According to Chinese medicine, we must live "correctly" in order to maintain good health and vitality. This righteous path leading to good fortune includes eating correctly, sleeping through the night, and meditating daily. These practices seem obvious, but are often ignored in our fast paced culture as we push ahead to attain monetary success or fame. Here are some of the common patterns that can lead to feeling chronically tired:
Qi Deficiency Fatigue
Qi (pronounced Chee) is the vital energy which is used by the body for animation, for food digestion, and for transformation according to Chinese medicine. Qi is formed by the food we eat, and by the air we breathe. Therefore, a healthy diverse diet including adequate protein is necessary in producing our daily energy. Qi can be consumed through physical labor and exercise. Qi is our more immediate source of vitality and in the early stages can be restored rather quickly..
Internal Dampness Fatigue
With ongoing Qi Deficiency, especially due to poor eating habits, Spleen Qi Deficiency can develop. The Spleen energetic organ system is in charge of the transformation of foods and fluids. Its active time is in the early morning, so eating breakfast is pivotal in the formation of Qi for the body to utilize. If the Spleen becomes congested by too much food, inappropriate foods, or foods and drinks that are ‘Cold’, the Spleen function according to TCM will be damaged. When this happens, Internal Dampness develops because the Spleen is unable to perform its duty in transforming fluids throughout the body. Fatigue with Internal Dampness will be marked by a feeling of heaviness in the body, a heavy head with brain fog, and trouble getting going in the morning.
Kidney Deficient Fatigue
The Kidneys store the Essence according to Chinese medicine; while Qi provides our daily energy needs, Essence is a dense substance that is utilized sparingly throughout our life. When all Essence is depleted we die, so it is important to preserve our Essence; additionally, Essence is very difficult to restore. Ongoing stress and pushing yourself too hard for too long depletes Essence. Adrenal Fatigue is a classic example of Kidney Deficient exhaustion. After burning the candle at both ends for many years, those who develop adrenal exhaustion find that their health is compromised for many years, or for the rest of their lives. Herbal tonic therapy is one of the few effective options with this level of depletion, but takes time to work.
Lung Qi Deficient Fatigue
As mentioned earlier, Qi is produced from both the food we consume and the air that we breathe. When there is a constriction of air flow to our lungs due to asthma, COPD, or emphysema, the body is unable to produce vital energy needed to get through the day effectively.
Heart Qi Deficiency Fatigue
In order for oxygen and nutrients to reach our organs and tissue, abundant Blood must be flowing throughout our vessels. Poor circulation of Blood may be the result of the Heart not pumping Blood effectively. Heart Qi Deficiency would be marked by palpitations, poor sleep, shortness of breath, poor cognitive skills, or numbness in the extremities.
The body requires adequate rest in order to have abundant energy throughout the day. If chronic stress and frustration lead to Liver Qi Stagnation, the Liver can attack the Heart and disrupt sleep.