Local people talk about two kinds of winds where I live in North Africa. 'Levante' which comes from the East and 'Poniente' from the West. Our city is on a strip of land perched between a mountain and the Mediterranean Sea. The Eastern wind brings with it low cloud and high humidity and the Western wind, clear skies and strong winds. The beginning of most conversations is to state which of the winds is currently blowing through the city and how it either feels great or terrible. It is the Eastern wind which people complain about as many say they feel heavier, more depressed and with more aches and pains.
Perhaps you have heard of ‘Fohn’ winds. These are dry winds in Central Europe which have lost their moisture going over the Alps from the Mediterranean Sea. How about the ‘Santa Ana’ winds in California? These are warm, dry winds that flow down the mountains. Both of these winds are notorious for affecting the body and causing headaches, migraines and increased numbers of accidents, crimes and suicides.
The ancient Chinese had a sophisticated understanding of how winds like these, or any wind actually, can attack the defensive system in the body. For them the wind that is outside can also get inside and cause ill-health. They used the idea of wind to explain for example how a cold can develop and the process of an airborne virus entering our bloodstream.
You might have noticed how the wind can affect your body on a day-to-day basis. A gentle breeze can affect your body if for example you are on the beach sunbathing in your swimsuit. An open car window when you are driving is another example – a classic recipe for a stiff neck. Fans and air-conditioning often direct wind to your neck area which is often uncovered.
And when under stress or weakened it is much easier for the wind (or a virus) to enter as your defences are lower.
So how can you prevent the wind from interfering with your health?
The best way to prevent wind from disrupting your health is to dress appropriately:
Protect your lower back and neck area when outside. You could wear a scarf.
Be careful with changing temperatures when going in and out of shops or when travelling by plane.
Put on or take off clothes when you go in or come out of air conditioned places.
Avoid exercising in the wind. This is important if you become hot when exercising and your pores open. The wind can easily ‘invade’ through the pores, making you susceptible to catching infections.
How does the wind affect you?