Well, not surprisingly we are closed on this icy day. What does TCM have to say about ice? “Ice is for dead people.” That’s more of a reference to injuries and RICE technique. But also it’s true that we consume too much ice and we do not appreciate the difficulty that ice and cold puts on the body. We must remember that our Qi wants to be 98.6 degrees, even if we don’t. We might want to be 68, 70, or 72 all the time, but in fact these are hypothermic conditions.
Even in 90 degree Gulf water a person can die of hypothermia and exposure! So how can we offset the effects of ice? Consuming hot beverages, especially ginger tea, would be the number one. Also avoiding a iced-water or tea or especially coffee habit would also be key. Iced coffee is triple cold, and if you add sugar and other syrups well then you get cold and dampness together. It’s just a recipe for pneumonia and other conditions!
As for ICE on the outside of the body, think about this: it numbs. If it numbs that means the circulation is dead. How can something heal quickly if there is less circulation? If you must use ice, only use it on acute conditions, never chronic, and never for arthritis. Use it in short bursts of 5 minutes on and 15 off. Remember, your body has its healing processes for a reason.
As for staying safe walking on ice, we must use our Taiji core-body techniques, and avoid being in our heads only. Step lightly, and gently, and keep upright (Zheng), so that our equillibrium is over the navel in placement. If you do this, and you slip, you will recover before hitting the ice. As we age it is more difficult without practice to be mentally in our core. Staying off your phone on ice is pretty key. Sad to say but some senior today will be on the ice when they shouldn’t, and on their phone or distracted, or pulled by a dog, and they will get seriously hurt. Don’t let this be you or a loved one!
As for surviving “tredding on thin ice,” remember the wisdom of the I Ching in this, in the concept of the old fox carefully crossing the ice, while the young fox runs ahead and just at the edge of the river slips and “gets his tail wet” (meaning some shame and blame). The sly old fox assumes the ice is thin, and so makes it across the icy river to live another day. God bless you, though, and travel safe in your journeys on this ice. I believe you will be safe, and if you’ve read this, maybe a little safer today than you might have been otherwise!
May fortune shine on you, friends and patients,