Feel Aggravated in Windy Weather? Here's the Why and What to Do!
For years, I’ve been aware that wind stirs up frustration in me like nothing else.
And apparently, I’m not the only one!
Everywhere I go, people have been mentioning how edgy they get when the wind picks up. “I just want to punch someone!”, one usually delightful woman admitted.
Chinese Medicine documented thousands of years ago the imbalances that can occur when we’re exposed to wind, and I want to give you a little insight into this phenomenon so you can…uhhh, weather the windy weather with a bit more stability.
Wind, your liver, and Acupuncture Theory
The obvious imbalance that occurs is with the Liver, which I talk a lot about in the spring since spring is associated with the liver.
I say obvious, because by now anyone who’s been my patient for a while or has been reading my blog, understands that the Liver is integrally related with stress and aggravation, and actually plays a big part in regulating our stress levels.
Since one of the other jobs of the Liver is to keep our energy (or Qi) flowing smoothly, when the wind invades our energy channels, causing chaotic flow of Qi, that then backs up our Liver, causing it to be unhappy. Thus the irritability.
Wind and Stiff Necks
A less obvious imbalance is the one that causes phenomenon of stiff necks.
Years ago, when my practice was focused more on pain, I’d see patients come in with stiff necks frequently. 9 times out of 10, when I’d ask if they had been out in windy weather just before their stiff neck occurred, they would give confirmation.
“Actually, yes! I was playing golf Sunday and it was really windy and we stayed out there for hours!”.
Or, “I was running and broke a sweat, and then the wind picked up as I was heading home for my cool down, and by the time I got home, I couldn’t move my neck”.
This is again because of the disruption of the flow of Qi in our channels, due to the “wind invasion”. Especially harmful is when we are sweating, because this opens our pores, making an invasion of wind even more likely. Once that wind gets into the channels, it hampers the flow of Qi, which then gets blocked and can end up as a severe headache or stiff neck, with sudden onset.
Cold Wind and Kidney Qi
Lastly, now that cropped shirts are once again coming into vogue, we will begin to also see the problem of Qi depletion that can arise when our torso, which stores our Kidney Qi, is exposed to cold wind.
This isn’t a liver/Wood thing, but it’s still worth mentioning. We say the Kidneys store our root Qi, both the yin and the yang which make up everything else in our bodies. What we call our “Kidneys” (which martial artists know as the Dan Tian) need to stay nice and warm so that our Qi is not dissipated. In China, they even have special wide cloth belts that they wear around their torsos under their clothing, to keep their midriff warm.
Until recently, you would never see young people prancing around with exposed bellies like you do today! This is not only modesty and cultural decorum, but an understanding of the preservation of life force energy.
So what can you do?
Always always always carry a scarf and windbreaker with you during windy seasons, and keep it near so that when the cold wind stirs up, you can protect your neck. This will not only help prevent stiff necks, but believe it or not, it will help prevent colds!
Susceptibility to colds due to wind is not just an old wives tale, as is proven by the fact that many of the same herbs that are prescribed to alleviate a stiff neck, are also used for common cold. Both conditions are in these cases considered wind invasion.
Having your Qi protected and therefore able to flow smoothly, will also help prevent the liver aggravation that leads to irritability, and will help prevent unnecessary leakage of your life force energy that is so precious.
So grab a scarf and a wind breaker, and do your best to enjoy the stirred up energy outside, while preventing your internal energy from getting equally stirred up!
If you think your Liver is in need of some help -- whether it’s springtime, you’re a Liver type, or you’ve just been under a lot of stress; acupuncture can also definitely help keep the liver happy.