This article is very useful for any students of Chinese Medicine who want to get a better understanding of how it works.
It is also very important for people, particularly in the Western world, who are “health addicts”, those who are good living fitness buffs who are into heavy exercising and into eating lots of vegetables, fruit and healthy foods.
The reason why is because working out and eating too many fruits and vegetables can start to use up and weaken the energy in your body, which can lead to internal coldness. How this comes about will be explained in the last part of this series.
With internal cold and weaker energy, every part of you will have less power to perform and function at its best. If your energy suffers too much you can even become quite ill.
Later in this series we will see how you can tweak your diet and lifestyle to maintain all the benefits of Western style “healthy living” and at the same time increase the energy levels in your body, making it much stronger and healthier.
This article also relates to people with cold constitutions or those living in cold climates, who may often have feelings of cold, tiredness and weakness.
Cold flows hand in hand with lack of energy and lack of power. This leads to a general slow down and loss of activity.
In nature in winter, we see animals hibernate. They retreat, withdraw and try to hold on to their stores of energy throughout the cold months. Trees lose their leaves to preserve nutrients and energy. Most flowers and plants will disappear back towards the ground. As cold intensifies and depletes energy, even our car engines and their batteries can find it more difficult to charge up enough power to get themselves going.
As cold reduces movement, it often tends to cause substances to congeal and thicken. In winter, we will see condensation build up on cold glass mirrors and windows. We will see dew on the grass in the mornings. When it rains it will leave puddles and wet roads. Whereas in hot weather in the summer we get the opposite, things dry very quickly, even after a heavy rainfall.
In the body cold tends to do several things…
(2) When things aren’t being processed they begin to pile up; fluids and phlegm are created. As more and more substances, such as heavy minerals gather, this can lead to a further increase in cooling.
(3) Cold also contracts, tightens, seizes and makes rigid. If you put your hand onto something cold, such as ice, you will feel it clench up. Internally, this can further impede functioning and cause more problems.
Oddly this clenching can also start to generate heat. As energy exists in everything, even in cold conditions, there is always still movement, be it ever so slow or slight. You will find this even in a dead body, where there is still a little energy helping to decompose it from one state into another. In our living bodies we have a huge amount of energy and as cold causes our muscles to tense, the body is still trying to push blood through these tissues and muscles. The vibration and activity of energy used to push the blood into these tight muscles starts to generate heat. If we are out in the cold sometimes we will get red noses and cheeks as extra energy causes heat as it pushes through these contracted blood vessels. In frost bite our tissues will actually burn and blacken. As hot energy battles against extreme cold, it ends up burning up its own tissues. If you freeze meat you won’t get this effect. You will only get it in a living body which continues to pump energy into fingers and toes and other areas which can be affected by frostbite.
Cold can also combine with dryness. Usually this comes from the weather in autumn and winter. Cold dry air and winds, can damage our lips, lungs and skin. It can start to drain fluids from our bodies.
However, cold more frequently combines with and can itself cause dampness and phlegm. When there is cold or a lack of warming heating energy, fluids aren’t processed and start to gather and block up our bodies. Causing swelling and impeding the free flow of movement through our systems.
In Part 2 of this series on cold, I will discuss the symptoms and diseases which can be caused by having too much cold inside your body and its organs.
And in the final part of the series I will tell you what causes an excess of damaging cold to build up in the organs and what you can do to prevent or reverse it.