A recent study by the journal Nature Climate Change highlights an issue that I’ve been hearing about for years: office environments that are too cold for women. Many of my female patients complain of being uncomfortably cold in their workplaces while their male colleagues feel OK. According to this article it may be due to the fact that office climate controls were set by men for men at a time when males dominated the workplace, both in numbers and in supervisory roles. Now females make up a much greater portion of the white collar work force and are feeling the effects of these old thermostat settings.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have a clear understanding of this dynamic in terms of Yin and Yang. Yin is feminine, cool, dark and moist. Yang is male,warm, bright and dry. Neither energy is “better” or healthier; both are needed in relative, equal balance for vitality and wellness. Exterior conditions such as climate will affect women and men differently. As practitioners of TCM we often use acupuncture points, moxabustion, herbal formulas, dietary recommendations and other methods to warm or cool the body energy as we determine what our patients need. Here at the Acupuncture Center of New Jersey in Morristown we often counsel our patients to moderate and balance their activities and way of life choices in relation to the indoor and outdoor climates. For example: in the heat of the summer we advise consuming fruits, raw vegetables and liquids, wearing light cotton clothing, and exercising in the early morning; in the cold fall and winter months eating stews and cooked foods, warm liquids (no ice drinks!), and layers, particularly keeping the core abdomen protected from the cold.
Regarding the issue of the cold office environment, we recommend that our female patients wear layers, avoid ice drinks and cold foods, and especially to assert their right to be comfortable by raising the thermostat to a level compatible with their constitution. Men can take off their jackets and loosen or remove their ties and everyone can work together in harmony. Yin and Yang in balance will make for a happier, healthier and more productive work environment!
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