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February 9, 2012

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Stay warm and healthy with TCM

TCM practitioners say there are several easy ways to activate yang energy in the body and improve circulation, which will help keep you warm during the winter. Zhang Qian reports.

Deficient yang energy and poor circulation are the major causes of a cold body, according to traditional Chinese medicine.

Many people endure cold hands and feet that don't warm up, even under a heavy quilt. This may lead to a lack of sleep, especially in winter.

Rather than gain weight - fat helps keep the body warm - TCM practitioners recommend boosting yang energy and activating circulation through diet, interaction with the universe, physical exercise and some easy TCM therapies.

Absorbing yang energyfrom food

Sufficient yang energy plays an important role in keeping people warm in cold weather. Foods with a yang characteristic are good choices in the winter for people who often feel cold. Mutton and beef are on the top of the protein list, ginger is a recommended seasoning and black tea is a good beverage.

Foods that benefit the digestive system are also recommended. Only an efficient digestive system can transform food into the energy needed to keep the body warm. Mildly "warm" foods like pumpkin, yam and wolfberry are good choices to help the spleen.

E'jiao (prepared donkey skin) and jujubes are also known for protecting people from the cold weather as they reinforce blood and improve circulation. But TCM practitioners caution not to over eat any of these foods as it may burden the digestive system.

Collecting yang energyfrom the universe

Sunbathing can help people collect yang energy from the sun. Exposing your back, where most main meridians travel through the body, to the warm sunshine can help you absorb and transfer the yang energy throughout the body quickly.

A hot spring with sulphur in the water is also a good source of yang energy. This can activate the yang energy within the body and improve circulation.

Activating yang energywith exercise

Physical exercise gets the heart beating faster and pumping more blood through the body. Thus, exercise will activate yang energy and help people adapt to weather changes. Generally, moderate exercise for about 30 minutes every day is enough.

Reinforcing yang energy through TCM therapies

It is widely known that stimulation of certain acupuncture points can help adjust the energy balance within the body.

It also works well to boost yang energy in cold weather. Acupressure on the xue hai and san yin jiao points can help relieve coldness due to deficient blood. Moxibustion on the guan yuan and qi hai points, which are said to be the origin of yang energy in the body, can also help enhance yang energy efficiently.

Soaking feet in hot water often can be just as effective and far more convenient. Since the sole of each foot has many acupuncture points, keeping them warm can help activate most of the energy channels in the body and keep people warm. Adding a decoction of "warm" herbs like fennel, saffron, cinnamon and ginger in the hot water will prove even more effective. Soaking feet in hot water before going to bed also helps ensure a good sleep.

Acupuncture points

Qi hai - On the lower abdomen and on the anterior midline; about 5 centimeters below the center of the umbilicus.

Guan yuan - On the lower abdomen and on the anterior midline. 10 centimeters below the center of the umbilicus.

Xue hai - With the knee flexed, on the medial side of the thigh, 6.67 centimeteres above the superior medial corner of the patella, on the prominence of the medial head of the quadriceps muscle of the thigh.

San yin jiao - On the medial side of the leg, 10 centimeters above the tip of the medial malleolus, posterior to the medial border of the tibia.


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