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Chinese medicine and cold extremities

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

The old saying goes, "Cold hands, warm heart," but not according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Persistently cold extremities, cold hands and feet, usually indicate an internal imbalance or qi deficiency.

TCM classifies cold limbs as a “jue“ ailment that happens when yin and yang energies cannot connect in the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine holds that yang conveys energy to the limbs, while yin conveys energy to the organs. The yin and yang energy connects with each other in a circle inside the human body. If the two energies can't link up, jue and cold limbs happen.

Jue may result from various energy imbalances: meridian obstruction and insufficient yang energy inside are the most common causes. Qi stagnation, blood stasis and indigestion may lead to meridian obstruction. Hence, people who are depressed, stressed or lacks exercise are more prone to cold hands and feet due to blood and qi obstruction inside the body.

Yang is the creative, transformative energy that can warm and activate the body. There are various reasons why our yang energy becomes depleted: long exposure to cold, over-eating cold food and drink, over-working exceeding your body’s ability to recover in the available time, and being in chronic stress state and suffering emotions like fear, and women may cause the situation of irregular period.

Methods like chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, moxibustion, scraping, aerobic exercise, foot soaks, and nourishing foods can help relieve the problem. Regular aerobic exercise promotes blood circulation and metabolism, so it can relieve cold limbs. Jogging, tai chi and rope skipping are good exercises. Heavy exertion should be avoided since heavy sweating results in "leaking" of yang energy and aggravates the problem of chilled extremities.

To relieve the problem, incorporate the following foods or Chinese Medicine:

Black-feet chicken, black rice, buckwheat, black beans, black sesame, milkvetch root, codonopsis root, jujubes and black fungus.


Cold food and drink, raw food, crab, melons.

Yong Kang TCM Clinic

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