“Human life is inseparable from food and clothing” Interview with Grace Yu

Cupping and Acupuncture

Cupping and Acupuncture

Sustainability and sustainable living do not only mean bringing a tote-bag with you for grocery shopping and saying ”no” to plastic straws. A long, healthy and balanced life is what we’d call ”sustainable” and this week we bring you an interview with Grace Yu (Yu Hsin Tzu) - Chinese Medicine Practitioner based in Hong Kong.

Talking life-choices, diet-choices and Qi - read on for your weekly dose of inspiration and maybe a push to view ”sustainable lifestyle” in a more holistic way that eliminating single-use items.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from, what is your professional background?

I am a Hong Kong registered Chinese medicine practitioner and Craniosacral therapist. Growing up in Taiwan, I lived in different cities, Taipei, Tainan, Taoyuan, etc., Each place brings me different memories. Personally, I am also interested in performing arts.

At the age of 18, I went to Beijing  to study at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. I majored in bachelor and master's degrees in Chinese medicine and stayed in Beijing for eight years. I worked in different hospitals following different Chinese medicine instructors.

I went to Hong Kong for work in 2010. I found out that the climate, living habits, food and ideas in general were much different in Hong Kong than anywhere else, and those have big influence on peoples’s body and mind. It can be followed, but also based on the individual. It also reflects the macroscopic thinking, and the essence of individualized treatment of Chinese medicine. Through the experience and observation in life, I integrate them into my own treatment and hope to deepen it in the future.

2. What's important to you, and how do these values affect your professional choices? 

Healing Centre where Grace went and studied.

Healing Centre where Grace went and studied.

I didn't know too much about Chinese medicine before I decided to study it. My father has interest in Chinese medicine and I was deeply influenced by him. I remember that when I was in high school, my father relieved my fatigue through foot massage. This was the first time I learned about the holographic theory of Chinese medicine. After I started working with patients in hospitals and clinics as a Chinese medicine practitioner, I learned that the patients really are our teachers. The values of life are more understood through the macroscopic thinking in Chinese medicine; things are not only and not totally what we see through our eyes . For example, when our neck is in pain, in addition to structural problems, we extend more to our living habits, and there must be some solid beliefs behind living habits. Therefore, I am more willing to explore the origin reason of the problem.

Through my work and things happening around me, I came to understand and grow more. Step by step, I can also help the people around me, which is ultimately the reason why I continue to be a practitioner. I understand that many things can be simplified through the experience and let everything happen and flow more naturally.

3. What are your thoughts on people’s general well being as well as life-and-work balance in Hong Kong?

Looking at Hong Kong from a Taiwanese’s perspective, Hong Kong's economy and the environment are very rich and convenient. Medical environments and information are very developed and rapid. People from all over the world gather in this place, which also means that things are more crowed and narrow in Hong Kong. In such a busy society, the mental pressure of Hong Kong people is more serious, so physical and mental illnesses are more common. It is the imbalance of lifestyle.

Once you realize it, you will want to plan regular exercise, diet conditioning, meditaion and other daily maintenance to achieve balance between body and mind, in fact, when the body and mind can achieve a dynamic balance, no matter what kind of environment, they are able to adjust themselves.

4. What are your thoughts on average HK-diet? What do you think people could do, food and nutrition-wise to help to restore balance and elevate their personal well-being?

On average, the first meal of a Hong Kong’er is breakfast at a local tea restaurant; Instant noodles with eggs and milk tea...etc. In fact, Hong Kong’s traditional meals include a lot of meat and many strong flavors, and it’s not suitable to eat like this every day. In addition, working in Hong Kong is usually quite stressful and high-pace, which means that people tend to think about work when they eat. Not concentrating and not relaxing when having the meal, is not good for the digestive system.

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Therefore, I advise everyone to take it easy and relax when eating. Balance between meat and vegetables, as well as good quality food are also very important for physical and mental health. It is recommended to stand up for 10 to 15 minutes after a meal in order to stimulate your digestion or drink some herbal tea to help enhancing metabolism. I recommend eating dinner earlier, it is recommended to prepare some lighter food to eat around six o'clock.

You can make the herbal Tea of Hawthorn 5g, Divine Comedy 3g, Atractylodes 3g, Astragalus 3g and Licorice 2g. Pour 150 ml hot water over the herbs and let it sit for 15 mins or cook the herbs in water for five mins. The tea is good for digestive system and the origin of Qi in your body.

