It's that time of year when the cold blooded folks struggle with the warm blooded folks over the thermostat setting. Have you ever wondered why some people run cold and others run hot?
As the weather turns colder, the feeling of being cold all the time is something many people deal with. The folks that run hot all year around start the annoying thermostat dance with those folks who are cold and the winter war of being too hot or too cold begins.
So why do most of us either run far to one side of this issue or the other? There can be many reasons for feeling either hot or cold all the time. The various symptoms can point to mild hormonal problems to dangerous medical conditions. A few of these common conditions are anemia, a condition found in people with too little iron in their blood, and hypothyroidism, which affects the control of essential metabolic functions. Similarly, some people who run hot can have hyperthyroidism. This causes the body to produce too many hormones affecting the regulatory system causing you to overheat. Feeling cold can also point to blood vessel disorders, diabetes, and even B12 deficiency. There are equally as many reasons you may feel hot all the time which can include being overly stressed, too much caffeine and obesity, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, many people often do not find the reason through modern medical tests and you get sent home being told your one of those folks who run hot or cold. In Chinese medicine, it can be better diagnosed for people with no explainable medical condition. With Chinese medicine, the diagnosis often involves your Yin (Female/Cold) consuming more of your heat or Yang (Male/Heat) energy. The opposite is true when your Yin does not cool and nourish your Yang, then your body's heat rises. Hot and cold are opposites, so it makes sense from a Chinese medicines view that when you are out of balance meaning one side of your opposite Yin or Yang can lead to feeling colder or equally hotter. This more traditional approach to hot or cold symptoms is a bit strange to us with western medicine, but often can explain your condition that modern medicine can't treat.
Chinese medicine sees body temperature in four properties: cold, hot, warm, and cool. Chinese medicine uses both herbal and acupuncture therapy to help address the issues of managing your body temperature. Adding herbs such as ginger, prepared tea or raw ginger exhibited a warming effect on the body temperature. Other such treatments such as consumption of garlic, mustard, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper have shown to be helpful in warming you up.
Similarly the application of acupuncture to points on your body that can affect your body temperature and used to adjust up or down your sensation of feeling too hot or too cold. These points vary with locations such as the back of your neck and your upper abdomen area for example. Acupuncture and herbal therapy combined can be very helpful in managing the uncomfortable nature of variable body temperatures.
Getting back to the western medicine view, most body temperature swings are often from changes in metabolic function. If you're suffering from extreme swings from hot to cold or just cold all the time, it is essential to understand your symptoms. To start, you should be aware of outside factors like what food or drinks did you just have that may have triggered temperature changes in your body. If diet nor environmental factors are involved, this could be an indicator of a more problematic underlying health issue. Health Practitioners can help us with many tests to get a more in-depth look at fundamental causes.
One area that often gets looked at is the hypothalamus, a part of your brain that produces hormones which regulate internal body temperature. For example, high levels of stress can throw off your hypothalamus, causing your body temperature to rise. Stress can impact your autonomic nervous system causing blood to move internally toward your core organs. Hence, why when you get into a fight or altercation, your hand gets cold and your face gets hot.
We have all been taught that most people have a constant body temperature of 98.6 degrees, but that one size fits all approach is not for sure and can swing widely based on age, genetics and body weight. Babies run hot and the elderly can trend down with their body temperatures. Women bodies tend to be colder then men's since they have to work harder keeping organs warmer, pulling blood away from their hands and feet. This often explains why women struggle with cold hands and feet. Men tend to have more muscle and women tend to have more fat then muscle which generates more body heat and being overweight can create body regulation problems as well.
While many factors contribute to feeling hot or cold, there are equally as many ways to treat and overcome the challenges. If nothing else during winter months, either layer up or dress light, depending on which way you swing across the hot or cold spectrum.
A recognized health and wellness presenter, fitness trainer and now primal health coach in the Inland Northwest. Now in his eighth year of bringing health and wellness through his writing, teaching and coaching, Judd delivers his well-rounded message of mindfulness, nutrition and fitness to readers and clients alike.