Heat pads have been used for decades in Japan to help keep the core body temperature stable. Heat is believed to boost the immune system and prevent colds and sickness. Ask your Japanese friends to explain what a “haramaki” is! The literal translation is “stomach roll” and these unique Japanese undergarments are still widely worn even today to keep the abdominal region warm and are usually made from stretchy cotton. The Japanese use heat pads and haramakis the way Westerners use an undershirt.
The Japanese also believe that the feet are the second heart and by keeping them warm, you keep healthy and “genki” by keeping your chi energy flowing from the tip of your toes all over the body. Hotteeze start heating up as soon as you open the packet and stay hot for more than 12 hours while Hotteeze Foot Pads will keep toes toasty for 5 cozy hours!
Changing of the seaons…
Be very careful any time the seasons change. Did you know that all over the world, vets are at their busiest during spring? As animals start to shed winter coats and lose fat at the end of winter they are the most susceptible to illness and disease. For humans too, sudden fluctuations in temperature can make our immune system weak. Here are some hot tips!
Keep your guts warm
The Japanese, like many other cultures, believe that keeping the solar plexus (front) and kidneys (back) warm at all times is crucial to staying healthy. They take particular notice of whether or not their stomach “feels” cold as this is a first sign that your immune system might be weakened. They wear a special under garment, even in summer, called a “haramaki” to keep this core at a stable, warm temperature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haramaki
Keep your feet warm
Second to keeping the solar plexus warm is to keep the feet warm at all times. Slippers are worn inside the house even in summer, often with socks. The feet are where your chi flows from. The feet are referred to as the “second heart” which if kept warm, will pump energy throughout the whole body, continually boosting your immune system.
Wear a face mask
If you’ve ever traveled to Japan, you will notice at various times of the year many people from all walks of life wearing surgical masks! This can be because they have bad hay fever but in the winter months it is to keep their nasal passages moist and humid to avoid catching a cold. Next time you’re on a plane with a lot of Jays, check out how many of them are wearing a mask as a preventative measure to avoid having their nasal passages dry out in the hyper dry reconditioned air. Your schnozz is your first line of defence in protecting you from catching a cold as a healthy nose uses moist mucous to trap and destroy germs. If your nose dries up then bam- you can more easily catch a cold.
Wash your hands frequently
With such a high population of people, just catching a Tokyo train home from work can mean you’re exposed to millions of germs. Washing your hands with good old soap and water actually works brilliantly in killing germs before you have a chance to scratch your nose or touch your mouth.
What to do when you catch a cold…
Drink lots of warm fluids and eat easy to digest foods. You don’t want to tire your body and drain your energy by eating heavy meals. In Japan, rice porridge, soup and hot tea are prescribed. Keep wearing your mask as a warm, humid environment will make it easier to breathe and suppress the urge to cough which can be brought on by the dry air you are breathing in. Have you ever had a cold where you had an itchy, dry cough? Wearing a mask will greatly reduce that tiring, hacking, unproductive cough. Keep warm!