COLORADO SERENITY – October 2004 (Cold?)
Tracy Saraduke, RN, M.Ac. L.Ac.
3082 Evergreen Parkway, Suite 2
Evergreen, CO 80439
Have you ever known someone with cold hands or feet? I met someone so cold that it was a shock to shake his hand. In 75 degree weather, how could someone’s hand feel like 30 degrees? In East Asia it’s called cold invasion.
Cold invasion is not the same as having a cold. This internal cold condition interferes with the body’s health maintenance system known as defensive chi. I’ve heard doctors say that being cold will compromise the immune system, making a person more susceptible to illness. This sounds like another way of describing the loss of defensive chi, due to cold invasion.
In the Western hemisphere, the concept of cold invasion seems odd. Perhaps it seems odd because we are just not familiar with the expression. What about the expressions “catching cold,” or “catching a chill?” Why do we call a rhinovirus a “cold” virus?
The western medical advice given to a patient with a cold includes “stay warm and dry.” So, there is western acceptance that exposure to cold has a negative impact on our health. There is obviously a relationship between cold and a cold virus.
In the West we think of being invaded by an organism. In the East, the idea is that physical cold impacts the body. This is also how the cold invasion symptoms show up. There can be cold acupoints on the abdomen, internal cold, or cold at the extremities. Poor circulation is frequently identified as the cause.
Circulation can create problems including being cold, but it is not the root cause. What causes poor circulation? The causes are varied and sometimes indirect: trauma, surgery, exposure to cold, inflammation, medication, prolonged illness, etc.
Since medications can induce an internal cold condition, you can get worse (or at least not get any better) by medicating when you are already cold internally. This inhibits healing.
The presence of cold is a sign or symptom. Until cold is gone, the body will have a harder time healing and have a harder time fighting off potential illnesses.
In general, it can be difficult to sort out which causative event occurred first. With acupuncture, it doesn’t matter. We have several diagnostic tools to determine where the circulation is a problem, and have techniques to correct it.