As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I am very familiar with the surprised look on patient’s faces when I discuss avoiding chilled and raw food. Western culture emulates that the healthiest of modern diets include smoothies, juices and an abundance of salads. Diets rich in raw and chilled food however, are against the core principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The theory behind this is that the body struggles to break down cold and raw food and then has difficulty generating qi (energy) and blood. Raw food is included as it is viewed as ‘cold’ in nature, and the body has to essentially cook the food to obtain nutrients from it.
Overtime regular consumption of raw and cold food can lead to our body struggling to have adequate energy, and also to numerous digestive complaints. Often you will also feel the cold easily or regularly experience cold hands and feet. In Traditional Chinese Medicine we call this ‘Yang Deficiency’, and this equates to a depletion of the warmth and qi (energy) in your body.
Yang warming energy is the origin of movement of blood and qi throughout the body. It is also the catalyst for reproductive processes, like ovulation and implantation. Yang energy, being also uplifting and supportive in nature, is also responsible for allowing a pregnancy to continue.
Yang Deficiency may correlate with fertility issues such as low progesterone, low luteal temperatures, implantation failure, luteal phase defect, miscarriages and endometriosis. For an embryo to embed and thrive, the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), needs a great blood supply from all the capillaries that feed into it. A ‘Warm Womb’ is one in which there is great blood flow, as opposed to a ‘Cold Womb’ where capillaries are constricting with the cold and not generating enough warmth and nutrient rich blood supply to support life.
Tips for a Warm Womb
- Swap out cold, raw foods with warm, nourishing meals that you would typically think of in winter – chicken and/or vegetable soups, bone broths, casseroles, stews, mild curries.
- Cut out cold drinks. Even in a hot climate, regular consumption of chilled beverages is damaging your yang and affecting your ability to conceive. Try a homemade ginger tea instead. If it’s too hot for tea, let it sit until it’s at room temperature.
- Keep the soles of your feet warm. Avoid bare feet on tiles, concrete or timber floors. The kidney meridian in acupuncture theory, originates on the sole of the foot and travels up to the uterus. The cold in the floor is then flowing directly to the uterus.
- Don’t allow your body to get too cold. Dress warmly, especially when in air-conditioning. Pay special attention to keeping your legs, abdomen and lower back warm.
- Avoid frequently sitting on cold floors as you are allowing cold to permeate through your lower body and then to your uterus.
- Don’t swim when you are menstruating. At this time of the month the cervix is open, and you are allowing cold to enter directly into the uterus.
- Include regular acupuncture with moxa on the low abdomen, to warm the uterus and build the yang. Moxa is a traditional Chinese therapy where dried mugwort is burned above parts of the body, such as the uterus. Warming certain acupuncture points on the legs with moxa can help build yang and qi.
- Incorporate warming traditional Chinese herbs. There are fantastic herbal formulas that are specifically for warming the uterus and building the yang. Many of these formulas have been around for centuries.