The major premise of Chinese medical theory is that all the forms of life in the universe are animated by an essential life-force or vital energy called qi (氣). 氣 also means "breath" and "air" in Chinese, and is similar to the Hindu practice of prana. 氣 is often understood as transferable and transmutable: digestion extracts 氣 from food and drink and transfers it to the body; breathing extracts 氣 from air and transfers it to the lungs. When these two forms of 氣 meet in the blood stream, they transmute to form human-氣, which then circulates throughout the body as vital energy. It is the quality, quantity, and balance of your qi that determines your state of health and span of life.
Hot vs Cool
The key to maintaining optimum ealth is a natural and harmonious balance among the vital energies within the body, as well as between those of the body and the external enviornment. For example, over-indulgence in peppery, highly spiced "hot" foods generally results in a build up of "huo-qi(氣)" (fire-energy) in the body, with symptoms of dry lips, parched mouth and throat, distended chest, and constipation. These symptoms would be far worse in mid-summer, when the environment is dominated by heat than in mid-winter, when the body needs extra heat-inducing foods.To eliminate these "hot" symptoms and restore the proper energy balance, one need only ingest a few "cool" foods to counteract the hotness building in your body. Examples of cool foods are watermleon, citrus fruits, cucumbers, etc. There is a constant intermingle of internal bodily elements reacting with external physical elements that contribute to the overall energy of your body. Being conscious of this co-dynamic change can help you become aware of how to adjust the balance of energies in your body on a daily basis with the right diet, exercise, breathing exercises, and herbal medicines.