A Chinese Medicine Prescription for Simple Self-Care: Diet, Lifestyle & Herbs

by Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons |

A Chinese Medicine Prescription for Simple Self-Care: Diet, Lifestyle & Herbs

Spend any time on social media these days, and you’ll see that self-care is having a moment. More generally, healthy lifestyle choices are trending and the search is on for vitality and wellness.

As a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, I love that healthy living is “in”! What we eat and how we craft our days truly does shape our whole self—body, mind and spirit.

Even in the Age of Busymaking time to take care of ourselves affects our own health and our capacity to show up for others.

chinese medicine self care

Know what though? This isn’t new! Chinese Medicine has been advocating for holistic self-care for thousands of years!

Indeed, we have a foundational part of our medicine called Yang Sheng Fa, or “Nourishing Life Principles.” It encompasses diet and lifestyle practices that align with the seasons while also accounting for individual factors, such as age, health, constitution, and life conditions.

Truthfully, I don’t know whether Yang Sheng Fa is the original self-care…but if not, it’s pretty darn close!

This may come as a surprise to anyone who assumes Chinese Medicine is only about herbs and acupuncture. Those are powerfully healing modalities for sure, but just part of our overall prescription for treating and preventing disease.

chinese medicine self care

Chinese Medicine’s Time-Tested, Self-Care Prescription Goes this Way:
  • Healthy eating
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Herbal medicine
  • Acupuncture and bodywork

These complementary practices not only treat illness, but help prevent you from getting sick in the first place!

As a doctor and health coach, I totally get that the above list can feel overwhelming! If that’s true for you, slow down and start small—being healthy truly doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s what to do in 4 simple steps:

  1. Build your meals around real, whole food. Chinese Medicine dietary therapy can be tailored to your individual needs for amazing results. That said, eating real, whole food is an excellent start. Want more? Find my Simple Guidelines for Crafting Your Optimal Diet here.
  2. Sleep 7-8 hours each night and move each day. Sounds simpler than it is, I know! But getting sufficient sleep and weaving physical movement into the every day are essential for longevity and vitality. There is no doubt—they affect everything.
  3. Commit to a daily meditative or writing practice. This will not only help calm your mind, but also allow you to touch into what you’re truly wanting and needing.
  4. Incorporate herbal formulas for bonus support. Chinese herbal formulas complement and facilitate healthy eating and lifestyle patterns—truly, they are a game changer. You can lean into DAO Labs formulas for support with all of the above:

Even this basic prescription for self-care holds tremendous healing potential. Our bodies want to move towards wellness. Healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, and herbal medicine support this…and can help you feel better in body and mind.

Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons is the owner of Alchemist Eating, offering custom plans to help you eat, live and feel better. Through long-distance coaching packages and deep dives, she crafts routines that are healthy, simple, and just right for you. Her work is an alchemy of Chinese Medicine, mindfulness, and minimalism. Find Dr. Dana’s website, blog, and free ebooks here. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.  

Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons is Dean of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at Pacific Rim College in Victoria, BC. She offers online courses in Chinese Medicine, sobriety, and soulful living at Alchemist Academy. Alchemist Academy features courses for beginners (including on herbs and herbal formulas!) as well as NCCAOM-certified PDA/CEUs for practitioners. If you’re interested in brain shaping, make sure to check out Shifting Currents, Shaping Mind: Neuroplasticity Meets Taoism in Chinese Medicine.

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