184.108.40.206 Regular work and rest
One basic requirement of TCM life cultivation is "normal daily life" which means regular work, rest and daily life. This is an important principle for strengthening health and prolonging life.
If there exist irregular daily life, work and rest and unscrupulous behavior, ageing phenomena may occur such as declined adaptive capacity and body resistance, increased incidence. As a result, premature ageing may occur to affect life span.
The most helpful and correct life style for life cultivation and longevity is the reasonable arrangement of daily life, work and rest which requires that people should sleep, get up, eat, work, study, exercise the body, defecate, urinate, bathe, etc. at fixed times. However, the so-called "at fixed times" should still be flexibly handled according to the specific conditions (the differences in ages, seasons, regions and physiques) and mechanical application should be avoided.
220.127.116.11 Proper balance between work and rest
The ancients advocated that the criteria for work and rest were "moderation", regular and moderate adjustment without excess in either one. Only when the integration of movement and motionlessness, and moderation of work and rest are adopted, can tendons and bones be exercised, qi and blood flow smooth, physique strong, willpower enhanced and vigorous life-force conserved.
Work and rest include not only the consumption of physical strength, but also the moderate use of the blain. In other words, the use of the brain should include moderation of work and rest and the advocation of scientific use of the brain. Mental labor without tiredness keeps the constant use of the brain without decline. Regular and reasonable use of the brain can prevent ageing, increase intelligence, especially prevent senile dementia.
The criteria for moderation of work and rest vary in persons. In general, the following may be used for reference. ? Physical labor should be proper in intensity; ? mental labor should be integrated with physical activities; ? rest and health conservation should be various. Not only should rest in sleeping way be adopted, but also rest in other ways should be applied such as listening to music, chatting, playing chess, walking, enjoying the sight of scenery, fishing, composing poems, painting and practicing Taijiquan.
18.104.22.168 Scientific sleeping
Sleeping plays an extremely important role in one's life time. If one wants health and longevity, he or she should adopt reasonable sleeping habits, ensure sleeping quality, restore the body from fatigue and store up energy to prevent and treat diseases, strengthen health and benefit longevity. The effects of sleeping on health and longevity manifest in the following five fields: @ eliminating fatigue to restore strength; ? protecting brain to conserve intelligence; ? strengthening immunity to increase body resistance; ? promoting infantile development and increasing body height; ? making the skin healthy and aesthetical and excreting the waste. In the case of abnormal sleeping, the above-mentioned five aspects may change for the worse, and affect the health of human body and longevity.
22.214.171.124.1 Sleeping time
Chinese life cultivation experts have created quite a number of beneficial and very effective sleeping methods for life cultivation which are simple and convenient and easy to practice. For instance, "Sleeping at Midnight and Noon" is one of the sleeping methods for life cultivation. The method is as follows: Go to sleep at midnight (11 p.m. to 1 a. m. ) and noon ( 11 a. m. to 1 p. m. ) respectively, because at midnight and noon are the time for the alternation of yin and yang, the moment yin and yang change from excess to extreme deficiency or from extreme deficiency to excess, and qi, blood, yin and yang inside the body are extremely imbalanced. At this time, peaceful lying can avoid the impairment of qi and blood. It has been proved by practice that the quality and efficiency of sleeping at midnight and noon are both good. As for old people, the sleeping method can also reduce the sick rates of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. It conforms to the principle of life cultivation.
Good sleeping regularity should be developed in sleeping time. The ancients summarized the regularity in sleeping as. "Man should rise early in spring and summer and late in autumn and winter, but not as early as before the cock crows in the morning or as late as after the sun rises."
126.96.36.199.2 Sleeping postures
"Sleeping like a bow" is the requirement of sleeping posture. This is a beneficial sleeping posture for the human body. Medical experts both in the past and at present have chosen the right lateral position. The right lateral position can increase cardiac output, strengthen digestion of food, absorption of nutrients and metabolism. Besides, man himself feels more comfortable, too.
As for females, supination and pronation are not advisable, because pronation may increase facial wrinkles, and supination is harmful to pelvic blood circulation which easily gives rise to emmeniopathy. Right lateral position is suitable for normal people while left lateral position is advisable for pregnant women, because right lateral position may constrict veins of lower abdominal cavity and affect blood return, which is harmful to fetal development and delivery. Nevertheless, left lateral position is beneficial to fetal growth and may greatly reduce complications of pregnancy.
As far as infants are concerned, the posture should be constantly changed with the help of adults, because prolonged lateral position or supination and pronation easily cause asymmetrical development of skull, or deformity of five sense organs of the face. Generally, infants should be turned over once every 1 to 2 hours.
