by Clark Zimmerman, L.Ac.
It seems that everyone is talking about the weather these days. We all know that summer is the season of heat. This is great if you want to go swimming, or play in the river, but it can be quite distracting if you are doing most other outdoor activities. Chinese medicine focuses a lot of attention on the internal body temperature. Unlike the western approach of using a thermometer to determine the body temperature, Chinese medicine pays greater attention to how a person feels subjectively about their temperature. In other words, does a patient feel hot or cold, or are they generally comfortable. Temperature is such an important subject in Chinese medical treatment, that it is one of the primary 8 principles used to diagnose and treat any illness.
On hot days, it is natural to feel warmer in response to the temperature of our surrounding. It is also expected that when the weather turns cooler our bodies would feel cooler as well. But these tendencies can be influenced by our internal balance. If we are cold internally, than colder weather can exacerbate cold symptoms, leading to a feeling of chilliness, nasal discharge, frequent colds, diarrhea, frequent urination, or digestive problems. If we have “internal heat” in the body, then the warm days may effect us more intensely, leading to symptoms of headaches, increased sweating, red eyes, irritability, dryness, skin rashes/itchiness, constipation, urinary difficulty, digestive complaints, or bleeding problems.