Wind as a “pathogenic influence”
We have recently seen the destructive force of wind with Hurricane Sandy along our east coast. Buildings and beaches were destroyed, leaving many homeless. Even as a tropical storm, Sandy was an awe inspiring event, a powerful force of nature. Close on Sandy’s heels came this season’s first winter storm or “nor’easter” as we call them in New England. Once again the area was battered with high gusting wind, this time cold with sleet and snow.
Yet in other circumstances we welcome wind. It brings refreshing relief on hot summer evenings. In spring the wind carries a pleasant, hopeful aroma. Wind provides us with energy and transportation. Tall ships and picturesque windmills are part of our history. Wind is celebrated in poetry and song.
Wind In Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine describes illness in terms of climates which either invade our bodies from the outside or are internally generated due to a weakened immune system. Wind that is out of balance in our bodies is called pathogenic Wind. Like nature’s wind, pathogenic wind in our bodies moves around from here to there. Wind carries things with it – pollen, bugs, leaves, debris. Pathogenic Wind is said not to travel alone, blowing in other pathogenic influences. Just as windy weather can be gentle or violent, so too can the pathogenic wind in our bodies. (Read last February’s post about Wind-Cold.)
Symptoms of Pathogenic Wind
Symptoms that come and go or move around are attributed to wind. Headaches that come and go, rashes that move around, and allergy symptoms may all be caused by Wind. Wind is responsible for itchy sensations. Itchy rashes, itchy nose and eyes, dry itchy skin are all signs of wind. Certain types of cough are Wind related. Pathogenic Wind-Cold is the Chinese equivalent of common cold.
Wind has an upward movement, often causing problems in the head and face. Bell’s Palsy and other types of paralysis may be wind trapped in energy channels blocking circulation. Hypertension can lead to pathogen Wind symptoms. Most pathogenic Wind conditions are not life threatening, but some are disabling. In Chinese Medicine stroke is considered to be an extreme rushing up of internal Wind into the brain.
How to Get Relief form Pathogenic Wind
Of all the “pathogenic influences” or “climates” that can invade our bodies, Wind is one of the easiest to treat.
Acupuncture works wonders in the beginning stages of a cold or for allergy symptoms caused by Wind. The needles quickly restore an energy flow that settles Wind, extinguishing it from the body. Community Clinic acupuncture is an excellent venue for dispersing early stage pathogenic Wind-Cold.
Cupping therapy is an invaluable tool in treating pathogenic Wind. The suction of the cups draws the Wind to the surface where it is expelled through the pores. Cupping is most often used for muscle aches in the upper body and Wind-related respiratory problems.
There are many Chinese herbal remedies especially formulated to disperse Wind. These are ancient and safe prescriptions, many of which come in convenient pill form. One of them is named Jade Wind Screen. “Wind clearing” herbs can be added to almost any formula or herbal decoction. Rashes and poison ivy are treated using both herbs to take as medicinals and herbal creams or compresses to apply to the rash itself.
Take Steps To Prevent Wind
You can take steps to prevent Wind invasion. The first thing is to avoid prolonged exposure to windy weather or drafts. Wear a scarf. Use skin lotion in dry seasons. When you are under the weather, don’t drink alcohol. Good stress management and regular exercise will keep your energy flowing so Wind won’t have an opportunity to linger in your body. When Wind brings pathogenic Cold in with it, you can use ginger tea to prevent a common cold.