Herbalism in the Vitalist Tradition

Vitalism is based on the principle that every living thing has an intrinsic vital force which is  essentially the energy of the mind, body, and spirit. You may have heard this energy being referred to as chi, qi, or prana. The strength and resilience of an individual’s vital force is dependent upon many things, including, but not limited to:

  • Intake and digestion of nourishing foods
  • Degree of hydration
  • Frequency and intensity of daily activity
  • Stress management
  • Emotional well-being
  • Satisfaction with and enjoyment of life

exhaustedWhen your vital force is strong and unobstructed, you’re less likely to become sick.  If you do become ill or sustain an injury, a vibrant vital force enables you to recuperate or heal more quickly and thoroughly than a weakened vital force would.

How to Improve Your Vital Force

When looking to improve health, the first step is to remove any obstacle preventing your body from doing what it innately knows to do – healing itself. While not every affliction can be totally healed, even cases of severe illness an improvement in vital force in an improvement in overall health.

The following can hinder your vital force:

  • Inadequate sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Food allergens in the diet
  • Excessive intake of sugar, alcohol, or caffeine
  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Lack of healthy fats and proper nutrients in the diet

Ways to improve your vital force:

  • Eat fresh, nutrient-dense foods
  • Strive for at least 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Upon waking each morning, drink 12-16 ounces of water
  • Start your day by putting on a song you love and dancing vigorously for 2-5 minutes
  • Spend 15-30 minutes once or twice a day thoroughly stretching in any way you like
  • Find time for daily exercise. This can be as simple as three 20-minute walks every day.
  • Do 5-10 minutes of burst exercise at the start of your day, such as burpees or mountain climbers
  • Practice deep breathing for 3-5 minutes two or three times a day
  • Practice a morning and evening mantra. Even a simple “I’m alive” at the start and end of each day can have profound effects
  • Contrast hydrotherapy! In the shower, switch from hot to cold water a few times, keeping under the cold for as long as you can stand it
  • If the above is too much, run cold water in your tub and walk around in it for a few minutes before your shower