In early spring you can feel the weather warming up; it is a time of extreme temperature fluctuations and changes in atmospheric conditions which make you more vulnerable to colds and flus. Many of us long to be outside and bask in the warmth of the sun especially from being cooped up in the house for so long. In Chinese medical philosophy, wind is considered a pathogenic factor that can cause all kinds of diseases. So when you go outside make sure to wear layers and protect your neck with a scarf and wear a hat. I tend to have the windows and doors wide open for the fresh air, but perhaps if it's open for too long the pathogenic wind may enter and harm our health; esp. if the windows are open at night when we’re sleeping.
There are 6 climatic factors in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that refers to agents that cause disease. Our body mirrors nature, thus external and internal climatic factors/energies can throw our body’s homeostasis offline and the imbalances are diagnosed as patterns through Chinese differential diagnosis. The six major climatic factors that predominate in different seasons: Wind (spring), heat (summer), humidity/dampness (late summer), drought/dryness (autumn) and cold wind (winter).
From the TCM perspective, external pathogenic wind (风邪) will enter the outermost layer of your body called the Taiyang layer; wind will enter through the open pores of the skin, joints, nape of your neck, nose, ears and head (so protect your bare neck with a scarf!) If your immune system (we call Zheng Qi) is weak, the pathogenic wind easily enter the front door of your house (the Taiyang layer of your body) and cause disruptive imbalances. The pores of your skin may not be able to function properly (door hinges don’t work properly to open and shut the door of the house). These symptoms manifest physically in Taiyang syndrome when pathogenic wind invade this exterior layer of the body: headache, stiff neck, feeling of chills.
“Wind is adept at movement and frequent changes”, according to Huangdi Neijing (Chinese Medical Classic). It is often associated with cold, humidity, dryness and heat, forming complex pathogenic factors such as Wind-Cold, Wind-Humidity, Wind-Dryness and Wind-Heat.
Since wind is associated with movement, the attacks on the body and mind are varied and quick to change and marked by these signs: pain that moves from one place to another, itching or rashes that change location, spasms, tremors, tics, and lightheartedness. Generally, these symptoms such as migratory pains are acute and temporary.
Be careful the next time you want to invite wind in by leaving the windows and doors open and perhaps wait a bit to pull out those T-shirts and shorts!
“All disease originate from the mouth, spleen and stomach.”
Lifestyle Tips to stay healthy
Do relaxing stretches (hold for 5 min+ per stretch is KEY!) holding the stretch will allow muscles to relax and allow blood to properly nourish the muscles and sinews.
Drink hot ginger tea in the morning to wake up your digestive system; ingesting cold milk, fruit, icy smoothies will be like pouring cold water onto fire. We want to be gentle to our bodies and allow a bit of time for the digestive fires to warm up properly so that our food can be digested and assimilated properly.
Eat light. Think about steaming your food instead of frying, stir-frying, baking. Spring is associated with the element wood and the color green so feed your body plenty of leafy green veggies like organic spinach, broccoli, microgreens, sprouts.
Be aware of your state of being while eating. Are you quickly chomping down your food, distracted while watching the news, driving or walking? Take a pause and ask yourself: “What am I up to right now?” The way you eat will affect how you digest and process your food and thoughts.
Breath through your nose. Take slow intentional deep belly breaths through your nose. There are enzymes & sinuses in your nose that make Nitric Oxide (NO). Nitric Oxide acts as your first line of immune defense against external pathogens, acts as a vasodilator to decrease blood pressure and improve blood flow to your organs, and has anti-inflammatory action on your arteries.
Spring is a good time to cleanse and detox your system from excess and stagnation acquired during the winter season with acupuncture, electromagnetic cupping and herbs. Come in for a ‘tune up’ and allow our Chinese Medicine practitioners to support you smoothly transition from the winter (water energy) to spring (wood energy) so that you can manifest the wood energy which is upward reaching, expansive, open and ready to put new ideas and goals into motion!
Ginkgo Wellness Chinese medicine center
Address: 1400 S Wolf Rd. Bldg 200, Suite 203, Wheeling, IL 60090