But what if that’s not enough? If we get chi from what we digest and from our breathing but we don’t get enough food, are there reserves of energy we can draw on? If we don’t get enough oxygen for a short while because we have to run away from a sabre tooth tiger, is there a reserve? This is the energy because it’s what you tap into if you don’t have enough everyday energy.
The Taoists call this reserve energy jing. It could also be called adaptive energy because the higher your levels of this energy are, the more you can adapt to whatever life throws at you. This is vital energy – evolutionary science tells us that survival depends not on how strong you are or how clever you are or how pretty you are, but how adaptive you are. We may hate having nuclear power plants and pollution in our environment, but the reality is, they are here, and the better we adapt to them, the better our chances are that we will survive, and that our children and grandchildren will survive.
In the Western world, jing can be described as sexual energy, animal magnetism or charisma. When someone is cool and calm and you can trust them in a crisis because they’re solid and grounded; that’s jing. They seem to have a talent for gracefully and effortlessly dodging the bullets and are not thrown off track when things don’t go to plan. When someone has mental energy, is really sharp and on the ball; that’s jing. When someone is present and aware, right here and now instead of being off in their own thoughts, that’s jing. When someone has high endurance; that’s jing.
We can relate the three main components of jing to their Western scientific counterparts. One is endurance, which is related to your body’s capacity to heal and build yourself back up again – in Western terms, relating to your bone marrow and stem cells. One is your sexual energy, relating to your hormones. The third is the mental element, which relates to your levels of neurotransmitters.
What I notice is some lucky people have lots of all three kinds of jing; they’re hard working and full of endurance, they’re sexy and charismatic, and they’re on the ball. Others don’t have as much jing and it’s as if they’ve made a choice to divert what they have into some areas more than others. For instance one person may be sexy and charismatic but then they’re done. Another may be very sharp and on the ball but will tire easily. A third may have endless endurance but lack qualities of sexual attraction. We really want to have as much jing as we can so we can have high levels in all three areas. That’s my personal perspective on it.
You should only be dipping into your jing, your reserve energy, in emergencies or special situations when it’s temporarily difficult to get enough chi for immediate needs. If you call on your reserve energy every day as a normal way of life, then it will soon get depleted. This is the situation a lot of us get into. This happens because many of us experience a lot of stress in our day to day lives and at the same time we are eating processed foods depleted of the nutrients we need and breathing too shallowly to get enough oxygen. It’s little wonder so many of us feel tired much of the time.
The important thing is to be able to rate yourself, to assess how well you’re doing in each of these areas. Then you know if you need jing herbs or chi herbs or shen herbs and so on. So use this information as a diagnostic tool for you to apply to yourself.
Do you have plenty of jing?
Someone who has high energy with lots of jing will be alkaline, highly mineralised, well hydrated at a cellular level, and they will have high levels of essential fats. Let’s look at each of these aspects of building jing; alkalinity, hydration, minerals and essential fats.
An easy way to indirectly measure your jing is to test your alkalinity. High energy people with lots of jing have an alkaline body pH of around 7.2 or higher. This is important for the health of the cells of your body. An overly acidic body usually means toxicity, with cells that merely exist rather than thrive. Acidity also encourages the proliferation of parasitic organisms like candida.
You can get a good indication of your blood pH by testing the pH of your urine. You can do this with a pH testing strip (available online). Use it to test your urine first thing in the morning. If the number is less than 7, then you’re acidic and you have work to do to improve your pH balance. If you are between 7 and 7.5 that means you’re good (with certain exceptions). Above 7.5 is often a ‘false positive’ ie a sign that you are actually extremely acidic. The reason for this is when acidity levels get very high, the body buffers that acidity by releasing alkaline minerals from storage. Some of the minerals then come out in the urine, giving the urine this very high alkaline reading. Usually the buffering alkalinity comes in the form of sodium bicarbonate made by the pancreas, though if the pancreas doesn’t produce enough then those alkaline minerals may be pulled from the teeth and bones, weakening them over time.
If, say, you get a reading of 7.5 and you are healthy and you feel really good with plenty of energy then that reading is likely to be accurate. But if you get an alkaline reading even though you have low energy, pain or poor health of any kind, then it’s a false positive and you know you are strongly acidic.
