Wear your scarf and keep out the Wind-Cold!
What is Wind-Cold and why should you avoid it?
In Chinese Medicine, one of the ways we describe illnesses is in term of climates. Climates can be internally generated by a disease process (internal pathogenic influences), or an excessive climate in our environment can invade our bodies (external pathogenic influences). Wind, Cold, Damp, Heat, and Dryness are the most common pathogenic influences. This way of describing the disease prices does not negate the concept of germ theory, but exists alongside of it. It’s another way of describing what happens in the body.
For instance a person with arthritis resulting in red, swollen joints that feel hot and are worse in rainy weather might be said to have “Internal Damp Heat” in the joints. Someone who catches a cold, especially after exposure to inclement weather, has an “External Wind-Cold” invasion.
March weather in the Northeast can be quite windy and cold. These are the pathogenic influences from which we need to protect ourselves this time of year. Pathogenic Wind causes itching, symptoms that come and go, watery itchy eyes, sneezing, and rashes that move around. Pathogenic Cold can be responsible for muscle aches, chills, aversion to cold, and runny nose. Many of the symptoms of the common cold are External Wind-Cold symptoms.
There are “Wind points” through which External Wind likes to enter. Many of them are at the base of the skull and near the neck and shoulders. Hence the advice to wear a scarf and keep buttoned up when you go out in any kind of bad weather. The External Wind actually enters these acupoints and lodges in your body. It is said that External Wind does not travel alone, that it likes bringing another pathogen in with it. In this case, External Wind opens the Wind points and enters, making it easier for the External Cold to accompany it.
Wearing a scarf or turtleneck, or keeping your coat collar up will effectively block the entrance of this Wind. Should you find yourself exposed to these pathogenic influences, you can use medicinal ginger tea to help expel them. You can also apply heat to the nape of your neck and upper shoulders with a heating pad or a rice bag heated in the microwave. Rest and sleep will help, too.
If you need stronger medicinal help, usually just one session of acupuncture will help you turn the corner or even prevent the cold from developing. Community Clinic is a good venue for this. Cupping and moxibustion are also very effective ways to expel External Wind-Cold. There are a number of herbal formulas that manage different stages of Wind-Cold invasion (i.e. the common cold).
So, if you do find yourself sneezing with the snuffles, achy muscles and feeling chilled, there is no need to suffer. There are plenty things you can do for a speedy recovery. If you do need our help, we try to schedule you as soon as possible if you have a Wind-Cold invasion.