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How To Boost Your Energy & Vitality

how to Sep 27, 2017


It’s easy to over do it and start to run low on “life juice”. We’ve all been there, between work, home, and family life we are burning the candle at both ends and burning out. It happens to everyone.

So, what is this “life juice” that we are burning out of anyway? More importantly, how do we get more of it and how do we get it back once it's gone?

Traditional Chinese Medicine has one concept which describes this life juice: “Jing”, (pronounced “ching”).

it's a beautiful way of thinking about your own energy and vitality. Let me share it with you...


What Exactly Is Jing?

Jing is the word used to describe ones essence, constitution, or vitality. Ted Kaptchuk, Doctor of Oriental Medicine writes,

“... [Jing] is the texture that is specific to organic life. It is the stuff that makes living beings unique and distinct from inorganic things… It is the basis of reproduction, growth, ripening and withering.”

As Traditional Chinese Medicine understands it, your Jing is irreplaceable. It determines your vitality, resistance to disease, and your longevity, and once it is used up, life ceases (Pitchford, 360). It's much like the amount sand in your hourglass, when it is gone, your time is up. As such, the “burn rate” of our Jing and how much we have left are both variables that matter.

Where does Jing come from?

While it is not understood as a substance (like your bones or your blood), Traditional Chinese Medicine considers Jing to be dark, moist, and warm in quality – much like the womb. It comes from two sources:

  • Prenatal Jing (given by your parents at conception, i.e. your unique genetics, the quantity and quality of which are fixed at birth)
  • Postnatal Jing (the “fuels” you run on which are derived from your environment, i.e. food, air, sleep, relationships, attitudes, etc. The postnatal essence modifies and amplifies the prenatal essence.)

Why Jing is important

Ponder it and you may recognize the concept. It's the age-old nature vs. nurture debate in Eastern medicine vocabulary. While you may not have any control over the hand you are dealt, how you play the game makes all the difference. To the researcher, it's a robust theory and consistent with the new research coming to light in the field of epigenetics, which studies how factors in our environment turn particular genes on and off. To the practical physician, it is a useful concept when trying to help over-stressed and highly driven type-A personalities understand how their habits may be running them into an early grave.

So what does deficiency look like? Classic signs include dizziness, loss of teeth, hair loss/thinning, muscular weakness, fatigue, thinning skin & wrinkles, etc. Sexual dysfunction, infertility, premature aging, and the inability to be self-reflective are also all considered to be related to disharmonies of your Jing. In short, failure to thrive, aging, and dying. (Not to be dramatic or anything!)

Curious about how Naturopathic Medicine could help you? Sign up for a free 15-minute call to find out how Dr. Laura Nurse can help you combine nutrition and lifestyle changes to optimize your health.


So what does a savvy Jing-master do?

Of course, you can never have enough Jing. While we cannot get more Jing, we can learn to burn it more efficiently.

  • Stop burning it like there's no tomorrow! The most relevant factors that deplete Jing?
  • Stress & Overwork
  • Too Much Sugar
  • Toxins (Mercury, Lead, aluminum, etc.)
  • Intoxicants (Alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and caffeine)

Practices That Nourish Jing

  • Foods that are dark, moist, and warm like Jing are considered Jing-enhancing. Consider that these are often the best foods when you are recovering from illness also – think hearty soups, stews, and other easy to digest foods.
  • Fish high in omega-3s: Salmon, Mackeral, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring.
  • Stinging nettles. It is a well known kidney tonic in North America and in Europe and can be taken as a tea, or lightly steamed as greens. It is said that Milarepa, an ancient sage in Tibet, fasted on nettle tea until his skin turned a light green hue and developed legendary psychic and physical powers!
  • Jing is also responsible for the development of the deepest awareness and wisdom in the individual – learning to nourish your Jing is a mark of aging well and gracefully!
  • Spiritual practices which mobilize Jing and infuse it with spirit – such as Qi Gong and Tai Qi help one to learn to use Jing more efficiently.


Now, I'd like to hear from you!

You didn't read to the end of the article for nothing! The comments section is truly where the juiciest conversations happen, so here's your ice-breaker questions to get you going:

  • Have you ever heard of Jing before?
  • Can you make a connection between this concept and your experience?



T. Kaptchuk, “The Web That Has No Weaver,” McGraw-Hill: New York, 2000.
P. Pitchford, “Healing With Whole Foods,” North Atlantic Books: California, 2002.

Photo Credit:
Natalia Fogarty



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