5. Does traditional Chinese medicine talk about any general “hacks” or “dos and don’ts” to make our lives better and more balanced? 

Chinese medicine talks about what should and should not be done in the classic "Yellow Emperor". For example, spring is the season of growth, and everything in the earth begins to grow and thrives. "The Yellow Emperor" says: 

"Let's get up early in the morning and sleep at night, walk in the court, put your hair sown and walk slow, let Qi unfold, give without taking, growing without killing, reward without penalty.”

This is the Qi from spring and the way to keep you healthy in spring. Eat more green vegetables to raise the vitality of the liver; but at the same time, you can't let the liver Qi rise up too much, so you should also eat some sweet food to raise your spleen. This is the principle of spring health care. Everyone can follow the principle. There are many healthcare principles and wisdom in the "Yellow Emperor”. However, each individual will be subject to a different piece of advice based on pulse, physical condition at the time, rather than a standardization.

6. What's your personal battle? How do you make your everyday life healthier?

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When I feel tired, I make a cup of herbal tea, I take a deep breath and let myself slow down from body to the brain. By my breath, I will return to stability and feel rooted. The most effective way for my own self-maintenance is exercise. It doesn’t have to do very intense exercise, but you can do some stretching or brisk walking to improve blood circulation. It’s an effective way to soothe and strengthen the body and mind.

7. What’s next for you? What interesting projects are you working on?

 I am going to be a mother soon, which means starting to think about how to practice what I have learned in and through my life, not only as a doctor.

I focus on treating patients with infertility and gynecological diseases, and also support the new mothers. I am exploring how to use the way of the nature to improve child health (eg.: Craniosacral Therapy, Chinese medicine, etc.) In addition, human life is inseparable from food and clothing. In Chinese medicine, we emphasize food-therapy, looking into different regions, different seasons, different foods, educating people on how to combine food with herbs to cook, which leads to promoting health and well being in general.

In Hong Kong, you can find Grace in BALANCE HEALTH
Check out their Facebook page here.

Interview: Dr. Grace Yu (Yu Hsin Tzu )

HK Chinese medicine practitioner No. 006252

1.告訴我們一些關於你自己,你是哪里人,你的專業背景是什麼?

我是來自台灣的一名香港註冊中醫師,也是一名頭薦骨治療師。從小生長在台灣,住過不同的城市,台北,台南,桃園等,每個地方都帶給我不同的回憶,喜歡表演藝術。在18歲時,前往北京就讀於北京中醫藥大學,修習中醫專業本科和碩士,在北京一待就是八年,在不同的醫院實習過也跟過不同的中醫導師。2010年,前往香港職業,在不同的城市中,了解到不同的地方,大至氣候,小至不同的生活習慣,不同地域的食物,不同的想法等,對人的身體心靈影響,當中有些規律可循,但同時也是依據個體。無形間也體現的中醫的宏觀思想,和個體化治療的本質,中醫學也是一種人文精神,涵蓋了生活中的大大小小。透過生活中的經驗和生命中的歷練,融入自己的治療中,希望將來能夠更深化其中。

2.什麼對您很重要,這些價值觀如何影響您的專業選擇?

我選擇中醫專業前其實對中醫並沒有太多的了解,純粹我的父親對於中醫有一定的興趣,我也深受他的影響,我記得考大學時,我的父親透過腳底按摩讓我緩解疲勞,這是第一次對於中醫全息理論的接觸,慢慢地透過職業後對於中醫臨床的體會,更明白病人就是我們的老師,而對於生命的價值觀,更是透過中醫中的宏觀思想明白到很多東西並不是我們眼睛看到的那樣,例如我們感覺到頸部疼痛,除了結構性的問題外,更多延伸至我們的生活習慣,而生活習慣的背後必然有些固著的信念。所以更願意往根本去探究問題本身。不是只是相信眼中所看到的那樣。所以透過看病和身邊所發生的事件中,慢慢地了解自己並成長,也能夠幫到身邊的人,是我繼續做這個行業的原因,而在職業中慢慢接觸到不同的能量自然療法,更明白很多事情透過經驗感悟可以簡單化,讓一切更為自然的發生與流動。

 3.您對香港人的整體福祉以及生活與工作的平衡有何看法?

