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WIND: “THE CHIEF OF 100 DISEASES”






In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) there are disease pathogens that are called the 6 evils. Wind, Damp, Cold, Heat, Summer Heat and Dryness. Today, inspired by this very windy spring day in New Jersey, we are talking about wind. TCM, calls wind the “chief of 100 diseases.” This is due to the nature of rapid onset, rapid changes and chaotic movements. There are two types of wind: externally contracted from the environment, related to the Lung and internally generated from within, related to the Liver.


EXTERNAL WIND: There are different types of patterns that external wind can transform into.  The wind enters the meridians from external environmental factors and lodges between the skin and the muscles. This is the most superficial level. If the wind is not released it can travel rapidly and deeper into the organs. We want to avoid this progression, and at this point it is important to release the pathogenic factor through the exterior, and we do this with a gentle sweat from warming herbs. A person who has what we call a Wei Qi deficiency/ (protective Qi), would be susceptible to wind invasion. The Lung organ is responsible for the production of the protective qi called Wei. When this organ is weak or deficient, the Wei qi is not able to do its job, and the wind invades. We could also have a temporary disruption of the Wei Qi after cupping or Guasha session, that is why if you ever received these modalities, you have heard me tell you to avoid any wind exposure for the rest of the day.  The differentiations manifest physically as follows:


Wind cold: chills more than fever, headache, aversion to cold, occipital pain, sneezing, runny nose, body aches that move around.

Wind Heat: fever more than chills, sore throat, cough with thick yellow sputum, thirst, frontal headache, earache.

Wind-Damp: fever and chills more in the afternoon, strong body aches, foggy head, sinusitis, stuffy nose, head and body feel heavy.

Wind-Damp Bi pain: this means painful obstruction, think arthritis, nerve pain, numbness worse with cold and damp weather.

Wind-Water: sudden edema, swollen face, acute allergic reaction.

Wind-Rash: acute rash, different parts of the body, appears and disappears.  


INTERNAL WIND:  This wind type develops internally from within because of Liver patterns such as liver blood or yin deficiency, and liver stagnation causing heat, then fire that leads to the creation of internal wind. This nature is shaking, spasms, tremors, Parkinson’s, convulsions, epilepsy, and post stroke. It takes a different method to rectify than external contraction. Internal winds are usually chronic conditions that are long standing and created from within.


Prevention for external wind: wear a neck scarf in windy weather. Avoid sleeping under fans and near air conditioner vents. Dress for the season, not the weather of the day. Keep Lung qi strong with regular Qigong, and breathwork. Eat foods that boost lung qi, they are usually spicy/acrid.


Treatment for external wind: At the first sign of wind-cold see your practitioner immediately for herbal formulas and get acupuncture that will release the exterior wind. Drink and eat warm beverages, with herbs and spices such as: ginger cinnamon, green onion, garlic.

Qigong exercises, breathing exercises. Get to bed and stay warm.


Prevention for internal wind: keep the flow of the liver smooth and the spleen strong to avoid blood deficiency. Deal with repressed anger and be kind to your liver and avoid excessive lifestyles that include drinking and drugs.


Treatment for internal wind: With acupuncture and herbal formulas extinguish and quell the internal stir of wind and discuss lifestyle and emotional modifications.


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