Winter at The Acupuncture Clinic has finally arrived. The heaters have actually been put on each day for a whole week. Getting a sudden cold snap and going from a very mild autumn to sudden winter cold can actually be a problem. Chinese medical theory places much importance on the weather and in particular its extremes causing illness. The outside environment with the excesses of wind, cold and damp can lead to many health problems. Common sense in many instances can be used to prevent illnesses caused by the cold of winter. It’s logical to put on more clothes when it is cold but how does this help actually prevent illness.
The body has meridian energy lines flowing throughout the body connecting with all the internal organs. The bladder meridian is an energy line that flows very close to the surface of the skin and in particular its pathway goes up the back of the neck and around the head. Traditional thought views that the cold and the wind can penetrate easily into the bladder meridian at the back of the neck and side of head. This is why it’s important to wear a scarf and hat to protect against the wind and cold and thus prevent catching a “cold”. How many times have you heard a person say that they have been urinating a lot since the weather suddenly got cold? This is because the cold has penetrated into the bladder channel.
Other ways that cold and winter affects the body can be looked at by comparing the human body to railway tracks. The cold of winter actually causes railway tracks to contract. The railway lines between Sydney and Melbourne contract up to a total of 10 kilometers during winter! Your body also contracts in winter. For example, injuries of the Achilles tendon are more common in winter because the tendon naturally does not have much blood supply coupled with additional contraction from cold causes them to “snap”.
Man needs to observe and follow what nature does in the winter. Basically everything slows down or stops in the winter. The leaves fall off the trees, animals hibernate and stillness prevails. Ideally this is what we should do. Ancient books of Chinese medicine dating back 2000 years told us to rest and recuperate during the winter.
Modern man is obsessed with strengthening his immune system and spends lots of money on Echinacea and garlic capsules and then they still catch colds!
What about trying a simple Chinese medicine immune booster, that is for free.
Ancient physicians realized the importance of the liver in helping prevent catching colds. At night when you sleep, increased blood flows to the liver and the liver processes and rejuvenates what is called wei qi, which is translated as protective energy. When the protective energy is strong, it acts likes a force field surrounding the body stopping the cold and wind attacking the skin. Just getting enough good quality sleep will help your liver. And in winter you should sleep a little more, you don’t have to hibernate like a bear but definitely get to bed earlier and make sure you are comfortable and warm. How do you know if you have a good liver? When you wake up in the morning, you should be able to make a hard fist soon after waking. If it is sluggish and weak, your liver needs attention.
Hot cooked food should be on the menu for winter. Add warming type spices like ginger, cloves and cinnamon to stay warm. Remember your beanie when you leave the house. Stay passive and warm in winter and get ready for rebirth and growth in Spring!