As a licensed, nationally board-certified acupuncturist, I love that 5000-year-old healing practices have an important role in so many modern lives. Another valuable nugget based in ancient Chinese medicine? The idea that everything important begins with one force: qi.

Qi (pronounced "chee"), in Chinese medicine, is the life energy driving the Universe--both that outside us and that within us. It is your essence, and it's responsible for your balance and health. Your happiness, peace of mind, and wellbeing all reflect the flow of qi throughout your body and life.

Chinese wisdom advises that the way you care for and conserve your qi will determine how you adapt to the challenges of life. The goal of Chinese medicine is prevent illness and disharmony before they become debilitating. Protecting and facilitating the smooth flow of qi when we're at our best will ensure that we develop the resilience we need to face times of difficulty and to age well--that is, gracefully and healthfully.

Ready to reinforce your qi to feel vibrant, young, trim, and balanced? I thought so! Now, at the beginning of this promising Year of the Snake, might just be the prime time to change the way you think about your wellness. Here are three tips for living well, right from the teachings of Chinese medicine.

1) Support Your Spleen Qi to Meet Weight Goals.

A condition known as "deficient spleen qi" can negatively affect weight loss efforts. It's a common reason for the body's inability to digest, absorb, and transport food effectively. Feeling constantly bloated or hungry, having sugar cravings, and carrying excess weight are symptoms of an unbalanced spleen.

Your Chinese Medicine Remedy

Overwork, overthinking, and exhaustion are often culprits behind spleen qi deficiency.
Getting adequate rest and eating regular, wholesome meals can jumpstart the process of rebuilding your Spleen Qi. Forego the greasy or sweet food that pushes the spleen to dampness, a condition that makes weight loss more difficult. Overeating cold, raw food, drinking too much cold water, and eating too late at night are poor habits said to suppress your "digestive fire."

2) Guard Your Kidney Qi to Stay Youthful.

In Chinese medicine, the kidney is the organ that is responsible for preserving and conserving the keys of human life: your vitality, your endurance, your qi itself. Our quality of life, including fragility, fertility, poor health, visible aging (yes, wrinkling and graying hair), joint deterioration, and fading mental faculties can all be tied to reduced Kidney Qi. Isn't it clear we must choose not to overspend this valuable resource?

Your Chinese Medicine Remedy

Adequate rest and hydration, along with moderate exercise, sexual activity, and work levels, are essential for supporting your Kidney Qi. Take care not to harm the kidney with too many medicines, additives, and other toxins and chemicals. The force behind long, vital life is regulated by Kidney Qi. Live as balanced and stress-free a life as possible to protect this force.

3) Protect Your Lung Qi to Stay Healthy.

Imagine that borders are set up to guard your body from the onslaught of the outside world. That protective line is a major function of the lung in Chinese medicine. Through the breath, Lung Qi acts as your security system against potentially harmful organisms. Weakened Lung Qi means weakened immunity--and increased vulnerability against allergies, flus, colds, and other infections.

Your Chinese Medicine Remedy

The goal of strengthening Lung Qi is twofold: to build the body's reserves against illness, and to maintain proper responsiveness to dangers that we face in modern day living. Strengthen both functions of your Lung Qi by practicing controlled, deep breathing. This is said to cultivate vitality and prevent disease. It also helps you stay more resilient, both physically and emotionally, allowing you to adapt to the stresses encountered in daily life.

Aren't these refreshing suggestions? I think you'll agree there was nothing extreme or "out there" about those lessons, yet the results--vitality, youthfulness, resilience, and immunity--are all well worth pursuing.

The ancients had a wonderful intuition for restoring the missing element that brings balance and simplicity. I hope you will strive to tune in to the keys to your wellness, too.

Author's Bio: 

Roberta Roberts Mittman, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., M.S., is a nutritional and lifestyle consultant, holistic mindset mentor, and nationally board-certified acupuncturist. Using natural, drug-free techniques, Roberta opens the door to complete mind-body health. Roberta believes in empowering individuals to be their own best healers. Ready to take that step? Call 212-686-0939, or visit online at