Why should we try to use air conditioning and consume cold food and drinks in moderation?

As the weather warms up, the scorching sun and hot air make us crave for a bit of coolness. During such times, many people choose to use air conditioning to escape the heat, while cold food and drinks become essential for cooling down. However, excessive reliance on air conditioning and cold consumption can potentially harm our bodies.


According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is important to “nourish yang qi” (the vital energy) during the spring and summer seasons. Unfortunately, in modern times, people tend to neglect this aspect and engage in activities that deplete yang qi, such as staying up late. Staying up late is one of the biggest exhaustors of yang qi. After staying up all night, our energy levels are depleted the following day, leading to fatigue and drowsiness. Over time, this can result in a depletion of yang qi in the body, leaving us feeling drained.


When yang qi is already damaged, combined with a preference for cold temperatures, it can lead to further depletion. During hot weather, air conditioners run non-stop throughout the day. This time, when sweating and detoxification should naturally occur, the cold air from the air conditioner hinders the natural process and keeps yang qi trapped. Some individuals even consume cold food and drinks, such as ice cream and chilled fruits, which surround the body with coldness from the inside out.


“Moderation is key”

In the summer, the heat can be unbearable, and many people choose to use air conditioning to cool down. However, it is important to recognize that excessive reliance on air conditioning can have negative impacts on our health. According to TCM principles, using air conditioning in the summer is equivalent to being exposed to “virtual evil thieving winds,” and therefore we should use it “in moderation.”


First and foremost, when the air conditioner is running, the room becomes sealed, leading to dry air and an increase in harmful respiratory bacteria. This can decrease our immunity, increasing the risk of colds, sinusitis, asthma, pneumonia, and other respiratory illnesses.


Secondly, the cold air can cause the neck, shoulders, and legs to be susceptible to coldness, allowing cold qi to enter the body, resulting in muscle stiffness, pain, and imbalances in the spleen and stomach, leading to decreased appetite and digestive disorders.



If we frequently stay in air-conditioned rooms, we should follow the following health guidelines:


Avoid using air conditioning directly when sweating profusely.

When we sweat heavily, it is best to avoid direct exposure to air conditioning to protect our yang qi. After sweating, change clothes, dry your hair, and wait for your body temperature to return to normal before entering an air-conditioned room.


Set the air conditioner temperature between 25°C and 26°C and avoid exposing the waist and abdomen.

Maintain appropriate warmth measures while in an air-conditioned room. Wear tops with collars to cover the back and shoulders, and opt for long pants or skirts to avoid exposing the knees and ankles, which are more susceptible to coldness.


Reduce the intake of cold drinks and watermelon to prevent cold qi from directly entering the abdomen and damaging yang qi.


Massage the waist to replenish kidney qi. Massaging the waist about 50 times with the palms of the hand daily can help replenish kidney qi and prevent issues such as lower back pain.


Avoid direct exposure to air conditioning by adjusting the room layout. Avoid sitting or sleeping in drafty areas. Installing air deflectors on air conditioners can also help prevent direct exposure.



In addition to these measures, it is important to address issues related to dampness in the body during the summer.

Incorporating foods that aid in spleen health and dampness elimination, such as barley, white hyacinth beans, plantain seeds, and Poria cocos, into our daily diet can be beneficial. Ginger tea is also a good choice as ginger promotes sweating, warms the stomach, and has detoxifying properties.


Traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture and moxibustion can help warm yang qi, eliminate dampness, and promote circulation. This can provide relief for issues such as neck, back, shoulder, and waist pain caused by air conditioning. Additionally, we should control our intake of cold food and frozen treats to avoid further harm to the spleen and stomach.


While enjoying the comfort of air conditioning, it is important to maintain balance and good health. By following appropriate health practices, we can navigate through the hot summer, minimize harm to our bodies, and preserve our well-being and vitality.

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