It’s fall, and in a number of places that means it is the windy season. Additionally, it is cold and flu season, and both aren’t coincidental. According to Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine, we’re most susceptible to catching a wind at the change of seasons. Wait, you might say, did I hear that right? Catching a wind? Yes, you heard that right.
The early traditional medical systems call getting sick this time of year a”wind invasion!” Here are a few pointers that will assist you avoid this windy attack. All of us probably laughed at our grandma’s insistence that we wear a scarf around our necks when we ran out to play while she babysat. But in reality she was imparting genuine words of wisdom, probably passed down from her grandmother and out of hers before that.
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that outside pathogens are carried on the end and they enter our bodies in the back of our necks. The acupuncture points that can be found in the bottom of our skull and across the backbone down our neck and upper back are used to”expel wind” – in other words, to treat a cold. So protecting that area when you are outside in the wind is truly a very effective step to take to avoid catching a cold! When I was a student in my first year of Ayurveda college, this far out concept proved itself to me.
I was walking my dog at the park wearing just a light sweater despite the fact that it was January. The day was fairly mild, and I had been studying on the grass. All of a sudden, huge gusts of wind began roaring through the trees. I got up to head home, my hair blowing in the wind. Within two minutes, my nose and throat began itching. By the time I returned home, I was sneezing. By the time I went to bed, I had a fever, sore throat, and a runny nose. I was amazed. I’d only been introduced to the idea of grabbing a breeze, and now I’d caught one! I never doubted the wisdom of the idea then.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, fall is Vata season. During the windy season we are more susceptible to wind ailments. Furthermore, end is the principle of motion. So things are changing in the environment and for our own bodies also. Our bodies are transitioning in the warm weather of summer to the cold climate of winter, and this deep change leaves us more vulnerable to getting sick. The occasionally extreme variation in temperature in one day can really throw off our system. It produces irregular motion, a windy energy, in our own bodies which could weaken our immune system.
Besides wearing a scarf, you can find other preventative measures we can take so the “evil wind” does not cause us any trouble. Among the very best Chinese herbal remedies for warding off colds is appropriately called “Jade Windscreen.” It’s made up of two herbs which strongly tonify, or fortify, our immune system and one herb tha t”expels wind.” Taken frequently this time of year, it can help avoid getting sick. It’s necessary to balance the Vata qualities of this season with foods and remedies that have the opposite qualities of Vata.
Foods which are warm, oily, and marginally heavier help counteract the drying, demanding, cold quality of end. It’s critical to not let our digestion get chilly as we head into fall and winter. Our digestion is the key to our immune system, therefore we will need to keep it warm and happy. Think winter squash, soups, whole grains, each of those terrific root vegetables being harvested.
The Ayurvedic herbal shake, Chyavanprash, is chock full of digestion-enhancing herbs which keep our internal fire roaring and our immune system strong. Taken regular, we can rest assured that our digestion is getting the boost it requires during the cold and flu season. Another very helpful Ayurvedic treatment to calm Vata is to use warm raw sesame oil into the skin before taking a bath or shower. In Sanskrit this is known as abhyanga, and it not only feels great for our skin but for our rigid joints also.
Also, squeeze a few drops of herbal oil in each nostril two times a day to decrease congestion and inflammation in the uterus. This is one of the most amazing things you can do to reduce sinus infections, congestion, and headaches. There are a good deal of powerful herbal and nutritional supplements that strengthen the immune system, but it is important to check at the entire system starting with our digestion.
Preventative medicine means living in balance with nature, which means discerning which components are predominant in the season, and eating and living accordingly. When the wind is raging out, we could take steps to calm the end on the interior. This helps us to make us so it does not”invade!” The fantastic news is scarves never go out of fashion, they are simple to pack in the bag, and they are cute. So respect the wisdom of your elders, and Bundle Up!