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Health and Beauty: Chinese Traditions

Health and Beauty: Chinese Traditions

* Disclaimer: This post is not scientific, it is written from a personal experience. I write it from the affection and respect, from my perspective as a Westerner. If you are reading this and you are Chinese, please do not feel offended or upset. I want to share and exchange customs as I share those of my culture. In diversity there is beauty.

Hello my dear friends, how are you? Today I am going to talk about something very interesting. I am going to share with you something about Chinese culture and its traditions. Well, if you're Chinese, then you're not going to learn anything, and maybe you have to teach me a lot more.

One of the things that caught my attention when coming to live in China was the constant concern of what is healthy and what is not.

- Me: My head hurts

- Chinese person: Drink water

- Me: I’m tired

- Chinese person: Drink water

- Me: I’m in a massage room, and while they give me the massage, they notice something on my feet.

- Chinese person: You have to drink more water.

So, water is the solution to EVERYTHING. But not just water, it also has to be HOT.

You go to a restaurant in June, and they bring you hot water!

It's funny, you go anywhere and you have to wait, a bank, a photocopy shop, whatever! they're going to give you a seat, even in the tiniest chair in the world, and then they will give you a cup of boiling water. And I always answer with an effusive thank you: xié xié xié xié !!! And I pretend I am drinking to not to be rude.

But all this has an explanation. And it is a very complex explanation. Let's see how I can explain it… 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine there is a classification that separates food into 3 groups, cold, neutral and hot. But this has nothing to do with its physical temperature, has to do with its characteristics as regards how it affects the body, and balance is the key. It has to do with qi, pronounced chi, which is related to emotional health and blood circulation. On one side we have the emotions and, for example, if you have a lot of anxiety or anger means you are hot because you have fire inside of you. On the other hand, your body may be cold, or you may be cold and hot by parts, even cold and hot in layers. It is very complex.

Traditional chinese

You know about Ying and Yang, right? The woman is the Ying (the black part) and the man is the Yang (white), which is related to the sun and fire. Therefore it is believed that the woman is colder and needs more heat. That is why, especially women, we have to take hot things, and there is that constant concern to avoid taking and drinking cold things, especially when you have menstruation. And even worse during pregnancy.

Nothing cold, no coffee and no ice cream as it clogs the chi. For menstrual cramps they recommend hot water with brown sugar and ginger.

Depending on the seasons, certain cold or hot meals are better. Also throughout the day varies. Ginger is classified as a hot element and is very good during the morning as it gives you lots of energy and heat, but it is bad at night because it is time to go to rest, precisely at night is when you should take neutral food.

To improve the circulation of qi, they prepare a grain soup made of red beans, ginger, dates and goji berries.

I remember once some Chinese friends invited me to dinner, and at the end asked for some desserts, and when they served it, I did not know what it was, it looked like pudding to me over a papaya. Before I tasted it, in my mind I had already imagined the taste, but when I tasted it I was so disappointed because it tasted really bad, like raw ... and I said: but what is this?!!! And they said to me: Frog. It is great for women, for the skin. Besides, it's an expensive dessert ... OMG. I said, thank you very much … And I thought: I prefer to stay ugly and old with wrinkles, what's more, I would pay for not eating it.

As I mentioned before, pregnancy is a very sensitive period for traditional Chinese women. I have to say that not all Chinese Woman follow this and more and more Chinese women are adapting to Western customs.

Swimming is a very forbidden thing. In fact I've heard stories of women being criticized for going swimming in the pool. They also can not take cold food, as I have also told an anecdote (I have a midwife friend) to which a pregnant girl was crying confessing that she had taken watermelon as if it were the world's greatest sin and tragedy.

Speaking of watermelon, there is a myth, which says that after eating the watermelon if you rub your face with the watermelon skin is very beneficial to your complexion. Who knows, next time I’ll try it and I'll share with you the results.

Let’s go back to pregnancy. The traditional woman, after giving birth, goes through a period of a month called zuo yuezi, which consists of not leaving the house, without taking a shower, without washing her hair, and not taking anything cold. Normally she will be at home and will hire the services of a special ayi. An ayi is a housekeeper, who in this case will be 24 hours, especially pending care of the baby because she is a specialist. For the zuo yuezi there are also kind of hotels for mothers to have a luxury care. I have also heard stories of Chinese women who do not follow the zuo yuezi, and have been criticized by their friends.

Here I finish the post, and I will continue to write more about Chinese beauty habits. I hope you have learned and liked it and if so, share the post with your friends.

I love you!


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