The calligraphy above depicts the Three Treasures: Jing, Qi, Shen. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the preservation, protection and nourishment of the Three Treasures form the foundation of optimum health and spiritual well being.
Jing means Essence
Qi basically translates as Vital Energy
Shen means Spirit
Jing – Essence
Jing is the source of life, health and longevity. We all are born with Jing Essence, which is stored in the Kidneys and which fuels all other energies. As we age, we naturally deplete our Jing essence; but chronic stress, illness and imbalance will exhaust our Jing faster than we can replenish it through foods and herbs. We must nourish Jing daily with acquired nutritive energy derived from healthy foods, water, meditation, exercise and Chinese herbs. To preserve and protect our Jing from depletion, we must avoid drug and alcohol abuse, bulimia or anorexia, excessive exercise and excessive sexual activities. The latter is especially important for men. Most healthy women don’t have to worry so much about losing essence through sexual activity. For all women it is more important to preserve blood. Chinese medicine tells us that Blood and Jing Essence share the same source. Blood preservation is especially important for a woman because when she loses blood, she loses Jing. The wisdom of a woman’s body initiates menopause as a way to preserve blood and essence for a longer healthier life. Women who experience very heavy menstrual periods or whose periods are absent may experience an Essence vacuity and require acupuncture and herbal treatment to regain healthy balance.
Qi – Vital Energy
In English, Qi roughly translates as vital energy, but its full meaning is as vast as the universe. The calligraphy of the Chinese word Qi depicts rice steaming, meaning that Qi is invisible like steam but also as substantial as rice. This energy is not an ethereal philosophical concept; Qi is palpable, movable, dynamic, storable, fluid and sustentative. It makes and defines everything about us, in us and around us. We are all made of Qi. Plants, herbs, insects and animals are made of Qi. The air we breathe is Qi. The energy we get from exercise is Qi. Acute or chronic illness, poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyles and excessive exercise or sleep will deplete Qi. Breathing exercises and healthy eating habits replenish Qi. Kung Fu practices such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and other healing exercises that generate, move and store Qi. To nourish our Qi we must live a balanced lifestyle, eat well, breath, exercise and preserve our energy by avoiding types of situations and people that drain our energy.
Shen – Spirit
Chinese medicine views the Spirit as an integral part of our life and our physical wellbeing. Therefore Qi, Jing and Spirit cultivation is essential for health maintenance. The definition of spirituality is uniquely individual because different spiritual practices work for different people. Though the process of Spirit cultivation is dynamic and ever changing, most spiritual practices call for mindful living, intentionally based on right thinking and right action. In addition, certain herbs and tonics can help enhance and develop Shen energy. Buddhist teacher and writer Llama Surya Das imparts these words of wisdom, “Living spirituality and its religions are not monuments or mausoleums, but ARE more akin to rivers, which need and want to keep flowing and inexhaustibly replenishing themselves, outflowing anew while returning to the source, endlessly recycling and revitalizing themselves. Not static but ecstatic — a living river of Dharma, of truth and love, of genuine spirit.” When we nourish our Spirit, we cultivate truth, authenticity and compassion for ourselves and others in our daily lives, the result of which is energetic balance and mental clarity.
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com
Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
41 Union Square West, Suite 519
New York, NY 10003