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Shiatsu Blog: How to keep cool in the summer by staying warmer!

woman back facing sea


You’re not going to believe me straight away when I say: You need to keep your body warmer in order to cool down… Yes, you read that right! I’m going to explain this simple custom from the Japanese culture based on Chinese medicine that I normally save for the winter time and explain why it’s going to help you keep cooler in the summer too. In this month’s shiatsu blog: How to keep cool in the summer by staying warmer!


How to keep cool in the summer by staying warmer!

Summer is a time where you’re in danger of getting certain vital spots on your body colder than in the winter time – why? Because you don’t wear as many layers which help trap your natural body warmth where it’s needed and utilised. Your warmth is your energy; in releasing it you’re losing your ability to regulate your own body temperature naturally.

Did you know that you only register if you’re hot (most of the time) from the chest to the face? Maybe around the armpits and arms as well but how often do you think about your lower back and whether that is too hot or too cold?

Tuning into what’s going on in your lower back is THE KEY to regulating your overall body temperature.

If you’re sat in the shade outside in a T shirt and you feel a bit chilly turn your back to the sun to warm up. It feels good to appreciate the sun on your face but it's the sun on your back that really makes you feel good!

Do you feel good when you get the warmth of the sun on your back?

Here’s a quick test:

Rub your hands together until they feel temperate (If you have cold hands) then place them over your lower rib cage on your back; over your kidneys. Does it feel nice to have your hands there? (i.e. are your hands warm and comforting?) If so then your back is too cold and your body will struggle more to regulate your body temperature. In the rarer cases your hands may feel uncomfortably warm or they are cooler and this is also relieving - this indicates you’ve lost the cooling ability and it tends to happen to some women in menopause too; this requires its own special treatment. Today we’re just looking at your back feeling too cold.


The Chinese medicine behind cold spots on your back

There’s an Acu point just to the side of your spine just below where your ribs finish (just below the 2nd lumbar vertebrae) – this point is called SHENSHU  -The kidney back transporting point and it’s an incredibly powerful point used in Shiatsu and Acupuncture.


Kidney energy is at the root of your health in Chinese Medicine.

In a lot of your treatments it's the aim to support this energy and it splits into 2 elements depending on how hot or cold you feel:

Kidney Yang Deficiency – you’ve lost some of your fire; this is when your hands feel warm and comfortable placed on your kidneys. This means you can feel the cold and feel fatigued and may also suffer from cold limbs lower back pain and a weakness in your lower legs (feel wobbly when waling)


Kidney Yin Deficiency - this is the other way around – you can feel too hot all the time and have night sweats  dizziness tinnitus and poor memory.


Together they create your Kidney Essence – this is your vitality and leads to your health and longevity. As your vital energy is exhausted (by living a westernised fast paced and stressful life) you can feel more of these issues arising and it can lead to premature aging.


Bladder 23 SheShu point

How to regulate your temperature and optimise your health


Now you know whether you’re too cold (based on my quick back test) you can make simple changes to support your kidney energy. In supporting this it will in turn help regulate your overall temperate feeling. Here are some quick lifestyle tips to get you started:


Always sit with your back to the sun – help your body warm up where it’s most needed and in turn you'll temperature regulate better.

Cut a t shirt to make a Haramaki

Wear 2 layers even on a summer’s day!

Yes, if your back is cold why not? If you feel too hot on the top half then make your own Haramaki. Cut a T shirt that’s too tight just under the armpits so you’re left with a wide band. Wear that under your other clothes so that it helps trap in more warmth where it’s needed.

If you’re sat at a desk for too long tie a scarf or a hoody / cardy /jumper … anything around your lower back. I guarantee you won’t feel too hot even on a warmer day.

Warm up from the inside – ditch ice cold drinks and salads.

Opt for room temperature drinks or broths for a lighter meal where you can add many components from a salad like radishes and onions. Cook elements to have a warm salad and drink herbal teas/ Chai (spiced teas) instead of the diuretic and exhausting caffeine-based drinks.

Learn what foods and lifestyle issues can cause your kidney energy to deplete including physical stress and menopause.

man arm sun qi gong

Try Qi Gong (an older version of Tai Chi)  

This ancient type of exercise is linked with shiatsu. Nowadays more western practitioners are using Qi Gong exercises as Somatic exercises and explaining how they regulate the nervous system/release trauma. This is great to hear these ancient exercises explained in the more scientific way that we crave in the west … these exercises have been around for millennia in the East and contribute to their longevity and health.


Receive regular shiatsu

Based on the same theory as Acupuncture the beauty of shiatsu is that it crosses the bridge with having a regular massage; you leave feeling as though you’ve had a full body tune up whilst being incredibly relaxed and balanced. Shiatsu always looks to strengthen your vital energy whilst gently destressing (and easing mucles tension) and detoxing your body.

Shiatsu is a preventative therapy where you learn how to listen to what your body needs and starts the reintegration with your mind and spirit for your transformational health and wellbeing.

Japanese drawing of shiatsu in ancient times

Come along for your first shiatsu for a bad back or any joint problem and stay with shiatsu to understand and prevent major health issues from building up.

Your mind and body deserve more... You deserve Shiatsu

About  Andrea at  Shiatsu  Bodyworks Cheltenham

Andrea is a qualified zen shiatsu and Chinese medicine practitioner with over 20 years immersed in holistic therapies and the energetics of mind and body. Based in Cheltenham, UK she offers in house clinic and online shiatsu sessions to help people with midlife health issues and also offers online consultations for helping you resolve health issues and regain your vitality. She is a menopause specialist too, find out more at

hands womans ba


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