The Fitness Focus: Energetic machines

Our bodies, our golf carts

Written by Paul De Stefano, KT resident

Consider a comparison of the human body to a golf cart. In terms of structure, for optimal performance we want a sturdy symmetrical frame, resilient suspension and freely moving parts for locomotion. But each is more than a static form. They are energetic machines. They are defined by their function. I propose that there are at least three necessary ingredients for function.

Potential energy, active energy and a sophisticated operating system. 20 years ago and 20 years after graduating from Harvard Medical School, I decided to deepen my knowledge of the human body by beginning a study of the received wisdom of the Chinese Medical Classics.

Remember at the turn of the millennium, China was rapidly becoming a major trade partner and the Chinese-Americans whose families fled worn-torn China and who detested Communism were able to slowly reestablish contact with intellectual and cultural roots.

Could concepts which had been foreign to our medical culture lend a better understanding of our selves as energetic machines? Chinese doctors call potential energy: Jing. Jing is our “battery.” Active energy: Qi, “electricity,” and the operating system: Shen. Shen is our “internal software.”

Of course  we are different from golf carts. The key difference  is our capacity for growth and change. Another is the phenomenon that appropriate stimulation of our bodies can normalize or even improve function for example, body building, expanding exercise tolerance and skill learning of all types.

From my perspective, the main advantage to living at Kissing Tree is the abundance of these kinds of appropriate stimulation. All of us residents have been masterful in our respective professions.

About the author

Paul moved into his home, the Strand, in April of 2023. Last year he retired from his solo practice of Internal Medicine in Santa Fe, NM, where he also treated his patients with acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for more than twenty years. As a member of the first SPARK class of 2023, he looks forward to contributing to our community.

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