The way that becomes a way is not the Immortal Way,	
                The name that becomes a name is not the Immortal Name.

Taoism is an ancient Chinese religion and school of philosophy. The father of Taoism is considered now to be Li Erh (know more commonly as Lao Tzu). His writings about the Tao and his enlightenment his insights in are published collectively under the name Tao Te Ching, the Tao Te Ching is a very good introduction to the ideas behind this culture.
The above is taken from the first chapter of Tao Te Ching and is a directly explanation (or not) of what the true Tao is.

We are all part of the Tao; everything is part of the Tao from the highest mountains in the clouds to the last cell in our bodies. But the true Tao, the immortal Tao, is bigger than that, it is the Tao that goes beyond words and beyond our conscience. For this, anything that can be expressed cannot be the true Tao, it is only accessible and understood through enlightenment.

The Tao itself originally manifested itself through the Wu Chi, the undifferentiated origin of all things, it was later dived into the Ying Yang, which gives birth to the myriad things. The purpose of mystical Taoism is to return physically and spiritually to the undifferentiated origin of all things. The pure state, no matter how you describe it, it's all the same. It is the Tao. The Tao is complete and has room for all - good, bad, great, small, perverse, sacred, profound, simple. There are many types of Taoism (philosophical, devotional, magical and alchemical) but I digress. How does this tie in with healing?

Simple, the Taoists believe that the more immediate manifestation of the Tao is the energy that runs through the universe that animate all objects, from the twitch in your eye to the sunset over your city. This energy is referred to as 'Qi'. Qi is what gives us life and what maintains everything around us. There are a few manifestations of the ‘Qi’; examples would include 'Jing' which can translated as sexual energy and ‘Shen’, which would be what we call the soul.

Our manifestation of 'Qi' is 'Ying Qi' which are energy paths running through our bodies. These paths can changed and manipulated for healing purposes, the basis of acupuncture. Over the centuries there have been many different types of healing derived from the study of Tao. Some, like acupuncture, require a shaman or professional to undertake, others include more personal ways of keep your health.

The main branches of healing following the way of the Tao are refereed as the Nine Healing Arts. These series of different therapies and practices, help keep the body and the soul supple and on the path to enlightenment. As westerners we can use these to keep our peace and helps us through life’s path in an easier and healthier way, both mentally and physically. The Nine Arts are introduced below.

The Nine Taoists Arts

I. Meditation

Meditation is a familiar concept for many people and requires little explanation. As we take care of our external body and surroundings (taking a shower and cleaning the house) we often forget to take care of our psyche, our spirit. It is a worry that not many people have, but influences heavily upon our day to day life. Everyone knows that you work less if you are depressed or sad. For these reasons meditation in the morning, even if it is a few minutes before you rush out, or next time you're stuck in a traffic jam is enough to help. Meditation is not a set practice as many would think. It is spontaneous and totally subjective. Some people prefer to mediate sitting in a special posture or kneeling. This is not strictly necessary since meditation should be comfortable and easy. Taoist Inner Alchemy is also a meditative science - the path to enlightenment and immortality.

II. Nutritional Science

Everyone has heard of Weight Watchers, and thousands of different ways of eating for one goal or another. Most of these programs and foodstuff concentrate on calories, proteins etc. Chinese nutrition like herbal medicine is based on the laws of the Ying Yang and the theory of the five elements.* Rather than counting calories a diet is set out based on the energetic (Qi) qualities of the food and according to the individual, the basis of who you are makes what you eat.

III. Movement Arts

Taoist movement arts are far too numerous to mention all of them here. Many movement arts are martial arts that train both the physical and energetic bodies. They are complex and deadly martial sciences. Some of the most common are Taiji (Tai Chi) and Bagua. There are also thousands of systems of energy circulation exercises known collectively as Qigong (Chi Kung). Some of the most well known systems include 5 Animal Frolics, 8 Pieces of Brocade, Iron Shirt, White Crane, Golden Bell, etc... Together, the first three healing arts – meditation, nutrition and movement arts - are the three pillars of daily cultivation for health.

IV. Herbal Medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine has one of the world's most extensive pharmacopoeia. Every herb has an energetic quality. After a patient is diagnosed by a trained herbalist, the herbalist will create a formula unique to the individual or suggest a pre-made formula. Herbs are powerful medicines that should only be taken under the supervision of a trained practitioner of Chinese medicine.

V. Acupunture

As explained above, Acupuncture is used to guide the energy of the body through the stimulation of specific points along the body with needles, finger pressure, herbs, heat or even electricity and lasers. Acupuncture has a complex theory and ancient history.

VI. Feng Shui

Feng Shui is geomancy, the science of placement and of living in harmony with the earth. All natural geographical structures have energy. A professional geomancer is someone who specialises in determining the energy of an area, building or room. They give recommendations as to how to design structures or even set up the interior of rooms to maximise the natural energy to the benefit of people living there.

VII. Sexual Yoga

According to Chinese medical theory, sexual activity that ends in ejaculation for men, and menstruation or childbirth for women deplete "Jing," the original essence of the body. Excessive loss of Jing results in premature ageing and a shortened life span. Thus, sexual energy is something to be harnessed and cultivated for both longevity and spiritual growth. "Single Cultivation" is meditation that circulates sexual energy in the individual's body. "[Duel Cultivation[" is practice with a partner where male and female energies are exchanged during intercourse.

VIII. Divination

Divination is the art of seeing and interpreting signs in everything around us. The Chinese believed that in everything, the microcosm is a mirror of the macrocosm. Thus, healing systems such as reflexology can use only the palm or foot to treat disease in the entire body. Similarly, the entire expression of the universe can be seen in something as seemingly insignificant as the falling of a leaf. One of the best known systems of Chinese divination is the Yi Jing, or Book of Changes (I Ching). Other systems based on the movement of heavily bodies are still used today in classical styles of acupuncture to choose active points on a patient's body. However, in general the goal of divination is to encourage well being by helping a person live in harmony with the universe around them.

IX. Bodywork

Chinese Bodywork includes various forms of massage and soft tissue manipulation (Tui Na) and acupressure (Anmo, or Shiatsu in Japan). Other styles include Chi Nei Tsang, or internal organ massage. There are also systems of bone and spinal adjustment that date back thousands of years in Chinese medicine, predating by millennia the invention of Chiropractic in the western world.


In a sentence the five element theory is the belief that all existence is made of five elements (fire, water, earth, air and wood). The balance if these elements is crucial to health and wellbeing.


Sources:
My acupuncturist of the last 5 years, who still calls me now I am in a different country.
My lovely angel, MirGil, who showed me the Tao and its beauty almost 5 years ago as well.
Mantak Chia and Maneewan Chia – Awaken Healing Light of the Tao (ISBN: 0935621466).
Lao TzuTao Te Ching ( don’t remember the ISBN of my edition).

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