Getting your greens is also an important part of building jing because they are alkalising. Green juices, green smoothies, green superfoods are all great foods that are easily digestible, very high in nutrients and very alkalising.
Another way to indirectly test your jing is to test your mineral levels by getting a Hair Mineral Analysis done. This is more expensive than a simple pH test but is well worthwhile as it tells you exactly which minerals you are deficient in and by how much. So you know where you’re at and you avoid wasting money on supplements you don’t need.
Minerals are the most important physical building blocks of health. For building the tissue of your body, they are even more important than proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The most vital of all are the electrolyte minerals.
The electrolyte minerals are sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. While it’s possible to last months without calories, you will die within hours if your electrolyte minerals get too low. We need these in the largest quantities, especially when we are stressed. Most people tend to be deficient in sodium and magnesium in particular, because stress burns through our sodium and magnesium reserves. If you are low on electrolyte minerals, you’ll struggle with various problems including tiredness and dehydration.
Sodium. People are often low in sodium, especially those who are eating a healthy diet and those who are stressed because stress burns off sodium. Think for a moment about those who have suffered trauma of some kind and are taken to hospital. The first thing they are given is a drip containing sodium and water, the two most vital life-giving things.
If you are not thirsty and have trouble drinking enough water (enough being at least 2 litres a day) then make sure you have enough sodium. You need the right kind of sodium; table salt is toxic and should be avoided along with processed foods that contain it. What your body needs is sodium in its natural form such as you get from naturally salty foods like samphire, celery and seaweed. The problem is that it’s difficult for most people to get enough sodium from foods alone because of the amount of stress in our lives. So we need to add salt; use raw salt ie unheated, untreated salt such as Celtic Sea Salt (you know it’s unheated because it’s damp) or Himalayan Pink Salt.
Some of the most sodium-deficient people are those with Chronic Fatigue, many of whom have low blood pressure and struggle to drink enough water. Upping the intake of raw salt often significantly improves energy in these cases.
The salt we use for seasoning is sodium chloride. You can also take salt as sodium bicarbonate in a small glass of water to improve your pH. If you are acidic this is very beneficial because it’s such a powerful alkaliser. It may not be necessary for everyone; cutting out acidic foods and drinking green juices may be enough for some.
If your blood pressure is high or starts to get higher, if you start to get water retention or oedema (swelling) or if you start to get excessively thirsty, then reduce the amount of salt.
Magnesium is another vital electrolyte that people tend to be deficient in. In the US, it’s estimated that 90% of people are magnesium depleted. The main things that deplete magnesium are stress and tension. You need magnesium for many things in the body. Two of the main things you need it for are energy and to relax.
Two things that commonly result from magnesium deficiency are frequent urination and constipation. The average bladder holds ¾ litre or more, so if you pass less than that, it’s a sign your bladder is tense and that’s why it doesn’t hold as much as it could. Getting supplemental magnesium can help with this problem because it helps the body, including the bladder, to relax.
There are often other factors that contribute to constipation such as dehydration, poor diet and so on but magnesium deficiency is a big sticking point for intestinal health – literally. It means the peristalsis movement of the bowel doesn’t work properly so the waste doesn’t get moved along.
The challenge with magnesium is that it’s difficult to reverse deficiency orally. Magnesium creates a laxative effect in the gut above a certain level so what tends to happen is that supplemental magnesium will be excreted before it has a chance to be absorbed.
The answer is to supplement magnesium transdermally. The skin is easily absorbs what you put on it, and that way the magnesium can get into the blood without having to go via the digestive tract. Use a good quality magnesium oil spray such as Mineralife Magnesium Oil. Be aware that it may sting a little when you apply it. The stinging is an indication that you’re acidic. This should encourage you to use it because the more the sting, the more you need the magnesium.
Remember that if you are chronically stressed, it doesn’t matter how much magnesium you have going in, it’s likely you will still be deficient because stress burns off the magnesium. It’s like trying to fill a bucket with a big hole in it.
Omega 3 Essential Fats
Drinking water may not hydrate us properly at a cellular level if we are deficient in Omega 3 essential fats. Your body uses Omega 3s to remove acid from your body, along with minerals like sodium and magnesium. If you have any history of stress or trauma (that includes emotional trauma, illness, injury etc) then you may be depleted in Omega 3s.
