As our winter season continues to trudge along, many people are trying to escape the cold, whether it’s by cranking up the thermostat at home or travelling on holidays to somewhere sunny and warm.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, cold isn’t just something to deal with in wintertime; Cold is actually viewed as a potential cause of illness and health problems. Under normal circumstances, a healthy person is able to adapt to their natural surroundings and environment. However, these environmental factors, including Cold, can invade the body if it is in a weakened state and produce a wide range of symptoms depending on what specific area has been affected.
For example, asthma, coughing, fatigue, a sensitive or weak digestive tract, joint pain, muscle cramps, menstrual disorders, headaches, or chronic back pain are just some of the symptoms that can result from Cold entering into the body.
In order to help our bodies adapt better and stay healthier, there are some simple things that we can do in our daily lives:
- Warming diet – many people naturally tend to crave warming foods in the winter – soups, stews, and other similar comfort foods are ideal for this time of year. Adding some warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, pepper, and clove can also be beneficial.
- Warming exercise – moderate exercise on a daily basis can improve the blood and energy circulation throughout the body. Moderate is the key word though, as too much intensity, especially when resulting in excessive sweating, can actually have the opposite effect.
- Warming abdomen – many acupuncture patients have experienced the benefits of moxibustion, a type of herbal heat therapy, on their abdomen to help with their health issues. Although doing moxa treatment at home isn’t always practical, keeping the abdomen area warm is still important in maintaining overall good health. In fact in Japan, a traditional type of garment called Hara Maki (literally translated as “belly wrap”) is worn to keep the lower abdomen and lumbar area cozy warm by retaining heat, which in turn has the effect of keeping the rest of the body warm as well.
Although it might not be quite the same as lounging on a tropical beach, these habits can still be useful in helping us to get through the winter and stay a little warmer.