"While western diet trends have us believing that smoothies, raw salads, and low-calorie snack bars are the “cleanest” options, Grace explains that warming foods are what keep your qi in flow and your digestive fire working optimally."
By Bootsy Health writer, Marissa Cohen
Maybe you’ve dabbled with yoga, committed to a meditation class, or tried an acupuncture session, all of which are a foundation of Traditional Eastern Medicine. We sat down with Holistic Health practitioner and founder of Qi Alchemy Grace Yoon to discuss the philosophy behind the concept of qi and how it relates to women’s health.
Qi: The Foundation of Eastern Medicine
Qi, which translates to “vital energy” is the foundation of Traditional Eastern Medicine. This ancient healing method is all about bringing the body into balance. Balance stems both from the internal processes of the body and external factors, such as environment and lifestyle habits. Therefore, it is believed that any disease or malfunction is a result of an imbalance of qi.
In order to avoid such an imbalance, Eastern medicine focuses on implementing preventative health as the first step of defence. In Korea in particular, stress is taken very seriously. According to Grace, when Koreans feel that their digestion isn’t aligned or that they have slight aches and pains, they implement healing remedies such as acupuncture and herbs. Efforts are taken to manage emotional and mental stress, as well. Grace mentioned that there are silent retreats and digital detoxes held in Korea that aim to restore qi. It is no surprise that a recent report indicates that South Koreans have the longest lifespan in the world.
The Eastern Approach to Women’s Health Issues
In the west, when women struggle with fertility or menstrual health issues, the reproductive system is often looked at in isolation. Synthetic birth control aims to specifically target an irregular period, while giving little consideration to other systems of the body. However, Korean culture believes that irregular cycles and problems with pregnancy is a sign of an imbalanced qi. From this perspective, the issues that women face are actually a symptom of the imbalance of energy.
Keep it Warm, Keep it Flowing
One simple take-away from my conversation with Grace was the importance of warming foods. While western diet trends have us believing that smoothies, raw salads, and low-calorie snack bars are the “cleanest” options, Grace explains that warming foods are what keep your qi in flow and your digestive fire working optimally. She suggests swapping your morning smoothie for a warm bowl of oatmeal or boiled eggs, and making your salad a warm bowl by adding components such as cooked brown rice. Spices and probiotic rich foods, such as kimchi, are also great additions to make your meals more digestible.
Staying Slow and Steady
Eastern Medicine practices are built on the belief that the body can heal itself. Therefore, eating a nourishing diet, managing all forms of stress, taking herbs, and trying practices like acupuncture all aim to assist the body in its natural ability to be in a state of balance. Grace explains that although these remedies may take longer, their affects are long lasting. The goal is to experience true healing at the root cause of disease, rather than covering up the symptoms we can only see at the surface.