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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:2718051. Epub 2016 Oct 12.

Relationship of the Cold-Heat Sensation of the Limbs and Abdomen with Physiological Biomarkers.

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Department of Physiology, Ulsan College of Medicine, 388-1 Poongnap-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


The present study explored the relationship between the regional Cold-Heat sensation, the key indicator of the Cold-Heat patterns in traditional East Asian medicine (TEAM), and various biomarkers in Korean population. 734 apparently healthy volunteers aged 20 years and older were enrolled. Three scale self-report questions on the general thermal feel in hands, legs, and abdomen were examined. We found that 65% of women tended to perceive their body, particularly their hands and legs, to be cold, versus 25% of men. Energy expenditure and temperature load at resting state were lower in women, independently of body mass index (BMI). Those with warm hands and warm legs had a 0.74 and 0.52 kg/m2 higher BMI than those with cold hands and cold legs, respectively, regardless of age, gender, and body weight. Norepinephrine was higher, whereas the dynamic changes in glucose and insulin during an oral glucose tolerance test were lower in those with cold extremities, particularly hands. No consistent differences in biomarkers were found for the abdominal dimension. These results suggest that gender, BMI, the sympathetic nervous system, and glucose metabolism are potential determinants of the Cold-Heat sensation in the hands and legs, but not the abdomen.

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