Chinese traditional medicine takes a more holistic approach to health, that aims to tackle causes before they become symptoms. That is not to say its methods are miracle cures or will cover all your health needs, but these lifestyle habits have proven beneficial effects for well-being. And the first one you can even do with your eyes closed, so if you’re feeling worn and weary on your travels, why not give them a try?

    1. Siesta

      Pretty much everyone in China has a short snooze after lunch (lunch is 12 sharp) and the Chinese are mostly brilliant at nodding off wherever and whenever suits them. Studies show a 20 minute nap can in fact significantly benefit body and mind, increasing alertness and accuracy. It doesn’t suit everybody but at least now you’ve got a scientific excuse to grab a little shuteye.

    2. Foot care

      Many Chinese people practice foot soaking every night. This is not just to keep dust and dirt out of the bed, but benefits circulation and can help you sleep better. Chinese foot massage is also tremendously popular throughout the country. The method uses acupressure to work out knots and toxins from your feet and it is believed that certain areas on the foot correspond to certain organs and parts of the body, by which you can diagnose health problems. If you visit China, do not miss out on the foot massage experience.

    3. Drinking hot water

      Chinese people balk at the American preference for ice cold beverages. In China you may be frequently offered a cup of hot or warm water, which can seem strange at first but once again science has proven this age old practice to be beneficial to digestion and metabolism, and a whole bunch of other bodily functions apparently. Iced water can not only be a shock to the stomach, but your body has to expend energy in warming it up.

    4. Eating everything

      Chinese cuisine is known for having some outlandish dishes, you might spot water beetles or crocodile among the choices at a seafood restaurant for example. But what we’re really referring to is the practice of using as much of the animal as possible. Fish head, including the eyes, is considered the best part of the meal and are given to honoured guests as a sign of welcome or respect. These parts, animal organ meats and connective tissues are in fact some of the most nutritious and can be quite delicious once you adjust your thinking a little. Considering the massive population in China, it’s also saving a phenomenal amount of waste.

    5. Squatting

      This may be a little too much information for some people but the fact is that the majority of the world go to the toilet squatting rather than sitting. This has been known to be better for your health for some time, although just recently it’s been all over the news. It’s not just the greater flexibility and toned legs you can develop from the practice; our bodies are designed to optimally deposit waste this way. Squatting allows a certain muscle to fully release the bowel, whereas sitting leaves an awkward u-bend to negotiate. This can cause waste and toxins build up. You don’t need to switch out your toilet at home to feel some of the benefits of squatting; there are products specially designed to achieve the best position on a western style toilet, or you could just use a kids’ bathroom step/stool to raise your feet higher up when sitting normally.

    6. Throwing shade

      The British are already in the habit of toting around an umbrella 365 days a year ‘just in case’ of the inevitable rain, but walk down the street in China on a hot summer’s day and you’ll see them everywhere. It’s mostly women who use umbrellas and parasols to avoid overexposure to the sun’s rays. The sun can be rather overwhelming and you will be amazed at the relief to your body and eyes you can gain by popping up your own personal parasol.

      fenghuang river