We can only withstand a certain amount of stress. Each person has a different threshold, and each must determine for himself or herself how much is too much. When you cultivate an inner awareness of what’s going on inside you, both emotionally and physically, you discover your optimum balance of activity and rest.
Traditional Chinese medicine discovered that excesses of particular activities weaken the immune system by overstressing certain acupressure meridian pathways. (The following potent points are described in detail later in this chapter).
- Excess standing: Damages the bladder and kidney meridians, which can cause fatigue and low backaches. To restore these meridians, stimulate the Sea of Vitality points (B 23 and B 47) by rubbing your lower back for one minute. Then hold Elegant Mansion (K 27) directly below your collarbone for another minute. Finally, hold the Bigger Stream (K 3) points on the insides of your ankles for one minute as you breathe deeply.
- Excess sitting: Can damage the stomach and spleen meridians, which can contribute to anemia or digestive disorders. Stimulate the Three Mile Points (St 36) on the outsides of your calves to benefit these meridians.
- Excess lying down: can damage the large intestine and lung meridians, which can affect both respiration and elimination. For these meridians use Joining the Valley (Hoku, LI 4) in the valley between the thumb and forefinger and Crooked Pond (LI 11) on the upper edge of your elbow crease as directed on page 120.
- Excess use of your eyes: (as in close desk work) or emotional stress can damage the small intestine and heart meridians, which can create emotional imbalances. The Sea of Tranquility (CV 17) on the center of your breastbone is an excellent point for balancing these meridians.
- Excess physical exertion: can damage the gallbladder and liver meridians, which can cause cramps and spasms. Use Bigger Rushing (Lv 3) on the top of your feet to benefit these meridians.
Diet also plays an important role in building resistance to illness. When we eat processed, preserved, or devitalized foods, we weaken our immune system and our resistance because these foods have been stripped of necessary nutrients and fiber. Certain foods, such as miso soup, parsley, beans, tofu, sea vegetables, fresh vegetables, and lightly toasted sesame seeds can strengthen the immune system and reinforce the body’s ability to protect itself.