Dry arid environments in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) were considered to be damaging to the health of the airways, skin and colon, these 3 organs were grouped together in TCM because they were all considered to be organs of excretion. Two of these ofcourse have ongoing continuous contact to the air around us and if we suffer from a condition such as eczema with asthma for instance the dryness of the air can have a profound effect on the way we feel.
Dry air can come from air conditioning indoors and drought outdoors, dusty and smoky places tend to dry the air too. Our airways are not suited to such conditions because an important part of what protects our lungs is the moist lining of the nose, pharynx and trachea- our whole windpipe. If the lining dries up then dust, pollen, germs and soot do not get trapped in the sticky moist airways mucosa (skin that is naturally moist like inside your mouth).
Smoking is a common cause of airway dryness too and also has the effect of suppressing the fine hairs (cilia) lining your windpipe that normally help brush trapped airborn particles backwards out of your lungs. Dryness in TCM when applied to it’s effects on the colon explains alot of constipation. Dryness is said to help dissipate chi, like water leaving through our breath, we lose far more water through our lungs than through our bladders.
Coldness in TCM is said to make your energy sink, it can really stiffen you up particularly in your joints, most of our joints are not very well padded at all so if it is cold outside our knees and spine lose mobility particularly as we get older. Bones are easier to break in cold weather and the action of the kidneys and bladder were considered impaired in the cold too, it always seems harder to withhold yourself from urinating when you are cold and we then even feel colder once we do so because something warm (urine) has left the body. Our procreative potentials were regarded as the domain of our kidney chi, this is why TCM explains the feeling of sudden heat loss after sexual climax.
The action of the adrenal glands in TCM were considered to be part of your kidney energy or chi because they are physically attached to the top of the kidney, in Western Medicine (WM) the adrenals are considered to be a part of the endocrine system because they secrete hormones, the most well known of which is adrenaline. It is considered in TCM that too much coldness exhausts your adrenals faster and lowers the libido too. Coldness is considered in TCM to be strongly related to the emotion of fear and is often one of the last things a person feels before they die.
TCM explains health concepts as a series of relationships, it is a science of pattern identification where all things can be considered as connected through a web of influence between diet, rest, stress, environment.