Semilateral position or semi-sitting position is advisable for patients with heart failure and patients with attack of cough and asthma. Meanwhile, the pillow and postdorsal region are high padded. Lateral position is suitable for patients with thoracoabdominal dropsy due to pulmonary diseases. Left lateral position or prone position is not suitable for patients with heart diseases with symptoms of blood stasis. The same is true of patients with pulmonary heart disease in case cardiac load is too heavy. Lying position with low head and high feet easily results in renal diseases.
It should be pointed out that though the above sleeping postures are beneficial to life cultivation and health care, keeping the postures unchanged after falling asleep is not required, for it is impossible to realize this.
188.8.131.52.3 Sleeping articles
(1) Pillow The pillow should be slightly lower than the distance from the shoulder to the neck of the same side. If it is too high, it may affect the smoothing and regulating functions of the liver meridian, and also induce cerebral ischemia, snoring and stiff neck; if it is too low, it may affect the dispersing and descending of the lung qi, and also cause congestion of the head and resultant edema of eyelids and the face. The pillow is not advisably very wide, with the width of 15 to 20 cm. But being slight long is not harmful. The material of loose and soft texture with proper hardness and slight elasticity should be selected for pillow core.
There exists the habit of using medicinal pillows for life cultivation and rehabilitation in TCM. A medicinal pillow is the one with the medicinal core prepared with different traditional Chinese drugs. This type of pillows has therapeutic and health care actions. The commonly-used medicinal pillows with one ingredient include:
1) Pillow padded with Juhua (Flos Chrysanthemi) : It is applicable to patients with headache, conjunctival congestion and dizziness or acute catarrhal conjunctivitis, insomnia with asthenic dysphoria as well as hypertension.
2) Pillow padded with Bohe (Herba Menthae) .. It is applicable to headache, toothache, rhinitis, laryngopharyngitis, hypertension, etc. and also has the actions of preventing summer-heat and lowering the temperature.
3) Pillow padded with Sangye (Folium Mori): It is applicable to headache, vertigo, and hypertension, etc.
4) Pillow padded with tea leaves: The pillow is padded with the used and dried tea leaves. It is applicable to the prevention and treatment of hypertension, neurasthenia, dizziness due to summer-heat, etc.
5) Pillow padded with Qiaomai (Semen Fagopyri Esculenti) : It is applicable to insomnia, headache, vertigo, and infantile night cry, etc.
6) Pillow padded with Lüdou (Semen Phaseoli Radiati): It is applicable to the prevention and treatment of headache and wind syndrome of the head, and improves sight, induces resuscitation, removes summer-heat and dysphoria.
7) Pillow padded with Dengxin (Medulla Junci): It is applicable to insomnia, vexation, amnesia, and infantile night cry, etc. and benefits intelligence.
8) Pillow padded with Juemingzi(Semen Cassiae): It is applicable to constipation, ocular diseases, hypertension, and infantile night cry, etc.
9) Pillow padded with Cebaiye (Cacumen Biotae): It is applicable to persistent oral and nasal bleeding, chronic pharyngitis, congestion of throat, chronic cough and patients with mild baldness.
10) Pillow padded with Cansha (Excrementa Bornbycum). It is applicable to wind syndrome of the head, stiff neck, arthritis of cervical vertebrae and mandible.
The above are the medicinal pillows made of a single ingredient. If made into compound medicinal pillows, they have better therapeutic effects.
1) Insomnia: The pillow core is padded with Heidou (Semen Sojae Nigrum) and powder of magnetitum.
2) Rhinitis and nasosinusitis. The pillow core is padded with equal shares of Baizhi ( Radix Angelicae Dahuricae) and Xinyi (Flos Magnoliae).
3) Glaucoma and distending ocular pain. The pillow core is padded with equal shares of Xiakucao (Spica Prunellae), Heye ( Folium Nelumnbinis), Baizhi ( Radix Angelicae Dahuricae ) and Caojueming (Semen Cassiae ) .
4) Pillow for hypertension. ? The pillow core is padded with Caojueming (Semen Cassiae ) and Juhua (Flos Chrysanthemi). ? The pillow core is padded with 100 g of Juhua ( Flos Chrysanthemi), 100 g of Chuanxiong (Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong), 100 g of Mudanpi ( Cortex Moutan Radicis) and 200 g of Baizhi (Radix Angelicae Dahuricae ) .
