You might have heard of something call ‘heaty’ or ‘cooling’. Basically, it is a very generalized statement that says the ‘condition’ our body is in at the moment. Heaty can also mean higher temperature as in heat, but not necessarily so. Instead of the known heat that we are used to ‘i.e. touching boiling water, ouch!’, the term ‘heaty’ here is used to describe internal condition. When Chinese medicine says heaty, it actually means all the below:-

  • A system overload condition (i.e. overwork)
  • A drying, not enough ‘fluid’ condition
  • An imbalance condition where fluid and Qi (energy) are not evenly distributed

We also often use ‘heaty’ food to describe fried food and high energy food. In the same context, these ‘heaty’ food are termed so, as it will cause all the above condition in your body. So, is heaty a good or bad thing? In this context, I am talking about, it is a bad thing. We don’t want a heaty constitution. It is a short-term imbalance condition in our body that will lead to disease, if prolonged. How will we become heaty?

  • Sleeping late at night (after 11pm)
  • Diet i.e. eating too much of heaty food. a little bit is ok
  • Being angry, having a bad temper
  • Overwork, not having enough rest

The list above is not extensive. What logic can explain why the above cause heaty-ness? Chinese maintain that our kidney works all the time and the only hours that it can rest and rejuvenate is from 11pm to 1am. So, if you are not sleeping by 11pm, your kidney will not be able to rest and thus, overwork for the day. When that happens, liver actually kicks in to assist kidney in ‘some’ of its work – mostly filtering out toxin, I believe (although I have not explicitly read any tcm book that says this). Such organ compensation happens all the time in our body and therefore tcm pairs certain organ up to explain their intimate relationship. This is something that western medicine do not understand yet. Thus, some of kidney heat is transferred to liver heat. Again, there is a meridian that connects these two organs which allow such movement.

On the third point, is also something that western medicine is probably slowly understanding, but refused to accept or look into as it is bordering superstition. TCM maintained that there is a strong emotion and physiology link. Why do you think some people get heart attack when they get euphoric (on a roller coaster ride or when they hear some super-exciting news). Why some people literally piss their pants when they are put in a very scary situation? TCM believe that euphoric excitement (too happy) affects the heart and fear impact kidney (kidney is the guardian of bladder control). And lastly anger affect liver. And this link is two-way. Meaning when you get angry, your liver is affected. But same can be said about people who has a bad temper all the time. These people have some liver issues to sort out. They get angry because of certain hormone (histamine) irritates them internally. And liver plays a huge role in the control of this hormone.