Assemble the War Council!

by Jeanine Adinaro on May 20, 2010

in General Health

When water doesn't move, it gets gross. Why do we think our bodies are any different?

When water doesn't move, it gets gross. Why do we think our bodies are any different?

Yesterday, after not having run for 2.5 weeks, I went running. During that run, I came to several important conclusions:

1) I will most certainly not survive a zombie attack of any sort

2) Me surviving the rise of the machines is not looking good either

3) I might survive the island, but only if it’s not too hot and I find that stash of food left by the Dharma initiative pretty quickly

However, if there is a sudden TV/movie pop-culture quiz that will save humanity, I’m your girl.

After my less than magnificent run, and I use that term “run” very loosely, I felt a lot better despite my performance. Why? In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) terminology, I had cleared stagnation.

The concept of stagnation as a cause of disease is huge in TCM. It refers to both emotional and physical stagnation. And long-term stagnation is the culprit behind a wide variety of problems, everything from joint and muscle pain, to fatigue, to internal organ problems like irritable bowel syndrome. That’s not too far off from western medical descriptions (lack of exercise contributing to blocked arteries) and what our mammas told us as kids (go outside and play! it’s good for you)

Lately, I have been particularly enjoying the posts on Dances with Fat. Of course it helps that I know the author, Ragen, personally and she has one of those genuinely positive life-outlooks that acts as a shining beacon of hope in an otherwise foggy world of pessimism. But I think I would enjoy this blog regardless because it comes with such a huge freaking dose of common sense that is very often in sync with TCM methodology. She dares suggest that maybe people are unhealthy because they don’t move around enough. Spot on, girlfriend!

In TCM framework, the concepts of emotional health and physical health are inextricably linked. Simply, one cannot affect one without affecting the other. Hence, the most helpful thing one can do to overcome emotional stagnation is overcome physical stagnation. The most efficient way to overcome physical stagnation- you guessed it, move. That’s entirely consistent with western psychological treatments for conditions like depression, anxiety and insomnia. The first treatment recommendation for any of these conditions should be to ramp up the amount of physical activity in one’s daily life.

Certainly there are many TCM herbal formulas designed to clear stagnation. Even the small Herbalogic line has two-fifths of its formulas, Decompress and Back in Action, dedicated to clearing stagnation and its ill-effects. And while they are great formulas to be sure, they are no substitute for regular physical activity.

So never mind the “War on Obesity” or whatever we are calling it this week.  I am calling for a War on Stagnation! And we need a slogan. These are ones in the running so far:

“It’s not that I love running, it’s that running loves me.” -my best friend

“The thing about exercising, at first you do it to feel good. Then you have to keep doing it to keep from feeling bad.” -an ex-boyfriend

“The hardest part about exercising is starting- every single damn time.” -Third Coast accountant

If you have a better slogan in mind, feel free to offer it up!

Photo by Andrew Bossi

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