Updated: Aug 13, 2019
Anyone find that after spending time in the wind on a cool winters day that you can feel those aches and pains start to creep into your neck? It goes all stiff and tight thinking its going to turn into a headache, or even worse... one of those dreaded migraines?
Well you are in luck! Because we are about to dive in to explain why this is happens.
* Please note that all organs mentioned are from a Chinese medicine perspective, not western medicine.
In Chinese medicine wind is seen as on of the six evils (along with heat, cold, dryness, dampness and phlegm). This six evils are seen to cause disease of the body however this only explains one element of disease in Chinese medicine theory's which depends on the strength of the body's defence mechanisms.
Firstly, lets have a quick chat about the body and its immunity. According to Chinese medicine, the Lung and Spleen* organs are interlinked with the body's ability to fight external diseases such as the dreaded colds and flu's. The Lung* is seen to govern the skin, meaning, that if the lung's 'qi' is not strong enough, the skin will allow pathogens to enter the body and thrive as it is the body's first level of defence. The Lung* also opens at the nose due to its connection of regulating the respiratory tract, making the nose and mouth orifices another pathway for pathogens to enter the body. The Spleen* organ is seen to assist in the transportation and transformation of food and water, creating qi (energy) and blood to be able to nourish the body, its organs and the skin. The Spleen* governs the flesh (the next level under the skin) and its orifice is the mouth. If these functions of the spleen are weak, this may allow pathogens to enter into the body at a more deeper level with depletion of energy accompanying this.
Now... the wind! Wind itself has the ability to change rapidly and often invades the body with other pathogens, such as cold. It is known as the "master of the hundred diseases" due to its nature. In this case of windy, cool weather, the wind is directly effecting the body from the exterior environment via the skin, nose and mouth. Now I have a question. When you are outside in the windy weather, what is the one part of the body that is exposed to the wind? Your wearing clothes, shoes and sometimes a hat, with your hands in your pockets. This leaves the... NECK! The neck is generally the area that is left uncovered within cool weather (unless you wear a scarf!) and is more susceptible/prone to allowing wind-cold pathogens into the body due to its fleshy nature and because of the point Governor Vessel 14 (acupuncture point, GV14). GV14 is a point that has many channels coursing through it to protect the body from pathogens. However, if there is a weakness in the defence system through a deficiency in the Lung and Spleen* organs, this point is more susceptible to allowing those pathogens to enter the body! This is why it is highly important to keep you neck warm and protected by a scarf or a jacket with a warm collar. Wind also often enters through the Lung* (the nose and the mouth) which is commonly left uncovered during cold weather, which can explain why the neck aches generally radiate to the face, in particular the nose and throat. I know that a balaclava in the general public is frowned upon unless in the snow, so I would highly recommend using a scarf and staying as warm as possible in the cool weather!
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