What Do Baseball and Your Health Have in Common?

Last week, I learned something about baseball from one of my patients and how it relates to health. Achieving optimal health and being successful in baseball both require more than skill and knowledge. They share a need for the application of something that is simple, yet not easy, to do: relax.

I was taught this last week when I re-entered the treatment room to check my friend’s pulses after he had been resting with needles in place. He declared his new intention of practicing relaxation as way to improve his health. He had learned as a serious and talented baseball player in high school that relaxation was a key element to his athletic success. When his coaches would remind him to relax, he noticed that his performance improved. He also noticed when he was on the pitcher’s mound that the batters who squeezed their bat tightly were the one’s he could strike out most easily. It makes sense to him, and to me, that relaxation in any situation contributes to improved function of the body and mind.

Taoism, the basis of Chinese medicine, has a name for this: wu wei – or action through non-action. Being fully engaged yet not striving, in other words, relaxed, is essential to making all your efforts for good health a success.