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Does happiness rely on Physical Warmth?

5 elements chinese medicine Apr 26, 2023

In 2008, Yale researchers asked 41 participants to hold coffee cups in an elevator on their way up to a lab. Half were asked to hold a cup of steaming coffee from the local coffee shop.  Half were asked to hold a cup of iced coffee.  A few minutes later, in the lab, they were asked to read a description of an unknown person, let’s call her Jill and to rate Jill’s personality traits on a scale of 1-10, related to “warm” or to “cold”.  Those who handled the hot drink rated Jill a significantly warmer, nicer person than those who had handled the iced drink.  These findings were groundbreaking.  They indicated that experiencing physical warmth could increase judgement of social warmth. 

To follow up, they did the same experiment based on room temperature.  Half of the subjects were placed in a warm room, 72-75 degrees, and the other half were placed in a cold room, 57-64 degrees.  “Warm” participants saw more cooperation and friendlier relationships and “cold” participants saw strife and problems. 

The ancient Chinese doctors did not know about the hypothalamus and the concept of thermoregulation. But they did understand that the fire element, of which the heart is the supreme commander, was responsible for maintaining the warmth in the body. Thermoregulation (the balance of warmth and cold in the body) is a strong determinant of our health.

Homeothermy is a very fancy term for describing the maintenance of a stable, optimal body temperature. In acupuncture college, we were trained to run our hands over the surface of a patient’s body, testing for warm and cold areas.  The more consistent the skin temperature, the greater the chance of quick recovery. Homeothermy appears in animals that are adequately nourished and hydrated. Heterothermy, on the other hand, (the struggle to maintain a normal body temperature), is associated with inadequate nourishment and hydration.

Certain conditions such as hypothyroidism and eating disorders such as anorexia have associations with depression and feelings of cold.
And today, modern medical miracles include whole body hyperthermia (heating the entire body to temperatures between 102 F and 109 F) to treat conditions such as Lyme disease, metastatic cancer, and depression. (National Cancer Institute, Hyperthermia in Cancer Treatment). 

In my class, 5 Elements + Meridians, you'll learn more about the importance of maintaining correct balance in the Fire Element.

Included in this course:

  • 2 course videos (over 2 hours each)- you’ll have lifetime access to the recordings

  • PDF downloads of charts and slides

    You CAN learn how to heal yourself and others using Chinese Medicine. I'd love to show you how!

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