Remember when your mother used to tell you you could catch a cold if you didn’t zip up your jacket, wear your hat, or put on your mittens?
We may laugh about it now, thinking that we can only come down with a cold or its symptoms if we are in contact with someone else who passes it along to us, but in Eastern medicine…
She is right.
For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has taken careful consideration of the weather elements into the overall health of an individual. What’s even more interesting is that many old, herbalist traditions and medicines are based on environmental factors. For example, herbalists that work in frigid, mountain regions, create remedies based on warming the body while those who live in warmer, high-heat locations favor compounds that help cool and calm the body.
What does this mean?
Many would say (as well as us!), that weather can play a significant role in our overall health in which we can take great precautions to ward oﬀ illness because of it.
What are the elements?
The four weather elements are cold, wind, heat, and dampness.
Why do they matter?
Chinese medicine believes that there is a protective chi (or energy) around the body, much like that of the immune system inside the body. It is called Wei Qi (pronounced weigh – chee).
If someone is exposed to too much of one element and/or his or her Wei Qi is not strong enough, this protective energy can be disrupted and can cause a person to get sick.
Weather elements permeating your Wei Qi can lead to symptoms such as, but not limited to:
– runny nose
– sore throat
– sinus pressure
– heat stroke
– phlegm and mucus production
Think about a strong, windy day. It can be quite miserable to walk around as the cold air seems to “whip right through” you. Have you ever come inside after and found yourself with a headache or sinus pressure? That may be due to the wind invading your body and breaking down your Wei Qi.
What can we do about it?
Once we consider the perspective that our mothers could possibly be right, we can take easy steps to keeping our Wei Qi strong and balanced.
During cold, windy, and/or damp days, make sure to help push the cold out of the body by:
– covering your neck
– covering your head
– warming up as soon as possible with hot tea
– taking a warm bath
– layering yourself with warm, dry clothes and
For hot days, try:
– drinking plenty of water and hydrating drinks
– taking breaks in the shade
– placing cool cloths on the back of the neck
Elements tend to primarily invade the body through the back of the neck, so break out the scarves or cool cloths and protect yourself.
In addition, try to never go to bed cold – especially kids! This is when sick symptoms can generate the most, so making sure you and your children are warm and cozy is important for bedtime.
Think about how your body reacts to diﬀerent seasons and changes in weather. Do you seem to typically get sinus infections during windy times of the year?
Do you find yourself chilled after a day on the slopes?
How about headaches if being out in the sun for too long?
Now, take a mental note of what you can do to avoid these symptoms that we may just live with because it becomes normal to us. Can you wear a scarf around your neck and nose on windy days? How about taking a container of warm soup or tea with you for ski breaks? Or, making sure to wear a protective hat and placing a cool cloth on your neck after a day of gardening outside in the summer?
Small things that we know we should do, but don’t, can make a significant impact on how we feel. Don’t underestimate the power of keeping your energy balanced!
If you feel any uncomfortable symptoms and feel your body needs some extra support to feel better and you live in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Parker, Centennial, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, or the Greater Denver Metro area, please contact us for a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves to see what guidance he can provide on feeling better.
Click here or call (303) 688-6698 and…thank your mom.