Excess heat is a health condition when the yin energy is lacking in the body allowing yang energy to overflow in excess. This means the body’s positive and negative energies are not in balance. To put it in a more layman or scientific manner, it simply means the body is working too hard and it is not able to slow down and go to rest, it is on the verge of a burnout. This is a common condition found in urban people as they often entangle themselves in thoughts related to work and relations. Some even believe that they sleeping and resting should be kept to minimum so they can fight life to the fullest, every day, every week, every month, every year till the day their hearts stop beating.
In Chinese philosophy, this is foolish conduct, for living life in moderation is a virtue, living your life in an uncontrolled haphazard fashion is a sin. Whatever you do, do not overdo it. Do it in balance. Leave an exit for yourself; give you and those around you some space. Same for our body, we should cherish our physical existence which our parents bestowed upon us. We should respect our own body and mind, by taking care of its well being. Regulate your lifestyle, limit your intake of inflammation inducing food, have enough exercise, give yourself some peace and quiet and of course, enough rest and sleep.
This health condition develops slowly and persists slightly longer. The patient’s cheeks will turn red, have problem falling asleep, sweats easily and profusely, encounter drying of mouth and throat, have dizzy spells and fine racing pulse. Let me explain what is the purpose and nature of yin components in our body. Besides providing nourishment to the body and providing organs with fluids, it is responsible for restraining and holding in the yang qi, preventing its leakage. The attributes of the yin components are cooling, calming and settling, as opposed to yang energy which is hot, moving and rising.
In more layman terms, let us see the body as a car engine. When there is no more water in the water tank to act as coolant for the engine, the engine will overheat, causing damage and engine failure. When there is no more engine oil, the moving parts have no lubricant and the smooth operation of the engine will be greatly affected. The engine also relies on combusting petrol or diesel to generate power. In TCM terms, yang qi is like fuel, yin jing is similar in purpose to water and engine oil.
Getting your emotional well being affected is really terrible. A person with excess heat become temperamental, often hurting the ones around him though deep inside he doesn’t want to. It makes you make wrong decisions out of flustered haste. Definitely not good for business leaders who have to decide over million dollar deals, and the rice bowls of thousands. As we know, emotions can affect those around you, especially if you are taking the role of a leader. If you show a frustrated face full of worries, those around you who place faith in you will also naturally feel your worry out of their own empathy for another sentient being. If you want to take care of your loved ones, first take care of yourself.
So, with all the talk about the symptoms of excess heat and its countless repercussions, how do we prevent it from developing? Of course, we talk about prevention first, as prevention is better than cure. It’s definitely more economical than cure, as the only parties who will profit are clinics and hospitals.
1) Limit your sex life, whether you are man or woman. The root of life creates semen, vaginal fluids and nourishment for the sexual organs, it also creates yin jing to suppress excess fire. By having too much sexual activity, you are straining and depleting your root of life, thus the yin jing in your body will be depleted. If you have a partner, once a week is enough. Self masturbation is definitely not recommended.
2) Eat light, cut down on flavorings and condiments like soya sauce, pepper and oil. Certain fruits can increase the fire in the body, such as lychee, longans, durian and mango. High calorie food such as junk food and fried, grilled or barbecued food is best kept to minimum. Meals such as Macdonalds, KFC and the Western stall at the coffeeshop. If you really love these, limit to one cheat meal a week. If not, it’s best to quit it completely.
3) Forbid yourself from taking caffeine products such as coffee, latte, mocha, cappuccino and the like. Foodstuffs such as green tea and chocolate which contains caffeine should not be over consumed.
4) Cigarettes and alcohol. These really cause inflammation which doesn’t wear off, to make it worse it’s addictive. If you already started to take these, try to cut down to once in awhile.
