UNSEASONABLE WEATHER AND YOU.
We are creatures of nature. We evolved upon this earth from all the elements over millions of years to the complex human form that we now inhabit, and although we have the benefit of warm homes and work places we never-the-less are directly affected by the elements and by the weather. Anyone who doubts this just needs to spend a few hours outside and observe the changes in our bodies as a result of whatever the weather had in store for us to really feel this to be true.
As our bodies and immune systems respond to the changing seasons we adapt in various ways. As Spring kicks into gear our Yang rises up; we shake off the winter cold and shift from warm heart foods to fresh salads and lighter cooked foods, and we get outside more and begin to look forward to the warmth of summer. We who live proximal to Melbourne are quite used to the changeability of spring with its many seasons in one day, layering up and down as the weather changes. This is one of the theories as to why Victoria is one of the world’s capitals for hay-fever and other allergies. This year however we have been sent a doozy… very changeable, very cold with bursts of heat and very very very wet.
In Chinese Medicine, unseasonable weather is seen as impacting our health in often unexpected ways. For in Spring as the Yang (the warming active aspect of our body) rises and our pores open, we are more vulnerable to these extremes. As I write this article it has been hailing, raining as well as a tiny spot of sun and suddenly a casserole sounds a lot more appealing to a BBQ and salad!
Understanding how this affects us can help us modify our behaviour accordingly to help us through these extremes. With this very damp weather, in the clinic I am seeing flare ups of joint pain, sinus issues (more sticky and headachy than the normal sneezy kind) and a fair amount of low mood as we long for the sun to get a good hit of much needed Vitamin D.
The best we can do in the circumstances is to boost our systems like we would in winter, with some additional seasonal fresh greens to give us the vitality we need. Make sure you include some spices that warm and dry such as cinnamon, ginger, garlic and chillies along with fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano and thyme. These herbs contain good anti-viral properties as well as add a freshness to foods to give our livers a lift. Spring is the season of the Liver as being a wood element, it desires growth and new opportunities. Look for a cook book that inspires some fresh new flavours, think of starting a long-pondered hobby or start that short course that can give you the growth that feels stymied in this damp, cloying weather.
Take Vitamin D and zinc to keep your immune system primed and if you have a juicer or nutri-bullet, make some fresh blends to give you a kick. Use a blend of seasonal vegetables and fruit such as carrot, beetroot, apple, mango, celery and always add a small knob of ginger or a dash of cinnamon to disperse and dry the dampness. Get moving any way you can, stretching exercise such as Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi or even simple waking to get your blood moving is important. Stagnant water and blood causes problems in the body as stagnant water does in our waterways. So get the flow going… be like water, adapt and flow.
Until next time, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Wishing you all the best for the summer and thank you from all of us at Kinglake Chinese Medicine.
Dr Angela Palmer