Diet Therapy

IMG_0196Such is the importance of diet in Chinese medicine that the famous Tang dynasty physician Sun Si Miao felt that when treating someone who is ill the first line of treatment must be to address diet and lifestyle. Only if these prove insufficient should therapies like acupuncture and herbal medicine be undertaken.
Many people who seek out a Chinese medicine professional for help with their health have passed the point where diet and lifestyle alone can restore balance in their lives. That being said dietary changes can dramatically increase the rate at which someone re- sponds to care with acupuncture and herbal medicine and is a key component of any wellness pro- gram. Hence the Chinese proverb: ‘to take medicine and neglect one’s diet wastes the skill of the physician’.

It is misleading to suggest that diet therapy and herbal medicine are separate entities. In fact, the distinction between a substance being identified as a ‘herb’ or a ‘food’ is an arbitrary one. Some of the most potent herbs in the Chinese pharma- copeia are commonly eaten as foods, examples include cinnamon, ginger, mint, yams, licorice root, nuts, and dates. The very same philosophy for analyzing how herbs influence the body is used to understand the foods we eat.

This is an empowering idea! The food that we eat everyday is actually medicine. By looking not only at what we eat, but how it is prepared and the circumstances around which we consume our meals we can begin to use food as the powerful therapy it is.


Q:  Will I get diet recommendations when I come to the clinic?

A: Usually during the Report of Findings (the second part of the initial consult) when your practitioner explains their findings they will provide you with information on diet and lifestyle that pertains specifically to you.

Q:  What if I don’t like Asian food?

A:  No problem!  The Chinese system of analyzing the flavors and natures of foods applies to all foods.  We will recommend foods to incorporate more of into your diet and some foods to minimize, and may talk about cooking methods and provide recipes.


‘When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the one who planted them’

– Chinese proverb


‘A man may esteem himself happy if  that which is his food is also his medicine’

– Henry David Thoreau


‘Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food’


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