Promote health and relaxation during the four seasons according to Gao Lian – smart health with Traditional Chinese Medicine

The following is a presentation of four famous seasonal paintings by Gao Lian, a 16th century poet and medical scholar who was a staunch supporter of the art of nourishing life.

They originally appeared in Gao's book, Bajian zunsheng (Eight Pieces on Observing the Basics of Life), which doctors then used as a comprehensive source of lifestyle-related health preservation information.

Taking up one of the main themes of Neijing, these seasonal portraits can be read as an attempt to translate classical teachings into more contemporary language.

Gao Lian is a perfect illustration of the classical approach which considers art, music and poetry as a gateway to the mysteries of body and mind.

While recognizing the medical virtues of poetry, he was also intrigued by the poetry of medicine.

For Gao Lian, medicine represents the realization of the artistic quest in the field of the body, namely the secular search for humanity to reconnect and resonate with its cosmic origins.

Gao’s writings thus reflect his belief that one cannot play music with talent, create, govern a country, or treat a patient without cultivating this vital connection to the macrocosm.

The following four pieces are intended to remind the doctor that in Huang Di Nei Jing, medicine is mainly presented as the art of celebrating a healthy body and preserving vitality by knowing and respecting the cycles of the universal flow.


The three months of spring are the time of renewal: what is old and outdated is dissipating, heaven and earth come to life, and everything blossoms.

Rest at night and get up early, walk freely across the yard, let your hair hang down and indulge in the quiet feeling of a morning walk; this is how you should raise your spirits in the spring.

Favor life and not kill, be generous and pleasant, give freely and do not punish. This is the way to honor the qi of spring and nourish life during this season.

Going against these characteristics of the seasonal flow will have harmful effects on the hepatic network. The flavor of liver wood is sour.

Wood can overcome the earth which is the dynamic element that governs the spleen, which in turn is influenced by the sweet flavors.

In spring, therefore, you should eat less sour foods and increase your intake of slightly sweet foods to nourish the spleen Qi.

The rays of the new spring sun warm and promote growth and thrust, including some diseases that hide beneath the surface of the body.

The weather is fairly irregular during the first and second lunar months (February to April), cold at one time and hot the next, and since most elderly people suffer from some sort of chronic illness, the advancement of Qi spring can make them feel tired and weak.

Chronic ailments easily ignite under these conditions. Also, during the winter months, people tend to stay near the smoky stove and eat processed foods for a long time, and these harmful influences gradually build up in the body until they finally come out. spring.

They will make the body feel warm and the head dizzy, the diaphragm will lock and the mouth will become sticky, the arms will lose strength and the legs and lower back will become weak.

All these evils are evils that have accumulated during the winter season. When the body is showing signs of change and there is a feeling that a disease is going to arise, it would be wrong to simply use herbs that mobilize Qi to correct the apparent stagnation, because remedies of this nature can then this time harm the organ networks and cause other diseases.

The proper way is to use remedies that quench the wind and harmonize Qi, cool the diaphragm and transform the disease that is brewing.

If one chooses to use dietary measures, one should choose foods that are neither too hot nor too cold, perhaps of a slightly cooling nature and that prevent stagnation by benefiting from the gentle processing of foods and drinks.

In this way, all the processes of the body will flow naturally. If there is no sign of illness, there is no need to take medication.

Spring is the season of harmony.

Now is the time to stroll through the gardens and forests, sit quietly in picturesque gazebos and enjoy the calm landscapes.

Open your heart, get rid of all stagnant energy and thus encourage the Qi of birth, life and renewal to flow.

It would be contrary to the dynamics of nature to sit, linger and dwell on things.

Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol, and show some restraint in the consumption of commonly consumed products containing flour which tend to harm the spleen and stomach networks. They are really hard to digest.

Older people in particular should not give in to the temptation of mouth pleasure and overeating on an empty stomach, or their health will almost certainly suffer.

Also, as time goes from cold to warm and from hot to cold, it would be a mistake for them to put away their winter clothes.

Elderly people generally have low Qi, bones and a fragile body very sensitive to cold winds.

Since their surface is easily reached, they should always keep extra clothes near them which can be put aside when the sun comes out.

Reduce layer by layer, don't get rid of everything at the same time!


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