5) Have enough sleep! This is the most important thing but most people stubbornly refuse to follow. It is very important to shut down your consciousness so your body can reset itself to another day, to secrete yin and reduce yang. Your body needs time to repair and refuel. It will enter a state of emergency if it doesn’t get enough sleep, that means many functions of the body will go out of balance. If you really have a very busy social life which requires you to hang out every night, make sure there are at least 3 nights a week which you fall asleep before 11pm. You already spent 4 late nights a week with your friends and with emails, don’t rob your body of its much needed 3 nights of recovery.
6) Do not eat too late, especially for those who have the habit of eating supper. The body is not meant to digest food after 9pm, the latest time to have your dinner is 8pm. Do not eat too much for your dinner as well.
If you happen to be affected by excess heat syndrome, simply follow these guidelines and you’ll be back to normal soon after. What about the cure? Say if it’s really serious and you desperately need a cure.
You can take these food:
1) Green beans. Make green bean soup out of boiling green beans, or if you are working outside, you can buy green bean soup from the dessert stall, just ask them to reduce the sugar amount.
2) Barley. You can buy the barley drink every time you visit the coffeeshop. Otherwise, you can make barley soup yourself at home, by boiling barley, pandan leaf and winter melon.
3) Lotus root.
4) Beetroot and bamboo shoots.
5) Cucumber and bittergourd. These are the best in cooling the body and clearing it of toxins. Cucumber seem to have a good effect to keep you cool headed too.
6) Watermelon. It’s sweet and juicy, and brings down the heat on a hot summer day.
You can also try acupressure or acupuncture. Visit a reliable TCM practitioner. Or if you know where the accupoints are, you can stimulate these points through massage: 合谷(LI4) 曲池(LI11) 神门(HT7) 内关(PC6) 涌泉(KD1) 照海(KD6).
As for tonics, cordyceps(冬虫夏草) will be the best, as studies have shown it to have tonifying effects on the kidney and lungs, it’s effective in maintaining the balance of yin and yang.
For insomnia, it is a slow illness which usually develops in ‘night cats’ and the elderly. Night cats means people who are active at night. People who suffer from insomnia have problem falling asleep after lying down in bed, or they may wake up many times in their sleep, encounter many dreams or nightmares, or sleep without feeling like real quality sleep. There will be other accompanying symptoms such as chest tightness, burning feeling in the chest, frustrating emotion, feeling hot in the palms, easily thirsty and sweatiness. Such heatiness cannot be purged by simply drinking water or herbal cooling tea; it is not normal heat, it is excess heat as described in TCM theory.
People who suffer from insomnia have depleted yin jing in the kidneys. It can be caused by aging, and also lack of sleep and excessive sexual activity. The latter two can also accelerate aging by consuming life essence faster than should be. Life essence in the kidneys has the attributes of water element in the five elements of TCM theory. On the other hand, the heart has the fire element. It can be simply said that when you are awake, your heart is at work. When you are sleeping, your heart is resting and the kidneys are active in recovery of the body, just like fire and water. So, we know that day and night is not just a cycle which occurs in our natural environment, our body has a day and night cycle too, even if you don’t feel it. If the water in our body is depleted, it won’t be able to put out the excess fire when you need to rest.
Sleeping pills can be addictive and make the person reliant on it. On the other hand, Chinese medicine and acupuncture is not addictive. You can also try practicing Qigong. The Qigong we practice in Singapore Kung Fu has soothing healing ability which has brought health and peace to many. Through our Qigong exercises and internal meditation, we can independently clear blocked channels in our body. We can also boost the yin energy in our body and flush out the excess heart fire. With an understanding of the accupoints, when you do Qigong, you can stimulate the accupoints which I have mentioned above.
Qigong is useful in controlling this excess heat, but you will still have to observe a disciplined lifestyle with proper diet, sleeping habits; a lifestyle free of alcohol and cigarettes. If your problem with excess heat is bothering you and you wish to pick up Qigong to improve your health condition, you can send me an email to ask me more about the issue, I’ll be glad to guide you.