5) Pillow for Eliminating Summer-heat. The pillow core is padded with 200 g of the covering of Lüdou ( Semen Phaseoli Radiati), 200 g of the covering of Biandou ( Semen Dolichoris), 150 g of Heye ( Folium Nelumbinis), 200 g of Bohe (Herba Menthae) and 100 g of Qiaomaike (the shell of Semen Fagopyri Esculenti).
6) Sight-Improving Pillow. The pillow core is padded with 200 g of the covering of Qiaomai ( Semen Fagopyri Esculenti), 200 g of the covering of Heidou (Semen Sojae Nigrum), 80 g of Caojuemingzi ( Semen Cassiae) and 150 g of Juhua (Flos Chrysanthemi).
7) Soporific Pillow. The pillow core is padded with 200 g of Yejiaoteng ( Caulis Polygoni Multiflori ), 60 g of Hehuanhua (Flos Albiziae), 30 g of Suanzaoren ( Semen Ziziphi Spinosae ), 30 g of Baiziren ( Semen Biotae) and 30 g of Wuweizi (Fructus Schisandrae).
Besides, the ancient Taoists had a well-known medicinal pillow for longevity called the "Revered Mr. Ding's Celestial Pillow". The prescription is composed of 30 g of Chuanjiao ( Pericarpium Zanthoxyli ), Jiegeng ( Citri Reticulatae Fructus ), Jingshizi ( Herba Schizonepetae), Baiziren ( Semen Biotae), Jianghuang (Rhizoma Curcumae Longae ), Wuzhuyu ( Fructus Evodiae ), Baizhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), Bohe ( Herba Menthae ), Rougui (Herba Cistanchis ), Chuanxiong (Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong ), Yizhiren ( Fructus Alpiniae Oxyphyllae ), Zhishi ( Fructus Aurantii Immaturus ) , Danggui ( Radix Angelicae Sinensis), Chuanwutou (Radix Aconiti ), Qiannianjian (Rhizoma Homalomenae ), Wujiapi ( Cortex Acanthopancis Radicis) , Baijili (Fructus Tribuli), Qianghuo (Rhizoma seu Radix Notopterygii ), Fangfeng (Radix Ledebouriellae ), Xinyi ( Flos Magnoliae ), Baizhi ( Radix Angelicae Dahuriae ) , Fuzi ( Radix Aconiti Praeparata ) , Baishaoyao (Radix Paeoniae Alba ) , Gaoben ( Rhizoma Ligustici ) , Congrong (Herba Cistanchis ) , Beixixin ( Herba Asari Mandshurici ), Zhuyazao ( Fructus Gleditsiae Abnormalis ) , Wuyi (Flos Magnoliae ) , Gancao (Radix Glycyrrhizae ), Jingjie (Herba Schizonepetae ) , Juhua ( Flos Chrysanthemi ), Duzhong ( Cortex Eutcommiae ), Wuyao ( Radix Linderae ) and Banxia ( Rhizoma Pinelliae ) respectively.
All the above ingredients are ground into powder. Then fill the pillow core with the powder. Use the pillow every night. One dose can be used for about half a year.
The medicinal pillow has better therapeutic effects on diseases of the head, face, five sense organs, shoulders, and neck, etc., but it is not applicable to diseases of the chest, abdomen and limbs. The application should be stopped if the patient is allergic to the drugs.
(2) Bedding Soft material such as fine cotton cloth, cotton yarn and fine gunny cloth is preferred for the underneath side of the quilt while the material of chemical fibre with electrostatic charge such as acrylic fibres, nylon and dacron is not advisable. It is best to select cotton, silk floss and eiderdown for the wadding of the quilt. Light and big quilt is preferable, but heavy one is not suitable. Soft and thick mattress is advisable. The modification is made with the changes of temperature.
(3) Night clothes and nightcap The large night clothes without collars and buttons are preferable. Cotton velvet and towelling are advisable in autumn and winter while silk and nuslin are suitable in spring and summer. In winter, it is suitable for old people to wear the cotton nightcap, the size of which is proper to cover the whole head. Wearing the abdominal wrapper is advisable for old people no matter whether it is in winter or summer, especially for old people above the age of 70.
184.108.40.206.4 "Ten forbidden points" for sleeping
Our Chinese ancients had ten forbidden points for sleeping which include: ? supination; ? anxiety; ? anger before bed time; ? ingestion before bed time; ? speaking during sleeping; ?. facing the lamplight; ? opening the mouth during sleeping; ? covering the head during sleeping; ? facing the draught during sleeping; ? facing the stove during sleep.