Beat the Heat: 5 Ways TCM Helps Cool You Down
This summer has been a hot one! Feeling hot can leave us irritable, fatigued and unmotivated. It may also lead to symptoms like dizziness, headache, nausea or cramping. Even though summer is winding down, there are plenty of hot days still to come before we are graced with fall weather. Here are 5 easy ways to help cool down this summer using Traditional Chinese Medicine.
1. Watermelon - sweet, juicy and refreshing, watermelon is perfect for a quick cool down. It promotes urination while also nourishing body fluids, a perfect combination for a hot summer day. It's perfect as is, but I like to blend some up with lemon juice and mix with sparkling water, super thirst quenching!
2. Mint - Even on the hottest days I typically don't encourage drinking ice cold beverages, because although it temporarily provides relief, it can impair digestion. Instead, choose cool natured drinks and drink them at room temperature or slightly cool. Mint is great for this! Mint tea can help cool the body down, not only because mint itself is cool energetically, but it also promotes sweat which helps you chill. My favorite is to make mint and chrysanthemum sun tea.
3. Eat light! - There is a tendency to eat a lot of heavy rich foods even though its hot out. Eating a lot of rich grilled meat, ice cream and the foods at parties and bbqs can all lead to sluggish digestion and the creation of damp heat in the body as it tries to work through the food. This stagnation of food and damp heat makes you feel warmer, so stick to lighter, fresher foods to facilitate digestion.
4. Acupressure - There are several acupuncture points that help to clear heat from the body. One of the easiest to find and most accessible is Large Intestine 11 (LI 11). This point is located on the outside crease of the elbow. Use firm pressure on this point for a few minutes to help you cool down and relax.
5. Gua Sha - I use this technique all the time in the clinic for a variety of reasons. It is a simple and effective way to treat pain and help break up adhesions. But, it also works for treating fevers and venting heat. My favorite tool to use with this technique is a porcelain soup spoon, but anything with a smooth edge will work such as the lid to a mason jar. Apply a thing layer of oil or moisturizer to the back of the neck or the point listed above, LI 11 and with firm pressure scrape the area until redness appears. You don't have to scrape so hard that it's painful or draws blood, just enough to open the pores to release heat. Added bonus, if you do it on LI11, it will help relax the muscles of the forearm and release tension in the elbow.
Use these tools to help you get through the last hot days of summer!
**All information and resources found on balancedstonewellness.com are based on the opinions, experience and research of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider...even if that provider may be the author ;)