As our summer heatwave continues you may be feeling some of the problems with overheating: such as tiredness, irritability, restless sleep, headaches, and poor concentration. When it is the weather that is hot, we can usually find a way of cooling down; but for some people the heat comes from inside their bodies. Then they may experience these symptoms of overheating but not know why, or what to do about it. To work out the cause using Chinese medicine I need to have an all-round understanding of your physical and emotional health – then I can use acupuncture to balance out heat and cold so that you regain your energy.
Berthe Morrisot: Woman with a fan.
Sometimes, overheating is due to a need to strengthen your Yin energy. Yin is the cooling, calming, sustaining aspect of Qi (or energy) and can get low due to working hard without proper breaks, or to ongoing stress, or sometimes just getting older. You may feel especially hot at night and may also develop dry eyes or increased anxiety. I use acupuncture to strengthen your Yin and offer advice about how you can keep it strong. When Yin energy is low, it may allow hot Yang energy to rise up to the head. This may cause migraines or outbursts of impatience or anger – a classic case of getting ‘hot under the collar’ or ‘hot headed’ or a ‘blazing temper’. Women are especially liable to this rising Yang just before their periods. Acupuncture treatment then has to bring the Yang energy down before strengthening up the Yin.
However, the body can also generate heat when Qi is strong. For example, internal heat is generated if physical or emotional upsets have blocked the free flow of Qi. This is especially likely if you are getting frustrated, resentful or impatient with some aspect of life. It may give rise to obvious heat but may also be experienced as a red skin rash, indigestion, cystitis type symptoms, or hot painful joints such as gout. It may be most noticeable at the emotional level with anxiety, restlessness, sleep problems, poor concentration or irritation. In these instances, heat may not be the only cause and it may take time for acupuncture treatment to rebalance the body on several levels.
Just to keep it really complicated, it is not uncommon for people to feel both hot and cold! Maybe you feel cold deep inside and cold feet, but hot at night or when stressed. When winter comes, I will write more about feeling cold and how Chinese medicine makes sense of that and how acupuncture treats it. meanwhile, if you have some cool feelings inside you – enjoy the heatwave!