Ever notice how many people catch cold in the spring? We get so excited when the first warm days come, and the first green things pop out of the ground. Yesterday I saw a young lady wearing shorts at the grocery store. But it was only 52. On a 52 degree day in the summer, everyone would be wearing long pants and jackets!
As I talked about yesterday, in Chinese medicine, spring is associated with Liver, and wind. Everyone knows this is kite-flying season. Remember , ‘if March comes in like a Lion’ and so on… So in Chinese medicine wind is known to be a major factor in the development of diseases in the spring. We expect to see more people with colds and flu in the clinic, because in Chinese medicine, when a person catches something, it is called ‘invasion by outside evils through wind’. (rough translation) You could say that the concept of wind includes the process by which viruses and bacteria are introduced into the body. There are even two points under the back of the head which have the name: ‘wind gate’. This is about the place where you will rub when you have a headache. It is thought to be a major entry for wind into the body, and in fact, if you get a stiff neck as a part of catching cold, you will often feel it there.
There is another point on the front of the neck, on the lateral border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (look that up in your Funk and Wagnells) called ‘East wind’ or ‘evil Qi’ in Japanese. This is another place where wind is known to enter the body. When it is tender, I focus on strengthening the immune system in my acupuncture treatments. More evidence that you should stay bundled up just a little longer. Remember, our nights are still getting down to the low 20s.
We are so tempted to go outside without much outerwear this time of year. But in China during this weather, you would see people wearing scarves around their necks. They know, from tradition, that when it feels warm, but is actually still pretty cold on the Earth, that people are prone to ‘catching wind’. I don’t know if wearing a scarf would really prevent you from catching a virus, but it might help keep your immune system strong so you are less vulnerable.
I am not saying that you have to stay totally covered with a warm coat, but just don’t get to excited about spring. Dress in layers so you can unbundle if you get too warm, and respect your immune system. Last night on a TV show I saw people who were suffering from a terrible flu/cold. I remember feeling that way in the past and I bet you do too. You don’t want to go there. Keep your coat on.