Over the past two days I've talked about the effects of Heat and Damp on the body, from the view of Chinese medicine. (You may notice that I've been capitalizing these terms; this is to separate the TCM terminology from what our prior knowledge of these words.) Today I'm going to cover the climates that are left.
When you think of cold, and the effect that it has on the body, most people immediately think of discomfort and tightness. Cold forms rigidity, and locks things up. When Cold enters the internal atmosphere of the body, the result is pain that is tight and fixed in one place. The pain will feel better with heat. Because Cold is congealing, it can lead to stagnation in the form of clots and masses.
While Heat speeds things up, Cold slows the body. Someone with a slow, sluggish metabolism (think hypothyroidism), someone who is often tired and weak, lacking energy-this person may have Internal Cold.
I should add that these climates can often combine with each other, changing the symptomology. Heat can combine with damp, leading to health issues that are hot and wet (i.e. infections). Cold often combines with Wind. When Wind-Cold enters the body, it manifests in the form of the common cold: sneezing, headaches, itchy throat, etc. When Wind is internal rather than external, it shows up in symptoms that move around (moving pain, itchiness, rashes, etc), or in symptoms of uncontrollable motion (tics, tremors, spasms). Extreme cases of Wind would include strokes, and Parkinson's Disease.
The last climate is Dryness, and it is fairly self-explanatory. Dryness results from a lack of fluids, so symptoms such as dry skin and hair, lack of vaginal secretions, dry throat or eyes, and constipation all fall under this category. The condition of Dryness often leads to heat, since there are not enough fluids to cool things off.