Health Maintenance in Ancient China
By Livia Kohn
International Journal of Medical Sciences, No.8 (2011)
Abstract: The ancient Chinese concept of health reaches far beyond the mere absence of symptoms to include the presence of a strong vital energy known as qi. A smooth, harmonious, and active flow of qi creates harmony in the body and a balanced state of being in the person. This personal health is further matched by health in nature, defined as regular weather patterns and the absence of disasters. It is also present as health in society in the peaceful coexistence among families, clans, villages, and states. This harmony on all levels, the cosmic presence of a steady and pleasant flow of qi, is what the Chinese call the state of Great Peace, a semi-utopican but pervasive vision venerated by all philosophical schools.
Defining the body in energetic terms and requiring the perfect functioning of bodies on all levels of existence, the Chinese health program is not limited to one set of methods or practices, nor does it stop at healing patients. Rather, it leads people to reach extended years, improve their quality of life, and realize themselves fully in the World.