Life and food in summer

Geelong Water Front Trees
Geelong Water Front Trees

Summer is here, and will be here for a while. In Geelong, summer can be hot, humid, and the temperature also changes dramatically, varying from 42 degree to 20 degree within one day.

When hot, naturally people want to take cold food and cold drink to help with the heat or dress coolly, such as wearing saddles, vests etc. In Chinese medicine, this is however a poor practice. Coldness is one of the major causes of health conditions in Chinese medicine. In winter, we dress warmly to cope with the cold, but in summer we forget that there are also cold factors when the day temperature drops greatly or when the sea breeze comes through at night.

In fact, summer is the main season when the cold environment or cold food impacts on us quietly, such an impact could show immediately, but more often the impact won’t show until winter. If you suffer from cough or asthma in winter, if you have stomach pain, diarrhoea or abdominal bloating easily, if you suffer from painful periods (for girls), or if you have low back pain or arthritis, keeping yourself warm is particularly important in summer. Those conditions indicate you are prone to be affected by the cold environment or cold food. At our Chinese medicine clinic in Geelong, we identified some commons causes leading to coldness invading into the body, and have generated a list of tips to keep yourself warm in summer and prevent from health problems in winter.

Tips to prevent coldness invasion in summer
• Take warm drinks, such as tea or coffee or warm water. Do you know taking warm drinks actually help cool your body? This seems to be counterintuitive. Check out this article.
• When eating cold salad or food, make sure you also eat something warm or drink something warm at the same time to reduce the impact of cold.
• When going into a room or place that is air conditioned, for girls or ladies, please bring a shawl to cover your shoulders; for gentlemen, please wear short or long sleeve shirts, but not vests. This is particularly important if your office is cold. You could be exposed to a cold environment for 8 hours straight. One of my common “prescriptions” is a few beautiful shawls for ladies.
• When sleep, make sure you are covered with something; even a thin sheet would be very helpful. Our body temperature drops when we sleep or be in station and this is the time when a cold environment impacts on our body greatly.
• Sitting or sleeping away from any direct wind. Wind helps the coldness penetrate into the body.

So food, drink and dress are the ones to think about in summer.