Today we're going to talk about smoking and how it affects our bodies from a Chinese medical standpoint.
In Chinese medicine, any time we're exposed to smoke it has a drying effect. This could be cigarette smoke, marijuana smoke, or even smoke from the wood-burning stove you use to heat your house during the winter. As with many things, a few exposures here and there aren't going to drastically change your health. It's the chronic, long-term exposures that will have an impact.
What does it mean for something to be drying?
Just like a campfire can dry your shoes after you played in the river earlier in the day, smoking will dry up your body fluids. Some people will notice this drying effect as:
- Dry mouth or throat
- Red, dry eyes
- Dry skin, hair or nails
Again, in small doses, the drying won't have a lasting effect. We'll drink more water because we're thirsty, which will replenish our body fluids. Long term, however, while we could theoretically drink enough water to compensate for the loss of body fluids, our body's mechanisms for moving that fluid to different our different parts are damaged. We can drink a ton of water, but we're still going to have the dry skin, hair and nails (and other symptoms) because our body isn't taking in and utilizing fluids properly anymore.
In Chinese medical terms, smoking damages our Yin. When we don't have enough Yin energy to cool, moisten and calm, we end up with uncomfortable symptoms such as those mentioned above.
To reverse this drying effect, acupuncture and herbs can be prescribed, but of course, the best course of action is to limit your exposure.
Tomorrow will be our last piece of this series on Resolutions. We'll be talking about will-power and tips and tricks to keep going with those healthful resolutions!
As mentioned above, here are links to the rest of the articles from Resolutions Week
Resolutions Week - Intro
Resolutions Week - Part I - Exercise
Resolutions Week - Part II - Healthy Eating
Resolutions Week - Part IV - Willpower