There are two types of Omega 3. There’s the ‘bulk’ Omega 3 as I call it that gives your body the raw materials to remove acids, and these include flax seed oil, hemp seed oil, pumpkin seed oil etc. I mention the oils because they’re easier to digest than the whole seeds. Then there are the ‘cellular’ Omega 3s (that’s just how I think of them, not their official name). These are the long chain fatty acids that the body can use straight away, known as EPA and DHA. These are mostly only available in animal products but they are also available in marine phytoplankton. The best supplemental forms are marine phytoplankton and the Omega 3 algae oils for vegans and krill oil for non-vegans. Krill oil is particularly good and that it comes with its own built-in antioxidant called astaxanthin which means it has a longer shelf life. Fish oils are not recommended because they are often contaminated with mercury and they oxidise ie go rancid very quickly. Of the seeds oils, hemp is the best in this respect because it contains some chlorophyll which is a natural antioxidant.
In my experience, most people with health challenges need to get these long chain Omega 3s; just the seed oils won’t be enough. They’re especially important if you have any brain issues like poor memory or brain fog.
It is possible for a healthy body to make long chain Omega 3s from the medium-chain oils like flax and hemp but the conversion rate will be low and for those with health challenges may not happen at all. Taking coconut oil at the same time will double the conversion rate from an average of 3% to around 6%.
The bottom line is make sure you have some krill oil every day. 2 caps ie 1000mg is enough for most people but if you have brain issues like brain fog or if you have menstrual issues then you can have up to 8 capsules a day. Also make sure you have some hemp seed oil. It contains GLA which is the long chain Omega 6 fatty acid. Then you have everything you need in a safe and healthy form.
A person of average size (140 pounds or so) needs two litres of water a day, minimum. If you weigh more or if you are more active then you need even more than that. You need roughly one extra litre per hour of physical exertion. You also need more if you are in a hot environment. Stress and trauma dehydrate you too so you will also need more at those times. Unfortunately it often seems the times we most need water are the times we are least likely to want to drink it.
One of the challenges is that even when you’ve learned this and you give your body what it actually needs, it doesn’t know what to do with it. If you’ve been dehydrated for 20 years and then you start drinking water, you may find it seems to just go straight through you. If this happens some clients will question the value of continuing to drink the water but I in that case ask them if they’d want to drink what came out. The answer is no (usually) because even if it’s not in the body for long, that water is still carrying waste products out with it when it’s excreted.
It’s like when you forget to water a pot plant for ages and it gets very dry. When you water it, the water doesn’t soak into the soil at first. The cells of the body can be like that when they’ve been dehydrated for a long time. If you get good water (especially spring water you’ve collected yourself), your Omega 3 essential fats and your electrolytes that will help your body to take it up.
Even with fresh spring water, it can be hard for your cells to drink at first. It’s as if your body has forgotten. That’s where the Taoist tonic herbs can help. The Lion Heart Herbs formula Rejuvenate is especially good at this. It shows your body how to use the raw materials (water, minerals and so on) and turn them into jing, so that you have those reserves built up again.
Have a litre of water first thing in the morning, before anything else. Tea doesn’t count, nor does juice or smoothie. You can have those things, but have the water first. There are several reasons for this. One is that first thing in the morning is when you are most dehydrated. Another is that the body is cleansing throughout the night and by the morning, the interior of the whole digestive tract is coated with waste. That’s why you might have a coating on your tongue and why your breath smells bad. If you put juice or anything containing nutrients on top of that, your body goes into digestion mode and will start digesting that waste along with the nutrients. So unless you want to start the day by digesting your own waste, drink water first!
Yin Jing andYang Jing
There are two facets of jing energy; yin jing and yang jing.
Yin jing is about restoring, replenishing, resting, recuperating and rejuvenating. It’s the aspect of jing that is about building you back up again. Yang jing is about mental, sexual and athletic power; putting yourself out there. So yin jing is about building and storing energy, and yang jing is about ‘spending’ that energy, using it for action and creation in the world.
It’s important to replenish yourself and build up your reserves before pushing yourself out there. It’s best to focus on the yin jing herbs first.