透過一個台灣人的角度來看香港,香港的經濟還有物質環境各方面是很富足和方便的地方。各種醫療環境和資訊是很發達迅速的地方,來自世界各地的人匯聚在這個地方,流動性很大,由於地狹,所以人口較為密集。在這樣忙碌的社會和集體價值觀下,導致香港人的精神壓力較大,於是出現較多的生理和心理疾病的產生,但說到底就是生活型態的失衡,若有意識到,就會透過一定的運動,飲食調理,靜坐等平日的保養去達到身心的平衡,其實當身心能夠透過個人達到一個動態平衡狀態時,無論在什麼樣的環境,都是能夠自我調整的。

 4.你對平均香港飲食有什麼看法? 人們可以做些什麼,食物和營養方面有助於恢復平衡和提升個人幸福感?

初次在香港的早餐,是在當地的茶餐廳,拿著餐單時,上面有餐蛋麵和鴛鴦奶茶…等,其實香港的傳統餐點偏向肉食和口味較重,實在不太適合天天如此食用,加上香港的工作忙碌,食用時候經常想工作上的事情,無法真正的專注放鬆的吃,對於消化系統實在無益,所以建議吃飯時先不處理工作上的事物,放鬆心情,開心飲食。在香港很方便,食物無國界,有很多營養餐點的餐廳,強調肉類和蔬菜類的均衡,所以其實個人可以選擇這樣的餐廳,或是自己煮食攜帶食物食用,都是不錯的選擇,選擇質感好的食物,對於身心健康也是非常重要的。如果是長期坐辦工作者,建議食用午餐後可以站起約10~15分鐘,協助食物消化,也可以飲用些草藥茶協助午餐後食物的消化和提升元氣,這樣面臨下午的工作狀態也較好。另外晚餐可以早些食用,但由於香港人下班時間都很晚,導致晚食晚睡的狀態,如果可以的話也建議準備些較為清淡的時候於六點鐘左右進食,回到家八九點真的餓時,可飲用一些湯水,如果不餓,也可以不用進食。

草藥茶建議:山楂5g、神曲3g、白朮3g、黃耆3g甘草2g

5.傳統中醫是否談論任何一般的“黑客行為”或“應該做什麼”以使我們的生活更美好,更平衡?

中醫討論應該做什麼跟不應該做什麼,在經典“黃帝內經”中有論述,舉例來說,春天是生發的季節,天地間萬物開始生長,欣欣向榮。“黃帝內經論”:「夜臥早起,廣步於庭,被發緩形,以使志生。生而勿殺,予而勿奪,賞而勿罰。此春氣之應,養生之道也」。夜幕降臨時睡覺,早點起床,邁開步子在庭院裡散步,頭髮散開,身體放鬆,讓志氣生長。不要掠奪,多獎勵,少懲罰,保持心情的舒暢。多吃些青綠的蔬菜,來養肝的生發之氣;但同時也不能生發太過,所以適當也要吃一些甘味的食物,養脾臟之氣。這才是符合春天生發之氣的春季養生原則。如果違反了,就會傷肝,夏天容易生寒性疾病,提供給夏天的生長之氣也不足。另外要注意的是,春天主氣是風,要避開風邪。這是一些中醫強調的養生大原則,每個人都可以遵循的,“黃帝內經”中有很多相關的養生法則與智慧。然而如果要討論細節,每個個體,會依據他個人的脈象,當時的身體狀況,根據時節等,給予不同的建議,而非一個標準化。

6. 你的個人電力是什麼? 你如何讓你的日常生活更健康?

我平時感覺到疲勞時,會為自己泡上一杯適合自己的草藥茶或香草茶,搭配深呼吸,讓自己從身體到腦部都慢想來,透過觀察自己的呼吸,讓自己回復到穩定,有扎根的感覺,平時的保養對於自己最有效的方法就是運動,不一定要做很激烈的運動,但可以做一些喜歡的拉伸或快走,讓自己的血液循環變好。這是讓我從身體到心裡舒緩和強壯的有效方法。

7. 你接下來要做什麼? 你在做什麼有趣的項目?

我即將成為一個媽媽,我正在思考如何將我所學的東西更加實踐生活中,不僅僅是作為一位醫師,協助不孕症的患者,同時我也陪著孩子和正在一起共同成為媽媽的人走過,用身體力行的方式,一起探討如何透過自然療法(頭薦骨平衡療法和中醫等)提升孩子的健康。另外,人類生活離不開食衣住行,在中醫我們很強調食療,息息相關,每個地區,不同的季節,相伴著不同的食物,如何透過食物與草藥結合煮食,透過三餐提升全家人的健康。

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