Traditional Chinese (T.C) Doctors argue to not apply ice to an injury, unless it’s the head. T.C doctors spend much of their time removing cold from their patients to stop pain, increase digestion, kidney function, boost fertility and immunity. So when patients go an ice their bodies, the progress they are making in their health after a treatment from a Chinese doctor may actually start to regress.
When you look at how cold effects liquids, then think about what cold would do to your blood? When the blood becomes cold, the blood congeals, stopping nutrient supply to our injury. This is why a T.C. Doctor would never recommend icing any part of your body. Even an acute injury, in this instance you may want to apply the R.C.E principle, R.I.C.E with out the Ice. After 24 hours you may want to increase blood flow to an injured area. This will increase the nutrients that blood provides to an injury, you would actually apply heat.
Human beings are warm blooded. This means our resting body temperature is around 36.6 degrees, if our kidney yang and thyroid are working properly that is. If we think about the homeopathic principle ‘like cures like’, then applying cold to an ‘injured’ warm blooded being could actually be counter productive.
T.C Doctors are also very carful in advising their patients to NEVER apply cold to the lower back, abdomen or sole of the foot. This denotes the area of the Kidney Organ and corresponding end point of the Kidney meridian. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the Kidneys are known as the “Root of Life”, this is because the life essence that we receive from our parents which denotes the health of our entire life resides in the Kidneys. Like every Organ the Kidneys have a Yin and Yang aspect, however the Kidneys Yin and Yang are the foundation of the Yin and Yang for the entire body. This means the body’s ability to regulate temperature, control fluids and water metabolism, energy levels, sexual vitality and fertility are all dependant on the regulation of the Kidneys Yin and Yang.
Yin and Yang are two opposite states which have the ability to transform into the other. Like Day to Night, female to male (all embryos’ starts as female), interior to exterior, cold to hot. The Yin in our bodies is cooling and moisturizing in nature, and the Yang, warming and moving in nature. We can damage the Yin by over heating our bodies and can damage the Yang by allowing our body to become cold. This is especially so if we allow these extreme temperatures to effect the region of the Kidneys, the lower back and the lower abdomen.
This means the Kidneys are vulnerable to extreme temperature conditions, like applying Ice to the lower back, or letting the cold in by wearing short tops or low waisted jeans (watch this when cycling). The Kidneys vitality are especially effected by cold as they are also known as the “Fire of the Gate of Vitality”, and when we loose that fire we loose the function of the Kidneys.
The Kidneys Yin and Yang are interdependent upon the other. Like an oil lamp, the Yin is the oil and the Yang is the flame. If the oil decreases the flame will decrease and visa versa. So by internally heating the body up with heating foods, heating pharmaceuticals, hot herbs, excessive sauna use including (Bikhram Yoga) or exhausting the body at night, we not only damage the Yin but the Yang also. Just as if we allow the body to become cold by either exposing our body to the cold or exhausting the body in cold conditions, excessive sex or using cold pharmaceuticals like anti-biotics, we can also damage the Yin.
Infertility is usually due to Yang deficiency
Applying cold to a mans back or abdomen for some time can damage his Kidney yang and lead to erectile dysfunction. Women should also be extra careful in not ice their abdomen as their womb is sensitive to the cold. The womb can trap the cold inside it, which is very difficult to remove as it is deep in the body. Trapped cold in the womb can lead to congealed blood and therefore painful periods and infertility. There is an old T.C Doctors saying “you can not cook a bun in a cold oven”. A woman’s temperature naturally rises with the “Yang hormone” progesterone in the second phase of her menstrual cycle (the implantation stage). If she falls pregnant then progesterone is made in abundance and the body’s temperature remains high. This means if we do not have enough of the Yang hormone to heat the body up, the baby will not hold.
It is also important to note that after birth you should definitely NOT apply ice to the perineum to reduce swelling!! This can be disastrous to period pain and fertility in the future.