Food Energy Therapy
"Treat an illness first with food. Only if this fails should medicine be prescribed"
Sun Si Miao - a famous traditional Chinese medicine doctor
In Traditional Chinese Medicine food groups are divided not by the food groups of western nutrition, but by the Five Elements. They are also classified as either Yin or Yang based on whether a food is 'cooling' or 'warming', and style of cooking.
There are traditionally five flavours, each associated with one of the traditional five elements:
•Bitter is associated with Fire
•Sour is associated with Wood
•Sweet is associated with Earth
•Spicy or Pungent is associated with Metal
•Salty is associated with Water
A healthy diet consists of a balance of these flavours. An imbalance, too much or too little, will cause illness. For example, in the Five Elements theory Water is the controlling element of Fire, so too much salt will weaken a person's association with Fire, causing illness in the organs and tissues associated with Fire (Heart and circulation).
Yin and Yang Foods
While it is not a hard and fast rule, in general foods with a lot of calories, or fat, are considered 'warming' or Yang foods, while foods with low calories or low fat are considered 'cooling' or Yin foods.
Foods can also be considered hot or cool based on the immediate effect they have on the body. Spicy foods are almost always considered Yang in Chinese nutrition.
Cooking styles also can be Yin or Yang. Raw or steamed foods are Yin, while baked, fried or boiled foods are generally Yang.
Diet recommendations is an important part in any treatment since it can help alleviate many disorders, and may be effective in the treatment of allergies, insomnia, stress, migraine, sinusitis, digestive disorders, impotence, low libido, menopause, etc.