On April 18, my family and I were out at Pilot Bay on the East Shore for a nature walk and picnic on the beach. We had an amazing day and then figured it was time to start heading home. On our hike back, my husband Paul said, “Is that the wind?” The storm started from seemingly out of nowhere.
At first my youngest who was leading the pack would have the occasional stop and “wow” moment as we watched the treetops sway all around us, but then the intensity increased. The sound of trees cracking and creaking encouraged us to hike faster. We heard the first tree break and fall somewhere to our right. Panic set in. We stopped and watched to see where the tree would fall to avoid being hit, and then we started running! More and more trees were breaking and falling, with one huge tree limb nearly missing my daughter by inches. When we finally made it back to the parking lot we had to duck under two huge trees that would have smashed our car if we had parked there. We hopped into our vehicle and took off, but we came to a downed tree across the road that had took the power lines with it. We turned and went the other way, but came to another section of blocked road. We were trapped with no place to go! Eventually, we parked our vehicle and leaned into a large rock on the beach where at least there were no trees that could fall and hit us. We were wet, cold, and underdressed. We huddled together as the wind howled, under our emergency car blanket.
This story came to a happy ending as a couple who saw us out on the point welcomed us into their home. I can’t express the gratitude I have for these guardian angels. I tell this story for a couple of reasons: one, because it reminds me of my faith in humanity to do the right thing and help one another through all the fear, isolation, confusion, and conflicting beliefs many have been experiencing as a result of the pandemic; and two, because it’s a great lead up to metaphor of how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can emulate nature in its terminology, how humans are viewed as a microcosm in the universal macrocosm, and one of the more difficult concepts to explain – wind.
“Wind disorders” can be chaotic in nature and can often move around the body from place to place. Wind can be categorized into external and internal wind. External wind is characterized by rapid onset and quickly changing symptoms that affect the upper part and the surface of the body causing viral symptoms of cold/flu, allergies, headache, facial pain, stiff neck and shoulders, itchy skin, and rashes. Wind illnesses may be minor and resolve on their own, but it’s also possible for them to penetrate more deeply into the body.
Internal wind can occur when external wind penetrates more deeply into the organ systems when it is not treated correctly, early enough, or the body’s defences are already weak and cannot defend on their own. Internal wind can be generated internally as a liver organ pathology, if it is undernourished or under sustained or significant stressors. It is characterized by symptoms that appear suddenly and change in nature an location, such as the wandering pain seen in initial stages of rheumatoid arthritis. Internal wind can cause more serious and sometimes neurological symptoms, such as spasm, numbness, rigidity, tremors, dizziness, and even coma in seizure disorders or stroke.
As always the best course of treatment with wind conditions is prevent, prevent, prevent. We are are also seeing how serious some of these conditions can become – both in this current pandemic and in the modern fast paced go, go, go lifestyle with new stress disorders emerging all the time.
Here are some ways to prevent wind disorders:
• Keep your immune system strong with a healthy diet and lifestyle
• Avoid intoxicants as much as possible, such as refined sugar, deep fried food, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
• Supplement your immune system with vitamins and minerals, such as A, B, C, D, E, Zinc, Selenium
(Always check with your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider to see if these are a fit for you.)
• Find an outlet for dealing with stress
• Practice mindfulness and gratitude through activities such as meditation, yoga, Qi Gong, or Tai Qi
• Spend time with friends and loved ones
• Seek treatments that help you relax, unwind, balance, and optimize your immune system
As always, wishing everyone health and wellness. Remember, we, as human beings are all navigating life and the current global events together. There is all kinds of information out there and conflicting beliefs emerge based on information or experience. At the base of it all, we are doing our best with the knowledge we have, so practice acceptance and kindness and take care of our fellow humans.
Dove Sprout co-owns and operates the Creston Acupuncture and Natural Health Centre alongside her husband, Paul Gaucher.