Yin and Yang to me is a diagnostic tool, you build a picture of what’s going on in a body, and depending on the predominance of symptoms it builds to Yin or Yang issues, then I go off to very big reference books to fathom it out, but for the majority, you can build a quick picture; so I’ll give you an idea and then you’ll see why it can help you in hot weather, or with issues of the Menopause, Chronic Fatigue or recovering from a serious illness.
A lot of people will say ‘I feel the heat’ or ‘I never get cold’... this would suggest that they’re both people who are warm at all times, never feeling cold in the winter, but as soon as the warm weather comes on they start really noticing it. However there are also people that can’t tell you whether they feel hot or cold, they just don’t notice, so ask yourself these questions:
Do you get cold sitting at the desk?
Do you love the summer heat, and suffer with the winter?
Do you prefer the winter months, and dread summer?
Do you say you feel cold but you never put a cardy/jumper on?
Do you say you feel the heat but have cold feet?
Suddenly it’s not so straight forward if you’re a hot or cold person...
That’s because we’re all different, but it’s good to recognise what you may be to help you handle the heat – Let me explain.
If you said you feel the heat but you have cold feet, then you’re only hot in one part of your body, and this is normally between the diaphragm (mid ribcage) to anywhere to the top of your head. Some people it’s the chest, others back of neck, underarms, forehead, hairline etc.
So the heat is localised, in fact it’s probably stuck in the upper body. There are many reasons for this, tight muscles, stress, ailments, and chemical/hormonal imbalances. The ultimate aim is to rebalance this problem, get your circulation flowing again, warm up your feet (and your lower back!) and then the upper body won’t feel quite so hot.
It’s a real twist but people who often feel the heat, aren’t registering that their lower back is quite chilly, or that their back feels cold and damp – Have a think on this if you’re a hot person, notice your back more often! Our temperature regulation system, in Chinese medicine sits in the mid lower back, around the kidneys (in Western Medicine it’ll be the relationship of organs like the Kidneys and Liver and their efficient functioning). Then with life we have a decline, but for each person this is different, but here’s a sweeping generalisation of where you can end up in your 40s and 50s:
Kid Yin + Kid Yang = Our Constitution at birth, which for a majority of us is balanced.
Taking me as an example, I’ve always felt on the cold side, but with Shiatsu for many years this has balanced out somewhat, but still I like a jumper or 3 in the Winter and I love the weather at the moment; I can do more dripping with sweat than I can when cold! So Age wise I’m mid 40s and I’m on the last chart – both my kid yin and yang are roughly equally depleted. I’m a person that knows to manage my energy (i.e. low Kid Yang), have done all my life (I like my sleep!), I’m peri-menopausal so this lowers my Kid Yin, so as both parts of my constitution are low I don’t have ‘false’ heat. They only time I felt this was when I’d broken my ankle, I couldn’t believe how different I felt, when your body is healing, your temperature control goes out the window!
If you’ve overcome a serious illness, broken bones, trauma, in the Menopause, or have extreme fatigue issues, i.e. you’re always on the go but always feel shattered, wake up between 1 and 3am, and notice the heat then you’re more like the imbalanced chart, too little Yin, whilst the Yang is still firing away.
Yin = cooling and creaming in the body, but if Yang is low, you feel cold, have a sluggish metabolism.
Yang = Fire and energy, but leaves you exhausted if Yin is low, and creates energy slumps.
The imbalance between the 2, causes ‘False Heat’ and you can feel this in the upper body mainly, there are other places, but I write this very generically! Too much heat going on around the body isn’t great, it can lead to all sorts of medical issues and so it’s a great idea to address this imbalance with therapies based in Chinese Medicine as we understand how to rebalance the body’s energies and so rebalance temperature.
There are many cases where people run hot from birth, and this constitution is something that we can only help you manage, which is where I come back to ‘Fire’ Signs; they’re called this in astrology for a reason! Leo’s have the toughest call in the Northern Hemisphere as they’re born into July and August, so conditions will be warmer anyway and there is a propensity towards insomnia for these leonine star signs. I’d really like to meet a Leo from the Southern Hemisphere to see if they’re cooler people temperature wise.
So how do you stay cool in the heat? Drink warm drinks. Whatever the weather, your kidneys really don’t like to be cold. The moment your body gets chilled, the kidneys dump a lot of water and you dehydrate more quickly; and this isn’t good if you have any type of joint pain. The kidneys regulate your temperature, so you have to by-pass your brain feeling hot and your mouth wanting to be quenched, and ask yourself how many times you’ve popped to the loo today too! Caffeine plays its part as well, high energy people just don’t need it, but what happens after a burst of energy is a slump; the aim here would be to do away with stimulants and try and get to an even energy throughout the day.